A blog to complement the Web site of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi-Central Chapter Web site at www.pramcentral.org.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Web Copywriting: New Free Guide

Nick Usborne has just published a free 35-page guide to copywriting for the web. You get a free copy of this guide if you sign up for Nick’s e-mail newsletter.

Nick explains how web copywriters can:
  1. Help every visitor avoid getting lost.
  2. Write for the company, visitors, AND the search engines.
  3. Earn visitors’ trust.
  4. Write every page as a landing page …or not.
  5. Make content pre-sell.
  6. Make the sale before it’s too late.
  7. Learn that web designers are not always on the writer’s side.

(via Contentious)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

How to formulate marketing messages

The following three approaches typically determine the key messages for successful marketing programs.
  1. Portray your product as an antidote to a problem
  2. Highlight the strength within your product's weakness
  3. Attack the weakness within your leading competitor's strength

Using these approaches, you should be able to identify several possible messages. You then need to select the messages that will have the most impact in your marketing programs.

Read the full article from MarketingProfs.com (free registration required).

Buzz, Blogs, and Beyond

Experimental research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project and BuzzMetrics suggests that political bloggers can make an impact on politics, but they often follow the lead of politicians and journalists.

A report released May 16th, entitled “Buzz, Blogs and Beyond: The Internet and the National Discourse in the Fall of 2004,” employed new word-of-mouth tracking and cross-media correspondence techniques to examine the impact of online buzz on the national agenda during the last two months of the 2004 presidential election.

It is available for downloading here.

Analysing corporate websites for competitive intelligence

You've found your competitor's site (and the chances are that youdidn't even need to Google it - you guessed or knew the domain name).Now what? Well, obviously you want to visit as much of it as you canto vacuum up any tidbits of information that will tell you about theirstrategy, their values and what they want to tell the world. At thesame time you'll be aware that much of the information is there tosell the company and may not be 100% reliable: 'brochure-ware' is aterm sometimes used.

Yet is this all that can be done?

Is there more that could be found if you just knew how?

The answer is usually yes! (via ResourceShelf)

PRWeek's 2005 Marketing Management Survey

In an environment in which marketers are increasingly looking for alternatives to traditional consumer outreach, PR stands to reap the benefits.The third annual PRWeek/MS&L MarketingManagement Survey assesses attitudes and opinions about thevalue of PR from the perspective of senior marketing executives.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Blogs Are Great For Google SEO

The most recent Google results reveal, whether involving incoming links, Google PageRank levels, or positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs), there is one common denominator.

Survey finds PR rising in marketers' eyes

The PR industry has seized the challenge posed by a rapidly changing marketplace and is gaining ground as a go-to for marketers seeking better ways to reach consumers using nonmainstream tactics. For the full story from PR Week, click here.

Recent Data on Blogging Growth Reveals Why You Need the Right Business Blogging Strategy If You’re Going to Get the Results You Want

What’s the dirty little secret buried in a recent blogging report, and why is it so vital for your success with business blogging?

Well it’s not revealed in the press release itself, but rather in a post at the BlogPulse Blog Here’s the key quote related to blog activity that caught my attention:

According to our statistics, 31% are active within the last 30 days, 44% are active within the last 60 days and slightly more than half (51%) are active within the last 90 days. “Active” means a new post has been added.

Only one-third of these bloggers are posting on a monthly basis, and more than half have not posted in 90-days! That means they’re abandoned for all practical purposes. They might as well be a regular web site with that type of updating frequency. No relationship building with consumers, and certainly no benefits what-so-ever in search engine rankings. For the full story from Advanced Business Blogging,

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Next Great Retail Idea: PR?

Public relations can drive business owners nuts. If they decide to spend money on PR at all, they often feel (and get) sidelined in favor of bigger clients. That's what Mike Butler noticed when he headed a traditional public relations agency. "We knew a small-business owner didn't get very much attention and his budget wasn't very big, but his needs were just as real," Butler says. He's launched PR Store, a storefront marketing and PR firm for small businesses, in hopes of solving the problem.

PR Newswire's monitoring service adds blogs to the mix

From the press release:

PR Newswire's eWatch(TM) monitoring service has upgraded its Web Pubs service by adding hundreds of the most influential and visited blogs on the Internet, it was announced today. This enhancement follows the recent addition in February of more than 10,000 print sources to eWatch(TM) and marks a significant evolution of the service from Internet to print and now blog monitoring.

What CEOs Want From Marketing

Down the Avenue has an interesting post about what CEOs want from marketing - and she also touches on the turnover in the CMO position and why the position is rarely chosen for CEO grooming.

The New Career for People Under 30: Public Relations

The good news? Those under 30 are much more interested in a job in public relations. The bad news? They have no true understanding of what public relations is.

Blogs and social networks and wikis, oh my!

News.com has a cautionary crisis communications story about the Kryptonite bike lock, manufactured by Ingersoll Rand. Stories of the how to undo the supposedly indestructible lock with a Bic pen had made the rounds on the Internet for weeks - and was eventually picked up by The New York Times - before the company even knew about it.

Companies are fast learning that this blogging business is not just about writing. It's also discovering what others are writing about you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sprint Wireless Corporate Blog

Straight up Slush - One Sprint Employee, Many Opinions located at http://businessblog.sprint.com/ is the wireless industry blog that uncovers the stories, conversations, and inside tales of Sprint mobile solutions.

The blog is written by Rob Slusher, Senior Marketing Manager for Customer Solutions at Sprint Wireless. A quick check of the archives shows the blog was created in March of 2005. (via Hyku and Constantin Basturea's Del.icio.us feed for PR practitioners, PR Digest)

The next generation of ad networks

Jupiter's analyst Gary Stein blogs today about ABC and WorldNow which presented the "Local Media Network" (LMN) an ad network that will serve ads on 147 local television websites affiliated to the ABC, generating a traffic of over 20 million people. Basically the idea is to enhance (behavioural) targeting by sharing information about users. The larger the network, the better the ads served. (via Adverblog)

Rich Media Planning

On Mediapost Joel Gehman (senior vice president of client services for Refinery) writes an interesting column about the role of rich media in online brand marketing. This week he turns his attention to a pair of reports that provide insight into the past and future of rich media spending. Overall, the numbers tell a story of media planning gone wrong. (via Adverblog)

Software helps marketers tweak sites, drive conversion rates

To the daily litany of work tasks—check e-mail, answer voice mail, attend meetings—some marketers are adding a new drill: read Web analytics reports.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Software to Scan Blogs, Boards, and Posts to Capture Consumer Buzz Online

A new category of software tools has emerged that uses search engine technology to find and organize consumer-posted thoughts and opinions contained in blogs and posts. These tools are here to help you as a small business owner and serious business blogger to help you keep an eye on what’s being said about you and your company. For the full story from Advanced Business Blogging,

Friday, May 06, 2005

Study: Print Ad Practices Work Online

What works in print ads often also works on the web - namely, powerful images that grab attention and point it toward a message, according to a study of online ads, expected to be released today, reports MediaPost. The CNET Networks, Ignited Minds, and NOP World's Starch Communications study explored which type of ad images are effective on the Web, to help guide advertisers away from running annoying ads that drive consumers from sites, according to CNET Chief Marketing Officer Joe Gillespie. However, the study results may not be representative for the average Web browser; it relied in large part on the mostly male and tech-inclined audiences of Gamespot and CNET.com. (via MarketingVox)

Are customers letting your marketing in or shutting it out?

Yankelovich, a consumer market research firm, has announced results of its 2005 Marketing Receptivity Survey, and it isn't pretty for advertising. For the full story from Church of the Customer, click here.

HP Execs Launch Blogs And Podcasts

Interex reports that Nora Denzel, HP's senior vice president and general manager of HP's Adaptive Enterprise and Software Global Business Unit has launched an podcast she calls "Agility Radio."

They wrote... The page, which sits on the official HP Web site -- is the first instance of anything resembling "PodCasting" that we're aware of by a senior executive in technology. In her most recent posting, recorded this morning, Denzel talks about a few of her favorite books.

For the full story from WebProNews, click here.

Fight the Bull!

Bullfighter is the epoch-defining software that works with Microsoft Word and PowerPoint to help you find and eliminate jargon in your documents. It may look like a little toolbar with three buttons, but it's actually much more. Bullfighter includes a jargon database and an exclusive Bull Composite Index calculator that will allow you to see -- in an actual window, on your PC display, live -- just how bad a document can be.

The rumors were true. Bullshit now has a number. And you now have the power to calculate it, using the freeware originally produced by Deloitte Consulting but now distributed as a standalone product.

(But I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to download it. My theory is some bullshit just ain't worth knowing.) ;)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The business of blogging

Small companies promote themselves through Web logs, a two-part story from the SF Chronicle (via Micropersuasion)

Dennis Woo had doubts at first when an employee asked to start a blog for GreenCine, his online DVD rental company. It seemed like a big and risky commitment for the small San Francisco firm, which at the time had a staff of about 10.

But Woo took the plunge and allowed employee David Hudson to start writing full time about film festivals and other news from the world of independent and alternative cinema. Now, two and a half years later, the GreenCine Daily blog (daily.greencine.com) draws about 80,000 visitors each month with its dispatches from film festivals around the world.

Woo credits the blog with helping double his company's sales in 2004. "When we started off, I was skeptical about whether it would be successful, but it is core to our strategy," he said.

Blogging 101 Resources

Blogging 101 resources...courtesy of Debbie Weill

PR Digest, a Reader’s Digest for PR folks

From Constantin Basturea's blog...

So, you don’t want to read 200+ PR blogs on a daily basis, but you want to get the best stories and postings of the day. Here’s a deal: I’ll scan the blogs and tag the postings using a del.icio.us tag named prdigest. You can:

Warnings: the selection of headlines and the comments are, well, mine (I don’t claim objectivity)
you’ll (also) get links to postings from outside the PR BlogLand, but relevant to PR you can expect something between 30-40 links/day.

Give it a try for a couple of days, then please let me know if you find it useful.

Big brands not so smart online

Online advertising is perceived as important, but only a few brands do their best using new media channels. New Media Age (reg. req.) reports about a study by OgilvyInteractive, which surveyed big brands asking them to rate their performance with online marketing. Most of the surveyed marketers acknowledged they have to improve their online effort, finding a better integration with existing channels. (via Adverblog)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Do journalists read press releases? (and other press-ing questions)

Last month, Ben Silverman embarked on an exercise. Using Bacon's database, he randomly selected journalists at daily newspapers to take part in a survey. He contacted 78 journalists and when it was all said and done, 50 responded to his survey (because he stoppef following up once he reached this magic number).

The Death Of The 30-Second Ad: What The Trend Means For PR

Technology has given consumers control over the messages they will allow in their lives. They do not want to be marketed to, sold to, pitched to or talked at. It brings up some must-consider questions for public relations counselors.

Blogging Up

Self-proclaimed "blogologist" Alex Halavais talks to Fast Company about how to career-blog without it coming back to haunt you. (via Micropersuasion).

Edelman Internal Communications Survey

Edelman's Employee Engagement group is conducting a survey to gauge communicators’ awareness and trends of new communications tools for employees called "New Frontiers in Employee Communications." They are looking for people who have internal communication responsibility for their organization or for an agency to respond. If you fit the bill, go here to take the survey.

HP Surveys Nation's Small Businesses to Learn What Fuels the Engines of Today's Economy

Survey respondents believe that technology is essential to the operations and success of their businesses. Eighty-one percent plan to increase technology spending in a variety of ways (for example, company websites, online services and weblogs) over the next two to three years. Small businesses that plan to increase overall technology spending anticipate doing so by 20 percent on average.

In addition, 68 percent of those surveyed reported that they plan to adopt additional technology products in the coming year. Small businesses are also leveraging the blog phenomena with one out of 10 reporting that weblogs are part of their marketing plans.

For the full press release, click here.

U.S. online marketing forecast: $26 billion by 2010

Forrester Research Releases US Online Advertising And Marketing Forecast – Market To Reach $26 Billion By 2010

Almost half of marketers plan to decrease spending in traditional advertising channels like magazines, direct mail, and newspapers to fund an increase in online ad spending in 2005. Total US online advertising and marketing spending will reach $14.7 billion in 2005, a 23 percent increase over 2004. According to a new five-year forecast from Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR), online marketing and advertising will represent 8 percent of total advertising spending in 2010 -- rivaling ad spending on cable/satellite TV and radio.

You can find the official Forrester Research report here (available for Forrester clients only) or the official Forrester press release here which contains the major highlights and data points. Stories are also available at wsj.com, Click Z, and InternetWeek.

The product called PR

There's a company the author encountered the other day that had just won a top 100 slot from a magazine. A press release on the company site announced the award-and quoted the company president: "This demonstrates our success as vertical enterprise experts in solving the essential challenges that are of vital nature to our customer's business." OK. You're the reporter-who-what-where-when-why-how tip-to-toe-who gets this release. Read it again. Not a Who What Where When or Why in the litter, is there? Just squealing blather with zero news value. Since it doesn't satisfy the basic requirements of any press item, how could it ever get picked up?
Read the full article from MarketingProfs.com (free registration required).

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Integrating Blogs With PR And Marketing

First there was Business Week featuring Steve Rubel in their cover story on blogs last week, complete with full-page photo.

Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that CooperKatz, the PR firm Steve works for, has begun a project with Vespa USA to develop two blogs that will be written by US owners of the Italian motor scooters.

But, this isn't the most significant news. The real news lies in a comment Steve makes in his post today about the new relationship:

[...] Vespa USA has contracted CooperKatz and Company, my employer, not only for blogging but for its comprehensive US public relations effort as well.

Integrated communications, folks.

The FAQ on the new VespaBlogs site describe how the blogs program will work and what it's intended to achieve, including this explanation on building buzz and driving traffic to the blogs: Piaggio USA plans to execute a small ad buy on both blogs and search engines to support the launch. In addition, since the online marketing and PR programs are tightly integrated, the blogs will integrate into the broader PR strategy as well. In addition, the VespaUSA.com site will link to the blogs once launched.

For the full story from WebProNews, click here.

Content Blogs Versus Syndicate Blogs?

Scrivs takes a look at whether its best to write an original content blog or a syndicated (linking to others articles) blog.

My response: you need both - it's not an either/or necessarily.

Irrational Blogguberance?

BL Ochman of the What's Next? blog answers a resounding YES! to Pete Blackshaw, CMO of Intelliseek, who asks in Clickz whether all the recent uproar about corporate blogging is "Irrational Blogguberance?" Blackshaw points out that a lot of blogs are abandoned - Ochman says because they are hard work.

But I don't think anyone in Mississippi will be accused of irrational blogguberance, more like blogophobia. I can't count on one hand the number of corporate blogs that I know of in Mississippi.

In the posting, Ochman collects the postings she has written on corporate blogging:

* Straight Talk About Blogs Do You Really Need One?Excerpt: Blogging caveats:- Blogs are writing intensive.- Maintaining a blog is hard work.- Blogs are no more of a "build it and they will come" medium than Web sites.- A blog that isn't well-written and frequently updated will simply be ignored.- A blog that is an obvious attempt at self promotion may be mocked by other bloggers. You could be a laughing stock of the blogosphere.
* Blogs Still Mystify: Ten Companies That Missed Great Blog Opportunities
* Everything You Need to Know About Business Blogging But Didn't Know Who to Ask
* What Could Your Company Do With a Blog? How Smart Companies Use Blogs for Marketing and PR Success and How You Can Too