Frequently asked questions about PR, communications, social media, content marketing, and working with AlturaSolutions
How long does it take AlturaSolutions to get to know our company, products, and services?
Developing a worthwhile relationship is always an ongoing process. It is not uncommon for communications professionals to spend several weeks just getting familiar with a client’s products and services. However, much is learned in the actual research and writing process, so you can expect AlturaSolutions Communications to start producing articles, press releases, case studies, and more within the first month of service.[/expand]
When you write something for us, do we get to see the article before it goes to the editor?
Of course. When an article is ready for review, you will receive a copy via e-mail with “FOR APPROVAL” or “FOR REVIEW” in the subject line. The e-mail will also indicate what publication the article is for and any pertinent details, such as length (word count), specific content requests from the editor, etc. The e-mail will also include the deadline by which we need your approval. You send us your revisions or comments via e-mail or by phone, and once they are incorporated into the final product, we send you a “FINAL,” which includes these revisions. The FINAL version is then sent to the editor.
It is important to note that all publications reserve the right to edit submissions as they see fit, but these changes are usually minimal.
Is this process true for press releases, case studies, and other items you write for us?
Definitely. Everything must be client-approved before it is sent to a trade publication.
In an article, can AlturaSolutions mention our company directly as well as our products and services?
Most editors will balk at an article that is obviously self-promoting. However, there are many indirect ways to weave your company and its products and services into the article. One way is with pictures. Editors are always looking for photography to accompany articles and will often give credit to the source—your company. These “action images” also show your product being used.
We also work to get your company’s products pictured on the covers of magazines. It’s almost like free advertising.
Additionally, in some articles we describe a product or service in such detail that the magazine’s readers or those in the industry will likely know it is a product or service offered by your company. Action pictures accompanying the article help “paint the picture” even clearer.
Another option is to quote someone from your company as an expert on the subject or to by-line the article by someone at your company. Listing you or someone from your office as the author makes you the “thought leader” or expert
How does AlturaSolutions Distribute press releases?
We have e-mail distribution lists that include the names of all the major trade magazines and editors who have readers interested in your product or service. Many times, we also add the editors of local newspapers, magazines, etc. These publications like to stay informed, and often they will print articles about local companies and their activities.
There is no charge for these trade and local distribution services.
Occasionally, a client will want to distribute press release to the media at large. In this case, we work with BusinessWire, a press release distribution service that charges approximately $350 for a regional press release (in most areas of the country) and $700 or more for a national press release that goes to their entire distribution list—more than 10,000 editors around the country. BusinessWire also charges an additional $400 if an image or photo is included with the release. These charges are passed on to the client.
Do you send us a proposal outlining what you will do for our firm?
Yes. The proposal will outline the major thrust of the communications campaign and how many feature articles, press releases, case studies, product releases, and other communications we will produce each month. Because we must work within the parameters of each publication’s editorial calendar, it is not uncommon for the number of articles placed to vary each month.
However, as you will most likely find, we are known to “under promise and over produce.” Please feel free to discuss our work with our clients.
How can I keep track of your activities for my company?
In addition to a copy of the communication itself, at the end of each month you will receive a spreadsheet listing all of our activities for your company for the month.
Are you paid on a retainer?
We are not paid on a retainer. All clients are billed once per month, on the 10th of each month, based on the fee contracted. Payment is requested within 20 days.
Are you involved with social media and digital marketing?
We are very involved with social media; in fact it is one of the biggest changes in our business since we began in2002. We currently maintain several Facebook sites, have conducted a variety of contests to get more social media visitors and Fans for our clients, and maintain blogs and LinkedIn postings for some clients as well.
When will we see results?
We ask all clients to give us three to six months to see the fruits of our labor and then another three to six months to notice a return on their investment.
What if it does not work out or we want to make changes in the agreement?
Our agreements are on a month-to-month basis. If you believe the service is not benefiting your company, we ask for a 30-day notice to complete all projects.
It is not uncommon for a client to make a small investment in communications at first and then want more services later on. We agree on a start date, adding services as requested, and proceed from there. The same process is followed if a client wishes to scale back on the service.