Monday, November 24, 2008


A podcast is a series of audio or video files which is distributed over the internet by syndicated download, through Web feeds, to portable media players and personal computers (yep, that's straight from Wikipedia )
Many moons ago--alright, maybe two weeks ago--I wasn't really for sure what a podcast was. Have I used it? Have I seen one? Do I have to have an iPod? These answers to these questions (yes, yes, and no) are answered from the simple definition above. The question that most confused me (the whole iPod issue) is a viable question. Podcasts were developed for the Apple iPod, but with the new distribution possibilities, podcasts open a world of opportunity for everyone...particularly PR people.

Incorporating podcasts onto your company's Web site could provide a new and hip way to connect with your publics. By posting a link on your company's page, you let new (and returning) visitors know that your company is a forerunner, and you have something you want everyone to see (or hear). Just having this technology available to your publics will catch the interest of your audience and transport information and new ideas directly to them through media. This tool will prove to be a beneficial way of interacting with publics and can have a powerful impact on your organization in the future.

Monday, November 10, 2008

IMC...Simple as 1,2,3

Integrated marketing communications (IMC) used to be a somewhat taboo idea. Why? Let's just break down the phase: integrated+marketing+communicatio= Public relations department meets marketing department(not always the best combination in the past. However, dispite the reluctance of marketing and PR to come together, IMC seems to be a perfect spawn.

The brief version of what IMC is: the effort for a company to create a recognizable brand that is releveant to a person and consistent over time. With these efforts, consumers develop a connection to the brand. Don Shultz, professor (emeritus-in-service) of integrated marketing communications at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. has published multiple articles on the topic that are available on American Marketing Association Web site Many of these articles are useful in explaining the various aspects of IMC as it relates to building brands today.

One useful article is here this article lays out the steps for a successful IMC campaign.

So can you identify any companies who have successfully implementd IMC? The basic premise is that you connect an image that you associate with a campaign that has been consistent and successful over many media platforms? Maybe a product that leaves an image in your head, or that has gained your loyalty? One that comes to mind for me is Diet Dr. Pepper. Don't get me wrong, I haven't touched a dark soda in ages. However, if I were to pop open a can I would choose Diet Dr. Pepper. Why? Because I know it tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper. Afterall, the TV, radio, and magazines all say the same it must be true...right?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Social News Releases: Building an Online Attraction

Social news releases, first brought to light by Todd Defren are a growing online trend for PR people. Unlike the traditional option(dare I say it...PRESS RELEASES, social news releases produce a little more of a pull opportunity than do the predecessors.

More and more companies are creating areas on their Web pages where media people can come to get the information they want.

This is beneficial because often, standard press releases can go unnoticed. This reminds me of an experience I had as an intern for an agency that utilized only traditional press releases. Their PR person sent out releases daily by e-mail to a laundry list of local media members. Sounds pretty proactive, right? Well if it's the thought that counts, A+. However, e-mail technology revealed that most of the messages went unread by the recepients. My estimate is that not only did the media folks find the constant e-mails unnecessary, but also intrusive and maybe even unimportant. I would estimate that the bulk of the releases could have been condensed into a weekly fact sheet about the organization (and posted on a Web page for easy access).

Making your information available to the public on the Web could open a world of opportunity. 1) You won't risk harming relationships with media by bombarding them with information. 2) You make valuable information available to those outside the media. 3)You can maxmize effectiveness by reaching new publics who search for your organization.

With all of this considered, I surely do not suggest cutting out the traditional press release. There are certainly more traditional people who appreciate and thrive on push media. However, try to read the signs when it comes to others. If a particular contact has NEVER responded to or made use of your press releases, don't risk damaging your relationsship by continuing to send them. Try simply sending these folks a link to your site, less-frequent e-mails when your social media outlet is updates, or a link to your RSS feed. This way, they can choose what information is relevant to them.