Posts Tagged ‘publications’


Even Santa Can Use Some Good PR and Marketing

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

At the PRSA 2010 International Conference opening reception, Eric Schwartzman introduced me to Santa’s PR guy, Maj. Brian Martin, deputy chief of staff for communications at NORAD and USNORTHCOM. Ok, he’s not really Santa’s personal public relations consultant, but he does handle PR for NORAD Tracks Santa, and the program has a great PR story to share.

The history behind the 2009 campaign:

Over 50 years ago, a local department store advertised for kids to call Santa on a special “hotline,” but they accidently used the number for the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). Col. Harry Shoup, received the first call and told his staff to put the rest through. They confirmed Santa’s location via radar, and the tradition of tracking Santa was born. CONAD is now the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).  NORAD volunteers still take calls, but they also answer emails and respond to social media posts from kids all over the world who want to know when Santa will be coming down their chimney.

As of November 19, 2009, Stacey Knott, public affairs, social media officer, NORAD and USNORTHCOM says, NORAD Tracks Santa had 719 Facebook fans, and a minimal presence on Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn and YouTube. For the 2009 holiday season, they wanted to increase communication with their audiences, improve awareness, and drive traffic to the NORAD Tracks Santa website. Additionally, they looked to increase awareness of NORAD’s brand and mission notes Maj. Michael Humpreys, public affairs officer, NORAD and USNORTHCOM.

Results from the 2009 campaign:

  • As of January 1, 2010, NORAD Tracks Santa’s Facebook page had 417,608 fans.
  • 13 million unique visitors from over 200 countries visited the NORAD Tracks Santa website.
  • The NORAD NORTHCOM Facebook page went from 447 fans on October 1, 2009 to 5,911 on January 1, 2010.
  • As of November 29, 2010, there 17,579 likes for NORAD NORTHCOM on Facebook.
  • The NORAD website typically has 1,000-3,000 visitors per day. On Christmas Eve 2009, the website had over 90,000 visitors and over 85,000 of them were unique visitors.

Preparing for the 2010 season:

NORAD Tracks Santa is a volunteer operation, so NORAD relies on many partners to help create the website, keep the website from crashing, and help strategize on other tactics.  For 2010, some local Colorado schools are helping to develop games for the website. And for 26 hours over the eve of Santa’s arrival, the command staff, families, and other volunteers will run the command center phones and monitor social media to answer questions. Martin says it has been a great way for NORAD/USNORTHCOM to spread goodwill.

“The memories of NORAD Tracks Santa are a real tradition in people’s homes,” says Knott. She goes on to say, you have to believe in Santa after you volunteer to help.

For social media, Humphreys says they decided to focus on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where they have the most activity – although they previously had a presence on Flickr and LinkedIn. Since they post pictures to Facebook, using Flickr seemed redundant.  YouTube is the second most used search site, and they have a lot of activity on there.

All of the NORAD Tracks Santa social media sites and website are “family friendly.” Knott confirmed they spend a lot of time checking to ensure people are not posting mean, ugly posts, or profanity. In the video above, Maj. Martin discusses addressing issues on social media.

NORAD Tracks Santa’s Strategies, Tips and Best Practices—

  • Link back to the main website as often as possible
  • Have a consistent message across all media (mainstream media and social media)
  • Encourage interaction by looking for questions and try to respond to as many posts as possible
  • Further the conversation
  • Interact quickly
  • Have an engagement protocol and enforce it
  • Be trusting
  • Continue engagement throughout the year
  • Post pictures and videos

Humphreys says success comes from constant engagement on social media. Martin adds that NORAD Tracks Santa continues mainstream media outreach to print and web publications and with satellite media tours for broadcast stations.

I know I have great memories of watching the news to learn when Santa might be coming to my house. Do you have similar memories?

The BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers would like to hear how you’ve taken an old program and made it fresh with social media. Do you have any tips to share?

Media Outlets Leverage Mobile Apps

Monday, November 29th, 2010

by Carol Holden*

Surpurised young woman holding a mobile and shopping bagsFor me, it’s official – the world has gone totally mobile. The other night a commercial, on a kids’ cable channel my daughter watches, featured a Grandmother giving her little grandson (he looked about six to me) a tablet-reader for Christmas. I’ve been forewarned and won’t be shocked if my eight year old asks for one.

No wonder the rush continues for traditional media to expand to mobile devices, with some innovative apps already rolled out and others on the way:

  • The Economist just launched an enhanced version of its publication for the iPad and iPhone. Readers can tweak the layout and graphs so they can receive all the robust content of the magazine, but in a format that makes sense for a small screen. “You’re trying to recreate your print magazine but redesign it to make the most of the medium,” said Oscar Grut, managing director of digital editions for The Economist.
  • Oprah’s O, The Oprah Magazine has just released its iPad app to much fanfare. As described in the Marketwire release, “’I love the written word, and I love the iPad — to me, it’s another way to experience the intimacy of this magazine and its part of the future of the business,’ said Oprah Winfrey. ‘It’s a new way to connect with our readers, who are on a path of becoming their best selves.’”
  • New Corps’ Rupert Murdoch and Apple’s Steve Jobs recently announced they would be teaming up to create a new iNewspaper. “The collaboration, which has been secretly under development in New York for several months, promises to be the world’s first ‘newspaper’ designed exclusively for new tablet-style computers such as Apple’s iPad, with a launch planned for early next year,” writes Edward Helmore in this Guardian UK article. “According to reports, there will be no ‘print edition’ or ‘web edition.’”

In fact, there are already enough publications with apps (over 700) available to audiences and readers on the iPad that strategic research company McPheters and Company was able to put together a ten best list. “McPheters ranked the print-to-iPad products based on design, functionality and use of rich content.” The list presents an interesting mix of both newspapers and magazines covering the gamut of lifestyle, culture, politics, news, sports, food, fashion, etc. The number one spot went to The New Yorker app, with apps for newspaper circulation heavy-weights USA Today and The Wall Street Journal making the list at number eight and ten respectively. Fashion entrant Net-A-Porter made the list at number five.

Mobile applications are becoming such an integral part of the media landscape that other industry organizations are taking notice. The American Society of Magazine Editors announced that among the changes to the National Magazine Awards 2011, they will include a new award for mobile editions.

In this age of PR 3.0, how are you using mobile apps to connect with your audiences? If you use a mobile device to read newspapers and magazines, what outlets would top your list of best media apps? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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Bio: I’ve been in the media business all of my adult life, first in newspapers before going full circle and joining BurrellesLuce, where I now direct the Media Measurement department. I’ve always enjoyed meeting and especially listening to the needs of our customers and others in the public relations and communications fields; I welcome sharing ideas through the Fresh Ideas blog. One of my professional passions is providing the type of service to a client that makes them respond, “atta girl” – inspiring our entire team to keep striving to be the best. Although I have been lucky enough to travel through much of Asia and most major U.S. cities for business or pleasure, my free time is now spent with my daughter, visiting family/friends, and of course the Jersey shore. Twitter: @domeasurement LinkedIn: Carol Holden Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Why Scale the Paywall?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Valerie Simon

This post is an excerpt of a guest post originally published on Spin Sucks 9.14.10. To read the full post, click here.

Valerie-Simon-photoThere’s been a lot of debate lately about free versus paid content online. All this talk leads to one simple question. What features will motivate readers to scale the paywall?

Back in college I found myself at the campus store with less than a dollar in change in my pocket. To the left of the cashier was the New York Times. To the right was an assortment of gum and candy. As much as I wanted a pack of gum, the decision was a no-brainer. I paid for my New York Times and headed back to my dorm, reading as I walked.

Fast forward to January 2011 when the New York Times will roll out a new metered model that charges users after they exceed a set number of articles per month. Faced with the prospect of losing Stuart Elliott David Carr, Cathy Horn, or other favorite columnists, what will I do? Will I reach back into my wallet? Will you?

Does anyone remember the episode of The Office where Dunder Mifflin employees agonized over whether to pay $1.99 to read a Wall Street Journal article containing information about the fate of their company? I certainly wouldn’t think twice about paying for that pack of gum, so why the reluctance over the New York Times or Wall Street Journal?

Dan Schaible, senior vice president, content management and my colleague at BurrellesLuce, shared some insights on the subject of paywalls with me. He noted that successful implementation of a paywall or subscription model is based on two things: Content and availability.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to erect a paywall in front of news everyone else has,” Dan explained. Publications that consist primarily of AP, Reuters, and other syndicated content will not fare well behind a firewall. Likewise, exclusives that will simply be read and reported/repeated elsewhere don’t belong behind a paywall.

So why WOULD someone pay for content? It’s simple really, if you consider the purpose of consumption and anticipated value… Read the full post at Spin Sucks. 

Using Social Media to Enhance Attendee Experience at PR Industry Events

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

How is Social MediaIt’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s public relations and marketing conference season. Peter Shankman’s latest blog post gives some great tips for surviving it. Although social media is not a new thing to conferences (Twitter debuted at SXSW a few years ago), it is really now just becoming “mainstream.” In my June 20, 2009 blog post, I first talked about how I use Twitter as my note-taking platform and as a way to encourage engagement. A year later, and it is amazing to see how much more of a role social media plays in event participation.

I recently spoke at the YNPNdc (Young Nonprofit Professionals Network) second annual social media conference. Rosetta Thurman gave a great presentation on basic social media tools you should be using to enhance participation in your conference. Some of my favorite tips include:

  • Make a hashtag and promote it early.
  • Make a Twitter list of attendees and follow it.
  • Don’t hire a videographer; use Flipcams and digital cameras.
  • Allow attendees to take pictures and share them.
  • Integrate social media into your event. It is a great way to get information to your attendees and allows for more contact points than any one person can manage.

 “Building social media strategies into your event allows other people to speak and respond on your behalf. Sometimes the best answer to a question comes from a fellow attendee,” says John Chen, publications/project manager, International Society for Performance Improvement.  

What tips do you have for BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers looking to increase engagement at conferences? What has worked best for your organization?

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.