Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2007



About Eiler Communications &Public Relations Tools 24 Sep 2007 04:13 pm

PR akin to beaver dams

Beavers work assiduously to build their dams.

They’re never quite satisfied with the type of wood they gnaw, its length, its fit with other pieces of the their dam.

It’s like that with PR.

Most companies are never quite satisfied with their results from PR.

They expect new sales, new knowledge, greater awareness.

They try to do it alone or by telling their PR people or outside counsel how to do the work.

We listen, then design and build sturdy dams. Meant to serve a long time. Meant to be refined to adjust to the river’s flow, more beavers coming into the river, fewer fish to eat.

Our dams are smashing PR programs that help clients move into new markets, introduce new products, reach key people and organizations to create interest and help them decide to go our clients’ way.

We’ve built a lot of dams in 20 years for b-to-b, direct to consumer, financial services, high tech, investor and marketing PR.

We train. We advise. We do. Dams are our only product. How about a dam for you?

We’ll send you an essay on “Reasons Why PR Surpassed Advertising in Business Marketing.”

E-mail me: larry@eilerpr.com

Posted by Larry

Michigan Positive 24 Sep 2007 01:06 pm

Internet marketing panel at e2Detroit

Internet marketing strategies — a topic many people are educating themselves about — will be discussed by experts at the annual e2detroit conference next Tuesday,October 2, 1:30 – 3:10 p.m. Matthew Naegle, a Google AdWords strategist in Ann Arbor; Linda Girard, founder and visinary of Pure Visibility, an Internet marketing firm in Ann Arbor; and Apurvi Desai, marketing and PR manager of Asterand, Detroit; will join me to present a focused overview of what Internet marketing is all about. We’ll be in the McGregor Conference Center, room J, for two 50-minute presentations.

Lots of people want to learn about new media and how to use the Internet to reach customer and make sales. This sessions is aimed precisely at what people want to know. What is Google AdWords and how does it work to help me reach customers? What is SEO (search engine optimization) and how can it work for me? How do I unify various new media Internet techniques to be the best for my business?

Mr. Naegle will cover AdWords; Ms. Girard SEO; and Ms. Desai how various strategies with Internet marketing tools work together to benefit your business.

They’ll answer a series of questions that I will pose, including:

What is needed to be successful with an Internet marketing strategy?

What about budget?

How do I drive more leads to my site?

How do I get started?

What future innovations is Google planning in terms of on-line marketing?

Why is performing visitor behavior analysison your site important?

With the Internet growing rapidly as a source for reaching customers directly to generate knowledge of your business, you will want to hear from these leading people and companies.

Posted by Larry

Marketing &Social Media 21 Sep 2007 03:16 pm

A YouTube success story: Blendtec

I am not one of those people who thinks YouTube is a good PR tactic for every company in every industry. However, I do think it can be a great way for a company to build awareness and buzz, as long as the videos are interesting enough to stand on their own and they support the brand. Case in point, the Blendtec “Will it Blend?” campaign, initiated last year.

Legend has it (and by legend I mean the Wall Street Journal) that the first director of marketing for Blendtec discovered that the CEO routinely tested the blenders by feeding them unlikely and challenging material – like 2-by-2s. The marketer instantly thought it was a great idea for a low-budget video series, and one that the YouTube audience would digg (pun intended). The videos initially cost $50 to put together. No actors, no special effects. Just the CEO, the Blendtec logo in the background, a camcorder and some creative blending recipes: marbles, a tiki torch, hockey pucks, glow sticks. Would they blend? I won’t ruin the surprise.

Soon, hundreds, then thousands of YouTubers were watching the series and writing in to suggest blendable items. Next came the media, with coverage and commentary on the Blendtec “campaign” by major national publications and bloggers. And then, with the buzz, came sales, which increased by 43 percent that same year.

What can we learn from the creativity and simplicity of “Will it Blend?”, which just updated its series with a Chuck Norris action figure special this week? Well, the videos were interesting and fun. But they also had a point: Blendtec blenders can blend anything. Except Chuck Norris.

Posted by Rebecca

My favorite episodes:

Will it Blend: iPhone
Will it Blend: glow sticks
Will it Blend: magnets

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Life with Cancer &Media 18 Sep 2007 04:07 pm

How I actualized my control in dealing with cancer

In many recent TV interviews the subject of patients needing to take control of their destinies regarding their proper diagnosis and subsequent treatments has been addressed.

How does one go about getting all of the information that one needs when faced with a life threatening illness?

One day you are in control of your life and in a nano-second someone tells you that you have cancer and you could die.

We are somewhat an unusual couple to have both experienced a cancer diagnosis. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer 18 years ago the Internet did not exist. There were only two books that I could buy to learn about my disease. It was at this point that I discovered that I was an activist. I researched, talked with anyone who treated the disease, knew of folks with the disease. I felt totally out of control. I could not complete a sentence without the word breast cancer in it. After many consultations with various practitioners, I decided on a modified radical mastectomy with TRAM Flap reconstruction.

While I was in the hospital I filmed a video talking about “self-actualization,” a phrase I had coined during this process. I sent it to The Oprah Winfrey Show in hopes that she would reach out to the millions of women that religiously watch her show and show them the importance of knowing their bodies and taking control of their illnesses with knowledge.

My doctors told me that because my tumor was so small I would not need chemotherapy. Lymph node report was so significant they all stood out in the hall, drawing straws as to who would tell me. Six months of big guns, losing my hair, trying to run our newly-formed PR business and care for seven children ages 6 through 23 took all of my energy.

It was years before I would ever plan anything longer than three months. My oncology visits were every three months and those would determine my life span. Every time that I would have my blood drawn I would be conscious that my destiny was in that vial of blood. I fully recovered and at this point considered “cured.” My husband, Larry wrote a book, When the Woman You Love Has Breast Cancer. It is an emotional support book for men who are dealing with wives or lovers with the disease.

In 2000 Larry was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His diagnosis sent me into a memory tailspin dredging up all of my old emotions and not being able to look at his cancer clearly. I was able to gain the control I need and went to work on research.

Because of the Internet, I was able find boundless helpful information for us. The physician who had diagnosed him was far too cavalier in his approach. Surgery was his only option, which could leave him incontinent and impotent. We had both done far too much research to not go forward with consults to determine other avenues of treatment.

Two consults in Michigan, one in California, one in Miami and one in Seattle. His choice was to go with the physician who had pioneered Brachytherapy in the United States.

Prostate cancer I found to be a much more political arena. Depending on the doctor’s expertise and experience is what they recommend. Many new treatment modalities are there for men. Larry’s experience with his prostate cancer led him to write his second cancer book, Prostate Cancer’s Emotional Maze: Forging Your Way.

Unlike for women the age-old “Slash, Poison and Burn,” advancements in the treatment of prostate cancer continue. In 18 years I have said goodbye to far many women dying with breast cancer.

This is just meant to be a starter discussion. Everyday people are diagnosed with heart disease, rare disorders, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and others. This is your life, not a dress rehearsal and you have to take control of it as best you can. Information is out there and although your treatment provider might not like it, he/she will respect the fact that you are an active participant in your disease treatment. As hard as it is to do, try to put your life in perspective. There are diseases that are far worse to deal with then yours

Be self-actualized and always have an advocate to clarify what is said to you.

Posted by Sandy

Social Media &Technology PR Insights 13 Sep 2007 04:04 pm

My re-entry to the PR world

After more than 12 years in corporate communications, public relations, community relations and marketing, I took two years off to run my own business. In August, I decided to return to PR and happily ended up here at Eiler. Though I’ve only been away from the industry for two years, my re-entry has involved quite a bit of learning. Why? The evolution of new media.

In a 2006 Corante article, “Rebuilding Media,” media expert Vin Crosbie defines the two hallmark characteristics of new media. These are:

  • Uniquely individualized information can simultaneously be delivered or displayed to a potentially infinite number of people.
  • Each of the people involved—whether publisher, broadcasters, or consumer—shares equal and reciprocal control over that content.

Fortunately, I’m starting to figure out how to use the intuitive technologies. In fact, usability has not been an issue; time has. Exploring Linked-In felt like prepping for a high school reunion as I began to grow my network and saw who was on everyone else’s network and what they were doing. It’s so easy to get sucked in for hours at a time, especially if you start reaching out to people via email and phone.

Next, I’m embarrassed to admit I went on YouTube for the first time last week, and the story that got me to finally logon was about some beauty pageant contestant who answered a geography question with a string of words that made absolutely no sense. The kicker was she won third place. I just had to see the person who had answered this question.

Beyond initial exploration, however, I’m also starting to learn the PR applications of these technologies. I may have wasted some time on Linked-In and YouTube, but I’ve also learned how I can use these new media tools on behalf of my clients. I know having a large network is important in order to help my clients when they run into problems they can’t solve that aren’t PR related. I also know YouTube can be a great place for unique product launches or online press tours of colorful spokespeople. These are just two ways among many to use these two forms of new media.

The challenge now will be to try to learn at a pace that is slightly faster than the pace at which new media technology evolves.

Posted by Linda

Marketing &Media &Public Relations Tools &Technology PR Insights 05 Sep 2007 01:06 pm

The Newsroom 2.0

Does your PR/marketing person drone on about the upkeep of your company’s Web site newsroom opportunity? That’s likely because they know the majority of journalists research their articles and search for press releases nowadays. According to DMNews, “Corporate Web sites are a key source of information when reporting breaking news when no other primary source is available.” On a news deadline, the company with the most accessible information gets the coverage.

Web site newsrooms are commonplace by now, but you can separate yours from the masses by making it better. Here are five ways to do it:

1. Make sure the newsroom link is obvious from the homepage. If the link to your newsroom is subtle, or worse yet, inaccessible from your homepage, change it. If you were a reporter, how much trouble would you go to for your press release?

The likelihood of media visiting your site is high, especially if preparing for an interview with one of your executives. Approach your newsroom with that in mind. Does your content meet the needs of someone doing quick research about your company? Avoid the temptation to “track” media by requiring a username and password set-up to access your newsroom. It’s annoying, and if information is confidential or sensitive it doesn’t belong in the newsroom.

2. A newsroom is more than your online press release archive. Newsletters, executive speech transcripts, event photos and abstracts from recent media coverage are all appropriate additions. Think creatively about how to keep content fresh.

Post an online media kit to your newsroom for easy downloading. Include the same materials you would in a media folder: executive bios and photos, your latest company news release, a backgrounder or fact sheet about your business and a high-res logo.

3. Remember to date all posted press releases and newsroom items—readers need context. This will also force you to keep content up-to-date. Neglecting to post news as it is released wastes everyone’s time and defeats the purpose of the newsroom. Content should also be easy to navigate. Consider making your content searchable by multiple fields, like date, topic or headline, and available in multiple formats like Word and PDF.

4. Set up an RSS feed so media (and others) can subscribe to your site’s updates. An RSS (Really Simple Syndication), like Feedburner, is free and downloadable as an icon to your Web site. RSS feeds “read” the sites their users subscribe to and send an update when new content is posted. In other words, journalists can subscribe to your RSS and receive a prompt on their homepage when you post a new press release.

Many journalists actually prefer RSS subscriptions to receiving press releases via e-mail, because it allows them to “opt-in” to your news and provides real-time updates. In 2005, Robert Scoble (Microsoft tech evangelist) notoriously blogged that any marketing person who did not add an RSS feed to their Web site should be fired. Harsh. But it’s a valuable tool we should all be using.

5. Identify one media contact in your newsroom and provide his/her contact information on the Web page, not just within press releases. Generic “info@” e-mail addresses or request-for-information survey pages are disconcerting for journalists who may be on deadline and want to contact the right person in a timely fashion.

The moral of the story is to evaluate your newsroom from a journalist’s perspective: someone unfamiliar with your company’s history, leadership and chain of command. Does your site paint a clear picture of your corporate identity? If not, it may be a good idea to do some housekeeping; statistically it is the most popular place people go to learn about your company.

Posted by Rebecca