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Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

Tips for Enhancing TV News with Social Media

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Washington - Television News Studio (1984)In December, I had a chance to spend the afternoon talking about the news and social media with the staff at WEYI, NBC 25.   After I left the meeting I spent a lot of time thinking about the point where Social Media and Traditional Media intersect and how to integrate new techniques into a successful format.

My Top 6 Tips:

  1. Create a hierarchy/Flow Chart of news importance and Direction.
    TV news is one of the most limited formats since a broadcast may have as little as 20 minutes of air time per 30 minute show. Not every tip, press release or AP story can be covered in this amount of time.  However, news that doesn’t make a the broadcast should be directed elsewhere.  Creating a flow-cart or other formula for deciding, before hand, what information should be shared, and where, gives reporters an opportunity to engage the audience more often.

    • Twitter has the highest volume but the fewest characters allowed, and should be used for snips, teasers or as a directional service getting followers to visit videos, on-scene cell-phone pictures captured by reporters or other websites where they can interact with the news you’re reporting.
    • Facebook & Google Plus don’t have the tight character limits that Twitter does but since your fan’s home page feed doesn’t move as quickly, posting too often can be overwhelming.  Weather maps, Follow-ups and viewer-to-viewer based communities can boost station loyalty.
    • YouTube. Posting segments after they’ve aired is a great way to keep people talking and gives you a way to gauge response.  People also like seeing themselves in the news and Youtube offers a way for broadcasts to be shared or included in blogs.  Youtube can even generate revenue for the station.
  2. You have to give to get.
    Traditional media tends to push out information, but Social Media demands interaction.  The easiest way to interact is by Following-Back and replying… within reason.Take time to look at your followers and a few of their posts. There are a lot of useless and undesirable accounts that will only bog down your efforts.  A DNFTT (do not feed the trolls) policy wouldn’t hurt either.
  3. Cover more Local businesses and Not-for-Profits.
    Being neighborly and engaged locally is a great way to increase station loyalty across all media outlets.  This can be as simple as following and sharing or re-tweeting informational posts. Showing people who are working hard to better the community also counters negative news and illuminates bright spots.  Directing fluff pieces to social networks also saves air time for more serious news.
  4. Create custom Twitter and Google Plus Hash Tags.
    Information overload is the side effect of social media success.  At a certain point it’s just not possible for a human to consume every post your followers, prominent citizens and organizations create. Creating the Hash Tag is as simple as choosing a word or phrase (without spaces or other special charters) and adding the pound sign to the front.  For Example – #MINewsTip. Just be sure to search using your potential tag first to be sure it’s unique enough to lay claim to it.  Then search for the tag to gather your tips, comments and relevWashington - Television News Studio (1984)ant information.
  5. Create a Social Loop
    All of the social networks you’re using should feed into one another. Tweets that send people to YouTube, Facebook, your website and then back again are part of a  interaction loop you should strive to create. Creating content across the various formats also allows you to interact with people who use Facebook, but not Twitter, etc.
  6. Use Feedback on the air.
    Don’t forget to include air time in the social loop because it’s the one thing you have that Social Media doesn’t. Viewers who are empowered to comment and rewarded with air time are more likely to develop a deep loyalty to the station.

 

Written by Karlie

February 18th, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Hints for Presenting with Sliderocket

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A friend suggested I look through VMWare’s job listings to see if anything jumped out at me.  Frankly I didn’t expect to find anything that matches my skill-set because, I don’t fit the standard mold most corporations create.  However, as I perused the surprisingly long list of openings I came across a listing for a Sliderocket Coach.

I checked out the listing for 2 reasons.  First, what’s Sliderocket, and, second, what kind of coaching?

Then the shocker,  I might actually be the type of person they’re looking for.  Most of the time I work to create my own opportunities because it’s easier than trying to find a job that’s well suited for my odd combination of technical knowledge and entrepreneurial kung-fu.

One requirement of the application was that I submit a presentation along with a formal resume and truthfully, I was a bit nervous about that.  I’ve created slide decks, but never as a cover letter and never with the level of sophistication I thought I’d need to get my foot in the door.  I was also concerned since I’ve never used Sliderocket and wondered if I’d be able to use it effectively?

The good news is that the user interface was straight forward and anything that wasn’t immediately apparent was fairly easy to figure out.  Even more “advanced” techniques like creating my own template weren’t all that hard to do.

In just 2 days I managed to create this presentation…

I say 2 days, but that was more like a total of 8 hours.  The first 4 were spent thinking about what I wanted to say, how to say it and learning to use the software.  The final 4 were creating the slides.  Though that’s not completely fair either.  I could have finished an hour earlier if my inspiration hadn’t run out.  For some reason the only closing I could muster was some sort of Southern Belle saying, “lookin’ forward to talkin’ real soon!”

Now, if you’ve never used it before, Sliderocket.com is a cloud platform, so your work lives on the internet.  The advantage is that you don’t have to maintain the software and are always using the current version.  Also, because it’s a native to the internet, it’s designed for sharing and collaboration.  The only disadvantage right now, and this is a disadvantage for all cloud applications, is that connection is key.  For whatever reason you’re caught without a local copy and can’t get online to get one, you could be sunk.  But I suppose this is just a new way to look at the old mantra of “back-up, back-up, back-up!”

If you haven’t done much with cloud applications or just want to see what kind of presentation you could make, sign up for one of Sliderocket’s free accounts.

If you’d like to create a presentation like this one, here are my top 4 hints;

  1. Get inspiration for your theme by seeing what collateral is available first.  The only reason the Ninja worked well for this presentation was because I was able to find just the right photo to kick things off. If I had wanted a picture for every slide I wouldn’t have been able to do it with the choices that Flikr presented me with.  So make sure you have what you need, or know how to work around what you don’t, before you go too far into the process.
  2. If you need a soundtrack for your presentation, check out Jamendo.com.  There’s lots of Creative Commons licensed music for you to choose from.  The song I chose, Plastic & Flashing Lights by Professor Kliq, was found there.
  3. If the text is all you have to convey your ideas, make sure the letters represent you well.   I used a version of the drop shadow that was available in the software to give the white on black words some depth.
  4. I used a QR code because I wasn’t sure the link I added would be click-able or easily copied/pasted to a browser.  Using it gave me one more way for the viewer to go where I wanted to send them.

If you have any questions or comments about presentations, or how I managed a certain effect with SlideRocket, feel free to leave me a note, below.  Otherwise a tweet, Thumbs up or sharing on your favorite service would be greatly appreciated. ~Karlie

Written by Karlie

October 21st, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Making a fuss about “The Situation”

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Recently, Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino was offered a substantial amount of money to stop wearing Abercrombie & Fitch Co. apparel.  Draw whatever conclusions you like about Sorrentino and his cohorts, but what lessons can we learn and apply to Small Business?

First let’s examine “The Situation.”  Isn’t he famous for being famous?  Doesn’t he get plenty of air time in front of a key demographic on MTV’s “Jersey Shore?” Aren’t people talking about him? Isn’t the paparazzi snapping pictures of him lifting A&F shirts to show off his abs?  Isn’t that loads of free publicity?

The answer to all of those questions is a resounding YES, but there’s more to consider when a company, large or small, begins to think about branding it’s products.

The best definition I have for the term branding comes from my good friend, Julian Yudelson.  As he puts it, branding is a promise to deliver.

For some brands like Coca-cola, and Pepsi, the brand is associated with a particular flavor.  When you open a can of cola, you already know what it will taste like and how it will make you feel after drinking it.  For other companies, branding is about how bright your whites are after they’re washed (Clorox), the long lasting quality of the tools (Craftsman)  or even an emotional response such as gratification that your family is keeping up with the neighbors.

In this case, the issue probably centers around Sorrentino’s persona and how the public perceives his lifestyle.  If A&F want you to feel as if you belong to a certain socioeconomic class when wearing their clothes, it seems reasonable to disassociate with individuals who don’t reflect the standard.

When considering your brand, what perception do you want to project and protect?  Many times this has to do with who your target market is and how they perceive your products.  Some companies will even go so far as to limit the use of their name with a price point or retailer because price and reputation are big components of a brand.

One example is Ollie’s Bargain Outlet (Warning, Ollie’s site has audio) .  Their ads will often tout a famous maker, but won’t actually say what brand to expect. The reason is that even high end brands have surplus from time to time, but for a brand that wants to be perceived as high end, association with a discount is the kiss of death.  After all, how can you convince your deep pocketed, brand loyal customers that they’ve gotten something special if regular people have it and paid pennies on the dollar to get it?

The answer is you can’t.  It’s really easy to lower prices, but it’s hard to raise them.  It’s also easy for the low price to make the product seem low quality and that effects your ability to live up to to a customer’s expectations.

So when thinking about the brand image you want to create for your business and it’s products, how would price, quality and personal association play a role in your promise to deliver?

If you have any questions or comments about branding, feel free to leave me a note, below.  Otherwise a tweet, Thumbs up or sharing on your favorite service would be greatly appreciated. ~Karlie

Written by Karlie

August 18th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Flint’s Buckham Alley Fest

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On July 16 starting at 6pm in Flint, Michigan,the Buckham Alley Fest will be rocking downtown.  As part of the festivities, Flint Handmade is taking over the sidewalk next to the Rutherford Parking Structure for the First Annual Flint Handmade Craft City and we get to be part of the goodie bag! 

Since the products we make at On-Disk.com are handmade, we’re putting together 25 CDs loaded with Creative Commons licensed music so Flint Handmade can give them to it’s first 25 visitors to craft city.

I don’t expect that the 25 lucky recipients of our discs will turn right around and buy loads and loads of things from our little online shop.  Instead I’m using the discs as a gesture of goodwill  and the first step in gaining some brand recognition in the area as being a local company.  After all, word of mouth has to start someplace, and this is our little way of starting that process in Michigan.

What ways have you, or could your business get involved within the community? I’d love to hear about the things you’ve done to get your name out, so please leave a comment below.

~Karlie

P.S. In case you’re wondering, you will be able to get this disc from On-Disk.com, next week, after BAF.  Remember, it’s Creative Commons content from start to finish.  Click on either image or on the song titles below to learn more about the artists.

  1. Annexation By Love by Panda Nation
  2. Built To Last by Fall Walk Run
  3. Dance Wit Me by JackDazey
  4. Dropping Out of School by Brad Sucks
  5. Every small little thing I’m able to … by BlondBlood
  6. Fragile by Aloges
  7. Hasta Abajo – All The Way Down HQ by Kellee Maize
  8. I See by Tryad
  9. Just Imagine by Hungry Lucy
  10. Lorelei by On returning
  11. Secretions by Hello Citizen
  12. She by TenPenny Joke
  13. Six Twenty Nine by BOREA
  14. VOCE VAI by Vir Braun

Written by Karlie

July 11th, 2011 at 1:30 am

The Real Trick of Social Media

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One major pet peeve of mine is that technology is only a way to work smarter and not an excuse to toss everything we ever knew about business out the window.  To master these new mediums, first you need to understand that there is a traditional equivalent to all of our online activities and anything we put online should have similar value.  Social Media and Internet Marketing are no different.

The goal of any style of marketing has always been to engage with your potential customers.  When thinking about how to be effective with Social and New media I can safely say that the psychology of the process hasn’t change, just the tools.  For instance, if you dread cocktail parties and business mixers because you hate small talk, you probably won’t like being on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.  If you excel at meeting new people at conferences and filling your pipeline as the result of networking, then you shouldn’t have too much trouble using those skills online.

When trying to create your own social media campaign, start with traditional ideas like being present.  Half the job of networking is making time to meet with people.  The advantage to online networking and messaging is that you don’t have to hire a baby sitter – you just have to make time in your day to be present online.

My suggestion is that if you’ve never used the internet or social sites to market your business take it slow and try just one form of communicating at a time.  Mastering it before you move on to another will save you lots of frustration and prevent you from making too many mistakes – like being too promotional or too personal.

While there are plenty of sites that can give you insider tips and tricks to being more effective, please don’t feel that you have to know some secret hand shake to be part of the process.  Take what you know and what has worked for you in the past and allow yourself to ease in.

Written by Karlie

February 8th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Marketing Software Skills

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If you ask a software developer how to make money writing code, you’ll usually get employment or selling applications as your answer. It’s my opinion, however, that most are missing the boat and need to think of their skills as a marketable service.

The other answers, while not wrong, have to do with point of view.

If I get a fancy box and shelf space in the big box chain stores, then I’m offering a product. The transaction might even present itself as selling of services – like getting the neighbor kid to mow my lawn. But no matter how you look at it, it all starts with a skill.

If I toss Open Source software into the mix, then I usually have to deal with “Yeah, Right. How am I going to make money competing with a free download?”

Here’s the thing, software isn’t the only Open Source industry. In fact, many other open source businesses are very profitable and are generally skills that have been around for quite some time.

Let’s think about Open Source for a moment. The first line of the Wikipedia article states…

Open Source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials.

To me, it’s just the way we’ve always done things.

Software isn’t the only open source skill, in fact I’d say that all of these could be considered open source.

  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Farming
  • Repair – Automobiles, Washers, Refrigerators, etc.
  • Fashion – Sewing, design ideas, etc
  • And many others

The people who practice these trades might have their own secret sauce, but all can be learned in an open source manner by examining the construction or using freely available information to gain understanding of the process. If I can get a book at the library or search the internet for the information I need, then I consider the industry to be open source.

Let’s now consider what it means to be in an open industry where anyone has access to the tools and materials that you do…

Wouldn’t the existence of prepackaged seeds put farmers out of business?
What about home improvement stores? Shouldn’t that put Plumbers, carpenters and electricians out of business? Does access to scissors put the barber out of business?

With the answer to those questions being a resounding “NO,” then why do so many people within the Free and Open Source Software movement think that there’s no business opportunities for their skill set?

Yes, there is a bit of a vacuum in the consciousness about the use of Open Source software, but I don’t think that it’s going to be too hard to overcome.

What the middle market is missing people with marketable skills who are willing to begin offering their services in various formats. It could be shelf ready products, it could be custom work. FOSS could even be offered alongside commercial options.

The thing is, FOSS has so many advantages and one of them is price. If you are a provider and can offer the same services and functionality, but you don’t have to undercut your profit to be the less expensive option, that’s a big advantage for you and your customer.

So you make more money, they spend less… Talk about bringing value to the table. You’re happy, they’re happy, the computers are effective. How can you loose?

Up next!

To keep this post on topic and in an easy to digest format, how about we stop here for now.

In the next article I’ll talk more about how to position yourself as a service provider and how to set yourself up for a win.

I/O Session II – Lost Bits 1 by Carsten Mueller

Written by Karlie

July 18th, 2010 at 10:52 am

The Rule of Two

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I was following a thread this morning on the TeachingOpenSource.org Mailing list about using Scribd for source materials.

Five messages in, there’s a reply that sends up a red flag for me.

This is the second time hearing a story that’s so similar that it can’t be considered a coincidence.

I’ve mentioned my “Rule of Two” theory of customer/community relations before. It states…

If one person comments, take note but use your best judgment on how seriously to take it. If a second person tells you almost the exact same thing, there’s no guessing, you’ve got trend.

While I would hope that the trend isn’t larger than the two accounts, there’s no way to ignore the fact that Adam’s email echos what another developer said to me just a few months ago while standing in my kitchen drinking beers with my husband.

The trend conveyed by both guys is that there is a tendency for Fedora/Red Hat people to start from scratch rather than start with the finishing touches.

This worries me not because two guys might be feeling frustrated, but that these guys work with different parts of the FP.o/RH organization and have similar stories. I’m also a bit concerned because I’m not up on day to day operations yet I know of two cases.

That leaves me wondering… Who else might be feeling the same way? Is there something about the project culture that encourages people to avoid collaboration outside of the project core? Is it that there are so many resource available that the practice of external collaboration is rusty? Or maybe just the communication conduit between internal and external projects needs a look. (as in – this is why we decided not to collaborate, or this is why I want to collaborate with you)

I’m also a plan-for-the-worst-hope-for-the-best kind of girl and at the moment am thinking not just about the missed opportunities to collaborate on solutions that meet everyone’s needs, but also about letting these concerns grow to become community rifts and/or future barriers to collaboration. You can’t please everyone all the time, but I’m looking the future potential for this to get out of hand.

I can’t pretend I know the answers to any of the above. Just that the Rule of Two is in effect and the powers that be need to give a little time to address the break down.

Working together 3 by Mark Robinson

Written by Karlie

June 25th, 2010 at 7:01 am

Websites that work for Small Business

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A website doesn’t have to be complex to be an effective tool for Small Business owners. The key to making a website work for you is taking advantage of the passive nature of websites.

Websites, in their natural state, just sit around waiting for someone to browse the content. They only become active when we begin driving visitors.

The good news, is that you don’t have to go to great expense to bring in your visitors.

The Advantage of Being Passive

All too often we are dragged into feeling that we must aggressively compete. That the Internet is a turf war and if we can’t go big, we should go home.

That’s just not the case.

In any business, there’s a target market and the key to having a successful website is getting your information picked up by the search engines so very specific customers will find you.

Relevant Content and Searchable Terms

The key to understanding what the engines will sort into the top 10 listings is Relevant Content.

Think about listing websites from the search engine perspective. There is an infinite number of websites with similar content. If people can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll search with another engine. To keep the “good stuff” front and center and the users in front of their advertisers, they have created complex systems to sort out the good from the bad.

Relevant to the engine usually means hitting as many of the search terms as possible within written content of any given website. And it’s important that the terms are within standard sentences because the engines will read your site and can tell the difference between coherent sentences and lists of terms.

Relevant content is including the information your customers want to find.

That means, you shouldn’t get hung up on key words as stand alone terms. Instead think of providing information that is not only a good read, but is also very descriptive so that you’ll have more opportunities to include relevant content.

By including as much information about your business as possible, the search engine can’t help but sort out a very specific group of customers to send you.

The more ways you can get your point across, the more likely you are to include relevant, searchable terms that will bring in the customers you were hoping to reach with your website.

If you do business locally, your location and distances from landmarks is very relevant and will drive foot traffic to your store.

“On the Corner of Main and Center.” “Across the Street from {Landmark}.” “Just 3 Miles from Downtown {City}.” “Serving the Greater {City} Area.” “In {Shopping Center} near {Anchor Store}.”

If you sold shoes you could say something like, “This {brand name} ladies shoe has a 2.5 inch heal and butter soft leather…” would hit on searches for {brand} shoes, {brand} ladies, ladies leather etc.

As far as your use of the relevance, {brand} {location} is very relevant if your customers know exactly what they want and where they want to buy it. By including your location somewhere on the same page as your product listings, you’ll be able to catch the attention of these very specific shoppers.

Getting Listed in the Search Engines

Getting listed in the search engines is FREE and requires no special software or service providers. Best of all, it’s easier than you think.

You can submit your site directly to the engines by visiting each one you’d like to be listed in and finding their submission criteria. While it may take you a while to do it manually, you’ll only ever have to do it once. Once the engine knows about you, that’s all that’s required. Sending it in over and over again doesn’t increase your ranking.

Just give the listing process time to work.

The engine wants your information and will send an automated program called a Spider to your site in an attempt to catalog your content.

It’s called a Spider because it crawls across the world wide web following links in an attempt to visit every page.

Relevant links

In the same way that Relevant content on your own site can bring a specific type of customer, so can relevant links from other websites.

It does two things for you. First, it will deliver a certain number of like minded people. Secondly it will help boost your “relevance” in the eyes of the search engine.

Think of it this way… What’s more relevant than the corporate website for the brand itself? Logic then dictates that if they list your website as a point of purchase, you are relevant too.

Again, if the aim is to align yourself with the most relevant content, you can’t get much more relevant than a link from…

  • The Manufacturers of the products you sell
  • National, Regional and Local Associations you may belong to
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Local business listings to establish your relevance to local customers. (Tourist Info, online yellow pages, etc)

Maintaining Relevance

In passive mode, all that’s required is to be sure the most relevant key words are present on your website.

If you want to take things a little farther, the key to maintaining your relevance to the engines is to keep your content fresh. Changes in your content will trigger a listing update at the engine for your site.

If you add new pages, you’ll also get another listing opportunity and another chance to reach your target audience.

Though you’ll probably find that it’s your human viewers who’ll benefit the most from new information. After all, the ultimate goal is to be relevant to people by way of the engine.

Boosting Relevance and Search Engine Rank

If fresh content isn’t enough to boost your relevance, the first place to turn for answers is your website traffic statistics. (Ask your webmaster if you aren’t sure how to check your stats.)

With your site stats you’ll be able to see a basic snapshot of who your average visitor is and what’s bringing them to the site.

Most statistics programs will show you which engines your visitors are coming from and which search terms they used to find you. Sometimes you’ll see that your customers are finding you for reasons other than what you intended.

For the most part you’ll probably discover traffic flow from unintended key words. This is usually a good thing! It’s only bad when the search terms are misleading because anyone arriving at your site is likely to leave the moment they discover you don’t really have what they were looking for.

If customers aren’t finding you using what you think are your main key words, type them into the engine to see what other sites are beating you out.

Then just tweak your message until you’re ranking where you’d like to be.

Just one word of caution… it may be impossible to get top 10 for some key words and phrases, so pick your battles and focus on the areas you can win. Remember the idea is to use the engine to sort out customers most likely to make a purchase.

Written by Karlie

December 14th, 2009 at 2:22 pm