Make your press materials user friendly

What if I told you that shiny stock image you just spent an hour searching for didn’t help you? Or if I said that the hundreds of dollars you’ve given iStockPhoto has actually hurt your site?

Recent research from renowned usability expert Jakob Nielsen suggests that “users pay attention to information-carrying images that show content that’s relevant to the task at hand. And users ignore purely decorative images that don’t add real content to the page.” (emphasis his) So, what does this mean for public relations?

Press pages need to be user friendly
Nielsen used eye-tracking studies to show that unless the photo is of the specific person or product being researched, most website visitors will skip it. The screenshot below is from his study and shows that the relatively low-quality photo being used on this Yale contact form is essentially wasted space. Continue reading

The Tech Industry’s PR Problem

I love working with tech entrepreneurs. Their enthusiasm, innovative minds and passion for what they’re doing is infectious. But ask many of them what their business does, or their cool new product or service is all about, and you’re likely to get a variety of nonsensical answers rooted in geek speak:

“Well, we’re like Foursquare in that we allow people to check into their favorite restaurants, but we give them more social engagement options because our service places a box around their most frequently checked-in spots,” I actually heard one neophyte tech CEO say recently at the fantastic and very informative New York Tech Meetup.


The tech industry has a big problem that seemingly few PR consultants or their clients want to address: tech people have no clue how to talk like normal humans when describing the value of their products or services. Continue reading

What Every PR Rookie Ought to be Doing

Both the PR and media world have undergone great changes since I first got started in the field in the mid 1990s. When I first started off as a reporter, I spent several hours learning how to use the flywheel to resize photos. And just when I had that figured out, along came Photoshop, which made all that knowledge useless.

Today, change seems to be happening at lightning-fast speed. The advent of social media and the rapid demise of the print media have caused huge strains on PR practioners, who have to keep up with these developments.  I am a technophile, but even I admit that sometimes it gets exhausting trying to keep up with the latest press release platform, social media fad or cell phone app.

Having said that, here are a few things that all PR rookies (and some old pros) need to be doing: Continue reading

Case Study: Communicating with a Celebrity on Twitter

As much as I hear all of the complaints about celebrities and Twitter, there are times when I absolutely love the fact that celebrities tweet.

We can talk all we want about how some celebs “are doing it wrong,” and how they rarely, if ever, interact with their followers. Then, there comes that one moment in time, where you have a shot at a celebrity recognizing your existence, or in this case my son’s.

I hereby present to you:

Case Study: How did my husband and I get Billy Corgan (front man of the Smashing Pumpkins and childhood/adulthood obsession) to interact with us on Twitter?

Believe me, I realize this might sound crazy, but then again, it’s still super cool! Continue reading

The Moby Effect

Moby is a unique musician.  His music is somewhere between dancehall and coffeeshop, and that’s not a bad thing.

I’ve seen him at a stadium show, which was not the right venue to enjoy his music, since there were no dancefloors or lattes within reach.  But his performance was incredible.

So what the heck does Moby have to do with PR?

Simple: A Moby song is like a bad story pitch.

Say what?

Follow me.

Moby’s songs are catchy because they are repetitive.  Very repetitive. Continue reading

Friday Five (+5)

Happy Friday!!

Every now and then we like to give the readers a chance to rediscover a post, or discover one they may have missed.  Since we’re busy doing our billing right now (as you probably should be), we’ll give you a summer favorite, the Friday 5.  But since it’s been a few months – it’ll be a Top 5 posts of the last 90 or so days.

As always, in no particular order, except alphabetic, your favorite posts from the last Q(uarter): Continue reading

Word Vomit: Topics That Are Better Left Unsaid

(CC) Image courtesy theritters

The social aspect of  communications is one of the many reasons I was attracted to working in public relations.  It’s also one of the many reasons why I love Twitter.  I’ve attended many tweets up and happy hours simply to meet some of my favorite people.  Heck, I even drove with Kate and TJ to visit some fabulous friends in Boston who at the time I only knew via Twitter.

It wasn’t until recently that I noticed an excessive amount of “word vomit,” the act of putting one’s foot in thy mouth, at these tweet ups and happy hours that made me second guess the information I divulge when first meeting someone.  We may talk to each other every day but do we really trust each other?  How much word vomit is just too much before others start judging?  When networking or socializing with new friends here are some topics you may want to exclude: Continue reading

Finding Your Social Media Zen

(CC) Image courtesy djfoobarmatt

Close your eyes. That’s it, take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale.

Sometimes all you need to do is take a step back from the social media world to find a little bit of perspective.

About two months ago, I attended the Type-A-Mom conference. There was a fantastic panel on community and staying positive in the blogosphere. Let’s face it; it’s easier to be negative rather than positive.

The overall gist of the panel was that sometimes people act before thinking; that they don’t really consider what will happen when you put something out there for social media consumption. Continue reading

The Next Big Thing

We don’t buy things just because they’re on sale at a good price. There’s a need, or a sufficient want for the cost and benefit received from an item.

We don’t clean our plates when served food merely because the food is there. We are hungry and fulfilling that need for the health and wellness of our bodies, and hopefully there’s also some pleasure in that process.

We don’t use tactics or techniques in our marketing endeavors just because they exist and are the ‘Next Big Thing.’ We have (or set) goals and implement strategies that, if appropriate, use these tactics to assist in achieving those goals.

Then again … Continue reading

The Impending Data Deluge

(CC) Courtesy akash_k

I recently returned from the PRSA International Conference in Washington, D.C. (full disclosure: I am employed by PRSA), where much of the focus was on social media and enhancing the strategic value of public relations. What struck me most about the sessions was how few of them were geared toward the once-hot topics of “Social Media is Great!,” or “This Social Media Thing is A Fad.” Instead, a majority focused on a similar theme: “Social media has revitalized the PR profession . . . now what do we do with all of this data?!

That strikes at the heart of the next great movement for public relations. The need to understand, analyze and utilize the vast array of data, sentiment analysis and other metrics gathered from social media. Continue reading