Monthly ArchiveJune 2007



Media &Social Media 20 Jun 2007 11:08 am

Sick of election 2008 sound bites already? Maybe viral videos are the cure.

I’ll admit it. An article by Katharine Seelye in last Thursday’s New York Times is the first in a long time to get me interested in the presidential primaries. I don’t think I’m alone in my apathy, though. The 18-to-35-year-old demographic is notorious for truancy at the polls and an aversion to televised presidential debates.

But I feel a little differently about this upcoming race, recently dubbed the YouTube Election, because Seelye brought it to my attention that YouTube is partnering with CNN on the Republican and Democratic primary debates.

What does that mean? Instead of the robotic “questions from the audience” we’re used to, this year’s questions will come to the candidates via YouTube video submissions. To paint a clearer picture: we could conceivably see Hillary Clinton field a question about healthcare in the form of a homemade rap video while Anderson Cooper moderates. 20 to 30 videos will be selected from the submissions, which must be 30 seconds or less.

Freedom from content regulation, format and rehearsal are part of the reason YouTube and its videos are popular. The same is not often said of televised political debates or presidential candidates, which is what makes this situation so interesting to me.

The addition of a visual and interactive element to the debates marks an advance from the last election, when blogs were the “new thing”. The fact that YouTube was invented in 2005 and in two years has established a powerful presence in the political process should make anyone sit up and take notice. Until this election, YouTube was mostly a forum for broadcasting political slipups. Case in point: Remember last year, when Senator George Allen of Virginia was caught on tape at a campaign event using a racial slur when referring to a college student in the audience? Maybe not, but it shot to the top of YouTube’s “most viewed” videos almost immediately, and from there blasted across the front page of the Washington Post and numerous cable and network TV news stations. This is why YouTube is so powerful. If you’re not watching it you are getting your news late.

But blogs and YouTube citations are apparently not a high enough level of citizen involvement anymore. Our media and our politicians seem to agree that voters want their questions answered (literally) and will respond to a more interactive and visually stimulating debate. It’s probably true – the tone of the “what’s your Iraq exit strategy?” question we’ve all heard before would change if, prior to it, we watched 30 seconds of related video footage.

CNN will decide which videos air during the debates, but maybe the spontaneous style of YouTube users and their questions will force the candidates to come up with less mechanical responses. Even if the network chooses only the tamest submissions to air, it doesn’t really matter. More than 100 million clips are viewed on YouTube every day, and according to Hitwise, this past February YouTube traffic surpassed visitors to all TV networks. Combined. It’s likely that more people will discuss issues on YouTube, and for a longer period of time, than will tune in to the debates. And if CNN plays it too safe with the question selection, there could be a backlash from YouTubers.

Of the five debates shown so far this political season, Seelye reports that the majority of viewers were older than 55. Will more young people watch the debates because of the new format? I think this direct engagement of the YouTube community ensures a higher level of involvement from younger voters at least during the primaries, which may prompt more of us to care once the race really begins. Will more young people vote in the next election? Stay tuned.

Two great articles on this topic:

The YouTube Election, by James Wolcott of Vanity Fair

Candidly Speaking: The YouTube Election, by Ryan Lizza of the New York Times

Posted by Rebecca

About Eiler Communications &Business of PR &Marketing 15 Jun 2007 01:10 pm

Getting the most out of your PR firm

Achieving success with a PR firm hinges on two-way communication. A PR agency is meant to be an extension of your organization and an effective PR campaign is not executed in a vacuum. Constant communication and dissemination of information between the agency and the client are vital to success. Over the course of 20 years in this business the successful agency-client relationships are the ones that follow these guidelines:

Work with the agency from the beginning to establish clear expectations for the PR program and a clearly defined and timely approval process for materials.

Provide the agency, in a timely manner, information needed to obtain results – access to company executives and referenceable customers, information on the customer’s application of the technology, information on new products, new business relationships and other newsworthy events and functions.

Include the agency as a strategic member of the sales and marketing team. Include agency members in sales and marketing meetings, copy the agency on sales and marketing materials to be used with customers or that reference important events which may influence the company.

Maintain a constant flow of open, honest communication between the agency and the client in order to address opportunities and problems, as well as successes and concerns.

Work with the agency in a collaborative relationship, with the client as the technology expert and the agency as the public relations expert.

Posted by Sandy

Business and Economy 08 Jun 2007 11:26 am

Life-long learning and global competitiveness

At a recent Governor’s Council for Labor and Economic Growth meeting, the current state of education was discussed. It is a critical issue to ensuring the country’s continued market leadership and the overall health of the economy as well as the American workforce.

Interesting statistics reveal the speed at which technology and information are evolving—and the challenge that we face in maintaining a global leadership position. These statistics were pulled from “Shift Happens,” a short video compiled by Scott McLeod of the University of Minnesota and Karl Fisch, a thought leader and educator at Arapahoe High School.

  • 1.5 exabytes of new information will be developed this year.
  • In 2013, a supercomputer will exist that will exceed the capabilities of the human brain; and it will only cost $1000.
  • In 2049, the $1000 computer will exceed computational abilities of the human race.
  • These facts support the conclusions of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce by the National Center on Education and the Economy. In Dec, the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce unveiled its recommendations for changing the American education system to meet the demands of the 21st century economy.

    The Commission’s findings include the idea that “leadership does not depend on technology alone. It depends on a deep vein of creativity that is constantly renewing itself.” It calls for a commitment to improving education, K-16 as well as life-long learning, to maintain competitiveness in the global market.

    It suggests that government support education programs for working adults. It calls for the creation of Personal Competitiveness Accounts, enabling everyone to get the continuing education and training they will need throughout their work lives.

    According to the report, the current standard of American living is in jeopardy. Knowledge is power, and knowledge is the key to maintaining global competitiveness. Creating a culture where both businesses and individuals value life-long learning should be a shared goal and focus.

    Posted by Jenn

Marketing &Media 05 Jun 2007 05:16 pm

How PR surpassed advertising in business marketing

We found out 18 months ago that most people have no concrete understanding of PR.

They think because they sponsor something, or advertise somewhere, they are entitled to “free space” or the placement of their news release.

In the continuing drive to educate people about what PR offers—and its 27 products as detailed on www.eilerpr.com, I offer this analysis of Why PR has Surpassed Advertising as the most credible way to build awareness of your business and products.

PR is a common term, but who knows what it is?

Ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 different replies. “Free advertising” “Always saying only the good of a business—never the bad.” “A lot of pap to make corporate business people feel important.”

People with new companies feel they must “get the name out there.” They must become known? But they often will not take this to the real step of investing in PR. Rather, they take an easy course and run some ads so they can see copy and design first. They pay a lot more than PR would cost to do the same thing—in terms of the actual space or time and production costs, that is.

But PR is in fact the best way to credibly communicate your messages directly to target audiences in meaningful ways in the media. How do we know this?

In the past several years, PR has far surpassed more costly and less-credible advertising as the primary technique to build awareness, credibility and believability among your business customers.

How has this happened?

Here are the reasons:

  1. The third party credibility provided by truthful PR far outweighs the credibility ads and their claims. Readers know the advertiser has purchased the space or time and controls the message, so they are far more likely to believe reporters, editors, news people and product users who give independent comments on issues, products or companies. PR enhances credibility because it gets the attention of key influencers in your industry and allows them to put the message out there, which, especially for new or little-known business, is far more effective than speaking for yourself.
  2. PR is inexpensive for a client’s return on investment. We have one client that in 2004 had $5.4 million worth of media coverage in business, trade, special interest and general consumer media. In 2005, that total rose to $8.4 million. That gave a return on investment of 24 times—that is the cost of the news space had it been purchased at normal ad rates. This result also include more than 2,200 clips in just the print media, exclusive of radio or TV news coverage. We just measured a product introduction for another client that spent about $1,400 in PR fees to generate news coverage in just six target-audience magazines. The result: $17,950 worth of space if it were purchased as ads. An ROI of 12.8 percent and greater credibility. In another recent example, a client’s ROI was 47 percent on dealings with a host of economic development issues.<.li>
  3. PR is focused on strategic moves, its “ready, aim fire,” not the “ready, fire, aim” approach of advertising. Advertising can reach everyone. It’s get an ad ready and fire. So what? Is everyone a typical customer? Aim comes more from PR where messages and audiences can be more precisely targeted. PR reaches those people in a specific target audience—a buyer or influencer that must be reached in the buy-decision process. PR means get ready, aim carefully by targeting audiences and messages, and fire. Not just get it ready and fire, hoping you will hit the market. A bit of analysis before going out with a PR campaign is always the best route.

Talk to me about how to make your business known.
larry [at] eilerpr.com 734 761-3399