Posts Tagged ‘application’


Overcoming Blogger’s Block

Monday, February 7th, 2011

What to blog about?

istockphoto.com Good IdeaThat is the question I’ve been asking myself for a few days. In my pursuit of a topic for a post, I realized I’m not alone… Writer’s block has always been something that communications professionals, and others, have struggled to overcome. But now that audiences expect instantaneous access to new content and materials via blogs and other social media, it’s becoming even harder to keep up and remain, well, “fresh.”  

In hopes of beating my own blogger’s block, I decided to take a look at some PR resources for inspiration. I’d like to give you some, in case you, too, find yourself in a similar situation.

One: Arik Hanson recapped a blog discussion last November on 24 ways to feed the blog beast. I’ve referred to this list several times. In fact, my BurrellesLuce colleague Valerie Simon has utilized number nine, summarizing various Twitter chats, several times since she leads both the #PRStudChat and #HAPPO chats. I especially like number 20 on using best of posts. This strategy allows me to include information from multiple, valuable sources and give some “link love” to other great blogs.  

Two: My Google Reader is a great resource for searching for topics and other blogs of interests. Josh Braaten, Big Picture Web Marketing, notes this tip in his post, Four Tips for Overcoming Blogging Writer’s Block. He also suggests using Twitter to review hot topics and ask for ideas.

Three: The startup, Skribit claims to be the cure to writer’s block. The application allows you to get feedback and suggestions from readers of your blog. Mashable even highlighted the tool in its Spark of Genius series, and based on the comments, I would give it a try.

Four: I’ve asked my network for ideas. I don’t always use the ideas, but the act of reviewing their ideas often leads to new ones. For this post, I asked Peter Shankman for some  good writers’ karma, because he had tweeted about  how a blog post just came to him and he had a great writing session. And he sent it (the good writer’s karma) my way via DM.

Five: And don’t forget the traditional media! My colleague Tressa Robbins recently wrote a blog post, News in Our Digital Lives: “Old” Media Still Matters, recapping the annual joint meeting of PRSA, IABC, and CSPRC.  Amy Mitchell, deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism presented some interesting finds, confirming the importance and reliance on traditional news. “In one American city (Baltimore), a whopping 92 percent of new content came from “old” media, proving that the published story is just the beginning of its life cycle.”

How do you get ideas for your blog posts? What themes have resonated with your readers? What topics would you like to see covered on Fresh Ideas?

What’s the Deal, Facebook?

Friday, November 19th, 2010

by Lauren Shapiro*

Gowalla Location-Based Social MediaTo businesses looking to attract consumers: I’ll give you my email address, if you promise to send me coupons. I’ll fill out your online survey, if you give me a free appetizer at my next visit. I will fan your Facebook page, if you send me exclusive offers. I would even check in to your business, if I used a service like FourSquare or Gowalla. But, I will only do what you ask, if you give me something in return…

Facebook introduced “Places” in August, an application that allows users to check in to local businesses and places ala FourSquare. However, according to PC World, a study by Pew Internet and American Life Project released statistics showing that “only four percent of online adult Americans use location-based services.” Merely one percent of participants in the Pew survey actually use check-in applications, such as FourSquare.

So why would Facebook broach the location-based application market when only a very small percentage of Americans actually use it? Leave it to Mark Zuckerberg to have another trick up his sleeve. Zuckerberg, with the launch of Facebook Deals, realized that the popularity of Facebook , the release of The Social Network and, let’s be honest, an already Facebookcentric world – can and probably will turn the one percent of location-based app users into way more!

According to the PC World article mentioned earlier, Facebook Deals “will allow people to find deals nearby when checking into a location on Facebook.” Even better, you can find deals ahead of time and then choose to venture to that business and check-in to receive a coupon on your mobile phone. What better incentive to check-in to a location than the promise of a discount? Furthermore, aren’t users more likely to visit a business that is offering a discount than a business that is not?

Taking a nod to the marketing gurus of the world, consumers love discounts. Especially in this economy, coupon offers can be the deciding factor when debating where to get lunch or where to get that new pair of jeans.

Facebook has not only paved the way for social networking and changed the way users interact online, but now has allowed businesses to have a greater reach with their current consumers and easily find new ones!

Are you in the one percent of location based application users using applications such as FourSquare and Gowalla? If not, will you be more or less likely to use this type of product if you were guaranteed a discount? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

I Want To Live In The Future Too! QR Codes And The Storytelling Experience

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Denise Giacin*

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a PRSA-NY book signing at Baruch College/CUNY for Nick Bilton’s new book I Live In The Future & Here’s How It Works. New York Times reporter and Bits blog technology writer, Nick Bilton presented his book and offered his perspective of the changes in the world’s media landscape. Bilton stressed the need and importance for people to adapt to these changes (no more “this is too advanced for me” excuses).

One of the changes Bilton points out is the shift in people paying for experiences, not content. Without giving too much away, he talks about when he actually cancelled his home delivery of the New York Times. This was shocking for me to hear at first. But when I read about why he chose to cancel, I completely understood. Staying true to his beliefs, Bilton’s book provides the reader with a unique experience by having a QR (Quick Read) code – a type of bar code – at the beginning of each chapter. 

QR Code

 I downloaded ScanLife (one of many applications available for reading QR codes) onto my Droid X and was able to scan the QR code. The code prompted my phone to open its browser for additional content on nickbilton.com related to the chapter I was reading. There were videos, links, and even a comments section. I was very impressed and certainly felt like these additions enhanced my experience of reading the book.

Another important topic, in I Live In The Future & Here’s How It Works, is the idea of “anchoring communities” and pertains to how we organize all of the information we receive through the web. Who we are friends with on Facebook and who we follow on Twitter, for example, help make up this community as a way to filter what information we pay attention to. I think it is imperative for organizations to realize people are receiving their information quickly and from many different channels.

Bilton’s book is straightforward and honest. He writes, “I’m not going to wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, the Web isn’t for me, I’m going to start buying CDs, print books, and newspapers again.’ I’m among the era of new consumers and contributors, and we’re looking for new forms of content and storytelling.”

If you are struggling to get a grasp on these concepts, I strongly suggest you pick up I Live In The Future & Here’s How It Works. Other topics in Bilton’s book discuss the correlation between video games and the performance of surgeons, how our brains adapt to change, the concept of “1, 2, 10”, and technologies in the not-so-distant future.  

If you’ve read Bilton’s book, what are some of the points you found most relevant to the communications industry? How will you be applying his concepts to your next PR or marketing initiative? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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*Bio: Prior to joining the BurrellesLuce Client Service team in 2008, Denise worked in the marketing industry for three years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, where she gained experience interning in PR and working for student organizations. By engaging readers on the Fresh Ideas blog Denise hopes to further her understanding of client needs. In her spare time, she is passionate about Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s charity sports training program) and baking cupcakes. Her claim to fame: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. LinkedIn: dgiacin Twitter: @denise10283 Facebook: BurrellesLuce 

Newspaper Apps Changing the Way Audiences Consume News

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Lauren Shapiro* 

Rumors of iNewspaper, the new iPad application, have begun taking center stage with Internet chatterboxes. With its new app, Apple would create digital versions of publications by selling subscriptions on behalf of the publishers (and taking a cut of the profit, for sure!). However, the iPad friendly newspaper is not a new idea by any means.

Flickr Image Source: Byrion (Byrion Smith)

Flickr Image Source: Byrion (Byrion Smith)

The biggest names in publishing have already established themselves on the iPad including the New York Times, BBC News, Wall Street Journal and AP News. Some downloads, such as the Wall Street Journal, are even free; however for access to exclusive content, a subscription purchase is required. According to PCWorld.com, WSJ users can even create a custom “watch list” of their stocks and funds.  For BBC iPad readers, you can view articles in several languages including Spanish, Russian and Arabic. But, the real niche of online news subscriptions is the customization options. BBC News allows users to personalize the content they view based on interest. While offline, the application will search and locate stories for the next time you turn your iPad on.

Will the iPad subscription based model help drive revenue to electronic publications? The answer is, probably, yes – especially as free views of online articles become more limited by publishers. But the momentum and accessibility of online publications will likely urge readers away from the classic hard copy publication (e.g., commuters who rely on a good paper to read while taking a bus or train to work).

The trend toward an iNewspaper product is a sign of the times as the world becomes more reliant on the Internet than ever. Apple seems to have found itself at the forefront of this technology and has placed itself comfortably in the middle (as publishers learn how to better monetize their content) likely allowing Apple to earn quite a few pretty pennies in the meantime.

As a communications professional, do you think that e-publications will ever take the strength away from hard copy publications? How do you think this will impact your public relations, marketing, and advertising efforts? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. 

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*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Facebook Going Places or a Privacy Risk?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

by Lauren Shapiro*

FacebookPlaces1As if we aren’t already super connected with social media, smart phones and web cams – Facebook now wants to know, “Where are you right now?” And if you want everyone to know, then visit Facebook’s Places application and share. According to Facebook, “Places is a Facebook feature that allows you to see where your friends are and share your location in the real world. When you use places, you’ll be able to see if any of your friends are currently checked in nearby and connect with them easily.”  With this new feature, you can find out which of your friends are in or around your location – creating opportunities for impromptu meetings with friends.

The “Places” application is creating a bridge between online and face to face communication (F2F). This is refreshing when F2F interpersonal communication seems to be lacking with the surging reliance on computer mediated communication. The new application encourages users to find each other and participate in dialogue outside of the Facebook community. Perhaps there is life outside of Facebook after all!

While Dennis Crowley, creator of location-based social media site Foursquare, has called Facebook Places “boring” and “unexciting,” the real issue surrounding the newest Facebook application is one of privacy (a concern Facebook is likely used to debating by now). All users must configure their own privacy settings for this application. According to Reuters, “Facebook says all Places check-ins are visible only to friends by default unless your master privacy control is set to ‘Everyone.’” However, it is important to note that there is no way to completely opt out of the Places app. Reuters notes, “If you use Places to check yourself in, then third-party check –ins [ability for your friends to check in your location] are turned on automatically unless you adjust your privacy settings.”

But the other key issue goes back to the days when Mom would leave you home alone and say, “If anyone comes to the door, don’t tell them that I’m not at home.” With Places users are parading the fact that, not only are they not at home, but they are having a nice dinner, in this city, on this street and probably won’t be home for awhile… giving someone ample opportunity to find them or their home.

The debate will continue as users begin to delve further into Places. Do you think Places is a privacy risk or another way to connect with contacts? How do you plan to incorporate Places into your public relations or marketing mix? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce