Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

14 June

How To Write A Better Press Release}

How To Write A Better Press Release


Brian KonradtA press release is the most effective way to generate free publicity for your business or organization. A well-written press releases can generate mountains of coverage, and most of the time, that coverage will be more in-depth than any ad. Writing press releases are tricky; since they’re targeted mostly to journalists, the focus, style and tone is different from the typical business document. The following tips will help you craft a clear, creative press release.THE BASICSLike any news story or announcement, a press release must be spun” — that is, it must have a particular angle interesting to journalists and, subsequently, to readers. Sure, the opening of a new office might mean big things for your company, but it’s of little interest to the rest of the community if you don’t tell them why they should care. Consider the following elements of a good press release and incorporate them into your work:RELEVANCE: This is the most basic concern you need to address; how is your news relevant to the publication’s demographic? Are you providing jobs or new services? Is a prominent community figure involved? Does it relate somehow to a recent hot topic? Always know your release’s relevance before writing.TIMELINESS: A journalist will rarely pay attention to a release if it isn’t timely. Does your release relate specifically to a holiday or event? Did it happen recently or will it happen soon?DISTINCTIVENESS: What makes your news unique? Is it something interesting, or different, enough that people outside your company or organization would want to read about it? Would you?LACK OF COMPETITION: Think carefully about other news or events taking place at the time of your release. Are you competing with holiday news when your release isn’t at all holiday related? Will publications have bigger stories with which to concern themselves? If so, hold off on releasing your story until there’s a bigger gap in the news cycle. THE FORMATHow you write your press release is equally as important as the information you choose (or choose not) to include. Follow these steps when writing your press release, and keep them in mind as you create a personal template for future releases. RELEASE DATE: This should be the first thing under your letterhead. Include the exact date if the material is restricted to a specific time, or use the words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE if time isn’t a factor.HEADLINE: A strong headline will draw attention to your release, much like a strong headline draws attention to any news story. This should be one line only, in all caps and indicative of your release’s exact point.LEAD PARAGRAPH: In three sentences or less, immediately summarize your story. This paragraph is often called a nut graf” in the newspaper business — it tells the story in a nutshell.BODY PARAGRAPH(S): The remaining paragraphs elaborate on your story and often include quotes from prominent people within the company or in your community. Keep the writing short and snappy, using familiar words and eliminating any clichs or redundancies. Remember: you’re essentially writing for journalists, so use a style similar to that of the publication you’re approaching. This should be no more than two paragraphs, which keeps your entire release to one double-spaced page.END: A closing paragraph or summary (like the kind found in letters or reports) isn’t necessary for a release; remember, this is similar to a news story. End with either ###, -end- or -30-.

Brian Konradt has been a professional freelance writer for more than a decade. To read more articles on

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21 April

Find Yourself With Your Cell Phone

By Madison Lockwood

A few years ago, the FCC mandated that cell phones have GPS capacity or some form of location mechanism so that the phone and its operator could be located in the case of a 911 call. The law took effect at the beginning of 2005. Today, over one hundred million cell phones in this country have a chip that provides GPS capacity and increasingly, software services are emerging that put them to use.

GPS stands for Global Positioning Software and it simply means that an equipped device can be located by the satellites overhead in geosynchronous orbit that are built to pick up GPS signals. While the cell phone companies initially were reluctant to participate, they have begun to develop subscription services that provide software to help you use the tracking system.

The GPS technology without bells and whistles simply pinpoints the location of your cell phone. A techie named Chuck Fletcher developed a freeware program called Mologogo that allows one Mologogo equipped phone to locate other, similarly equipped phones. It’s become a method for a few thousand cell owners to keep track of each other, but hasn’t moved much beyond that.

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Verizon and Sprint have developed subscription services that will allow your phone to pinpoint your location, complete with overhead map. It’s a mobile driving assistance tool that should enjoy some degree of popularity. The cell phone companies have been reticent to provide general access to the GPS feature in their phones, because it can be a sensitive privacy issue – especially if you’re somewhere you’re not supposed to be.

More to the point, however, is the fact that the cell operators see the GPS technology as a potential profit center. One way to get driving directions with a GPS cell phone is to subscribe to a GPS navigation service. Nextel offers two: Televigation’s TeleNav and Motorola’s ViaMoto. Using the GPS and Nextel’s network, TeleNav and ViaMoto can send driving directions to a Nextel phone. If you make a wrong turn or miss a street, the service detects that you’re off the route and new route is calculated to put you back on track.

Aside from the basic mapping and location support, if you’re a Sprint-Nextel customer you can subscribe to a service called Smarter Agent. This GPS supported technology is tied to a real estate database and can provide you with information on home sales in the neighborhood where you and your cell phone happen to be located. It will identify which homes have sold in the neighborhood in the last few years, and for what price.

Verizon has a service called getGOING. You can download applications such as AtlasBook Places. With AtlasBook Places you can get maps and directions and navigate to nearby places. An option is a web-based planning tool. These functions are available on selected Verizon phones.

There’s an inherent privacy issue here that is a challenge for the major cell providers. Sprint-Nextel is the only company that has always allowed access to the GPS chips in its handsets. They have a strict privacy agreement with any third party service providers such as Smart Agent. If you download software that is not provided through Nextel, however, you have no such guarantee of privacy. This issue, aside from dollar signs, is what has kept GPS functionality largely an in-house development of the cell phone companies.

About the Author: Madison Lockwood is a customer relations associate, specializing in small business development, for Apollo Hosting. Apollo Hosting provides website hosting, ecommerce hosting, vps hosting, and web design services to a wide range of customers.


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11 February

How Important Is Cleanliness To Your Business?

By Bill Johnsons

Business establishments represent the company. If people see their offices or stores dirty, the company will have a negative image right away. Of course, this will affect the overall performance of the business. So to promote cleanliness and of course, the image of the business the company should hire a cleaning company to take care of things for them.

Why Keeping a High Standard in Cleanliness Is Important

Again, the image of the company is at stake here. Every business needs to project a good image to the public especially to its target market. In order to get the trust of its customers and clients, the company needs to give a sign of efficiency to them. If the company cannot event maintain cleanliness then people would take it that it cannot be efficient in more serious things.

Because of this, you have to instill in your employees this idea. You also have to show that you are serious in your work. By promoting cleanliness you show your employees how thorough you can be when it comes to promoting the business. It will show that you not leaving anything for granted.

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How to Give a Signal That Cleanliness Is Important

You have to give a good example by showing them that you pick up trash that you see. This would encourage them to do the same in their work areas and in common areas as well. But again, you have to supplement this cleaning by hiring some cleaners to really focus on the cleanliness of the office or the store.

If they see that you are allocating budget for cleaning, they will know that it is truly important to the company. This will even encourage them to follow your example. And when they help keep the work area clean, the cleaners would also be more effective in their work. They would be able to focus on hard to remove dirt. They would be able to finish their work earlier too.

Why Still Hire a Commercial Cleaning Company

Again, hiring commercial cleaning companies would be a good sign to employees. And since the employees are not hired to be cleaners this will also give them more time to actually do the work they were hired for.

Most of all, the credit goes back to the company. A clean establishment would be taken more seriously. Clients and customers would trust you more the more positive image you project. And by hiring a commercial cleaning company, you are also able to provide an environment conducive for productive work.

Identifying Your Companys Needs

Before you go off getting janitorial services for your company, you need to identify your purpose first. Would you need one anyway and why would you need it? Think about the fact that this will be an additional cost for your company and the more professional the janitorial services is, the bigger the cost it would probably take. Identify the job description of your janitor first so you can have clear parameters of their function before you deploy them.

You should also figure out how long you will need the janitorial services and the schedules. Do you want them to report only during weekdays or would you also want them to be in the office during weekends? Schedules also matter because there are differences in pay rates depending on the time you ask these janitors to report for work. Plot their schedules according to the real needs of your company.

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2 January

A Brief Guide To Musicians On Twitter}

A Brief Guide To Musicians On Twitter


Brandyn Buchanan

Between MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, ReverbNation, Soundclick, and, it seems unfathomable that music fans would have any more time to think about, let alone discuss, music on the internet, but Twitter has been taking the internet by storm the last few months, following users away from the computer and bringing notes and updates directly to their cellphones.

While it’s fairly understandable that you could pick up short updates from your friends (eating chinese, LOL!), chances are you associate music with something deep that makes a permanent impact on you, and microblogging about delicious cake doesn’t seem to compute with those ideas. But even famous musicians are people too, and Twitter’s brief format allows for normally busy people to shoot off a couple of sentences from their phones from an airport without going through the trouble of logging onto their computers and waiting for a page to load and telling the world what they’ve been doing for the last few weeks – it’s an ideal format if you’re on the go and, you know, doing stuff.

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So, who are some of the biggest (and most interesting) musicians using this service? We took some time browsing online, and we were pleasantly surprised at what we found: even for musicians whose material we didn’t love, we found compelling and readable material.

Well, Dave Matthews is an afficiando of the service. He updates relatively frequently, but it seems like he uses the service something like an email inbox – popping up, responding to a handful of interesting comments, posting up a thought of his own, and then moving on.

John Mayer is also on the site, and for the most part, he doesn’t bother telling us what he ate for lunch this afternoon. He uses the service more like a blog – he posts in various one sentence thoughts and nonsequitors. And most of it is legitimately funny : “Just signed a deal to sell ad space inside my Tweets. Now it’s time to celebrate with one of the many low sodium soups from Campbells!”

If you’re looking for musicians who fulfill the Twitter stereotype of constant updates for the ADD crowd, look no further than New York MC Talib Kweli.Random hollas at followers are, on one hand, a little bit annoying, but on the other hand, watching him interact with other rappers (mostly people like Jean Grae, on his own Blacksmith label) is fun to watch.

Not to say every musician Twitter page is as interesting and authentic. The Britney Spears and Pearl Jam accounts seem more of an arm of their PR departments : plenty of links to whatever album or show is being shilled at the moment, with at least the occassional missive in Britney’s case. It seems kind of a strange way to use the service – if a fan is hardcore enough to seek you up and sign up to track you, what are the odds they need to be reminded to buy your record?

There are plenty of interesting people on Twitter : Matisyahu and The Veronicas post rather often, and we’re rather partial to Muse frontman Matt Bellamy’s account here.. And you can read an exhaustive list of artists and promoters to pick out ones you’re into personally.

Twitter isn’t really a perfect solution for musicians or fans – you can’t post up songs or images or music videos or any of that other stuff you need for a “sticky” website. But it’s a great way to quickly (“blink of an eye” quick) catch up on what your favorite people are up to. And if you don’t use Twitter, there’s a handy RSS output on every page. Plug it into your RSS reader if you’d like to be… Twitted… without having to… Tweet? Then kick back and enjoy!

A music community hoping to make music a little less disposable. Stereozeitgeist is the place where you can share the views in regard to the music and you can upload music videos

The advent of the internet has been like The Singularity in the way we relate to music.Stereozeitgeist is a music community where you can share the views and upload music videos. Free music downloads are also available. Reach me at

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26 October

How To Find Good Spots For Metal Detecting

Submitted by: John Schofield

The hobby of metal detecting is something that is taken up by different hobbyists due to various personal reasons. It is not that exclusive of a hobby because it does not require any complex skills or really expensive gadgets for you to join in the circle of metal detecting hobbyists. All you need to have is a good metal detector that will endure all the physical tests that you will have to put the device through. Some people have gone into metal detecting when they were propelled by the thought of finding something precious, such as a piece of jewellery, antique stuff, old coins, and the like. This is only one reward that you will get paid for once you are already a meal detecting hobbyist too. Others have turned to metal detecting due to the anticipation of having to find and study something that has its own unique story before being buried in the ground for how long. Social reasons might also be involved as well, such as the huge possibility of meeting new people, making new friends, and engaging in a lot of travels. Moreover, metal detecting can also help develop certain good characteristics that are worth keeping such as perseverance, discipline, and patience.

Metal detecting would be an even more rewarding hobby if you know where to find the best spot for hunting. A good start would be to do some research that requires patience. Lots of patience would be needed to go through ancient records and old maps or atlas. These kinds of resources can be found in public repositories. By digging through all these things, you can pinpoint specific locations of possible sites where lots of metals could have been buried. These are old churches, old schools, fort sites, former battle sites, old campgrounds, old dumping sites, old playgrounds, and some other old sites where lots of people used to gather.

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For beginners in metal detecting, the best practice that could be had is beach combing with your metal detector. This means that you have to find a good beach with busy people. With higher traffic comes the possibility of more lost things with metal among them. The seashore will not only become your test ground because you will not only find trial items there but the real thing. Think small projects first before you jump into the sites where more metals are in store for you to uncover. Moreover, fine-combing in seashores will give you time to learn more about the factors that affect metal detecting. These are moisture content, ground minerals, trash proximity, target angle, oxidation or rust, surface textures, target defects, and other factors.

Another source that can point you to the right metal detecting site would be the locals or the old timers who have seen the evolution of the town, or a certain site. Compared to your other leads such as old newspapers and books, these local folks can be your guide. Make sure that you will ask the right questions and do so politely to encourage them to answer you politely as well. If you can befriend them, all the better it is for you too. You will not only leave the town with possibly good finds but good friends who can be your real gems then.

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3 October

People Buy People The Art Of Networking By A Marketing Man}

People Buy People – The Art of Networking by a Marketing Man


Phil Hopkins

Marketing is a balancing act a bit like insurance really you probably want it all but can’t afford everything!

In the end you decide what you’re most likely to need, determine what will work best for you and make a calculated investment. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t (that’s called ‘market testing’!) and sometimes you wish it had worked better.

So, what’s likely to get you the best results direct mail, graphic design, websites, public relations, newsletters, search engine marketing or one of the many other ‘tactical’ methods offered by a myriad of firms littered between Leeds, London, Lisbon and beyond!

Unfortunately there is no correct answer so, in this instance, I am going to make the case for ‘your own people’ or, put another way, ‘networking’, often known as ‘relationship marketing’ by so-called industry ‘gurus’ eager to give it a more hifalutin name

Dale Carnegie was the first to figure it out with his best selling book ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’, written as far back as 1936 and, if I were to try and sum up his book, it would be ‘be nice to people and don’t make enemies for the sake of three second victories!’. Why? Because people do business with people. Queer your pitch and you’ve lost before you’ve even begun.

It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job, people will not give you the time of day if you are not a nice person only, of course, if you are a specialist surgeon and the only person in the world capable of performing life saving surgery! In reality most of us have lots of competition in the world of business, and potential prospects will only look at our wares if they have first decided ‘oh, he was a nice chap’ or ‘she came over really well.’

So, assuming you have not had a personality bypass, how might you or your staff network to full effect?

Who do you know and how expansive is your network? Well, the ‘who’ may run out pretty quickly. Then it’s down to your ability to ‘work’ a strange environment, a room where you know no-one. You need the right person, preferably someone with a bit of personality.

Do you network at one of the local breakfast clubs or at the highest possible level? Would the thought of attending a government dinner and holding conversation with the president of a foreign country phase you? Only you know the answer. But, in either case, the rule book changes little.

For now let’s stick with the basics, the ‘technique’ rather than the venue or function. Whether it’s a Chamber of Commerce breakfast or a Business Network International meeting the protocols are the same.

Have you ever stopped for a moment and asked yourself why you attend events? To do business of course! Obvious as it may seem some people are professional networkers but rarely do any business, whilst others see it as their sole mission to talk to as many people as possible without ever achieving much or to eat as much food as possible. Be wary of 40 stone networkers, professional buffet eaters and talkers who NEVER listen they are so busy selling!

Firstly, decide WHICH event you want to attend and, once there, get hold of a delegate list so that you know who is in the room. Divide it down, in your head, into ‘sectors’. Don’t go talking to lawyers if your sector target is the owner managers of children’s nurseries.

Note what table they are seated at, if there is a seating plan and choose your moment to introduce yourself.

So many people interrupt a conversation between two individuals. Thanks, you’ve just wrecked your target’s chance of closing a deal / setting up a meeting! Do you think he’s going to thank you for that? Wait for a pause or, even better, look for a group of three people. There’s always one ‘spare’ person which means it’s easier to enter a group of three than a ‘four’ or even a two. Best of all find the person who’s standing alone.

The biggest off putter is someone who introduces themselves and proceeds to go into a major sales pitch. As a minimum try and find a common thread with your target prospect. Find a way to discuss their hobbies, what their interests are or whether or not they have family. It’s like a fisherman casting a net. Wait, patiently, for that all important bite; it’s the chink in their armour! Once you have a common talking point it’s the first step in peeling back the onion, getting deeper and deeper into your prospect, finding out more about them.

If they perceive that you are showing an interest in them, as opposed to the budget they authorise, then, guess what? They’ll want to talk to you more freely. They might even start to like you and, when you ring back a couple of days later, they just might agree to see you.

You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in equal measure. I get sick and tired of walking into a room of 100 people only to find that 99 of them are selling with no regard for buying; many of them aren’t even decision makers. If you run any size of business one man band upwards then you have to buy things, so wear your purchasing hat as much as your sales hat. Now people are listening to you and, again, once you have their attention you can delicately tell them what you do. If you fill a room with salesman who is going to buy?

If you get a ‘bite’ then you have the possibility of landing a fish. Suggest that you’ll get in touch with your prospect to fix up a coffee. How less threatening does that sound than a ‘meeting’. But please, follow up. It’s the cardinal sin not to. Serial networkers often eat buffets, down breakfasts and polish off lunches. They collect business cards and paper the spare bedroom with them but, so often, they do not put in that all important follow up call and, if they do, it’s often far too late. Networking is powerful but you must observe the basics or you will finish up blaming the event ‘we didn’t do any business’ for your failings! Networking is about timing, conversation, listening and observing but, most of all, it’s about engaging in all of them in equal measure in order to produce a result. Good luck!

Phil’s Top 10 Tips

1)Decide which event you want to attend

2)Try and find out who will be there and who you want to target

3)When you arrive get a guest / delegate list

4)Take a few moments to assess it and not where you ‘target’ will be sitting

5)Choose the right moment to introduce yourself

6)Master the art of ‘small talk’ and talk and listen in equal measure!

7)Find a common thread with your prospect

8)Get their business card and check the relative details on their card mobile and ‘personal’ e-mail. Some people just put a switchboard number on their card.

9)Follow up within a couple of days of your initial meeting and fix up a coffee

10)Start the dialog but don’t ‘sell’ until you are further down the line and confident of closure.

Phil Hopkins is the managing director of The H2 Company, a graphic / web design and marketing agency based in Leeds. He has travelled the world advising on all aspects of strategic marketing, PR, design and networking. Phil, who was a journalist for 20 years before becoming a member of the Chartered Institutes of Marketing and Public Relations, has worked internationally in Kazakhstan, Russia and across the UK advising commercial and arts organisations.For more, please visit http://www.theh2.

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People Buy People – The Art of Networking by a Marketing Man }