Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What's your new year's resolution?

Yep, it's that time of year. Time to start anew. Start refreshed. A clean slate.

So, do you have a resolution for 2006?

What about resolving to keep an open mind? To start each project with a fresh slate.

The great thing about being in marketing and communications is the variety. Whether you work in-house or for a firm, every day and every project is at least subtly different.

Another great thing is the redundancy: the annual trade shows, new product launches, and even new business strategies and rebranding.

While no two projects or campaigns are exactly the same, you do get opportunities to try new strategies and tactics. You can prove yourself all over again.

So, for 2006, the next time you have a new product launch, don't get lazy and dust off last year's plan. Take a serious look at who you really want to target. Conduct research or even do some brainstorming about why your audience(s) should purchase or specify your product. Then, research or even brainstorm about how you can reach your audience(s) with your message(s).

Think outside of your specific job responsibilities.

What new technologies are available you can use? What old ways could still be effective? Can you combine the new with the old?

What about a PR stunt? What about developing a sales incentive program or sales contest? Instead of issuing a news release, why don't you take your story to the media. What about an online news conference?

Whatever you resolve, don't make resolutions only in January. Make resolutions -- a fresh start -- with each project.
-- Mike

Technorati tags: Marketing

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Citizen Columnists

Many bloggers have been called and some even like to banty about the term "citizen journalism" or "citizen journalists."

I don't think that's an accurate, or best term to describe it. (Technically, maybe, but I'll get to that later.)

Actually, bloggers are "citizen columnists." Right?

Blogs are mostly opinions and comments on news. Not really primary news. Isn't that what columnists do? Comment? Opine? Speculate?

The other main classification of how bloggers blog is by providing links to news media and other blogs. (In keeping with the journalism jargon, let's call these "calendar of events" blogs.)

Granted, since columnists are a subset of journalists, technically, bloggers can be called citizen journalists. But, "citizen columnists" is more accurate. For a citizen journalist, you'd expect some news. Something that you can't really find elsewhere, correct?

NOTE: I've never heard the term before, and initially thought it was my own brainstorm. But, I'm wrong. Regardless who coined the phrase, it still it more accurate than citizen journalists.

The only exception to the rule is when bloggers post interviews. I've done it (okay, just once). POP! PR's Jeremy Pepper has done it often. Even Microsoft's Robert Scoble has done it. And, I know other bloggers have, too.

Really, other than these interviews, the only true citizen journalism site I know of is

Am I dead on? Or, am I slicing hairs and being picky?


Technorati tags: Citizen Journalism, OhMyNews, POP! PR, Scoble

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

True Citizen Journalism

There's been a lot of talk about citizen journalism. Steve Rubel touts it. You also see it at Poynter. The Cyber Journalism site even has a list.

But, likely one of the oldest (if not the oldest) truely citizen journalist site around is The SF Chronicle had a great piece on it in Sunday's (Sept. 18) edition.

Nothing but news from "citizen reporters" across South Korea, and even outside the country. Yes, South Korea. Not the the U.S.

According to the story, the site very much has an "us vs. them" attitude:
"'So here we hoist our flag and declare war on the old media system. ... We are overthrowing the basic principles of news reporting, which for many years has been taken for granted by many of the world's newspapers,' declares one of the company's brochures."

The site, which pays for submitted stories (about 2 in 3 are accepted) generates revenue from ads (70 percent), syndicated sales and premium contents.

Wonder when the first one will be nearly as successful here in the states?

-- Mike

Technorati tags: South Korea, Citizen Journalism, Journalism, Media

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The power of blogging

I've said it before that the power of Web logging is the immediacy and the intimiacy it offers.

Yes, the Web is known for quick information -- a basic site can be up in minutes. Live video. Podcasting. Breaking news.

But, nothing yet is faster than blogging. Especially with the free services available.

That speed and the personal communications blogs enable has never been more evident than the impact of the site in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

MediaChannel has a story from Online Journalism Review's Mark Glaser about the actual life-saving impact the "Times-Picayune's" site had on the residents of New Orleans. For example:

"[ Editor Jon] Donley said that an aide of Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, the commander of the relief efforts, had tasked a group of people with monitoring the NOLA View blog, and were taking notes and sending out rescue missions based on the postings. 'In fact, one time we had some server issues,' Donley said, 'and [the aide] wrote us frantically saying, "Get this up as soon as you can, people's lives depend on it. We've already saved a number of lives because of it."'"

Yes, reported news, but it also allowed displaced citizens to post help for people still trapped, and other information via its blog.

That is the power of blogging. A definite congratulations to Jon Donley and the entire and Times-Picayune staff for their dedicated, life-saving work.

-- Mike

Technorati tags: Blogging, Blog, Weblog, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, Journalism, Citizen Journalism,

Friday, September 09, 2005

The "new" Quark

Props to Glen Turpin and his team for the new branding identity at Quark.

From a writer's viewpoint, the "Q" graphic logo treatment is interesting. It took me a couple seconds to realize what it was (with the dangling part of the Q shortened). But, I think it'll be well received.

Those in the graphics community are very passionate about their programs (and computers). It'll be very interesting to gauge the reaction.

-- Mike

Technorati tags: Quark, branding, identity, marketing, business, publishing, logo

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Cool trick for NYT articles

Dan Kennedy of Media Nation posts a cool trick for bloggers to link to "NY Times" articles that won't expire.

(Actually, the trick is from Aaron Swartz, but still thanks to Mr. Kennedy for posting it again.)
-- Mike

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

SC paper creates 'citizen journalism' blog

Columbia, S.C.'s "The State" newspaper is taking newspapers where they've never been before (or, at least where few have been).


Not just a reporter or editor. Actually, not any reporter or editor. In fact, the newspaper will launch a new site Sept. 1 -- -- with content provided by 25 community experts to serve as "citizen journalists."

"The State's" Online Editor Dave Roberts said the objectives of the newspaper's blog include increasing reader participation and news tips. In addition, "The State" hopes to generate additional advertising revenue geared to the specific topics or niches being blogged.

As a journalist still at heart, I think "The State's" foray into blogging -- and using local experts -- is a great outreach program: Generating more traffic and interest to its own paper, providing additional services for readers all the while generating additional revenue.

I definitely hope it works.


Technorati tags: blogs, blogging, citizen journalism, journalism

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The demise of the news release?

A posting Monday Steve Rubel of Micropersuaion deal with story in the "St. Petersburg Times" about Sunbelth Software. To summarize, Sunbelt discovered an identity theft ring, and gained international media attention because of its discovery. (Yes, it did notify the FBI.)

How did it make this announcement?

Through a news release via PRNewswire or BusinessWire?


Sunbelt Software posted a message on its company's blog.

While some companies like Microsoft and Google already have blogs and offer feeds for their company news and blogs, it's definitely not the norm.

At least, not yet.

But, in the future, more and more companies will distribute their news simply via corporate blog posts and/or via XML feeds. Not just technology companies, but all companies. In plastics, in building products, in automotive, utilities, institutional, etc., and other industries and markets.

Rather than pushing news to media, the media will be pulling ustomized news from the companies and industries on their beat. Today's newsrooms -- many which don't even exist in B2B companies -- will primarily consist of blogs.

It's just another example of the amazing personalization and interaction the Web offers.

-- Mike

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Do we need a definition for Web logs?

Like many, I read the comScore report that said one in six Americans visit/read blogs, among other things.

Now, also like many of you, there's been some conflict about traffic to blogs, and blog ranks. I'm not going into that.

What got me thinking was the line in the introduction (page 2, 2nd paragraph) that "it is likely that a certain number of people in a survey regularly visit specific sites without realizing that those sites would be qualified as "blogs," and so they neglect to identify themselves as blog readers."

Does there need to be a definition of what a blog is?

I visited some of the "blogs" that were ranked high. Many, like the R- or worse rated doesn't seem like a blog. It has too many internal links on the left side, and seems like a regular Web site.

Should a blog be pretty basic, simple? Shouldn't a blog contain the owner's comments, opinion, links to information, other sits, and maybe a little about the owner?
Too much more than that, than it's not a blog. Right?

Am I off?

Isn't there some unwritten but commonly accepted definition of a blog?

If not, there should be.
-- Michael

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

GPS on airplanes?

You know what would be a great feature on airplanes?

If each passenger on the airplane was able to find where he/she is at any point during the flight.

When flying, you usually cannot determine where you are, relative to a state or the entire U.S. (or other country you may be flying over). So, why not devise a GPS-type, hand-held device for each seat that allows fylers to see where they on a map.

Yes, I know that the captain will sometimes point out landmarks, but that seems to be more rare.

How cool would that be?

And, maybe charge an extra $5 or so per ticket for all passengers to cover the cost. How much would it really be to implement?
-- Michael

Friday, August 05, 2005

Great PR links

Am in the process of adding some real "PR meat" to my main blog, Just added links under three "PR Resources" link categories:

  • Media list development,
  • News search sites (good if you don't have a clipping service), and
  • News release distribution resources.

There may be some inconsistencies in the formatting, but will correct that. All links do work.

I will add more resources as time goes on. But, am definitely open to more helpful resources that we all can share. And, if I post your suggestion(s), will give credit in a post.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Personal connectivity

One of the great things about the Internet -- specifically discussion boards like Yahoo! Groups, IM'ing, e-mailing, chatting, etc. -- is the personal connectivity. One-on-one expressions.

Even sites like Amazon personalize your visits by making suggestions for purchases based on what you previously bought.

I've always thought that the one great thing about one-on-one 'net communication is that you can be totally honest. Why not? Most likely, you won't ever meet the person or group you are connecting with. What do you have to lose?

But, the flip side is that people can be totally fake. Who's gonna know, right?
Another flip side (yes, I've just made a three-sided coin) is that people type things they would never say to someone face-to-face.

While the various vehicles noted above provide great avenues for personal connectivity, they also provide a barrier for people to hide behind: their keyboard.

It's a shame that better judgement and even common courtesy is not always practiced in that personal connectivity, whether personal or professional.
-- Michael

Monday, August 01, 2005

Traditional media on the outs?

Traditional media on the outs?

Reputable bloggers and even so-called "citizen journalism" will definitely continue to grow, and gain credibility. No big news there. However, don't count out the current traditional media of newspapers, TV, radio, etc.

While their value for editorial "hits" may be less due to increased media competitors and fewer eyes reading/viewing them, your local newspaper and TV station will still be vital vehicles for those in media relations.

Traditional media will -- and some are -- place more importance on their Web portals for day-to-day information. No longer will daily, or even 6, noon, 6 and 11 be enough.

All this means is that those in PR working with the media have more avenues to track, to get to know, and to develop those ever-so-important trusted relationships with.

Competition can hurt while in process, but it does make us better.
-- Michael

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Help me help you . . .

Pitching a story is about knowing the media outlet(s) you are trying to reach. What is the style? Who is the correct contact? Put your pitch in context with trends or the outlet's scope, etc., etc.
Along that same line, to work effectively with the media, you need to make their job as easy as possible.

How? Write stories to fit their style (like AP). Provide ample visual, and even audio resources, if needed. Provide as much help as you can for the reporter to make it as easy as possible for him/her to publish your story.

I am fortunate to have a story on this topic a published by in January 2005.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Why blog?

Granted, I'm no historian, but by the definition of Web log, I'm pretty sure blogs started as online diaries of a sort. Just a way for people to sound off on topics and post the goings-on in their respective lives.

But, somewhere down the road, they turned into sources of information -- credible and not so credible. The 2004 RNC and DNCs were proof as bloggers were issued press passes.
So, why do you blog?

For personal reasons: sounding off, make predictions and as an online diary?
Or, to try to scoop others?

Me? For now, to sound off, a little self-promo (to come), and provide a well of informational links (still to come). Guess the scooping will come much later.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Starting point . . .

While my main site -- MikesPoints -- is being worked on, I'm posting here.

Before getting on to the nitty gritty, I want to thank Greg Brooks of West-Third Group and for hosting my main site.

Now for the real stuff. And, remember, you heard it here first: Within 10 years, maybe sooner, computer monitors will be on the way out.

They will be replaced by projections (likely 3-D) of what you now see on the screen. CRTs and flat screens will be the old technology. Users will just have a keyboard, with a little projector off the front to project whatever is being typed, or graphics, or games or other multi-media. The data will be projected into the air, not a backdrop.

After this "vision" came to me, I thought of the very first Star Wars movie, where R2D2 showed the message from Princess Leia to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Her image was projected from R2D2 in 3-D. So, that's what will replace computer monitoris within 10 years. Or sooner.

Maybe this is a startling prediction. Maybe it's not. We'll see.