PGAs of EuropeCommunications & PR – PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Mon, 13 Nov 2017 12:35:04 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 How to Develop and Perfect Your Social Media Sharing Schedule (It Could Double Your Traffic!) http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-develop-and-perfect-your-social-media-sharing-schedule-it-could-double-your-traffic/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:01:02 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=13617 Nowadays, in order to grow an audience on social media, it’s not as simple as just posting when you feel like it.]]>

Nowadays, in order to grow an audience on social media, it’s not as simple as just posting when you feel like it.

Audiences have become more sophisticated over time and as a result it is important to have some sort of social media strategy. In order to start implementing that strategy, a schedule is a must for a lot of businesses.

A sharing schedule can help you double your traffic and provide your audience with consistent and valuable information that will make them more likely to follow and engage with you.

It can be a little daunting getting started, though. As you try to figure out

  • Where to share?
  • What to share?
  • When to share?

In this post I’ll help you answer these essential questions and share some ways that you can develop and perfect your sharing schedule (with a sneak peek at how we do things here at Buffer too).

Let’s dig in!

how to create social media sharing schedule

Where to Share?

social media icons

So you want to share, but where should you share? There are so many different platforms all with their own advantages, however it’s almost impossible to share on each network well unless you have a large team helping. If that isn’t the case, focusing on specific platforms might be the best solution here.

When thinking about which platforms you should prioritize in your schedule, a good question to ask yourself is:

Where is your audience?

Do they spend most of their time on Twitter? Facebook? Knowing this will allow you to focus your energy on the place where you have the potential to reap the most benefits.

Pew Research Center put together a list of the demographics of all the key social networking platforms. This might help you get a little more insight into each platform.

Once you have narrowed down the platform(s) you would like to focus on, you can now come up with you sharing plan.

Different plans for different platforms

I would definitely recommend coming up with different plans for each platform you select. Facebook is very different than Twitter for instance, so it makes sense to have a different approach when sharing to your audience on Facebook versus your audience on Twitter.

CoSchedule has a really neat graphic sharing some of the different topics to share for each platform. They also go into depth for each platform over at their articles if you would like more information.

what-content-works-on-social-networks

What To Share?

Now that you have figured out where you want to share your awesome content. It’s time to figure out what to share.

Sharing More Than One Type of Content

A good way to share is to have a mix of content to provide your audience. I would recommend not solely focusing on your own content, but giving them variety to look forward to. Providing a service or entertainment to your audience is more likely to lead them to follow you and engage with all of your content, rather than bombarding them with only promotional updates.

Here is an example of the type of content you can share.

what to share pie chart

According to CoSchedule, a report from The New York Times Customer Insight Group found five major reasons why people share content with their networks:

  1. 49% share for entertainment or to provide valuable content to others.
  2. 68% share to define themselves.
  3. 78% share to stay connected with those they know.
  4. 69% share to feel involved in the world.
  5. 84% share to support a cause.

So give them something they can share! :)

Is Your Content Evergreen or Time Sensitive?

When it comes to your content, it can be good to think about whether what you are sharing is evergreen (can be shared multiple times at any point in time) or time sensitive.

A schedule for time sensitive material will most likely be different than one for evergreen content. For instance, time sensitive material will only be able to be shared within a specific timeframe before it is retired, while evergreen content could potentially be shared again a year from now.

If you have both types of content, coming up with separate sharing schedule for each type might be something to consider.

How Do You Want to Share?

You have your content ready to be shared, but how do you want to share it? How do you want to relay it to your audience? Do you have a specific tone you would like to use?

Here are a few things you can think about.

Voice

Creating a consistent voice is a really important component of your social media strategy. We have written an extensive guide on how you can find yours here.

Type

Links, images, videos, quotes, GIFs. There are so many different ways you can share your content. Finding what works best for you whether it’s only images or a mix of everything will be a great asset for creating your schedule.

Update

While I do recommend sharing the same content multiple times, I do not recommend you share the same update twice. Find different ways to share the content. Pick an image to share for the first time, then find a quote the second time and maybe a GIF the third, so that your audience doesn’t feel like they are always seeing the same thing in your feed.

As for the update itself, we have a handy guide and infographic to help you with sharing the optimal length every time.

social-media-length-infographic

When To Share?

You have now figured out where and what to share. The next step is figuring out when to share and importany when to re-share! Kissmetrics found that re-sharing content could double your traffic:

2-social-sharing-double-traffic

Frequency

Let’s first think about frequency. How often do you want to share?

  • On publish
  • Later that same day
  • Next day, Daily
  • A Week later
  • A month later?
  • Even later than that?

It really depends on your needs and your audience’s response to that frequency. Some of the best practices for each platform are highlighted in the infographic from SumAll below.  This is only a guideline, I would highly encourage you to test things for yourself as well.

infographic how often to post on social mediaHere is our sharing schedule at Buffer. You can see that we tend to share more often on Twitter and less on other platforms, leaving more time between each share.

social media posting schedule

When starting out, I would recommend looking at the content you have already shared and taking a look at what you feel might be the best times to share your content. If you haven’t shared anything yet, this is the perfect time to start experimenting and learning about your audience.

A key part to figuring out your frequency will be finding the point at which sharing more would yield diminishing returns. CoSchedule has a fantastic graphic illustrating diminishing returns.

law-of-diminishing-returns-for-social-sharing

And that’s when testing comes into play, which I discuss further below.

Create a calendar

In order to keep you on track, creating a calendar might be a huge help. It can also help you outline one time events. For example if you plan special coverage around the Holidays, a calendar could help you plan ahead and make sure you won’t forget to share.

Hootsuite has a great template available for a social media content calendar.

Social-Media-Content-calendar-Screenshot-620x265

Editorial-Calendar-Example-620x408

Here at Buffer, we have our own Social Media Calendar which you might find helpful in planning your sharing. The calendar is available for those on Awesome and Business plans (if you’re not yet part of our paid plans, I’m hoping you this might convince you to give it a try!) and allows you to take a look at your week of sharing at a glance.

social media calendar1

It could be helpful in planning and putting into action your sharing plan, by letting you schedule updates in the future, shifting things around if needed by dragging and dropping and giving you a visual of what you are sharing when.

Here is an example of our current social media calendar on Buffer:

buffer social media calendar twitter1

Testing

test social media schedule2

Now that you have a base to work with, I would also recommend implementing some testing into your sharing in order to come up with your perfect schedule.

Some of the things you can test include:

  • Different times
  • Different days
  • Different topics
  • Different types of updates (pictures versus no pictures, videos, quotes etc.)

I would recommend being quite intentional with the way you test things. Make sure you are able to measure the correct variable and that what you are seeing is due to the variable you are trying to measure.

For instance, if you would like to figure out the best time to share your blog posts, trying different days and times is a great way to start. However, it is important to continue the experiment for some time before drawing conclusions. An update performing really well on a Tuesday at 9am, might be due to it being an optimal time or it could be the result of the blog post itself being more popular amongst your audience. That is why I would recommend, testing that specific time multiples times in order to confirm that posts shared then do in fact always outperform posts shared at other times.

Analyze

analyze social media schedule

Once you’ve spent some time testing, you can focus on analyzing your data. A few questions you can ask yourself when looking at the results include:

  • When is your audience online?
  • When do you get the most reach/engagement?
  • What types of updates tend to get the most engagement?

Take a look at the performances for all your posts in the previous 30 (or 60) days and figure out what seemed to resonate with your audience.

Buffer provides great analytics for you to use if you are using the application to share your updates.

buffer analytics social media schedule

Adjust

adjust social media schedule1

You’ve tested, analyzed and now you can adjust. Taking into account everything you have learned, you might want to adjust your sharing schedule by implementing some of the discoveries from your data analysis.

For example, if you noticed an increase in engagement for blog posts updates on Tuesdays at 9am (after you have confirmed it through multiple testing), you can start sharing your blog posts at that time from now on.

I would also encourage you to continue to test, analyze and adjust, in order to make sure your schedule remains adapted to the changes in your audience’s wants and needs.

Bonus: How We Share at Buffer

At Buffer we’re constantly changing and testing new approaches when it comes to social media, especially after losing almost half our social referral traffic. I wanted to share our sharing schedule for both Twitter and Facebook and some of the things we’ve been trying lately.

How We Share on Twitter

Our current Twitter schedule involves sharing 11 times a day during weekdays and 8 times a day during weekends. Here are the current times we share (our timezone is set to Denver, CO).

Buffer Twitter schedule 2

Buffer Twitter schedule 1

I would say that 99% of our posts include some sort of media. We tend to use mostly images, since they tend to be they help boost our engagement, we have also enjoyed sharing GIFs and videos once in a while.

Here are some of our most engaging posts in the past 30 days taken from Buffer’s Analytics. A few standout findings:

  • You will noticed that these all contain an image (we tend to create our images using Pablo)
  • 3 out of 7 are about Twitter
  • Two of the updates link to the same article, highlighting the importance of re-sharing your content
  • One is a competition we ran to celebrate reaching 400k followers. (We’d love to experiment a little more with competitions)

Buffer Twitter Popular Posts 3

Buffer Twitter Popular Posts 2

Buffer Twitter Popular Posts 1

In general, we tend to reshare posts that seemed to resonate. We sometimes change the update and sometimes reshare as is.

How We Share on Facebook

Our current Facebook schedule has us sharing 3 times a day on weekdays and once on weekends. Here are the current times we share (our timezone is set to Nashville, TN).

Buffer Facebook schedule 2

Buffer Facebook schedule 1

On Facebook, we focus on sharing posts from Buffer’s Social and Open blogs and use the status copy to provide context or a story around the post being shared.

We have also recently started sharing quotes that inspire us on a regular basis (those quotes are also being shared on Twitter and seem to be appreciated there as well).

Here are some of our most engaging posts in the past 30 days taken from Buffer’s Analytics. Some of the things that seem to resonate here are announcements, images, insider story about Buffer and life hacking type articles.

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 1

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 2

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 3

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 4

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 5

Buffer Facebook Popular Posts 6

One of the things we’re also thinking of experimenting with is the timing of our shares. One of the tools that we will be using to find new optimal times to share is the Buffer Optimal Timing tool, which finds the best time for you to share on a specific social network and updates your Buffer schedule accordingly.

Over to You!

What are some of the steps you’ve taken to develop and perfect your social sharing schedule? Have I missed any steps? Do you have additional tips? I would love to hear them all in the comments section.

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How to Develop and Perfect Your Social Media Sharing Schedule (It Could Double Your Traffic!)
The Top 5 Things To Do When Branding For Multiple Cultures http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-top-5-things-to-do-when-branding-for-multiple-cultures/ Tue, 30 May 2017 14:40:08 +0000 Luke @ Pixeldot http://www.pgae.com/?p=13838 Pixeldot's Luke Taylor gives his top-5 guidelines for effectively creating and managing a brand across different cultures and countries... ]]>

As I type, I am sat in a generously wide seat, surrounded by a cacophony of English, French, German and Canadian accents and the satisfying hum of the Eurostar. We’re gliding through the scenic French countryside, travelling towards the depths of the English Channel and back into the beautiful surroundings of London St Pancras.

Myself, Jan and Chandra are returning home from a four day trip to the French capital to work with a long-standing global client who is based there. We are working with them to deliver a very complex rebrand with multiple stakeholders and teams across Europe, the US and Australasia.

Over the past few years we have delivered rebrands across Europe, the US and Africa. Being based in the UK, I wanted to share how we create brands that resonate with people in those countries, that grow and evolve with their culture, and ultimately achieve success for the companies we represent. Here are my top 5 guidelines for a successful outcome.

1. Immerse yourself in the culture.

It seems like an obvious thing to say, but we know it doesn’t always get done. Companies look to the UK for design skill and creative thinking, but to deliver a project successfully you (as a company) need to look wider than your personal experiences and that can be difficult. All good creative people are like sponges, soaking up information, ideas and bringing influences like trends, styles and messaging from the world around us into our work. But, what if those influences don’t mean anything to the people you are designing for? What if those ‘eureka’ moments don’t resonate with an audience of the outside the UK?

That’s where immersing yourself in the culture or cultures of the client is vital. As an example, when we are working in France, we go to France and visit the client, we ask them to show us what makes France French in their eyes. We visit locations of historical importance, we watch their films, listen to their music, try and learn some of the language, and most importantly we look – we look at what they design, how they design, what influences their design culture. Only by doing this can you start to consider what design and branding will work in that chosen culture.

2. Don’t trust cultural stereotypes.

We would all like to believe that we are ‘worldly’ and knowledgeable people – who look outwardly at global information, understanding cultures and people. But really we still view the world and the different cultures as stereotypes. We think of the French as chic, the Americans as loud, the Germans as serious and the British as stiff upper-lipped. Clearly that isn’t the case, but you would be amazed at how many brands are created with a stereotype at its heart, e.g. Delice De France!

By visiting, learning and living a culture you can start to see past stereotypes and begin to see similarities – parts of our cultures that merge and overlap. Once you are able to do this you can start to see where a brand resonates across multiple cultures, across languages and trends. When you reach this point you can create a brand thread which ties branding, emotion and design to cultures across entire continents or further afield.

3. Be in the room.

It’s as simple as that – be in the room. Be in the room for client meetings in their offices, be in the room when they discuss the answers to your brand questions, be in the room when they are chatting about their weekends, or plans for the evening, be in the room when that room is a pub, a bar, a restaurant – be a part of the team. By becoming a member of the client’s team, you become a part of their culture. You can learn what really makes them tick, what drives them forward, why they come to work everyday, what is in their heart that differentiates them from others, and what really should be in the heart of the brand.

4. Learn the subtleties.

Great brands are not created through billboards or advertising campaigns alone, they are delivered through subtly – beautiful touches of quality, finesse and intelligence; the beautifully produced bag, the expertly finished brochure or the refined smooth wording of a letter.
Subtleties differ from culture to culture and learning what different people see as the differentiator of quality can be vital to the overall success of a rebrand.

For example, in Africa, colour is a vital part of visual language. Colours represent different events in life, from celebration and weddings, through to morning and funerals. The colours symbolise emotion, and that emotion is imparted into the brand. Those emotional ties to colours will run deep into the subconscious of the viewer and therefore as brand thinkers we have to be mindful of this and utilise the power of colour to enhance a message or brand position – brandthinking in colour.

5. Ask the hard questions.

If you want to know if your brand works, ask the people who live it. We are specialists in creating brands that deliver growth, brands that have emotion and brands that resonate with target audiences, but when working in different cultures how do we know we have got it right, before we launch? Simply – we ask.

We spend time presenting the concept and brand developments to a wide range of the client’s team, from directors to admin staff. The directors will look at the brand from a strategic point of view and will trust our opinion and advice, but a receptionist will look at the brand with their heart – they will tell you what they feel and that is vital. When the strategic mind and emotive soul of the brand align, we know we have the right outcome for the organisation. It is easy to be afraid to show the brand and to ask “what do you think?”, as they are four words which can turn your project on it’s head. But they are the four most important words in any brand project.

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So there you have it, 5 top tips for branding in different countries and across cultures. As part of our Brandthinking™ process we deliver exciting, emotive brands through a wide range of countries and cultures. There are many more things which need to be considered when doing these complex projects, but I hope these 5 tips will give you an insight into they way we think, and help you in any future planning for projects.

If you have a brand that you wish to launch in the UK or further afield, and think our Brandthinking™ process and creativity can help, then we would love to hear from you.

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The Top 5 Things To Do When Branding For Multiple Cultures
[PODCAST] Actionable Social Media Trends and Stats to Help Guide Your Marketing in 2017 http://www.pgae.com/ask/podcast-actionable-social-media-trends-and-stats-to-help-guide-your-marketing-in-2017/ Sun, 07 May 2017 11:46:34 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=18619 The team at Buffer explore the latest Social Media trends and stats to get your marketing going this year...]]>

We are excited to share our third, very special bonus podcast episode with you on important social media trends and stats going into 2017!

Our bonus episodes offer a fun change of pace from our traditional “interview-style” episodes on The Science of Social Media. Get to know the hosts Hailley, Kevan, & Brian a bit better as they share thoughts on the future of social media – complete with actionable takeaways and useful insights.

This week we’re chatting all about our brand new State of Social Media 2016 Report! 3 major trends emerge from the study, including the peak of video marketing, Facebook remaining atop the pack, and the importance of customer service on social media.

A huge thank you to all of you for joining us every week for brand new episodes. We appreciate you taking the time to listen and for your amazing support over the last few weeks. We’d love to hear from you on iTunes or using the hashtag #bufferpodcast on Twitter.

“That’s what I see social media in 2017 being – Understanding why you’re there and then creating something awesome for the people that you’re hoping to reach on that channel.”

3 Themes That Stood Out to Us From the Survey

Theme #1

The first takeaway is that video is on the rise and about to hit the peak. If you ever wanted to get into video marketing, now is the time to do so! We found that there are some inherent challenges that people are experiencing that are keeping them from fully joining.

Theme #2

No one has really left Facebook like everyone was saying might happen once organic reach dipped. From our study, about 9 out of every 10 marketers use Facebook and 9 out of 10 use Facebook Ads. I think some of the response to the dip in organic reach is people moving to Facebook Ads. So, marketers finding a way to make the most of that giant network.

Theme #3

Only 1 in 5 survey respondents – so 1 in 5 brands, 1 in 5 marketers – use social media for customer support. And that was shockingly low for me. At Buffer customer support has been very key to us and it has been key for a lot of the brands that we admire. That feels like a really neat opportunity for brands to stand out.

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[PODCAST] Actionable Social Media Trends and Stats to Help Guide Your Marketing in 2017
What Does a PGA Professional Bring to Your Club? http://www.pgae.com/ask/what-does-a-pga-professional-bring-to-your-club/ Mon, 01 May 2017 20:55:44 +0000 IrishGolfer.ie http://www.pgae.com/?p=18649 IrishGolfer.ie & the PGA of GB&I's Paul Wisniewski explore the benefits a PGA Professional can bring to a facility and why they add huge value to a business...]]>

IrishGolfer.ie and the PGA of GB&I’s Paul Wisniewski explore what benefits a PGA Professional can bring to a facility and why they add huge value to the whole business…

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A question often asked is, What value does a PGA professional have at a golf club? The answer can be quite a lot.

Does your club have a PGA Professional?  Are you looking to recruit one?  Perhaps you had one in previous years but not anymore?  Times have changed and so has the role of the PGA Professional at club level.  In the heady days of property booms and third houses a PGA Professional at your club was seen as a sign that things were good, that business was strong and having the pro there was just something that clubs did.

Fast forward a few years and clubs saw their incomes drop and many responded by letting their PGA Professional go (or perhaps not taking on a PGA Professional) as they perhaps didn’t see the value that they brought.  Nowadays though, the modern PGA Professional is an invaluable asset to a golf club and it’s great to see how diverse and integral the role has become once again, the role of the PGA Professional is back where it belongs.

Given the right circumstances and direction a PGA Professional can add significant revenues to any club.  The logo for PGA Professionals contains the phrase “The heart of golf” for a good reason.  It’s not because they’ve gone through rigorous training and feel they deserve it. It’s because they’ve gone through rigorous training, have learned about golf clubs from the inside out, have likely spent more time in golf clubs than even the most dedicated club members and they are the lifeblood of any club.  The PGA pro doesn’t only stand in the shop to answer your questions anymore, they are involved in so much more behind the scenes and here are some of the ways in which a PGA Professional can add value and revenue to your club;

1. Knowledge

A PGA Professional goes through an intensive three-year training programme covering all aspects of golf club management as well as the physical aspects of playing the game.They have a broad knowledge of everything required to run a golf club and can be a great source of knowledge on a wide range of topics from membership to marketing.

2. Revenue

This is a key area in any business but in a golf club there are so many ways to increase & control revenue. Why not engage with your current PGA Professional and ask their advice on this and see what they can come up with? Equally as important as revenue is cost control and again the training that PGA Professionals receive puts them in a unique position to advise and assist with this.

3. Customer service & interaction

The person at a golf club who has the most customer interaction is the PGA Professional (43%, with the next person being the GM at 13%). They are the face of the club.Whether it’s a members competition on a weekend or a friendly fourball playing on a Tuesday afternoon, the PGA Professional is likely to be the person who greets you, explains the club policies, encourages you to have dinner or buy a shirt from the shop and this interaction can lead to repeat business and of course the increased market perception for your club.

4. Advice

More and more PGA pro’s are being asked to join in on committee meetings to offer advice and guidance.This is wonderful to see but many more Irish clubs could benefit from the input of a PGA Professional in this area.It shouldn’t only be competition committees, the PGA pro can be a useful asset in any committee, they know your club as well if not better than you do, they know all your members, they get direct feedback from every single visitor and surely that should make them the first name on the committee sheet?Don’t forget too that your PGA Professional is also a great source of knowledge on the latest equipment, clothing and many can even advise on some nutrition and exercise regimes if you’re so inclined – this is an under-utilised but greatly effective members asset.

5. Lessons

Many people only see the PGA pro as just being someone you go to for lessons – obviously this is far from true but lessons are a big part of what a pro can bring to a golf club.If a member can get a lesson from a good PGA Professional at their home club then they will do so.Players from other clubs can come to your PGA pro for lessons too which increases the public profile of your club. Moreover the pro can give introductory lessons and programmes aimed at getting people into golf who have never played.This can result in membership increases and further revenues for the club.Did you know that if someone takes lessons they play 20% more golf, spend 65% more on F&B and spend 70% more on retail?

6. Marketing

This is an interesting one as along with the pro and the manager, marketing was one of the first things to be cut when revenues dropped in Irish clubs.Through their personal contact with golfers your PGA pro is marketing your club, through giving lessons to non-members your PGA pro is marketing your club, through their interaction with other PGA pros and through them being very good at their jobs your PGA pro is marketing your club.It doesn’t always have to come down to spending money, but if it does then your PGA pro is well positioned to advise you on where is best to spend it.They eat, sleep, live and breathe golf, if it’s happening in golf they will most likely know about it so why would you not ask their opinion?

7. Member recruitment & retention

A recent survey found that 100% of people who took coaching lessons from their PGA Professional stayed as a club member the following year. That’s a staggering statistic when you consider the membership turnover in many golf clubs.When it comes to member recruitment the PGA Professional is probably the first person that any prospective member will meet.They will come in to ask questions, get forms or to play a round and see what the course is like.The pro can have a huge impact on recruitment and an educated, friendly face who knows about the club is the ideal person to have dealing with new members.

These are just some of the benefits of having a PGA Professional at your club, there are so many more and to talk to someone at the PGA about it or if your club is looking to recruit a PGA Professional you should contact Paul Wisniewski at the PGA Irish Region on Email: paul.wisniewski@pga.org.uk or Telephone: 085 8821756.

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What Does a PGA Professional Bring to Your Club?
Business Planning to Grow Your Facility http://www.pgae.com/ask/business-planning-to-grow-your-facility/ Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:34:49 +0000 Mark Taylor http://www.pgae.com/?p=17487 England Golf's Mark Taylor explains how golf facilities can be more business-minded in their planning and why this is more important than ever...]]>

With the ever changing and evolving golf market, members needs and day to day running of golf facilities, thinking like a business becomes ever more essential.  Golf Facilities need to be in a position to plan not react, this is more significant than ever before-particularly when managing change:

  • Replaces fiction with facts.
  • Maps the future and supports growth.
  • Provides transparency to stakeholders and potential investors.
  • Alignment of staff and volunteers to a clear plan of action.
  • Enables the management team to effectively monitor progress.

All good business planning enables the business to evaluate:

  1. Where the business is now?
  2. Where is the business going?
  3. How will we get there?
    1. Who is responsible?
    2. How will you keep score?
      1. Developing a strategic planning framework
      2. Help create an outline of an effective business plan

Keep it Simple…

Where you are now + Where you are going

= Your Strategy

How you are going to get there

+

Who is responsible and How you will keep score

= Your Business Plan

article-header-images_mark-taylor_facility-business-planning_04

5 key tools for a Situational Analysis

‘Situational analysis is critical to be able to make informed decisions based on data and evidence not emotion’.

Your internal landscape – What’s happening within the club?

  • Compile a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats
  • Collate an Operational Analysis – Financial, Food & Beverage etc.
  • Conduct a regular Member Analysis – Internal Environment

Your external landscape – What’s happening around your club?

  • PEST – Political, Economic, Social & Technological
  • Competitor Analysis – External Environment

Operational Analysis

Most facilities cover the following core areas of work, with each facet requiring structured analysis on:

  • Governance
  • Golf Course
  • Finance
  • Food & Beverage
  • Members

article-header-images_mark-taylor_facility-business-planning_02

Member Analysis

Know your club data!!

Understand your members…deliver:

  • Member Forums – prepared sessions use SWOT
  • Member Surveys
    • Key questions – short & concise
  • Research your Market – tools & insight reports
    • Continually review the profile of your existing members

P.E.S.T Analysis

Political factors:

  • Government regulations regarding health, hygiene, food regulations, and food standards.
  • Equality legislation.
  • Government policies, these may include licenses, inspections by environmental health.

Economic factors:

  • Interest rates.
  • Rate of inflation determines the rate of remuneration for employees and directly affects the price of products.
  • Economic trends act as an indicator of the sustainability and profitability of your business in the chosen region.

Social factors:

  • Eating habits of the people in your chosen business environment may, and certainly will, affect your marketing decisions.
  • Ratio of people preferring to eat out regularly, changing attitude to volunteering and pressures on family timetable.

Technological factors:

  • Effective technology may be a decisive factor for business marketing (social media, apps).
  • Tee time bookings.

article-header-images_mark-taylor_facility-business-planning_03

Competitor Analysis

  • Who are your direct competitors?
  • What are their products and prices?
  • How do their facilities compare?
  • What is their unique selling point?
  • Research your Market – tools & reports
    • Map the local competition – Understand the local potential

Mission and Vision

Once the club have identified insight and data..it’s now time to think about the ‘WHY’

Mission –

A one sentence statement that describes why you exist – your purpose

  • The best mission statements are clear and concise
  • Ideally no more than 15 words

Vision –

A one sentence statement describing what your club would like to achieve or accomplish

  • The best vision statements are inspirational and memorable
  • Ideally no more than 20 words

Values

Develop beliefs that are shared by the stakeholders of the golf club.

Values drive the golf clubs culture and priorities and provide a framework in which decisions are made.

article-header-images_mark-taylor_facility-business-planning_05

Formulate your Aims

  • Look at your list of core areas of work
  • Identify what you want to achieve in each of those core areas:
    • Core Area = Membership
    • Strategic Aim = Increase the number of members

YOU NOW HAVE A STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK…

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Core areas of work
  • Aims

Plan for Business!!

  • More than financial spreadsheets
  • A clear link between a shared vision for the club and actions
  • Written for real people using everyday language
  • Customer focussed
  • Sincere and meaningful
  • Clear roles and responsibilities to ensure involvement and ownership
  • SMART objectives that are regularly reviewed

Thriving clubs recognise they are better served with a professional team, which is held accountable to run the operation and have the authority to do so.

Accountability needs to be driven down to all levels-including the volunteer committee members/directors of the board

Top Tips…

  • Set a clear time frame to get it done
  • Work as a team – empower your professionals
  • Focus on creating the future – separates the thrivers from the survivors
  • State out how long your plans are for

Make your goals SMART…

  • Aim: More Members
  • Smart Goal: Recruit 20 new members
  • Initiatives to achieve that goal:
    • Create a recruitment plan
    • Arrange a member sales training day with our staff
    • Promote a member get member campaign
    • Host a family fun day and invite the local community
    • Run a 9 hole promotion throughout the winter on a Sunday afternoon
    • Start a Learn Golf 6 wk programme

Brainstorm different initiatives but then make sure you:

  • Consider the cost of pursuing them within annual operating budgets.
  • Consider HR implications, staffing levels and the return on investment.
  • Be selective – don’t try to do everything at once

Keeping Score

It is Vital to keep score – Your business plan is your future!

Set key performance indicators (KPI’s) for each aim

Benchmark against your chosen KPI’s

  • A lot of this data will be in your ‘where are we now’ situational analysis

Agree when you going to monitor progress

  • Ideally this should be every committee/board meeting
  • The business plan should be the main content of your meetings

Decide timeframes for reviewing strategy & plans

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Business Plan Structure

Keep it simple…

  1. Cover & Contents
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Background/Context
  4. Situational Analysis – including financial
  5. Strategic Summary – Mission, Vision, Values, Aims
  6. Operational Plan – for each aim:
    1. SMART Goals
    2. Initiatives
    3. Accountability
    4. Measurement

And Finally…

‘Schedule time to work on your golf business, rather than in your business’

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Business Planning to Grow Your Facility
Do What You Do Best But DON’T Forget the Rest! http://www.pgae.com/ask/do-what-you-do-best-but-dont-forget-the-rest/ Thu, 01 Dec 2016 08:03:46 +0000 Jeremy Dale http://www.pgae.com/?p=14633 Switch-hitting trick shot artist, Jeremy Dale, explains that specialising and THEN diversifying can help maximise your opportunities as a specialist...]]>

‘’Do what you do best and forget the rest’’ was the advice once given to me by a businessman at a golf day in Australia.

In a way, it is good advice (to start with anyway) because once you are a specialist, you have authority, can build a reputation and are likely to be paid more.

For the modern PGA Professional this makes perfect sense, we have seen a trend over the last 20 years towards specialist players, coaches, golf psychologists, retailers, club-fitters, club managers, corporate event organisers etc and away from the traditional club professional model – although, of course, that quite rightly still exists.

So how do you maximise your opportunities as a specialist?

It might seem contradictory but my solution was to specialise and THEN diversify.

The day golf finally met business for Jeremy Dale

I am quite certain that no professional golfer ever set out to become a trick shot artist.

Everyone dreams of playing for a living BUT, when you see a new opportunity, it is a good idea to explore the potential.

My big chance came in the summer of 1991 at the Rijswijkse Golf Club in The Hague when Head Professional John Woof unwittingly gave me the opportunity of a lifetime – an opportunity that quite literally presented me with a fork in the road of my career.

Find yourself a business model (or mentor) BUT make up your own version

As an assistant, I saw a really good future business model in John.

He was earning from a few different areas of the golf business but was really well known at that time in Holland for the quality of his play.

As well as winning tournaments (both nationally & internationally) and making the PGA Cup team, he was also a successful coach, had some sponsors and, importantly for me, he performed a really good trick shot golf show. It was the first one I had ever seen and I liked the combination of entertainment mixed with a high level of skill and accuracy.

John also ran events (for his sponsors & featuring his show), sometimes took them on private outings to famous courses, and later in his career, despite being a foreigner, he became a golf commentator on Dutch TV.

It was especially obvious to me that John was able to carry over his reputation for tournament golf into everything else he did.

I concluded that to have a good career in golf, you should be really good at one thing (whatever your speciality might be) but ALSO diversify your range of products AND be good at selling them……..by the way, don’t forget that last one!

(If you are a coach read Ian Clark’s excellent blog on making sales and creating a client base)

Look out for a life changing opportunity

I decided that I needed to put together a golf show………….….if I could become really good at that then it would do for my business what playing had done for John.

The problem was that I did not want to copy anyone, I needed a USP of my own and was well aware of the importance of being my own person.

I had no idea what that could be until that day at Rijswijk in 1991 when John asked me to give a lesson to one of his sponsors, who happened to be left-handed.

After the lesson, I asked if I could have a go with his club since I had never hit a shot left-handed. It felt quite good and I was very surprised at the quality of my best shots so I spent the whole evening on the range.

This did not have to be a life changing moment, but that is exactly how it turned out.

I decided there and then that I was going to relearn the game left-handed so that I could put together a switch-hitting golf show, something that, unsurprisingly, had never been done.

I was about to find out why.

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Left-Handed Golf – my hard won USP

John said: ‘’Give yourself two years’’ and (cryptically) ‘’You never know’’.

He was right on both counts.

My father always used to say ”We never give in’’. He was only partly joking, it’s great advice.

Everyone else thought I was nuts and looking back, I can see what they meant.

My good friend and co-assistant at the club, Michael Unsworth, had seen almost every shot of my left-handed experiment, from hitting air shots to making cuts in Dutch PGA events.

I knew I was making progress when he said to me:

‘’When you started playing left-handed I would always hope you’d hit a good shot off the first tee……..now I kind of hope you don’t!’’

It was a frantic time. Somehow, within two years, I learned to speak Dutch fluently, made the required scores in professional tournaments (left-handed) and passed the exams with the Dutch PGA. Later, having contacted Lawrie Thornton at the PGAs of Europe, I passed the British PGA exams too.

I was all set for a career in golf as a trick shot artist and did my first proper show in April 1994 at Golf & Country Club ‘t Sybrook in the Netherlands.

You never know!

Wind the clock forward and these days people assume that switch-hitting was just something I could always naturally do but nothing could be further from the truth.

It had seemed impossible to me that I would make a living from golf but it has somehow happened.

So far I have performed my show in 39 countries in front of business people and top golfers from all parts of the globe. I have also met and performed with many of the great golfers I grew up watching on TV. Gary Player, Seve, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Tony Jacklin, Padraig Harrington, Ian Woosnam and so the list goes on.

Specialise in one thing – but diversify your business too

What I have also done is (like John Woof) use the golf show to develop other areas of my business.

Here is a list of the other things I have done in the last 20 years in golf:

  • PGA Coach – individual coaching, golf schools and golf holidays
  • TV presenter
  • Organiser and Promoter – World Golf Trick Shot Championship
  • Writer
  • Charity event organiser
  • After Dinner Speaker
  • Brand Ambassador
  • Master of Ceremonies
  • Agent
  • Charity Auctioneer
  • Business and Marketing Consultant for other PGA professionals

I even won a trick shot competition in America in 2015 and finished No. 2 in the World Golf Trick Shot Championships in 2005.

Article-Header-Images_Jeremy-Dale_04

Specialists really do get paid more

My advice to any golf professional is to find the thing you do best and specialise.

Work hard to gain the knowledge and expertise you will need – invest in yourself, go on courses, ask other PGA Members and read everything you can find on your subject.

It does not matter what your specialist area might be. As long as you are (and are seen as) one of the market leaders, you’ll have an advantage you can really use.

Being an expert gives you credibility and a chance to make a reputation that you can THEN exploit into other areas.

I think it is a winning formula.

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Do What You Do Best But DON’T Forget the Rest!
14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples (And What You Can Learn From Them) http://www.pgae.com/ask/14-amazing-social-media-customer-service-examples-and-what-you-can-learn-from-them/ Wed, 16 Nov 2016 14:34:04 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=13781 How important is customer service via social media? According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service.]]>

How important is customer service via social media?

According to J.D. Power, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media channel for customer service.

And when they do, they expect a fast response. Research cited by Jay Baer tells us that 42% of consumers expect a response with 60 minutes.

So, how’s your social media customer service?

For this post I was excited to research a set of 14 amazing examples of customer service using social media.

Let’s get started!


1. Samsung: A Unicycling Kangaroo and a Dragon Phone

As a loyal Samsung customer, Canadian Shane Bennett asked for a free unit of their latest, soon-to-launch phone. To sweeten his offer, he included a drawing of a roaring dragon.

Not surprisingly, Samsung said “no”. But to say thanks, they sent him their drawing of a unicycle-riding kangaroo.

samsung-canada

Shane then shared both messages (and drawings) to Reddit where it went viral. In response, Samsung Canada sent him the phone he asked for – and customized it with his fire-breathing dragon artwork.

Samsung-canada-2

Takeaway: Have fun with customer interactions. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

2. Morton’s Steakhouse: Airport Delivery

While waiting for takeoff in Tampa, Florida, Peter Shankman jokingly asked Morton’s Steakhouse to deliver a porterhouse steak when he landed at Newark airport.

mortons

While departing the Newark airport to meet his driver, he was greeted by a Morton’s server with a 24 oz. Porterhouse steak, shrimp, potatoes, bread – the works. A full meal and no bill.

When you think of the logistics of pulling this off, it becomes even more impressive. The Community Manager needed to get approval and place the order. It needed to be prepared and then driven by the server to the airport, to the correct location and at the right time. All in less than three hours.

mortons-steakhouse

Some of the comments on Peter’s post suggest that this isn’t an anomaly. Another reader shares his experience of ordering a baked potato and getting a full steak meal – delivered and for free.

Takeaway: Do something unexpected for a loyal customer – when they want it most.

3. Gaylord Opryland: Sleep-Inducing Clock Radio

After numerous stays at Nashville’s Opryland Resort, Christina McMenemy wanted her own spa-sound clock radio that comes standard in each room. The sound helped her sleep better than ever, and she couldn’t find that model anywhere. So she asked the hotel for help finding it.

gaylord-hotels

Turns out, that model was exclusive to the Gaylord hotels. She thought that was the end of it, and went to her conference.

Upon returning to her room that evening, she found a gift waiting: the spa clock and a handwritten card. The staff had given her the product she was unable to find. Not only did they make a long term customer very happy, they also received significant media coverage for their act of kindness.

gaylord-hotels-2

Takeaway: Make customers happy one at a time.

A quick note on these first three examples

While it’s great to give away phones, steak dinners, and clock radios, this might not be sustainable customer service.

Why not? When other, loyal customers hear what these companies did, they might expect the same treatment. Can Morton’s deliver a free steak dinner to the airport for every customer who asks? Can Gaylord hotels give every loyal guest a free clock radio?

A more sustainable approach is to provide outstanding customer service on a daily basis. These next examples have lessons that can be implemented right away and on a consistent basis.

4. JetBlue: Feeling the Customer’s Pain

During a four-hour flight, Esaí Vélez’s seatback TV gave him nothing but static – while the rest of the passengers had normally functioning screens. How did he respond? He tweeted a complaint to JetBlue. Nothing inflammatory, but he was clearly disappointed.

jetblue

How did JetBlue respond? While they could have made an excuse or even ignored his tweet, they didn’t. They took his side and empathized with him.

“Oh no! That’s not what we like to hear! Are all the TVs out on the plane or is it just yours?”

After he confirms that it was just his TV that was out, they respond:

“We always hate it when that happens. Send us a DM with your confirmation code to get you a credit for the non-working TV.”

Not only do they imagine his frustration, but they also offer him a credit for his trouble.

What was the result? Just 23 minutes after his complaint, he tweets: “One of the fastest and better Customer Service: @JetBlue! Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving”

jetblue2

Takeaway: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes when responding to complaints.

5. Delta Hotels: Room With an Ugly View

While attending the #PSEWEB conference in Vancouver, Mike McCready tweeted that, while he liked his room at the Delta, the view wasn’t so nice. He didn’t tag the hotel, and he wasn’t asking for anything.

Within an hour, Delta responded – offering a room with a better view. And when Mike returned to his room after the conference, he found a dish of sweets and a handwritten card from the staff at his hotel. It made such an impact that he wrote a post about it – the very same day.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.43.44

Takeaway: Set up a social listening strategy to listen to all customer conversations.

6. Waterstones: Man Locked in London Bookstore

While every customer comment is important, some are going to be a little more urgent than others. Like locking a customer in your store.

This happened to David Willis last year at Waterstones Trafalgar Square store. He tweeted:

waterstones

Not surprisingly, this tweet went viral, with 16,000+ retweets and 12,000+ likes. Because someone was monitoring Waterstones Twitter account, they were able to tweet 80 minutes later that they had freed their previously captive customer. Imagine how this could have turned out, if Waterstones customer service had stopped listening for the day.

waterstones2

Takeaway: Always listen to customer conversations.

7. Contextly: Customer Onboarding

Before I do business with a new company, I like to see if anyone is listening. It gives me confidence that they’ll be there if I have a problem or question.

When I was looking for a premium related-content service, I signed up for a free trial account with Contextly. The process was smooth, and I was excited about the app, so I tweeted about it. They responded with a positive, helpful tweet.

contextly

As a result, I’m confident that they are interested in me and will help me if I have a question with the app.

Takeaway: Use social media to streamline customer onboarding.

8. Xbox Support: Elite Tweet Fleet

Back in 2010, Xbox added a dedicated Twitter account. Since then, their Elite Tweet Fleet has posted more than two million support tweets. In fact, when I visited their account page, they were averaging two tweets per minute! And they have a team of 27 support experts.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.57.41

Any company that assigns a dedicated Twitter account (and 27 people to manage it) is amazing to me. Check out some of their interactions:

Takeaway: Be committed to your social media customer service.

9. Nike: Respond Kindly to Confused Customers

Nike Support is one of the strongest customer service accounts on Twitter. They feature a dedicated Twitter account, support seven days a week and in seven languages (English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Italian, German & Japanese.)

An example of their approach is here in this customer interaction: A customer contacts them to ask for help finding an order number. Although the question was unclear Nike’s customer support made the customer feel cared for. And when the customer realized they had the information all along, their response is super supportive.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.05.28

Takeaway: Be kind, even when it’s not your fault.

10. Seamless: Pay Attention to Every Comment

Seamless is an online service for ordering food from local restaurants. Food orders are full of variables and when you add in time frame and delivery – it has the potential to be a nightmare. To manage customer service, they have an active Twitter account where customers can share their love and voice their complaints.

In a recent comment, a customer tells Seamless that on his recent order he received white rice, instead of brown. He wasn’t upset – he said: “Don’t mind terribly, just FYI.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.07.04

In response, Seamless asks for the order number so they can check into it. In response, the customer tweets:

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.07.21

Takeaway: Pay attention to all customer service issues. Passive complaints that are left unaddressed can easily cause a rift between the vendor and customer.

11. My Starbucks Idea: Listen and Harvest Ideas

As a way to listen to customers – and get tons of great new ideas – Starbucks created My Starbucks Idea. To date, customers have submitted more than 210,000 unique ideas. To support this program, they have a dedicated Twitter account. It is a great place for users to share their observations and coffee wishes.

A couple of the recent ideas include solar cell equipped umbrellas for device charging and morning coffee delivery (looks like it’s going to happen).

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.09.48

Takeaway: Make it easy for customers to tell you what they want. Listen to everyone and implement the winning ideas.

12. Sainsburys: Fishy Exchange

Sainsbury’s is one of the largest supermarkets in the UK. They’ve got a pretty active Twitter feed with lots of customer questions about products and sale prices. The tone of the account is helpful and positive.

There are lots of good examples of interactions. But none better than Fishy Sainsburys. This fishy exchange took place over a three hour period, between David (Sainsbury’s Twitter manager) and Marty (a customer). The puns will make you groan – many made me laugh out loud. Remember, this interaction was not a marketing play but a real conversation between the company and a customer.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.11.08

Takeaway: Let your customer service team have fun.

13. Hubspot: Every Day of the Year

Holidays can be challenging times for customer service. When customer service closes for the observance of a holiday in one country, users from other countries will still have questions.

This recently happened with a HubSpot customer in London. She had workflow issues and couldn’t contact anyone at the US-based call center because it was closed for American Thanksgiving. When she took her concern to Twitter, she found a customer service representative in Ireland.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 11.31.51

Like many companies in this list, HubSpot has a dedicated customer service Twitter account. To manage international schedules and time zones, they have two Dublin-based representatives and another three in Cambridge, MA.

Takeaway: Be available for your customers.

14. Buffer: Personal and Kind

If you take a quick look at Buffer’s Tweets & replies feed you’ll see how engaging their customer service is. Responses are personal and friendly. And they are usually signed by the team member you’re chatting with.

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For example, my wife has been impressed that when she mentions them in a tweet, they acknowledge it, even using her name in their response.

Takeaway: Treat each person with respect. Use your name (and theirs) when interacting with customers online.

What we can learn from these customer service examples

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Choose a primary channel for customer service (many use Twitter) and assign staff to manage it.
  2. Decide on your schedule of availability (set hours and days) and post it on your profile.
  3. Have each tweet/post signed by the person who sent it. This is done well by Xbox Support, Sainsbury’s, and Buffer.
  4. Remember that customers might contact you any number of ways – not necessarily on the channel you chose. Make sure you monitor other social channels for questions and conversations about your brand.
  5. Establish a tone for your social media conversations. Generally speaking, you’ll want first to empathize with your customers problem. Stephen Covey said it best: “Seek first to understand…”

I recommend following a few of these companies on Twitter. Watch how they handle customer complaints and comments. I’ve learned so much doing this.

What to do next: Review these points with your customer service team. Decide which apply to your business right now and assign a team member to implement them.

Over to you

Have you had an amazing customer service experience via social media? How are you using social media to provide customer service? I would love to hear both in the comments!

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14 Amazing Social Media Customer Service Examples (And What You Can Learn From Them)
How to Create a YouTube Channel to Make the Most of YouTube’s Billion-User Network http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-create-a-youtube-channel-to-make-the-most-of-youtubes-billion-user-network/ Thu, 03 Nov 2016 10:02:02 +0000 Buffer http://www.pgae.com/?p=17150 There’s a huge opportunity for your business on YouTube. If you’ve been debating getting started on YouTube, this post is for you...]]>

YouTube, the Google-owned video network, boasts over a billion users almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. On mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.

What’s amazing, though, is that only 9% of small businesses in the U.S. are actively using YouTube, and my hunch is that figure would be pretty accurate worldwide, too.

So why aren’t businesses investing in YouTube?

In short, because video is harder to produce than a blog post or an image.

Or at least that’s the perception many of us have.

In reality, though, video is becoming much easier and cheaper to create. This means there’s a huge opportunity for your business on YouTube.

If you’ve been debating getting started on YouTube or have maybe experimented a little and not yet found your feet, this post is for you. Throughout this post we’ll dive into:

  • The basics of getting your account set up
  • How to create a YouTube channel
  • How to create the perfect channel art
  • Top tips for optimizing your channel.

Ready to start? Let’s go.

youtube-feature

How to create a YouTube channel

Creating a YouTube channel using your Google account

If you have a Google account, you can watch, share and comment on YouTube content. However, Google accounts don’t automatically create YouTube channels. Getting a new channel set up is a simple and quick process, though.

1. Go to YouTube and sign in

Head over to YouTube.com and click ‘sign in’ in the top right corner of the page:

youtube-sign-in

Then log in using the Google Account you’d like your channel to be associated with:

google-account

2. Head over to your YouTube settings

In the top right corner of the screen, click on your profile icon and then the ‘Settings’ cog icon.

youtube-settings

3. Create your channel

Under your settings, you’ll see the option to “Create a channel,” click on this link:

create-a-youtube-channel

Next, you’ll have the option to create a personal channel or a create a channel using a business or other name. For this example, we’ll choose the business option:

youtube-channel

Now, it’s time to name your channel and select a category. The channel options available include:

  • Product or Brand
  • Company Institution or Organization
  • Arts, Entertainment or Sports
  • Other

youtube-channel-name

Note: a new Google+ page will also be created for your brand. 

Congratulations! You’ve just created a new YouTube channel 🙌

youtube-channel-complete

Next, let’s fill out all the information and create some channel art to get your page looking awesome (click here to jump to the next section).

How to create a YouTube channel if you don’t already have a Google account

If you don’t already have a Google account set up, you’ll need to create one before you get started on YouTube. To do this, simply follow the below steps:

  1. Head to YouTube.com
  2. Click ‘Sign In’
  3. Now, choose the option to create a Google account
  4. Follow the steps to create your Google account

Now, you’re all set up with a Google account and can follow the above steps to create a YouTube channel.

How to create YouTube channel art

YouTube channel art is essentially YouTube’s version of the Facebook cover photo. Channel art features in a prominent place on your YouTube channel, which means it’s absolutely vital for any YouTube channel to use customized art to share your personality or more about your brand with your audience.

Here’s an example of Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube channel art:

gary-v-youtube

Gary is well-known for his public speaking at conferences and for sharing all he knows about marketing and building businesses with his audience. This is reflected in his cover photo, which displays Gary in mid-flow giving a presentation at what seems to be a large event. The inclusion of his handle @garyvee helps users to identify him on other social chanels and his signature branding makes the art feel personal.

Here’s what you need to know to create striking YouTube channel art…

The perfect sizes for YouTube channel art

The best place to start with your channel art is with the optimal image size that works across multiple devices. For the best results, YouTube recommends uploading a single 2560 x 1440 pixel image.

  • Minimum width: 2048 X 1152 px. This is the “safe area”, where text and logos are guaranteed not to be cut off when displayed on different devices.
  • Maximum width: 2560 X 423 px. This means that the “safe area” is always visible; the areas to each side of the channel art are visible depending on the viewer’s browser size.
  • File size: 4MB or smaller recommended.

YouTube also supplies a Channel Art Template in both PNG and PSD formats to help your figure out the perfect layout for your channel are and how it’ll look across platforms:

channel-art-template-fireworks

Here’s an example of how I used this template to create some channel art for the Buffer YouTube account:

buffer-youtube-channel-art

And here’s how it looks across various platforms:
channel-art

2 top tips for YouTube channel art

1. Ensure any text and logos are within the safe area

The text and logo safe area is the 1546 x 423 pixel space at the center of the YouTube channel art template. This is the area that will be displayed on YouTube when your channel is viewed on desktop screens.

Be careful to ensure any important information such as branding, text, taglines, and key images are within this space so that it’s always displayed as part of your channel art across every device.

2. Consider your channel links

YouTube enables you to add links to your channel and these are displayed in the bottom right corner of your channel art. For example, check the bottom right of the channel art below:

channel-links

When creating your channel art, it’s important to think about the space these links take up and ensure you don’t have anything important (such as logos) occupying that space within your design.

How to add art to your YouTube channel

If you’re just setting up your YouTube channel, you’ll notice the channel art space is blank with a clear call to action to add your art:

blank-channel-art

Once you’ve clicked this link, you’ll see a popup window that gives you the option to upload your own custom channel art. If you’d like to, you can also choose to use one of YouTube’s templates from the “Gallery” or choose to upload one of your photos from Google+.

upload-channel-art

Adjusting the crop

Once you’ve uploaded your channel art, YouTube allows you to adjust the cropping of your image so that you can ensure it’s all lined up correctly.

This crop screen is very handy for checking how your design will look on various platforms. The clear section in the middle of the grid shows you the content that will be displayed on mobile and desktop and the rest of the image shows the image that will be displayed on TVs.

art-adjust-crop

Once you’re happy with the way your cover art looks, click “Select” and your channel art will be added to your channel and saved.

Changing your current channel art

If you already have some channel art in place and would like to update it, head over to your channel homepage. From here, move your mouse over your cover art and you’ll notice a little edit button appear in the top right-hand corner:

edit-icon

Once you’ve clicked on this icon, you can update your channel art.

This video from YouTube also explains how to add and edit your channel art:

How to add your channel icon

Each channel also has space for a profile icon.Your channel icon shows over your channel art banner. It’s the icon that shows next to your videos and channel on YouTube watch pages. The key here is to select something that will look good at very small resolutions –  many brands opt to use their logo here.

Your channel icon should be 800 x 800 pixels and one of the following formats: JPG, GIF, BMP or PNG file (no animated GIFs).

To update your channel icon, head to your channel homepage and hover over your current channel icon until you see the edit icon appear. Click on that icon and you’ll be able to upload a new icon:

edit-channel-ico

5 ways to enhance your channel

1. Optimize your description

YouTube gives you a space on your channel to write a little about your brand and the content you share on YouTube. The description is limited to 1,000 characters, so you have a little room to be creative here.

The copy in your channel description won’t just appear on your channel page. It’s indexed by search engines and can also be featured across YouTube in suggested channel categories. A good tactic is to include some relevant keywords and CTAs within the opening lines of your description.

2. Add links to your channel

channel-links

We briefly mentioned channel links earlier in this post and I’d love to share with you how to add these links in 4 super-quick steps:

1. The first step is to head to your channel homepage and click on the ‘cog’ icon next to your subscriber count:

settings-icon

2. Next, you’ll see a Channel Settings lightbox appear. Here you need to toggle on the option labeled “Customize the layout of your channel”:

channel-options

3. Now that you’ve enabled customizations on your channel, pop back to your channel homepage and you’ll now see the option to “Edit Links” under the settings menu on your cover art:

edit-links

4. Click the “Edit Links” option and you’ll then be taken to the “About” section of your channel. Here you’ll have the option to add links and choose how many are displayed over your cover art:

edit-links

3. Add a channel trailer

As soon as visitors land on your channel, you want to give them a picture of the type of content your channel covers and why they’ll want to subscribe and check out your videos. A channel trailer is the perfect way to do this.

A short, to-the-point channel trailer can be a great way to introduce people to your content. A channel trailer should grab attention as soon as it starts and also represent the type of content you create on YouTube.

It’s also important to think about the description you add to this video as it features prominently on your channel homepage.

(These trailers only appear for people who are not yet subscribed to your channel.)

Here are a couple of great examples:

Gary Vaynerchuk

SoulPancake

4. Add your contact details (email address)

If you’re using YouTube as a business or a creator, it can be great to have your contact details on hand for anyone who is interested in your work. YouTube has a section on each channel profile for you to list your contact details for business inquiries.

This can be found under the “About” section of your channel. To find it, go to your channel homepage, click “About” from the navigation and then scroll down to “Details.” Here you’ll see the option to share your email address:

email-address

Over to you

Thanks for reading. It’s been great fun to dive into how to create a YouTube channel and I hope you picked up one or two tips from this post. If you create a YouTube channel of your own or already have one up and running, I’d love to hear from you and learn from your experience in the comments below.

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How to Create a YouTube Channel to Make the Most of YouTube’s Billion-User Network
[PODCAST] 6 Ways to Leverage Social Media & the Internet in Your Job Search http://www.pgae.com/ask/6-ways-to-leverage-social-media-the-internet-in-your-job-search/ Tue, 01 Nov 2016 11:35:19 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=13746 Here are some tips to promote yourself better online and ensure a search of your name makes it more likely that you will be hired…]]>

In the 21st century the job-seeking process is complex and quick.  A career path can present itself to you in the blink of an eye, and can disappear just as quickly.

The development of platforms such as LinkedIn have shown that it is not just a paper CV that shows off who you are and what you can do.  It’s now possible to find out every bit of detail needed about a potential employee to make an educated decision as to whether they should get a job or not.

It is widely accepted that employers will likely Google an applicant as soon as they get their name.  What comes up in the search can be a window into their lives – whether you like it or not.  To ensure your results are ones that play in your favour, here are some tips to promote yourself better online and ensure a search of your name makes it more likely that you will be hired…

1. Google Yourself

The best place to start – do what an employer might do (ideally on a different computer than your own to see what someone else might see).

This will show you what they might see and could give you a good place to start when identifying where you are visible and what you should do about it.

2. Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile (Or Create One First!)

Firstly, if you are not on LinkedIn then you’re doing it wrong. Join LinkedIn.  It is a fantastic [FREE] resource where you can lay down as much or as little information about yourself, connect with people you know and people you want to know, and ultimately use as a live, digital and interactive CV.

Second, make sure your profile is complete using LinkedIn’s built-in step-by-step guide, add a great photo and take your time on your bio.  Then get connecting – sync your account with your phone or contacts and start by adding people you know.  Then once you have a network the platform will automatically start suggesting jobs and new connections for you – then you can start to action these connections and see where leads might come from.

3. Write a Blog

What better way to express yourself and show-off your expertise and knowledge in your area than writing about it.  You can write anything you want and tailor it to your intended are of work to show a) that you care about what you do/want to do, b) are knowledgeable and have an opinion on it, and c) you are computer/digitally savvy enough to get out there and set it up [but don’t worry it’s actually pretty easy to do with services such as WordPress and Tumblr].

4. Check Your Settings

Go through all of your social accounts and check your privacy settings – you may be happy for someone to discover your Facebook profile through a Google search, but are you happy that they can look at your 10-year old photos from University parties? Probably not.

Settings can often be tucked away or a little tough to root out, but platforms nowadays have great flexibility and control for their users when it comes to privacy – take time to work out what the different on and off switches mean.

5. Make the Most of Your Biography

Your Twitter bio, LinkedIn short biography and any other place where you can add a public biography are what people will see first.  Take time to make this as good as possible – you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but people often do anyway so make sure yours looks great.

6. Reverse Engineer The Search

Work out what an employer might look at that is connected to you – go through the process yourself and make sure everything is as you wish at each stage of a search.  Think about what they want to see and tailor your profiles to that.

Plus, turn the tables on a potential employer and look at their company profiles, connect with people from that company, or even explore their LinkedIn profiles.  They will no doubt do it to you, so you can do it to them.  Going into an interview with knowledge and info on the bosses, co-workers or interviewees will almost certainly be useful in your search.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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[PODCAST] 6 Ways to Leverage Social Media & the Internet in Your Job Search
The Impact of Your Voice http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-impact-of-your-voice/ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 12:30:23 +0000 Coaching4Careers http://www.pgae.com/?p=16400 What are the three key elements to think about when speaking? Volume, Speed, Pitch and tone...]]>

Most articles about improving the way presentations are delivered focus on body language and content. Body language accounts for an amazing 55% of the impact you have when talking or presenting to people; what you say or show, only 7%. The remaining 38% of your impact comes from the way you speak.

If you are heading to an assessment centre, doing a presentation may be one of the tasks on the table, or if you’re about to start a new job – congratulations by the way – presenting is a key skill that you will probably be required to use in some capacity throughout your career. So it’s worth focussing on this rarely considered aspect of presentation skills.

The three things you should consider when thinking about the way you speak are:

  • Volume
  • Speed
  • Pitch and tone

1. Your volume

You need to make sure you’re speaking loudly enough for everyone in the room to hear. There’s nothing more irritating for an audience than a mumbler. A microphone may do this job for you, but if you don’t have one simply ask: “can everyone hear me ok?” Look around the room and make eye contact with as many people as you can as you ask.

Do this confidently and with a smile to boost your own confidence and engage with your audience. It’s important to get the volume right at the beginning so you won’t get distracted or interrupted once your presentation is flowing and it gives you a chance to hear your own voice before you really get going.

When you want to add emphasis to a given point it’s a good idea to increase your volume slightly, while making eye contact with various people around the room.

2. Your speed

Never speak too quickly. It shows you are nervous; it will mean you are more likely to make mistakes and it is less likely the audience will understand what you are saying.

It’s always faster to other people’s ears than it is in your head – so think ‘slow’. Pause just before you’re about to make an important or complicated point and just after to give your audience time to engage with and digest what you’re saying.

3. Your pitch and tone

Avoid a monotone voice at all costs. People lose interest very quickly without a song in their ears. Varying the pitch and tone keeps people’s brains engaged.

Reading from a script increases your chances of presenting in a monotone. So try to do your presentation from notes, rather than a script. If you have to read it, practice varying your pitch in an exaggerated way as if you’re reading a scary or exciting child’s story. Don’t deliver your presentation like that, however, just get used to hearing that range in your voice.

Using either genuine or rhetorical questions will help keep the flow of your speech varied, which will keep the audience engaged.

Enunciate clearly and don’t mumble into your notes.

Regardless of how nervous or self-conscious you may feel speaking in public if you can think ‘confident’ and match your body language and voice accordingly no one will ever know, and you will have an engaged and attentive audience.

Never forget how important your voice is – practice out loud, playing with volume, pitch, speed and tone, and record yourself to look for the areas in which you can improve.


This content appears courtesy of Abintegro, experts in career management, transition technology & e-learning for today’s modern, mobile and technology-savvy workforce – Find out more at www.abintegro.com

Credit: Abintegro.com

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The Impact of Your Voice
Golf Clubs Shouldn’t Ignore Social Technology Online http://www.pgae.com/ask/golf-clubs-shouldnt-ignore-social-technology-online/ Mon, 04 Jul 2016 13:43:30 +0000 Golf Business Monitor http://www.pgae.com/?p=9874 Golf Business Monitor's, Miklós Breitner, looks at how golf clubs can leverage social technology to their, and their members', benefit...]]>

Golf Business Monitor’s, Miklós Breitner, looks at how golf clubs can leverage social technology to their, and their members’, benefit…


I was really happy to read Frank Vain’s (president of McMahon Group) article about increasing usage of technology (in many instances social technology) in private golf clubs to improve connectivity, reduce operating costs and increase revenue (not to forget new member sales as well) [things that could apply to other types of clubs too].

Every day, an increasing number of connected consumers (yes, private golf club members as well!!) are taking to social networks to ask for help or express sentiment (social posts, blogs & reviews) related to business- or product-related experiences. The reality is that social media is the new normal and will only continue to grow.

In addition to this smart phone and mobile application usage does not belong solely to the under 45 age group and will also only continue to grow over the coming years.

Online banking, online booking and online shopping are now part of our daily life. So those who think ‘if we use social and other new technologies in our sales and CRM activities it will alienate golf club members’, then I must say: they are wrong.

Thomas Bjorn Smartphone Ryder Cup

In a recent survey of The Economist Intelligence Unit, 60% of the surveyed North American executives (not from the golf industry) said they will invest in 2013 and in the following years in socila media and technology.

Companies should view social technologies not as another tool to utilise, but as an enabler of organisational transformation as well. Those who don’t recognise this will fail to identify the specific organisational problems social technologies can solve. I think it is important to facilitate collaboration among employees.

Needless to say companies/golf clubs must define their objectives, select technology and then consider what kind of organisational change supports the new objectives.

Therefore private golf club managers (and other golf club managers as well) should think about the following 3 major challenges: Customer experienceConversation management and Collaboration with clients (suppliers as well),golf club members, and golf club workers.

Since July 2012 I have looked at several solutions and ideas that can help golf club managers and owners to reach their business goals and objectives. Here are some of them:

These ideas and concepts could be used within a company/golf club as well. We should inspire our workforce to innovate and collaborate more productively. This way we can create tangible business value.

Probably the biggest challenge of social technology implementations is how we can build them into the corporate culture.


How have you incorporated social technology into your golf club/business? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments box below.

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Golf Clubs Shouldn’t Ignore Social Technology Online
Turning Your Students and Members into Ambassadors for Golf & Its Health Benefits http://www.pgae.com/ask/turning-your-students-and-members-into-ambassadors-for-golf-its-health-benefits/ Tue, 31 May 2016 17:00:10 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=15625 Creating & leveraging ambassadors and fans to promote golf's many benefits...]]>

Everyone in golf is in agreement – more golfers are good news for the sport. But to get there then it requires some joined up thinking from all of golf’s stakeholders.

These stakeholders include your very own army of students that you coach and members/visitors to your facilities, and leveraging this band of merry golfers can help golf’s cause, as well as your own.

As you will read in this issue of IGPN, there are many health and well-being benefits that come from taking part in the sport, so we’ll use these as a basis for getting your army on-board and spreading the gospel of golf…

Get All Your Staff Involved

You and your facility’s staff all need to be aligned with your plans and also embody exactly what you are after from your ambassadors. They need knowledge and information in order to reflect what you want to portray.

Every staff member that could have an interaction with a client or customer (and even those who might not) can be educated with top-line information about the benefits of golf to different demographics’ health and wellbeing.

Short, sharp bits of info that they can be armed with when speaking to people about the sport and why they should get involved.

Promote the Benefits in Your Facility and to your Clients

A key thing with getting people on the same page as you is ensuring they are aware of information and engaged with it.

Create some resources [the PGAs of Europe will have some soon for you to use as well] that you can use on noticeboards around your facility, or in your Pro Shop for example, that show the benefits of the sport. Materials like posters, infographics, leaflets, etc. are great items to get in front of people.

Having on-site information is the first step – then you need to get people engaged with the materials so including a section in regular email blasts to your databases can help support your actions and activities and can also allow you to share great examples of how golf is benefitting people in various different forms such as news items, feature articles or videos.

Create a Programme or Team

A great way of getting the message out there would be to build a team of ambassadors from your facility with people from key demographics represented.

A good place to start could be with you in the middle as the group leader and include a couple of members of staff from around the business along with a couple of males and females from differing ends of the age spectrum. Ideally these people will be the opinion leaders from the facility – when these people speak or act, others pay attention.

The individuals you pick should be willing to join in with the activity and embody the message you are trying to get across. They can act as on the ground troops for your armies to infiltrate their demographics and get the messaging out there to educate others and spread the word.

Activate Your Ambassadors

Once you have a team of ambassadors who are exemplifying your message then you need to activate them and leverage their knowledge, peer groups and influence within them.

For example you could have your more ‘youthful’ ambassadors promote a fun day or charity fair at the facility to their social groups and make sure that the event is on their level and of interest.

Or you could record some interviews or write a short blog post using your ambassadors as case studies to show how their social, mental and physical health might have benefitted from playing. This could go on your website, blog and shared on social media and you could even contact your local media to see if they would like to use the information in a piece about golf’s health benefits.

Once you have some ambassadors on your side then they can be a really useful asset to you to help promote the benefits of the sport as well as your own facility and services.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Turning Your Students and Members into Ambassadors for Golf & Its Health Benefits
PGA Professional Spotlight: Morne Botha (PGA of South Africa) http://www.pgae.com/ask/pga-professional-spotlight-morne-botha-pga-of-south-africa/ Wed, 30 Mar 2016 10:17:37 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=14938 Morne Botha is a founding partner in the media agency All Square Media but has a strong golfing background being a PGA professional with roots in coaching...]]>

Morne Botha is a founding partner in the media agency All Square Media but has a strong golfing background being a PGA professional with roots in coaching at the heart of the game having previously franchised academies.

Morne has spent many years establishing himself as an innovator that, through All Square Media, services various the golf market through the publication ‘Corporate Golf Magazine’, together with the agency’s work with IGPN itself.

Q. Explain a bit of background about your business ventures and your involvement with them…

A.  I qualified as a class A PGA professional in 2001 and instantly fell in love with the business side of the game.  The PGA of South Africa was the perfect platform and partner for all my ideas I had at the time.  As an entrepreneur and golfer it made perfect sense to focus on golf and the industry; I started with my own golf school for kids with a very strong business case, communications channel and brand.  Later on this turned into a franchise business, which I sold on to focus more on technology alone.

My next venture was a communications application for clubs; more schools than clubs adopted this, so I also sold this business once I saw that I was drifting away from golf and my passion – the golf industry!

I then met with my current business partner, Marnus Visagie, an expert in the publishing industry, and started an online golf magazine for corporate individuals, which covers top corporate events in a personalised magazine.  This was an instant hit in South Africa.

My focus with all ventures is on core business development and new business – with all the networking and experience I have gained over the years it has made this key to our company.

Q. What were the main business opportunities you saw within the ventures?

A.  I looked at the game and saw a big gap in the business sector and also with how golf operators in general miss out on a big opportunity to communicate with corporates, the way they engage and also not being able to close business.

Our product is just one vehicle to communicate better to corporates, get them engaged in your golf business and then sell!  It grows big databases or contact lists over time which are massively valuable.

Q. What strategy did you adopt in order to assess these business opportunities?

A.  With today’s technology it is very easy to see who is really looking at your product or using it.  Our product evolved over time and as we saw people using it.  The most important factor with digital media is that people need to use it, read it and spend time on it; otherwise there is no value!  Which all means you need to pay attention to what the stats are saying!

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Q. What were the main challenges you faced with the strategy/ventures and what did you do to overcome them?

A.  Our biggest challenge is to get people (especially in the golf industry) to change their ways and thinking about the industry itself.  It took some time to get people believing in technology and good communication systems and products.

Q. How did you go about achieving the goals you set out for your ventures?

A.  Like golf, you have to work really hard.  My first step was to get a team together – a smart team to “out smart” our competition.  I have a great business partner and we have the same vision.  The second step was to make sure they understand our vision and also work hard!  And then perseverance – sometimes it gets really hard but you have to keep grinding away and put more hours in and it all comes together, but at the same time we’re also having fun at what we do!

Q. What results have you had so far and how have you achieved the goals that were set?

A.  We achieved most of our goals – the ones we missed out on were great learning curves and keeps us humble and make us work harder.  We see all of our partnerships in business as huge successes; we are a Media Partner to PGAs of Europe, Affiliate of The PGA of South Africa, Communications partner to SA Israel Chamber of Commerce and Forbes Africa Media partner.

Q. What is next for the business – where do you now aim to be?

A.  Our next step will be a big leap into what I believe is the future for Digital Publishing/Media.  We are aiming to launch a franchise model before the end of this year.  This will allow franchisors to own a piece of a fully fledge design studio.  What this means is that you don’t have to set up your own studio anymore with all the resources and overheads, we will do all the in-house production for you at literally a fraction of the cost. This allows people to produce magazines, newsletters etc. and is an ideal business opportunity for any individual in the golf industry!


For more information on All Square Media visit www.allsquaremedia.co.za.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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PGA Professional Spotlight: Morne Botha (PGA of South Africa)
How to Find Lucrative Referrals & Drive Leads – Part 1 http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-find-lucrative-referrals-drive-leads-part-1/ Wed, 30 Mar 2016 08:02:59 +0000 Golf Business Monitor http://www.pgae.com/?p=13390 Golf Business Monitor's Miklós Breitner, and the The Ridge Club's Aimee Burke, look at how to find the right referrals in golf that can lead to a conversion...]]>

Golf Business Monitor’s Miklós Breitner, and the The Ridge Club’s Aimee Burke, look at how to find the right referrals in golf that can lead to a conversion…


As I promised you yesterday, today, Aimee Burke (Sales & Marketing Director Kemper Sports, The Ridge Club) will show us the challenges of expanding golf club membership. Aimee Burke will give some advice and tricks. Her article/post will continue soon. Here is the first part.

Here are her thoughts:

“If you’re lucky to have a dedicated sales person inside the club driving membership, one could assume you have a systematic sales process, dedicated sales CRM, strategic annual marketing plan, analytics on ROI, and tracking of lead sources from advertising efforts.

“Many small golf clubs may have to shuffle the responsibly of sales to the general manager or additional full time staff. This can be a challenge considering the volume a typical golf department and club restaurant will see during their peak seasons.

“Add in the fact that we as an industry have a shrinking population of golfers to pull from combined with some basic sales stats and it can be a real challenge to drive memberships in a season. Regardless of your current structure, knowing where your leads are coming from and being able to measure your ROI on the ones that deliver are keys to reinvesting into the appropriate marketing channels.

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“One could hardly argue that the best source of membership prospects come from current, happy members. Let’s assume for arguments sake that your sales person is asking for referrals. But how do we compound and capture this information?

“I have seen members hang onto valuable prospect information, many times stating to me, “Let me work on him first and then I’ll have him call you.” We’ve all been in this scenario. And to the seasoned sales professional, we shake our heads as we see the member trying to start and end the sales cycle on their own. Many times they come back and say “he’s not interested”… and you never even had a chance.

“So how do you get the prospect information from the member without seeming too pushy?

“Another lost opportunity for prospect leads and member referrals are golf guests. Very often I am in conversation with a prospect and they tell me that they’ve golfed at the course a few times. How frustrating is it to know that there have been multiple opportunities to engage the prospect as a guest yet no process to capture their information for a systematic follow up!”

To be continued….

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How to Find Lucrative Referrals & Drive Leads – Part 1
Creating a Client Base (Part 2) http://www.pgae.com/ask/creating-a-client-base-part-2/ Thu, 24 Mar 2016 12:36:00 +0000 Pro Shop Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=14850 Ian Clarks explains what to do with your database list, and how you can make it grow for you, and as a result become a profit maker.]]>

Previously, I spoke about some different ways that you can start to build your own database; what I would like to discuss in this issue is to show you what to do with your database list, and how you can make it grow for you, and as a result become a profit maker for you.

One of the first things I did when I was looking at ways to make my teaching business more profitable, was to put some hours aside each week to help me ‘nurture’ my database.  I spoke to many prominent instructors as to how much time should be put aside for such an endeavour, and the most consistent answer that came back to me was that you must put aside 10% of the time you actually spend teaching to running your teaching business.

This was easy for me, across the year – on average I teach for forty hours per week, so I now put aside in two blocks of two hours, four hours a week for me to run my business.

When you first do this you will be tempted to book an additional lesson in, or find something else to do – try to fight this. Of all the things I have implemented over the past number of years, these four hours a week have been so good for my business, because, as I am going to show you, this has allowed me to follow up and reach out to my students like I have never been able to before.

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Keep It Regular

In my last piece, I spoke about the importance of being in regular contact with your database. For myself I do this in a number of ways, and the best way for me has been me sending out a monthly newsletter to all emails I have collated on my database.

If you are not doing this at the moment, then please start doing so straight away, you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.  We all get email newsletters from companies we follow, some call us to action, and some call us to hit the unsubscribe button. So with that in mind I have put below some points I follow when sending out newsletters to your database list.

  • Be consistent, send your newsletter out on a regular basis. If you are going to send your newsletter out monthly, be sure to send it out monthly, do not miss a month, also try to send it out at the same time, for example the first Monday of every month.
  • Write about things that are happening in the world of golf in general, find one or two topics or articles that your readers will find interesting and will be of benefit to themselves.
  • Do include an instruction piece in the newsletter, either in written word or in video format.
  • Personally I do not put any special offers or the such like in my newsletters, as I do not want people to think I am simply trying to sell them something. I want to give the impression to my students that I am giving something back to them, a no strings attached if you like!
  • I cannot stress enough the importance of sending out a regular newsletter to your database, if nothing else it will keep your name and brand at the forefront of your students minds, so that when they think of golf instruction, and improving their golf game, you are the first person they think of.

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Catch Up With Past Clients

After having a conversation with Andrew Wood – he of legendary marketing fame – I decided to implement one of his many suggestions into my daily routine, and that is to make contact on a daily basis with a minimum of two students that I have not seen for over six months.

This simple act alone has contributed so much to me being able to keep students coming back to me, and returning for golf instruction. As long as your students’ records are up to date, you should be able to see which of them have not been back to see you for a while. I only use six months as a number, you can use whatever timeframe fits your needs.

I will send an email to the student saying something along the lines of finding out how they are and how their golf game has been, and how it has been a while since we last met (this one line is the killer, as it shows that you know they have not been in to see you for a lesson for a while, it shows you are taking an interest in them). I finish by asking them to let me know how they have been progressing and that I look forward to hearing from them.

I am still amazed by the number of replies I get, with the student saying that they were just about to contact me to arrange a lesson, and would I mind doing that for them. This is very personable, and as far as I know not every instructor is doing this, so this will make you stand out from the rest.  I will religiously do this five times a week, so by my poor maths that is ten of my old students per week I am reconnecting with, and the reward is well worth the effort that I am putting in.

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Always Follow Up

Another way of making yourself separate from the crowd, is to make sure that when a new student comes to see you for a lesson, you follow up with them within 24 hours of them having their lesson.

Now by this I do not mean sending them a video clip of their lesson as this should be done as a matter of course, I am talking about sending the student a personal email, with you telling your student how nice it was to meet them, a brief overview covering the points from the lesson if you wish, and to thank them for coming out to see you for a lesson.

If you are fortunate as indeed I am, and you have other people taking care of your lesson bookings for you, ask the student that they managed to get their next lesson booked in with no problem, and that if they ever need to ask you a question please feel free to email you at any time. This again shows you are approachable and personable.

Follow Some Simple Social Media Rules

I am very much a rookie in the world of social media, and am still testing the water as to how I can make this work for my business. I have spoken to a number of people who are perceived experts in this field, and as such I put the following list together that will help when it comes to using social media.

  • Rather like a newsletter you need to be posting stuff regularly. People love to learn and be entertained. Posting content on almost a daily basis gets people to see your website regularly.
  • Content doesn’t need to always stem from you – you can repost stuff from other people’s websites, a magazine, or recommend a book or a video, and many other things that keep people coming to your site.
  • Never post personal stuff, post often, but do so with the thought that you are trying to improve your personal brand, not kill it.
  • Never re-post something without giving credit, try to post something fresh at least five days a week, and remember that every post either enhances your brand or hurts your brand.
  • Use social media to alert people that you have a space in your diary for a lesson on that day, remember white space in your diary is the devil!

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Utilise All Your Diary Space

I still find that text messages are a very good call to arms for me, and this is an avenue that coaches should be using. As soon as I get a cancellation, I will go through my list and send out a blanket text to all students who I know would be interested in a lesson at that particular time, no point sending a text to a student who can only make Monday mornings if your cancellation is for a Saturday afternoon!

Most times the slot gets filled, and it also makes contact with a student. Many times a student will reply to say that they cannot make that particular slot, but they are looking for a lesson that week and can I book them in? I will also text a student that is playing in a tournament to see how they got on – this is an easy way to keep in contact with your students.

However you decide to keep in contact with your list, keep it simple and be consistent. Put yourself in your students’ shoes at times, and think about what they would like to read about in your newsletter, your blog post or on your twitter feed.

There are so many ways for coaches to keep in touch with their client base, explore different avenues, and find out what works best for you, and get to it.

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Ian Clark is an Advanced Fellow PGA Professional, a Trackman certified instructor, the Golfing Machine Authorised Instructor GSEM and one of GolfWorld’s Top 100 coaches in the UK. You can email Ian at ian@ianclarkgolf.co.uk.

For more details visit www.ianclarkgolf.co.uk.

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Creating a Client Base (Part 2)
6 Corporate Communications Questions to Ask Yourself http://www.pgae.com/ask/6-corporate-communications-questions-to-ask-yourself/ Mon, 07 Mar 2016 11:36:17 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=14640 No matter how big your business, it will be communicating a message of some sort in some way. So how do you make sure you communicate the right things?]]>

No matter how big your business, it will be communicating a message of some sort in some way.  So how do you make sure you communicate the right things in the most appropriate and effective way?

As Communications Manager for the PGAs of Europe I am always looking to ensure our messaging is as effective as possible and to do so we often take a step back and ask ourselves some questions.  Here are 6 questions that you can ask to help establish if you are on the right track…

1. What is your brand and what does it stand for?

Have you ever really looked at your brand in detail?  Having a grasp on this is a real key to knowing how to communicate a message to your various stakeholders.  It provides things like context, tone of voice, direction and clarity.

Take the time to assess what your brand is from an overall ‘visionary’ and strategic outlook, all the way down to the nuts and bolts of what it looks and feels like.  This will help frame your comms and keep things consistent no matter the business’ size.

2. Who are you targeting?

Looking at your target audience broadly is sometimes overlooked, as it is often obvious to you who you are targeting.  But is this true throughout the business and with each and every piece of messaging that is sent out?

Messages that seem clear to you may not actually be clear to the desired recipient so be sure to assess the clear reasons that a message is going to someone, whilst also making sure it can be understood from their end.  This is where your research should come into play to help tailor information appropriately and fit in with your overall comms strategy.

3. Are you acting responsibly?

Corporate Responsibility has become more and more of a buzzword in recent years – it could be argued that in the past a business’ focus was quite often on the bottom line and very little else.  Making money was seen to be the ultimate goal above all else.

But in a world of complete connectivity and increasing transparency, businesses have been forced [and rightly so] to look at the social impacts to their operations and work.  Rather than pleasing the shareholders and few others, businesses now need to look at how what they do affects their customers, the environment, the community and employees.

Think about how each of your messages affects these groups not only financially but also socially.

4. How do you communicate internally?

Communicating to your internal stakeholders is just as important as communicating to the external ones.  Your employees are the action and mouthpiece of a business and they should all be on board.

How do you pass your key messages to employees, your board, or your managers?  Are they in the loop as much as they need to be and aware of what the overall organisational goals and strategy are?

Creating a corporate culture where sharing of information is central can lead to greater efficiency, shared understanding and ownership, and overall satisfaction.

5. How are you managing your Public Relations?

Are your messages getting to the right people?  Do you have someone who is getting those messages to the right people at the right time?

The delivery of your message to the outside world in the most effective way is key to serving your business’ interests so you must ensure that whomever looks after your PR is getting the right message across to the right people, whilst also reflecting a broader corporate message about the business’ overall strategy and positioning, along with its value to its stakeholders.

6. What happens if there is a problem?

Your business should have guidelines in place for your brand – how it can and can’t be used by various stakeholders in various forms – but are there guidelines for how the business and its stakeholders should something happen involving your business?

Again with information being more readily available and transparent, corporate communications has become more frequently associated with dealing with issues that affect the business and its stakeholders.  Make sure you have a plan (even if it is simply a checklist of actions to complete if something happens) should something happen that involves your business.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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6 Corporate Communications Questions to Ask Yourself
3 Communications Trends For 2016 (And How They Might Affect You) http://www.pgae.com/ask/3-communications-trends-for-2016-and-how-they-might-affect-you/ Tue, 19 Jan 2016 09:36:43 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=13982 If you think how much communications have changed in just the last 5 or 10 years then I’m sure you’ll agree it is not only massive but also tough to predict.]]>

If you think how much communications have changed in just the last 5 or 10 years then I’m sure you’ll agree it is not only massive but also tough to predict. We did our best at the Annual Congress with our ‘A Look Ahead’ presentation to speculate about the future and it got me thinking about what to expect even for just the coming year. Here are three things to watch out for…if you’re not watching for them already…

1. Continued Use of Mobile

Global usage of mobile Internet devices crossed over desktop usage in 2014 and continues to grow at a higher rate and there are now more devices on Earth than humans. By the end of 2016 Tablets will exceed 10% of global mobile data traffic, and by 2019 smartphones will reach the 75% of mobile data traffic milestone.

What does it mean?

  • Optimise your website for mobile/different screen sizes and orientations and think about how people will interact with it.
  • Any message you communicate, be it via email, website, social media, forum, intranet, etc. should also be easily read/consumed on any device.
  • Test, test, and test. Have due diligence in checking web pages, email communications, and social media updates across devices.

2. Marketing Automation

A trend expected to grow this year is automation (and to some extent personalisation) – the 2016 consumer is more attuned to messages that are personalised and relevant to them; they want to be engaged with, not sold to.

What does it mean?

  • You need to be collecting the right information, not necessarily more. When users sign-up/register/join you need to ensure you gather accurate data and also the information most relevant to you? Take a step back and ensure you gather only the relevant information you need and will actually use.
  • Look at the small things within your communications – for example can you add users’ names to mass mailouts (e.g. merge tags in Mailchimp) to personalise a message?
  • The importance of targeting has never been more important – is the message you’re sending relevant to all the people in your audience? If not then how can you break it down?

3. Content Continues to Dominate

The content marketing area of communications has really grown significantly showing people want to develop a relationship based on trust and relevancy with a brand or organisation. A survey in 2015 showed that 86% of B2B organizations have a strategic content marketing strategy, whilst another showed only 23% percent of consumers trust content from companies who they are not involved with, but if the source is a company they have a relationship with, that number nearly doubles to 43%.

What does it mean?

  • Develop a strategy to give direction to what you do. A strategy will let you work out why you might need to develop content, who it is targeted towards, and what it should do and be in order to meet those requirements.
  • Make sure you appeal to your users’ needs and wants (and do the research to find out what they might be).
  • Have patience – it takes time to build trust with an audience even if they are heavily invested in your brand or organisations already. Keep it consistent in terms of subject matter, frequency and distribution.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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3 Communications Trends For 2016 (And How They Might Affect You)
How Will Wearable Technology Change Our Golf Retail Experience? http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-will-wearable-technology-change-our-golf-retail-experience/ Sat, 16 Jan 2016 14:22:40 +0000 Golf Business Monitor http://www.pgae.com/?p=10714 Wearable technology is fast becoming an opportunity for marketers, brands and businesses as usage levels continue to increase and more devices are released with]]>

Wearable technology is fast becoming an opportunity for marketers, brands and businesses as usage levels continue to increase and more devices are released with incredible levels of functionality.

Golf Business Monitor’s Miklós Breitner assesses the ways in which these new devices could be leveraged by your marketing team.


The usage of wearables is not totally new to the golf industry. Those who were lucky enough to attend the Ryder Cup were able to experience the advantages of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). This got me thinking about how pro-shops and other golf retail outlets could utilise wearables.

For many of us, if I ask them about wearables, the following things come to their mind: Google Glass, smartwatches (e.g. Motoactv of Motorola), and activity trackers (e.g. Fitbit). In 2014 there were more searches on Google for wearable devices than for fitness apps.

As usage increases we need to think how could we maximise these technologies to enhance customer experience in pro-shops and golf retail outlets.

Wearble Graph

At the moment I can see 3 major areas where wearable technologies could be utilised – in this first part of the article we’ll look at the first:

Providing more product information

Bricks-and-mortar companies have to compete with online retailers. Needless to say that online it is easier to obtain relevant information (and reviews) about products and services and compare them. Some retailers are already using QR codes to provide extra product information, such as Best Buy in the US adding QR codes to the fact tags.

Our challenge is to find out how to utilise wearable technologies to provide personalised offers and solutions in real-time. Customers today are expecting more and more relevant offers, greater access to deals and promotions and fast checkout (I will talk about payment solutions in the next part of the article). More importantly, once the customer walks in, the store can immediately engage him or her with services.

If the customer opts to provide personal information via wearable, this can give retailers further opportunities for marketing.

Article Header Images_GolfBusinessMonitor - Wearable Technology

I would not neglect the demand generation capability of wearables. Burberry’s solution, launched in 2013 (see video on this page), is a good example where the company embedded a textile RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) label into its products. Burberry were then able to provide bespoke multimedia content specific for certain products.

Another interesting aspect is how your sales team communicates with customers in the pro-shop. We should think how we could support their work with extra information via wearable devices – for example, ongoing communication; remind the shop assistant that he is dealing with a loyal customer and what the customer’s brand preferences are, their shoe size, preferred payment solution etc.

We could also avoid the embarrassing situations when colleagues called to a certain place within the golf club via loudspeaker. In addition to this the wearable can improve employee efficiency, enhance training and reduce nonproductive time.

The Container Store (TCS) for instance in 2014 replaced its walkie-talkie system with Theatro Wearable (a wearable in-store communications device clipped to employees’ shirts) to improve the communication among its workers.

To succeed we must integrate the implemented wearable solutions with our point of sale, CRM, order management, campaign management and web content management systems. For integration to be effective then we are reliant on developers creating programming interfaces/APIs but this will no doubt take place as time goes on. I am less worried about security and privacy since our employees are used to being monitored.

In the upcoming second part of the article Miklós will look at 2 more areas where wearable technology could be utilised.


This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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How Will Wearable Technology Change Our Golf Retail Experience?
Communications & Golf Development http://www.pgae.com/news/igpn-news/communications-golf-development/ Fri, 15 Jan 2016 16:16:36 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=10735 Golf Development is the lifeblood of the PGAs of Europe and will continue to grow more and more important as time goes on.]]>

Golf Development is the lifeblood of the PGAs of Europe and will continue to grow more and more important as time goes on. 

We have many people working on various elements of developing golf across the continent and further afield including coaching, development of programmes, monitoring of standards etc.  But something I can assist with in my capacity as Communications Manager is two-fold:

1 – Communicating Best Practice Examples and Initiatives

Golf development activities are taking place all the time all over the world but it is safe to say that very few of them will be exactly the same.  Of course general concepts and ideas are followed but locally they will be heavily tailored to the market.

Where communications can help is in developing a library of good practice examples that can then be applied to other places – the best bits of one programme and the best of another could mix and be adapted to create a very effective activity somewhere else.

These resources can be collected and shared effectively with organisations that are interested in creating an initiative or programme with, for example, the assistance of the PGAs of Europe’s Golf Development Professionals and Education Committee.

2 – Raising Awareness of Development Activity

Communications then plays a part in sharing information and updates about development activities.  Using case studies and sharing success stories helps to bolster the resources mentioned earlier but it also gives coverage to specific initiatives that can help them.

A project or programme may also want to gain coverage to promote their work and its outcomes, promote the host facilities, the key supporters, etc.  Often programmes will be supported by commercial entities so promotion will give them coverage and hopefully spur on continued investment and support.

There are some excellent examples of golf development activities out there and plenty put a strong emphasis on promoting what they do.

A good example of strong promotion and coverage from an initiative is this week’s Drive, Chip & Putt Championship – The PGA of America, USGA and Masters Tournament’s nationwide youth golf development program final.

Of course three major organisations in the game have a lot of resources behind them but their methods of communication can still be learnt from and replicated.

Daily articles from the finals, blog posts, interviews with competitors, videos of the event, and fantastic imagery all make for a well formulated comms plan – take a look at www.drivechipandputt.com for examples of how to build content and communicate it around an initiative.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Communications & Golf Development
Brand From Within http://www.pgae.com/ask/brand-from-within/ Mon, 11 Jan 2016 22:25:46 +0000 Jan @ Pixeldot http://www.pgae.com/?p=13881 We all hear about goodness coming from within, and that’s the same with great brands. Companies are made up of people: some lots, some not so many, and more oft]]>

We all hear about goodness coming from within, and that’s the same with great brands. Companies are made up of people: some lots, some not so many, and more often than not those people are dealing with customers, clients and suppliers. Great brands are built from awesome people.

When we meet new clients, we usually go in with one opinion formed from what we know at that point, which is usually based on touchpoints such as their website or some marketing collateral we’ve seen. But once we meet the people behind that business, that opinion always changes – and usually for the better. This makes us want to work with them and we end up building up wonderful relationships with people. Through our Brand thinking™ process we get to know more of the people behind the organisation, from the top to the bottom. We learn about what they love about the company, what frustrates them and how they live the brand on a day-to-day basis.

The more we do this the more we see the real value in making sure the people in your company live, breathe and are the brand. From the moment your customers speak to one of your staff members on the phone they are forming an opinion of the brand and building an emotional feeling towards your business. Making sure your staff are on the same page as the brand will make this process a lot smoother.

However, it can be dangerous to impose a brand ethos on your team, especially if it’s not who they are or not what they believe in. The comments from them to your clients excusing the colour palette or strapline will soon creep in and undermine everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

That’s why it’s essential to build your brand around the kind of people who work for it and the kind of customers you want to attract. It’s easier for smaller businesses that have a small team, which is why we see so many of them winning when it comes to genuine brand and social content. But all businesses can follow some simple guidelines to ensure their brand works from within:

Listen

First you really need to listen to your team and find out what makes them tick. Finding out what they’re proud of in the company and what they’re not so proud of is really important to finding a brand that will work for them. Maybe there are some brands that they really admire or aspire to.

Build a story

Your brand needs a story. This doesn’t have to be like a kids’ book, it’s important to have a clear message and ethos that everyone can believe in and get behind. It needs to be genuine so that people will believe in it.

Champion heroes

Use the wealth of knowledge and personality from within the team to create brand heroes. All of your content doesn’t have to be authored by the CEO, it can be from other members of staff throughout the workplace hierarchy. Using your internal experts to show your expertise will not only empower your team, but it will make you look like a clever bunch. A website blog is a great place to do this.

The power of attraction

Showing what kind of people and company you are helps the business to grow in the right direction, with the right people. Communicating the kind of internal culture you have can show prospective employees and clients what it would be like to work with you. This may be a turn-off to some people, but they’re not your target market. You need be genuine though, otherwise people may be disappointed.

The big reveal

A big brand reveal is a great way to excite and enthuse your team. Communicating the outcomes of everyone’s efforts to the team you can give a big injection of inspiration. Showing how it will help them and how it represents them will win them over. Using fun visual aspects of the brand internally can keep the inspiration going.

Know the limits

You need to know when to push back. It’s great to get the whole team involved in the process, but you must not lose focus of what the business is and who its target market is. Some decisions need to be decisive and not by committee.

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Brand From Within
9 Ways to Do PR Like a Pro http://www.pgae.com/ask/9-ways-to-do-pr-like-a-pro/ Mon, 14 Dec 2015 16:25:34 +0000 Inc.com http://www.pgae.com/?p=10331 Marketing and public relations are vital to growing a business and to sustaining its profitability over the long term. Without either, your firm can quickly dis]]>

PETER ECONOMY is the best-
selling author of Managing For Dummies, The Management
Bible, Leading Through
Uncertainty, and more than 60 other books. he has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years.

@BizzWriter


Marketing and public relations are vital to growing a business and to sustaining its profitability over the long term. Without either, your firm can quickly disappear from the public consciousness, and your sales and profits can plummet.

Not everyone can afford to hire a PR firm, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop relationships with important influencers, generate more awareness about your company, and stand out from the crowd. The truth is that you can–and in very cost-effective fashion.

I recently asked Amanda Van Nuys–vice president at the Bateman Group, an agency that integrates PR, social media, content marketing, and analytics–for her advice on how anyone can do PR like a pro. Here’s what she told me.

1. Identify what makes your story remarkable

Interesting stories will always be the currency of effective public relations programs. The trick is figuring out what about your company will most likely appeal to journalistic instincts: Do you have an unusual founding story? Do you have a truly innovative, externally validated product? How do you fit into the larger market landscape, and what makes you different from everyone else?

2. Define a brand voice

Before you start your PR and social media engines, consider the tone and voice of your brand. Think of your brand as if it’s a person. Is it irreverent? Thoughtful? Funny? Friendly? Formal? Decide on a voice and stick to it so your customers and fans know what to expect when they engage with you. By clearly articulating a brand voice, people get a sense of what your company stands for–beyond your products or services–and can develop an authentic connection with you.

3. Ask your customers to the party

It’s one thing to say that your company has created value for customers, but it’s quite another thing when your customer says it. Make sure to mention the possibility of future PR opportunities early on in the relationship (even bake it into your contract), and then do everything you can to make and keep a customer happy. Once a customer is willing to talk to the media and value has been realized–especially when the return on investment can be quantified–then you have a great story hook that reporters love.

4. Make data your best friend

Reporters and influencers love data, particularly if it makes a counterintuitive or surprising point. If you have the opportunity to do a survey or glean data in other ways, then use it to your advantage, as Bateman Group recently did for client Animoto. You can use stats to validate a market shift, emerging trend, or changing buyer sentiment. Once you have data, repackage it into an infographic or other visual content, which generally gets high social shares.

5. Focus on reporters that matter

It’s often said that if you can influence the top 10 voices in a given market, they’ll influence everyone else. Identify the reporters or bloggers who will make a difference for your business. Follow them on Twitter, read the articles they write and share, and understand what they consider newsworthy. Reach out in a targeted, personalized way to start a meaningful conversation.

PGAs of Europe - Ryder Cup - Sergio Garcia Press Conference_m

6. Be social for an hour each day

If you’re going to engage with customers, prospects, and reporters on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media, then dedicate at least an hour in your day for social time. Post timely and thoughtful content, acknowledge comments, and be responsive to questions. Start conversations with your content and social posts rather than just broadcasting your opinions.

7. Follow and DM reporters on Twitter

We’re all bombarded with emails, and who has the time to check voice mail anymore? Sometimes the most effective way to reach a reporter is to direct message (DM) him or her on Twitter. Many reporters have their eyes on Twitter all day long looking for breaking news. If they’re active on Twitter, engage them there.

8. Make LinkedIn your new publishing platform

LinkedIn is becoming the place for executives and thought leaders to post their professional content. If you post something on your blog or write a contributed article, then repost the same content on your personal profile and your company’s LinkedIn profile. Write a catchy headline and use a friendly tone, focusing on helpful, relevant content–practical tips and tricks work particularly well. This is a great way to build credibility with customers, prospects, and reporters.

9. Ask employees to help spread the word

Consider every employee at your company an ambassador for your brand. Set some basic professional ground rules, and then encourage your team to spread the word about an article featuring your company, or a LinkedIn post that you’ve published. Beyond creating internal enthusiasm, it’s an easy way to amplify your PR success and help reel in new business or top talent.


This article originally appeared on Inc.com – to view the original article visit http://eur.pe/1B1XNq6.

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9 Ways to Do PR Like a Pro
Travelling & Communications http://www.pgae.com/ask/travelling-comms/ Tue, 15 Sep 2015 07:47:42 +0000 Aston Ward http://www.pgae.com/?p=12788 As Communications Manager for the PGAs of Europe I have been very lucky to visit a good number of our member countries for various events, tournaments and more.]]>

As Communications Manager for the PGAs of Europe I have been very lucky to visit a good number of our member countries for various events, tournaments and more.

A recent example was spending 10 days or so in Bulgaria at Pravets Golf & Spa Resort just outside Sofia. During that period we hosted around 50 people for various reasons tied into our education operations and I was lucky to spend much of the time interviewing these people and generating content.

During this trip and others before it I’ve picked up a few tips for travelling in a communications context that I think could easily help others heading to foreign climes:

Ask Questions

Never be afraid to ask a question – when I first visited countries outside of my ‘comfort zone’ (Britain), I always held back when I needed to find something out. I assumed people wouldn’t speak English and even if they did they wouldn’t want to help. Well it turns out, oddly enough, that they’re just like you and me. There are always people out there willing to help.

Asking questions also has other advantages – a whole world of culture and idiosyncrasies opens up to you and you often find out some enlightening things. This is especially important in what we do at the PGAs of Europe – you would be amazed at what you can find out when you ask the right questions and listen properly.

Learn Your Ps & Qs (phrases)

One of my only regrets is not having paid more attention in language lessons at school. Admittedly I am in an interesting position where we have 36 member countries that speak approximately 39 languages so it is more relevant to me than perhaps others, but I really wish I had at least one fluent second language. It is amazing to visit other countries and be able to speak to them in English and communicate effectively, but it would be better if the visitor could adapt to the host rather than the other way around [although something that can help is Google Translate’s amazing app that instantly translates printed text in 27 languages].

Because of this my advice is to try and learn just a couple of phrases and words that could help during the trip. Easier said than done of course but it is genuinely worth it. And don’t be afraid to test out your phrases when you are there. Again I’ve often hid away from using some snippets of languages I do know, but a) how will you get better if you don’t practice, and b) the natives don’t mind if it’s a little wrong…at least you are trying!

Organise Yourself

Always having documents to hand is great – I love to travel using Apple’s Passbook functions on the iPhone, but I always have backups somewhere in my hand luggage. And then I tend to have digital backups available offline in the app Evernote.

Then there’s your kit – more or less every time I travel for work I will have a bag of camera gear, computer bits and pieces and a mass of cables with me. The key here is to make sure your gear is secure and safe, easily accessible (especially for the times when you get a tear-down from security) and in its place. Amongst other things I use a ‘Cocoon GRID-IT!® – this is a great organisation system that uses elastic straps to hold anything and everything together so you can get to it easily and also keep a variety of items in one place.

Article-Header-Images_Aston-Travel_Coccon_02

Backup! Backup! Backup!

The last tip (for now anyway) is to backup. That’s it. Simple. Always, always, always back your files up before you go anywhere. I have various hard drives and memory cards with me when I go away but I always have another back at home with a very recent backup ready to go if I ever need it. I haven’t needed it yet, but you never know…

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Travelling & Communications