Gas Prices: How Your Driving Behavior Impacts Costs at The Pump

On Thursday, the national average retail price for regular gasoline surged to another record high, hitting $4.41 per gallon.

While you may not be able to control the prices at the pump, you can control how you drive. Certain driving behaviors can actually help consumers save significantly when it comes to filling up at the pump, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, told FOX Business.

It’s the “easiest” thing to do when trying to combat those rising fuel costs, he said. Keep your tachometer as low as possible. De Haan says drivers should keep feet light on the gas when accelerating. The heavier you are on the accelerator, the more fuel your engine is using, he said.

The tachometer should be used as a gauge for drivers to see how much fuel they’re actually using, according to De Haan.  The tachometer measures the working speed of an engine in RPMs, or rotations per minute. It is located next to the speedometer on a vehicle’s instrument panel.

“The higher the needle goes, the more gas your engine is guzzling,” De Haan said.  The objective is to keep your tachometer as low as possible and not to “bash on the pedal,” De Haan added.

Cars crowding the turn lane into Murphy Express at Beal Parkway and Racetrack Road as gas lines started popping up at numerous gas stations around the Fort Walton Beach area in Florida. (USA Today Network via Reuters Connect / Reuters Photos)

It’s also important to keep the speed of the car under control because speeding increases fuel consumption. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, gas mileage will decrease “rapidly at speeds above 50 MPH.”

The best way to control speed is using cruise control. Although cruise control may not be useful in some congested parts of the country, like New York or Chicago. However, the feature can be “more effective and efficient than a human trying to maintain the same pressure on the gas pedal,” according to De Haan.

Maintenance: Make sure your check engine light is not on If you have a check engine light on, especially if it’s flashing, it should be checked as soon as possible. A lot of sensors on cars are critically important, but the check engine light is the “most critical,” according to De Haan. When the light is flashing, “it’s basically telling you that it’s in distress,” De Haan said.

The car essentially goes into “limp mode,” which means “the car has lost some critical sensor or something is critically wrong and … is basically using up to twice as much fuel to protect itself from catastrophic damage,” De Haan added. Another thing motorists should be checking is tire pressure.

A man checks gas prices at a gas station in Buffalo Grove, Ill., March 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh / AP Newsroom). When a tire loses air pressure, there is more friction between the tire and the road. That increase in friction will lower a car’s fuel efficiency, according to De Haan.

Removing access weight

Leaving heavy objects in the back seat or truck of a car can also hurt fuel efficiency. In fact, every hundred pounds will reduce fuel efficiency by one to two miles per gallon, according to De Haan.

Racks that sit on the roof of cars, typically in the summer or winter months, are also working against drivers. Those racks will “absolutely destroy the aerodynamics of your vehicle” and drive down fuel efficiency by 25 to 35%, De Haan said.

“They’re just like a mattress on your roof,” he said. “Your car is working harder to offset that object on the top of your car.”

Keep an eye on your AC this summer

When the air conditioning is running in your car, “you’re generally putting more of a load on your engine. You’ll burn a lot less fuel if you crack a window instead, according to GasBuddy. 

MYTH: It takes more gas to restart your car

That may have been true 30 years ago, “but that’s why vehicles have adopted that start stop technology,” according to De Haan. In fact, if you’re going to be sitting in traffic more than 10 seconds, it makes more sense to shut the vehicle off.

Source: Gas prices: How your driving behavior impacts costs at the pump | Fox Business

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B2B PR Tips: How To Leverage Earned, Owned, Paid, and Shared Media For Lead Generation

You’re always looking for positive ways to promote your B2B company. In your search, you’ve likely come across the following terms: earned media, owned media, shared media, and paid media. Whether you realize it or not, chances are you’re using at least one of these top PR strategies.

However, if you’re a bit fuzzy on what these terms actually mean, or if you just need a refresher course, read on — it’s coming your way.

In this post, we will:

  1. Define Earned, Owned, Shared and Paid media
  2. Discuss how to leverage each of them
  3. Give you some B2B PR tips on how to combine all four methods to generate leads
  4. Define the Top 8 tips to bring big ideas to your B2B PR strategy.

1. Earned, Owned, Shared, and Paid Media Defined

Earned Media

“A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

In a nutshell, earned media is:

Publicity gained from word of mouth, online reviews, and blogger, press, and influencer relations. It’s a third-party endorsement of your brand.

How to Leverage Earned Media:

We’ll start with earned media because it can be one of the trickiest to master. The reason is that you have less control over this type of media. You can’t simply ask someone to plug your product or service. As the name suggests, you must earn it.

How can you do this without sounding, well… sleazy, clingy, desperate?

Simply put, you need to to be a friend to get a friend.

If you want to get noticed by bloggers who will promote your brand, start by reaching out to those whose work you truly admire. These are the ones that whose email updates make it past your trash file. The ones who get you thinking about your industry and who inspire you.

Reach out to these bloggers via social media and leave comments on their posts. Next, join HARO (help a reporter out). This service notifies you when a reporter is looking for an industry expert to quote in a piece.

Lastly, make it easy for others to like you by responding graciously on social media sites, leaving positive LinkedIn endorsements for those you’ve collaborated with on projects, and promoting thought leaders on social media.

Owned Media

Owned media is content that you have created and that you own. Examples of owned media include:

Blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, case studies, ebooks, and your website.

How to Leverage Owned Media:

Owned media is your PR paradise. You have complete control over how to create and use each piece of content you create. However, there has to be a method to your madness.

“Think like a publisher, not a marketer.” – David Meerman Scott, marketing and leadership speaker

Here are a few tips to get your owned media going in the right direction:

  • Create a purpose for each piece of content. Are you trying to get new leads? Nurture existing leads? Increase brand awareness?
  • Include plenty of visual content, such as videos, images, GIFs, infographics. Mix it up a bit.
  • Write for both search engines and people. When you write a headline, ask yourself if you would click on it. Better yet, ask someone else.
  • Attach analytics to each piece of content in order to gauge interest in the topic you’re promoting.

Shared Media

Shared media, also known as social media, has become one of the most popular and cost effective PR platforms. It includes:

Postings to social sharing sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

How to Leverage Shared Media:

With new changes to social platforms coming in almost daily, it can be hard to keep up. However, there are a few good rules of thumb that remain unchanged.

This one isn’t too difficult to figure out! However, it has changed over the years. While you might think of paid media as print, TV, or radio advertising, it has evolved into something much more digital and direct.

Today, effective means of paid media include:

  • Native advertising
  • Social media campaigns
  • Google Adwords
  • Retargeting

How to Leverage Paid Media:

Paid media is the one method many don’t want to acknowledge. Perhaps it’s because they see so many other effective PR methods that are virtually free.

However, paid media is equally important. One reason for this is because paid media is a better bet when searching for new buyers that never heard of your brand.

Paid social media campaigns for example can reach those who are interested in your industry, not just in your personal brand. These prospects may not be searching for you online, but now Facebook has made them aware of your presence without their ever navigating off the same page they use to communicate with loved ones.

Likewise, paying to have your blog posts distributed via native advertising allows your expertise to reach a wide audience. Learn more about how that works in my recent blog post on native advertising.

Each PR method can certainly be used as a stand alone product. However, they really shine when combined into a single effort. Let’s take a look at how that might work.

Let’s start with a great piece of owned media, say a blog post. In a perfect world, this blog post would attract your best leads and prospects all on its own. However, the truth is that it’s unlikely to be noticed unless you put a little effort into its promotion.

Next, you’ll want to promote the post on social, or shared, media. This isn’t a one-time deal, either. Rather, you need to promote the post over the following days, weeks, and even months in order for it to gain decent traction.

Once you see that your piece of content has been well-received, you’ll know that you’ve hit a hot topic. You can then begin to promote it using paid media, in the form of Twitter or Facebook campaigns.

Carefully gaining traction in this way adds to your credibility as a thought leader in your industry. It’s then that you’ll start to see your earned media come through for you.

Top 8 Tips to Bring Big Ideas to Your B2B PR

1. Work Backwards from a Clear End Goal

Start with your end vision. What would you like to accomplish as a company? A great way to bring an idea to life is by starting with the end-product. A key component to your vision might be to write down that dream headline that you would like to see when your vision comes to fruition.

For instance, would you like to get press coverage for your involvement in charity? Then start big. Imagine the successful headline that will put you on the front page. It could be something like, “Local B2B Firm Meets Goal of Feeding 1,000 Hungry Families.”

Have you already thought of your dream headline? Once you have it, work back from there. Set smaller, more manageable goals that will help you reach that big headline. You’ll find it easier to get more people on board and involved when you have a set end-goal to pursue.

2. Invite Influencers to Contribute to Your Content

Influencers are a big deal in niche industries, and can amplify your content’s reach. While it may be difficult to get an influencer on-board for a full guest post, it’s a much easier task to get a blurb or pro tip from an influencer that you can then leverage within your content.
Imagine the power behind such blog posts as,

“15 Pro Tips From the Security Industry’s Leading Experts” or “[Influencer’s name] Weighs in on the Biggest Problem Facing the Security industry.”

Once you have this content locked down, you can leverage your influencer involvement to promote it. Build anticipation for the content by talking it up on social media before it is released. Once it’s out, tag the influencers involved on social media so that they can share it with their audience. Share it several times to ensure that the maximum amount of people get a chance to read it.

3. Make Your Content Recyclable and Magnetic

Your content shouldn’t have an end-date. Once you hit publish, there’s plenty you can do to extend its usefulness. For example, make it easily shareable. Create click to tweet links of several important snippets of your content that people can easily share on Twitter. Create social media images with influential parts of your content that others in your industry will be interested in sharing.

4. Find Content That’s Already Popular…and Make It Better

It can sometimes feel like your competitors have all the successful content. But you can use this to your advantage. Use programs like BuzzSumo and SEMrush to find what content is currently blowing up within your industry. Then take that piece of content and give it an all-star upgrade. Amplify its value with a more modern design, in-depth content, and even additional pro tips.

Once you have a superior piece of content, it’s time to distribute it like crazy. Use social media and email marketing to get as many eyes on it as possible.

And don’t forget to use this content to shine a light on new content. Include a link to just-published content within your popular post. Think of it as the virtual equivalent of hanging out with the popular kids. The goal is that some of that fairy dust will end up on the new content.

5. Focus on Big Pieces of Content

One large, high-quality piece of content is going to outperform 10 other lower quality pieces of content put together. To accomplish this, your content creation should begin with a solid content strategy that aims at truly high-quality content, as well as promotion of that content. In-depth content such as eBooks and guides may take more time to put together, but in the end, will lead to increased credibility and owned media potential.

6. Leverage Special Content for Visitors Who Share

Sharing isn’t just for kids. When readers share your content on their social networks, this is PR gold. But how do you convince readers to share?

Instead of your traditional gated content that requires the user to input his or her contact information, why not make special content downloadable in exchange for a social share? People get the free e-book (or video, or case study) once they share their download announcement on social media. This gives them the content they want, and boosts the recognition of your brand at the same time—a clear win-win situation.

7. Test the Waters for Big Events

Events are a key way to establish yourself as a thought leader and industry authority. But this is sometimes easier said than done — it can be overwhelming to jump feet first into a large-scale event. Make it easier on yourself by testing the waters first with a smaller event.

It doesn’t have to be a large, fancy affair. Make it more intimate and less structured. Invite a wide range of people to participate — perhaps include an industry analyst, someone from the media, a business customer, and an author, to speak on a current industry topic or trend. This kind of environment can foster many thought leadership quality discussions that you will have been responsible for creating.

Then, if all goes well, you can start planning a larger-scale event that will no doubt garner more attention.

8. Become Part of a Niche Community

While it’s great to participate in larger industry communities, don’t ignore the power that the smaller niche communities (such as on LinkedIn) hold for your content promotion. Oftentimes, participating in smaller, niche communities can give you more of a chance to engage with and provide value to others in your industry.

Participation in these communities allows you to establish yourself as an industry expert, create brand awareness, and share your valuable content. There’s even a chance that your content may be chosen for syndication by other blogs and publications in your niche. In short, these smaller communities are a great stepping stone on your way to bigger, thought leadership opportunities.

Key Points to Remember in Your B2B PR

  • Include influencer input in small ways to attract more attention from a wider audience.
  • Use popular content from competitors to create even better, more in-depth content.
  • Prepare yourself for hosting a large event by starting with a small, intimate one.
  • Get involved in smaller, niche communities where you will have more opportunities to engage and be heard.

Just because you are a small B2B business doesn’t mean that your B2B PR ideas have to follow suit. Use these 8 B2B PR tactics to start thinking big and you’ll amplify your content’s influence and achieve thought leadership success.

By: Wendy Marx

Source: Leverage Earned, Owned, Paid, & Shared Media

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3 Initial Steps To Doing Your Own Public Relations and Getting Excellent Results

3 Initial Steps to Doing Your Own PR and Getting Excellent Results

It’s a classic symbiotic relationship. Entrepreneurs need exposure in the press and the media need information from brands to fill their pages. It should be a balanced partnership then yes? Well… not always. The problem comes when you’re simply not giving the media what they can use, i.e. what’s of interest to their particular readers.

Often this is down to not understanding how journalists work and what they want, but also it can be down to laziness on the part of inhouse or agency PRs who persist in sending mass mailouts to already overserved press.

You may not believe it, but It’s actually surprisingly easy to be featured in the press. And you don’t have to have budgets large enough to employ the services of a PR agency which can easily cost £5 to £10K plus a month plus disbursements (expenses) just for the most basic of services.

You just need to follow the following steps.

1. Select the media titles your potential and existing audience actually reads.

How?  Well, try taking a sample of your social media followers and have a look at what media they are following. That’s an easy start. And don’t be afraid to pop a post up asking them to name or even vote for their favourite titles too.

Also conduct a simple Google search for media titles that reach your existing and potential customers and industry sector.

There are professional media databases which you can use to compile media lists but these can be expensive. If your budget is tight you could consider buddying up with another entrepreneur and splitting the cost.

Be reassured though, it’s really not about the AMOUNT of titles you target, but targeting the RIGHT ONES – i.e. the media that’s actually consumed by your target audience (you of course need to have defined this first).

Think beyond just national newspapers and magazines too. Consider TV and radio programmes, podcasts, social media influencers, smaller local/regional titles. And also titles that might not at first seem an obvious choice. For example, if you have a food or drinks brand, depending on its type and price points, you could consider wellness titles, health & fitness titles, luxury lifestyle blogs, TV programmes with a focus on nutrition or weight loss, parenting titles, supermarket magazines.

Don’t stick your nose up at these – most, including Waitrose’s monthly magazine actually have amazing reach, a fantastic reputation, wonderful production values and loyal readers.  And in the UK, Asda’s magazine has one of the highest circulations and readerships of all print titles.

2. Find the contact details of the best person to approach.

What you also need to do, is find the names and email addresses of the best editors and journalists to actually contact.

This again isn’t as hard as you may think. Most publications have what we call in the trade, a “flannel panel,” AKA a section in the magazine, often near the front, which details all the staff and their roles. On websites it’s usually under About Us or Contact Us.

Look through these and find the journalist or editor responsible for the content that’s the best fit for your product or service. You can also go on to the media title’s publisher’s website and often find contacts there.

And LinkedIn can be another great source – here you can often find email addresses too and if you are a Premium member, reach out direct too. Failing this, a quick phone call to reception will usually reap rewards.

Bear in mind, Editors and Editor’s in Chief aren’t always the best initial contacts to approach because they typically get inundated with emails and requests. It’s often better to find the details of the staff journalists covering the content most relevant to you and approaching them. Larger publications have what’s called “Commissioning Editors” and these are the people to pitch in to. Usually they deal with journalists pitching in, but there’s no harm in you doing this do. I’ll be covering how to pitch well in another article so look out for this.

It’s worth considering targeting the title’s website editorial staff as well as those in the magazine or newspaper as it’s often much easier to get content picked up for online use as there’s unlimited space, whereas a magazine only has a finite number of pages available per issue.

Don’t forget about freelance journalists too – these can be a fantastic way in. Twitter, LinkedIn – both can be very useful sources here. Start to follow #journorequest on Twitter and you’ll see what journalists are seeking, and responding to this can be an excellent, not to mention free, way of connecting to and building relationships with journalists.

3. Provide content they will want to use.

How do you know what information to give your chosen media? The first step is to be really clear on exactly what topics they cover.  It’s pretty straightforward to discover this – look at the content they already use, across as many of their media platforms as you can. Observing the regular content categories they have is quick way to gauge what’s called their “editorial pillars,” the key content their publication carries. By this I mean look at the primary content headings on a website, or contents’ page in a magazine. Hashtags they use on their socials can be a handy clue, too.

The second step is to look at the format of this content – length, tone – is it informal and friendly or more authoritative and serious, and if it tends to be more text led or image heavy. Also note if the content is typically presented as an interview, or a first person column, “Editor’s Pick,” a listicle (i.e. a Top 10 kind of piece) – this kind of thing.

By now you will know what topics they cover and in what style. Step three is to decide what information you want to communicate to these readers, that matches this, and pitch this in to the journalist or editor – or package into a press release. Do consider media titles always prefer to carry unique content – not information that’s been offered and taken up by their rivals, so you will need to create pitches and press releases that are tailored.

Pitches and press releases are usually sent as a simple, short email. I will cover creating these in detail in articles to follow, but essentially you need to communicate what your story is (the topic and specific angle), why it’s right for that title and is newsworthy for publication now – all in the most interesting way as possible.

It’s an art to make your pitches or press releases stand out for the right reasons when a journalist could receive hundreds of these a week, but, with some guidance and practice there’s no reason why you won’t be able to craft these as well as a PR agency and reap the considerable rewards press exposure can bring.

By: Lisa Curtiss / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Source: 3 Initial Steps to Doing Your Own PR and Getting Excellent Results

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Critics:

Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public in order to affect the public perception. Public relations (PR) and publicity differ in that PR is controlled internally, whereas publicity is not controlled and contributed by external parties.

Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. This differentiates it from advertising as a form of marketing communications. Public relations aims to create or obtain coverage for clients for free, also known as earned media, rather than paying for marketing or advertising. But in the early 21st century, advertising is also a part of broader PR activities.

An example of good public relations would be generating an article featuring a PR firm’s client, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article. The aim of public relations is to inform the public, prospective customers, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders, and ultimately persuade them to maintain a positive or favorable view about the organization, its leadership, products, or political decisions.

Public relations professionals typically work for PR and marketing firms, businesses and companies, government, and public officials as public information officers and nongovernmental organizations, and nonprofit organizations. Jobs central to public relations include account coordinator, account executive, account supervisor, and media relations manager.

Public relations specialists establish and maintain relationships with an organization’s target audience, the media, relevant trade media, and other opinion leaders. Common responsibilities include designing communications campaigns, writing press releases and other content for news, working with the press, arranging interviews for company spokespeople, writing speeches for company leaders, acting as an organization’s spokesperson, preparing clients for press conferences, media interviews and speeches, writing website and social media content, managing company reputation (crisis management), managing internal communications, and marketing activities like brand awareness and event management.

Success in the field of public relations requires a deep understanding of the interests and concerns of each of the company’s many stakeholders. The public relations professional must know how to effectively address those concerns using the most powerful tool of the public relations trade, which is publicity.

Specific public relations disciplines include:

  • Financial public relations – communicating financial results and business strategy
  • Consumer/lifestyle public relations – gaining publicity for a particular product or service
  • Crisis communication – responding in a crisis
  • Internal communications – communicating within the company itself
  • Government relations – engaging government departments to influence public policy
  • Media relations – a public relations function that involves building and maintaining close relationships with the news media so that they can sell and promote a business.
  • Social Media/Community Marketing – in today’s climate, public relations professionals leverage social media marketing to distribute messages about their clients to desired target markets
  • In-house public relations – a public relations professional hired to manage press and publicity campaigns for the company that hired them.
  • ‘Black Hat PR’ – manipulating public profiles under the guise of neutral commentators or voices, or engaging to actively damage or undermine the reputations of the rival or targeted individuals or organizations.

See also

 

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