Posts Tagged ‘text’


Writing Effective Messages: 5 Timeless Tips

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

March 2012

Whether it is “talking” via mobile messaging, email, or some other form of written communication, text is quickly becoming the interaction of choice. But relying on text as opposed to context, whether in business or personal communication, does have its set of challenges – not the least among them being the pace at which information is shared and the limited attention span of readers.

“No matter how fast technology moves or what new devices are offered to the market, the one thing that always remains a constant: the written word. Indeed, with a proliferation of new communications channels, most communicators will find that their corporate writing style is about the only thing that really differentiates them from their competition,” writes Peter Schram, managing partner of Communications Unlimited, on The Communicator blog.

In the race to create and disseminate messages, don’t lose touch with these tried and true communications principles. Discover 5 Timeless Tips for Effective Writing in this month’s newsletter from BurrellesLuce.

Using Social Media to Communicate and Market Around Natural Events

Friday, August 26th, 2011

EarthquakeThe ground moved on Tuesday, here in D.C. and along the East Coast. I happened to be the only one in the small BurrellesLuce Washington, D.C office at that time. Needing to figure-out what was happening, I turned to Twitter. MyFoxBoston.com posted an interesting visual of how the over 40,000 tweets spread across the US

I know all the Californians reading this, are still laughing about our reaction to a 5.9 earthquake, but this is a terrorism-scared town and coast (on the cusp of the 10 year anniversary of 9/11) and we don’t usually have earthquakes. There were a lot of funny and useless tweets, which had Howard Kurtz commenting on the media’s feeding frenzy of the event in “Washington’s Earthquake Farce” in The Daily Beast.

However, there were some organizations using new media to help communicate to the public. Concerned about my limited service, I tweeted Verizon Wireless, who answered my question quite quickly. Because many phone lines from various companies were jammed or down, people were encouraged to use social media or texting to communicate.   

Several other organizations used social media to push-out the most current service information.

Crisis Information
The earthquake caused several spires to fall from the National Cathedral, which is home to many national events and presidential funerals. The cathedral quickly created an impressive website page with a Twitter stream, information on the damage and a donation form for help paying for the repairs.

Round-up the Customers
Many stranded workers gave retailers an opportunity to offer earthquake specials or let customers know they were open via their Facebook pages and Twitter. I thought the $5.80 specials were a nice tie-in to the 5.8-magnitude earthquake.

What other creative social media marketing have you seen centered on a natural event? Are you prepared to communicate through social media in a crisis situation?

The East Coast is now waiting for Hurricane Irene to hit this weekend. I wonder what the Twitter-sphere will be saying about it and which bar will be the first to offer a special on hurricanes.

Paid Content vs. Free Content, Apple vs. Google, Web Browsers vs. Apps…as we enter a new phase of digital media who will emerge victorious?

Monday, September 13th, 2010
paperboy

Image: www.aftermathnews.wordpress.com

In March 2009 I wrote my first blog post, here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas, about how emerging technologies and platforms were changing the way we consume news – supported by input I gathered from a media summit I had attended that featured panelists such as Joe Scarborough from MSNBC’s Morning Joe and BBC’s Rome Hartman.

I wrote, “And with the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ and this ‘Pro-Am’ partnership that is developing with media, the panel agreed that consumers will have a stronger need for trusted brands, filtering, and editing to help navigate the media.” A year and a half later, the cream seems to be rising to the top in this fragmented media universe.

Today the “trusted brands,” such as The New York Times, are beginning to abandon the old business model of offering free content in exchange for paid advertisements. They are instead looking to generate additional revenue by putting their text, audio, and video behind pay walls or by offering their content as an app for a small fee. “I think we should have done it years ago,” said David Firestone, a deputy national news editor commenting on the NYT’s decision to put some of their content behind paywalls beginning in 2011. “As painful as it will be at the beginning, we have to get rid of the notion that high-quality news comes free.”

The Times Co. Chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. added, “This is a bet, to a certain degree, on where we think the Web is going…This is not going to be something that is going to change the financial dynamics overnight.”

In fact, no one is sure where the web is going; this undeniable shift away from free content will certainly make life more difficult for the Googles of the world who rely on free content to fuel their search engine. Consumers may turn to company’s like Apple for their media, who adopted the “paid content” model early on by making content available for small fees through iTunes and more recently showing consumers how convenient it is to access a magazine or newspaper digitally for a small fee on their iPad.

 Fox News this week launched its new iPhone political app, available through iTunes for 99 cents. “The idea is that this is your essential guide to daily political news,” says Chris Stirewalt, Fox News digital politics editor, “to put power into peoples’ hands to give them the opportunity in this history making, nation shaping election, to have the tools at hand so that they can really understand and add to the depth of their experience.”

With more people opting to have their media pushed to their smart phones and iPads rather than retrieving information over the Internet it will be interesting to see how this affects web browser traffic. As free content slowly disappears, news websites and aggregators such as the Drudge Report and the Daily Beast may have a tougher time filling their sites with the hyperlinks that contain the raw material that drives much of their sites traffic. Instead the eyeballs will be looking in other directions – with more people willing to pay for content this may ultimately prove to be the antidote that saves a hemorrhaging newspaper industry.

It appears we are on the verge of coming full circle on how we get our news. We’ve gone from relying on newsstands and subscriptions to searching and accessing free content online, only to return to paying the publishers directly once again for their content through app fees and online subscriptions.

Paperboys and newsstand operators may be on the verge of extinction; however, content providers like newspapers, network, and cable TV and movie studios may have the final say in how their product is consumed after all.

As public relations and marketing professionals, how are you getting your news? How do you think the evolving media landscape will affect your ability to successfully conduct media relations and assess the value of your efforts?

BurrellesLuce Newsletter: Digital Overload – How to Boost Productivity and Eliminate Burnout

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Working Hard resizeWhether we like it or not, we’re continuously inundated with emails, status updates, mobile text, and videos, among numerous types of messages. Perhaps we’re even bombarding others with messages of our own. After all, that is the nature of the digital beast, or so it seems. And as communications professionals, it’s our job to be right there with it.

But we may be paying a steep price to operate in a state of constant contact. As journalist and author John Freeman has cautioned in this Wall Street Journal essay, “The faster we talk and chat and type over tools such as email and text messages, the more our communication will resemble traveling at great speed. Bumped and jostled, queasy from the constant ocular and muscular adjustments our body must make to keep up, we will live in a constant state of digital jet lag.”

As PR practitioners, how can we keep from burning out and, at the same time, ensure that our messages aren’t merely adding to the digital fatigue?

Discover 10 ways to lessen the load of lightning-fast communication by visiting the BurrellesLuce Resource Center.

Is Digital Media Changing PR’s Role in News-Gathering?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
Flickr Image: Yago.com

Flickr Image: yago1.com

The Oriella PR Network issued their 2010 Digital Journalism Study recently. The survey consisted of 770 journalists across 15 countries, and is used to find out how digital media has changed the nature of news-gathering. In reviewing this study, I naturally paid the most attention to those items that directly affect public relations and media relations practitioners. 

For example, according to the report, “interest in traditional news content remains healthy.”  Results showed:

  • 75 percent of journalists surveyed indicated they like to receive emailed press releases, and
  • 52 percent want to receive still photography.

Interestingly, demand for social media news releases (SMNRs), chosen by 19 percent of journalists in 2008’s survey, and 15 percent in 2009, has leveled off at 16 percent in 2010.  

  • Video content has fallen to 27.5 percent from 35 percent.
  • Audio / podcasts have fallen to 15 percent from 19 percent.

The report notes it is possible that these declines may be due to the fact that publications have the capabilities to produce their own multi-media content now. Previously they were more reliant on content from third parties.

Considering the international reach of this survey, I was curious if our own U.S.-based media followed suit. I set-up a (very un-scientific) three-question survey on PollDaddy and asked my Twitter and LinkedIn journalist connections to respond. There were only a handful of responses, but the poll answered my question.

  • 85 percent of journalists who responded to my survey indicated they prefer to be contacted via email. 
  • 44 percent said it was okay to contact via Twitter, but keep in mind that I posted the survey on Twitter and LinkedIn so the journos that responded are those that are on social networking sites – be wary of assuming this is true across the board.
  • 67 percent want to receive hi-res photos with press releases.
  • 55 percent would like to see supporting documents (such as backgrounders, bios, fact sheets, etc.) and/or attributable quotes. 

When I asked for additional comments, one respondent replied, “I wish press releases had original quotes instead of marketing-speak.”  Another responded, “Short, sweet and to the point. Make it catchy. Make it actually newsworthy. Make it interesting. And don’t send something that’s happening that day. Timing is EVERYTHING.”

Jessica Pupillo, freelance writer and editorial director for St. Louis Sprout & About, opined: “Put the news release headline in the subject line of an e-mail. Also put the text of the release in the body of the e-mail, and ALWAYS include copies of the release and access to photos on your online press room. Include a phone number where you can be reached during reasonable hours (7 a.m. to 9 p.m.). If you don’t answer your phone when I call, I may just skip your news.”

The author of the Digital Journalism Study results report surmised, “Time pressures remain – it is down [sic] to the PR community to facilitate access to relevant stories so they can turn it into a compelling story as efficiently as possible.” And, goes so far as to state, “While the communications landscape has become increasingly complex, journalists continue to rely on PR professionals to address the basics of news gathering in the content they produce. Communicators that overlook this essential need do so at their peril.”

If you’re a media professional, do you agree with the survey findings published in the Digital Journalism study or from my poll? What do you wish public relations professionals would do better? If you’re in PR or media relations, how are you tailoring your strategy to meet the changing needs of journalists? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.