Monthly Archives: July 2010

Miami and Fort. Lauderdale


 
Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa

   This is the fantastic hotel Jamie and I stayed in. ★★★★★     

Jamie Sapp and Ashley at Aruba (for dinner)

This was taken at a restuarant/bar/karaoke/beach side hangout. Who can say they were in Fort. Lauderdale and went to Aruba for dinner? (ha) 

After Dinner at Solita

The hotal clerk recommended a wonderful restaurant on Las Olas. When we noticed that they offered an $800 bottle of wine, we thought – ‘eh what the heck, we are on vacation…’ so we drank water instead!

Up, Up and Away... Over Fort. Lauderdale's crystal clear water

We had an absolute blast. We were busy looking for sharks and turtles while in the air, as well as waving to all the swimmers.   

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SMNR: The Know-How


WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS RELEASE?

  • A Social Media News Release (SMNR) aims to completely rethink the narrative, text-focused approach to news releases by taking advantage of linking multimedia and social media capabilities of the Web to make releases more reader-friendly and useful. SMNR’s incorporate the use of links, images and videos to increase the feel and mood of a release. They also keep readers interested in what the release is about and give them an opportunity to interact more than a regular news release.

“No matter how much technology you employ to help make your message stand out from the crowd, if the message does not resonate, the photos, links, and videos won’t help it.” – Michael Pranikoff, PR Newswire

  • In his book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, Dennis Wilcox explains that “these releases, pioneered by the major electronic distribution services, such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, and Marketwire, now make it possible to embed a news release with high-resolution photos, graphics, video, and audio components. Wilcox also refers to SMNR’s as Multimedia News Releases or Smart Media Releases.
  • According to Realwire, an SMNR is a release format designed for the online media world. In the online world, your story needs to be told with a larger variety of people in mind than the press release. Journalists, bloggers, publishers, and the public at large will be the majority of your audience, so write in a way that will be of interest to them all.

WHAT ARE SOME ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF SMNR’S?

  • Social Media Training lists some of the advantages of SMNR’s:
    • Optimized for search
    • Optimized for conversation
    • Optimized for sharing
    • Tells the entire story though multimedia
    • Provides contact on complicated stories
    • Makes a better impression, visually, than a wire release.
  • Other advantages:
    • Maximize exposure of the news release through online access
    • A broader variety of people on the internet have access to your SMNR
    • Members of the media can be directly linked to company websites, videos, podcasts, etc. directly
    • The speed at which they are communicated
  • In reference to Hubspot, some disadvantages of SMNR’s include:
    • Formatting – Since some journalists prefer plain hard copies of releases and are not ready for media releases that contain links, photos, videos and other social media sites. Many portals will not accept releases that have special formatting such as italicized and bold fonts, and bullets and indentions because they are more difficult to be syndicated.
    • Syndication – Sometimes the links and features that are present in the SMNR are “unclickable” or do not repost in the correct format making it impossible for a journalist to find the information you have send, ultimately frustrating them.

WHAT SHOULD A PR PRACTITIONER CONSIDER WHEN USING A SMNR?

  • A PR practitioner should consider using SMNR’s when a company or brand is introducing a new product or service, announcing financial news, or company achievements. They should also consider the use of a SMNR with the release of the new product or service and want to use videos, images, links and other graphics to convey a more visually appealing and detailed description to the reader or client.
  • Being able to physically see a product is more convincing to a client than just reading a plain description in a print release. Graphics and models add to the credibility of not only the product or service but also to the company.
  • SMNR’s also allow for more direct communication between the client and company. For example, it is much easier for a customer to make a decision on buying a new car when they are able to see and touch the car in person, rather than reading just a description of it.

(Information taken from Copy Blogger, HubPages, and Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques)

 HELPFUL LINKS TO HELP CREATE YOUR OWN SMNR:

  • There are several available sites to get your started on your SMNR. Sites like PitchEngine or PRXbuilder are great aids in getting your personal SMNR created. These sites are free and operate at a beginner level to help walk you through the steps necessary to take in order to successfully develop your SMNR. There are also tutorials you can follow that will also better explain the set-up process.

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF AN SMNR:

  • Campbell’s wants to help you grow your own tomatoes.
    • Visit their   to find out how.

TIPS FOR SMNR CREATION:

PRWeek: Craig McGuire gives techniques for incorporating social media into SMNR’s:

  • DO include links to pages where multiple instances of your key words/phrases reinforce your message.
  • DO place terms in key positions like headlines and first paragraphs.
  • DO distribute a release through a service that carries hyperlinks to downstream sites such as Yahoo! Finance, AOL News, and Netscape.
  • DON’T go link crazy. Too many links will confuse journalists and draw focus away from key messages.
  • DON’T use low-resolution images. Opt for high-resolution multimedia that can be easily used by layout pros.
  • DON’T use all tools, all the time. Focus first on the message. Use the bells and whistles to complement the campaign. 

(Information taken from Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox)

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They All Start Somewhere…


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TOW #9: My Top 10 PR Blogging Advice


Coming from someone who is a brand new blogger, I found this to be a wonderful opportunity to interact with readers, post helpful tips about social media, and give people a little bit of my personality. There are things and tips I picked up on in the process of blog development that I will continue to use. Here they are:

 1. Stay on Track – Be sure to stay up-to-date on whatever you may be blogging about. Getting behind on current events or topics will cause you to lose potential readers.

2. Link – When blogging, it is important to let your readers know what the source of your information is, if you have one. Be sure to link certain parts of your post in order to guide readers in the direction of more information on what the post is about. This also gives credit where credit is due in order to avoid plagiarism.

3. Mediums – Keep the feel of your posts fun and entertaining. Make your blog pop with pictures, videos and interesting fonts. Visual appeal is crucial. No one wants to look at a textbook blog.

4. Be Creative – Blogs are a way to express creativity, so do it. This will give the readers more drive to visit your blog. Entertain not only with words and creative writing, but also with visuals.

5. Personal Interest Should be Conversational – Create your personal interest blogs as if you were telling a story.  This makes your post seem more personal. It also gives your reader a chance to get to know you better.

6. About Me Page – Use this page as a way to introduce yourself. This allows your readers to know you before they read what you write, giving them a chance to feel more comfortable at your post.

7. Maintain the Focus – If you have a topic theme to your blog, be sure to stay on that focus. Someone searching for blogs about social media do not want to see posts about the latest model BMW that just came out.

8. Use Word – Blogs should be totally error free. Using Microsoft Word to type your text is a great way to eliminate mistakes. Word not only checks spelling, but it also checks for grammatical slip-ups. Once finished in Word copy and paste the text into your blog.

9. Keep Things Uniform – If you capitalize all the letters of some of your posts, capitalize all the titles. Keep things looking as if they all belong to the same blog. It makes it easier for readers to follow your style and also makes things look more organized.

10. Play Around – Most blog sites, such as WordPress, provide the option of changing and customizing your blog. Take advantage of the widgets and themes that are offered and be sure that your blog appeals to YOU as well as others that may be reading.

Get started here:

Blogging shouldn’t be lonely.

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TOW #8: 10 Ways to Drive a Journalist Crazy


In the PR world, PR practitioners and journalists are always going to have to network. Though practitioners are not aware of all of the duties of journalists and vice versa, those in the PR field have a tendency to annoy journalists. Here are several ways PR practitioners drive journalists crazy and ways to prevent them.

1. Too Much Contact – Instead of constantly trying to get in touch with the journalist, be patient. If you do not see your story published or if you have questions regarding your story, call once to check up on its status. Do not hound the journalist with calls and e-mails. This will not only annoy them, it will also cause you to gain negative work ethics; don’t ruin your reputation.

2. Not Enough Contact – On the other hand, too little contact will also leave a bad impression. It is likely that a journalist will need to get in touch with you at some point before publication. Be sure to be available. Availability will insure that the journalist is able to get any questions answered, or to gather further information about the story.  A quick response time is also crucial.

3. Being Unprofessional – When communicating with a journalist, be sure to be professional. Acting as if you are the journalist’s “buddy” or acting as if you are reporting just “another story,” will turn the journalist off. Be sure to use formal titles like Mr. and Mrs. and speak as if you are addressing a group of executives or someone that you want to make a good impression on.

4. Not Having Answers – Don’t expect your journalist to do your research for you. There is nothing the waste time like trying to find answers to questions that the PR professional has left you to find. Come prepared. If you do need to leave some strings untied, leave the journalist a direct route to the source.

4. Not Noting Revisions – Let’s not forget that deadlines do exist. When revisions are made to a release, let the journalist know. Without warning, the journalist is left to proofread and proofread in an attempt to spot slight changes. Do yourself and the journalist a favor and make note of what is revised.

5. Not Meeting Deadlines – Be conscious and aware that deadlines are a critical part of getting a story released. Sending important story information to a journalist will likely result in not getting your story published. Not staying on task will bother and possibly interrupt a journalist while they are busy on another story. Deadlines are not always set by the journalist either, pay mind to the fact that they are also following deadlines that have possibly been set by their company or boss.

6. Using Incorrect Formats – Sending a journalist a story or release that is error-free and in the correct format will only make their job easier. The last thing a journalist wants to do is correct mistakes that could have easily been avoided. Making a journalist mix formatting and grammatical errors will cause them to possibly get behind in other work and make them think less of you as a practitioner. Proofread and proofread again.

7. Using PR Lingo – Though most people may understand certain terminology like “chart-topping” or other phrases, most journalist want to know exactly what point you are trying to portray. Use simple phraseology when developing your story to ensure that the journalist will know exactly what you are trying to say.

8. Enough Consideration – Before sending a story to a journalist, be sure to consider every angle. Make sure you have done your research and every side to the story or release. Also take into consideration their feedback. It is important to interact with the journalists and make sure they know that you are interested in getting your client exposed in the media.

9. Inappropriate Releases – Be sure to consider what is really newsworthy before submitting a story to a journalist. Stories should not be only of personal interest but should appeal to a large audience. Sending in irrelevant stories or releases will only waste the journalist’s time, leaving them annoyed with you. Also consider what work the journalist is publishing and to what medium they are publishing. A story about the latest wild fire sent to a Glamour magazine journalist is likely not going to get published.

10. Sending Information out in Masses – Be sure to narrow down your journalist outlets as well as your target market. At some point, mass e-mails and information about your story will be looked at as spam, causing your story to go unnoticed. Make your journalist think that you specifically sent them the information in hopes that they will publish it. This makes you and your work seem more relevant.

These tips and more can be found from various sources:

                 

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