Archive for August, 2008

Do You Twitter?

August 31, 2008

I’ve been on the micro-blogging site Twitter for a few months. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Twitter allows you to stay in touch by sending short messages that can be no longer than 140 characters. I joined after learning that a growing number of journalists were using the site to post story updates and field story pitches. Since I’m in the marketing communications arena, I felt that Twitter was another way for me to stay in the game.

So far, I love it. I log in several times a day and send messages, called Tweets, about a range of topics. What’s also great is that I can follow and communicate with thought leaders in a variety of industries; get a quick check of news headlines; and talk with family and friends. You also can restrict your page and just follow a select group of people. No matter your choice, what’s impressive is that these short bursts of messages are an avenue to build community.

In light of the developing hurricane in the Gulf Coast, a number of people and media outlets are using Twitter to provide storm updates. CNN reporter Rick Sanchez even asked residents in the Gulf Coast to send him updates on Twitter during a newscast and read their Tweets live on the air.

Twitter as a public service tool is just one illustration of the uses for this platform that extend beyond the type of product or service being offered. To give you an example, if I were a representative from a church or school, I would use Twitter as a communications vehicle. Can you imagine the benefits of parents following their child’s teacher (and each other) on Twitter, connecting their resources and discussing ways to provide a better learning experience for students? How about a pastor being able to communicate with congregants and congregants with each other throughout the week?

Companies also are using Twitter to promote products and services and to extend their customer service reach by responding to comments (found by a Twitter search tool called a Tweet Scan) referencing their organizations – good or bad. You can see examples of how businesses are using Twitter on the pages of;;;

There are a lot of social networking platforms on the market and every vehicle isn’t made for every person or business. Instead of Twitter, you might be more drawn to MySpace, Facebook, blogging, or use multiple platforms at once. Do whatever works best for your needs, and of course, presents the best opportunity to build community.

If you do decide to join Twitter, or you’re already on, feel free to follow me via @KristinaBrandy. I’ll connect with you as well. That’s what it’s all about.

About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; advertising planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and, writing services.

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  1. Entering The Social Media Groundswell
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The Perfect Website Add On

August 20, 2008

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A friend recently asked me to suggest an online file hosting service and I thought why not share my suggestion and reasoning with you as well.  I can see your face forming a frown as you think to yourself, “what is this guy talking about and why should I care.”
Well, online file storage allows you to save and make available large files that might otherwise be impractical to store on your website. Storing these files on your website can quickly eat up your website hosting account’s storage allowance.  Add high resolution photos of you and your management team for the media to easily download.  If you blog like I do, online storage is a great place to host blog post images and files for readers to download.  You can also store and stream multimedia files including video and flash from your account. All of this and more is available without the need for expensive IT staff and confusing file transfer servers (FTP).
Now that we are on the same page about the value of online file storage services why is my choice, a good option? Here is the rationale I shared with my friend: 

  1. You can store a wide variety of files photos, video, documents, etc. 
  2. There is no bandwidth limit which is important if streaming hungry video and audio files. 
  3. You can enable rss feeds for files and folders notifying customers, clients or visitors of additions or changes. 
  4. Enable document collaboration so people you designate can modify shared documents.
  5. Box also offers a host of neat web widgets that allow you to seemlessly merge some of the service’s capbilites with your website.
  6. The cost is quite reasonable.

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  1. Consider This Before You Get a Buddy to Build Your Site
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  3. Website Statistics: Turning Browsers Into Buyers
  4. For hundreds of ways to get customers to call you (subscribe to our newsletter) (browse archive)

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Are You Missing Out on a Marketing Opportunity?

August 18, 2008

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Does your website have an online newsroom?  See my recent post on the importance of having an online newsroom (Click Here).

If you do have a press section, does it feature any video content? 

An online newsroom is an essential part of any well outfitted business or non-profit website but many don’t think to include video.  Adding video to your newsroom can improve your organization’s media appeal by making it easier for reporters and prospecting bloggers to get an overview of your organization and in the case of bloggers; a good piece of media to enhance a blog post (promoting you in the process).

Below are several things to consider when adding video to your newsroom.

  1. Topics:  Consider several including company overview video, product or service announcements, b-roll footage to support TV newscasts, product demonstration videos and educational seminar videos broken up into smaller chunks (bloggers will like these segments).
  2. Length:  Keep your videos short (5 minutes max).
  3. Share:  Host your videos with one of the many video sharing sites (YouTube, Blip, Revver, etc) to enable reporters and bloggers to easily include your footage in their online stories. 

High res headshots and PR shots are important to include in your online press room but making good video available in addition will set you apart in the eyes of today’s content hungry media.

Related Topics:

  1. Court the Press: Your Online Newsroom
  2. How to Get In the Charlotte Observer
  3. The Ever-Evolving Press Release

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A Look Inside La Noticia

August 17, 2008

One of the major news items last week was new census data which reported that minorities will become the majority population in the United States by 2050. What’s more, these numbers also projected that the Hispanic population will nearly triple, exploding from 46.7 million in 2008 to 132.8 million by 2050.

As small to mid-sized business owners, the change in population demographics, especially among Hispanics, drives home the importance of using your marketing efforts to connect with diverse groups of people.

To assist in your efforts to expand your marketing strategies, what follows is an interview with Hilda Gurdian, Publisher and CEO of La Noticia , the Spanish Language Newspaper. The paper is distributed throughout the Charlotte region, where the Hispanic population is among the fastest-growing in the nation.

Hilda provides a lot of great tips ranging from the importance of advertising in Hispanic publications, to speaking “the language” of the Hispanic community in marketing, and establishing relationships with Hispanic media contacts.

KTM: How long have you been with La Noticia? What is your day-to-day role with the paper?
Hilda Gurdian : I have been with La Noticia since its inception in 1996. My title is publisher and CEO. As such, I oversee the entire operation including advertising sales, editorial content, public relations and community development.

KTM: How often is La Noticia published?
Hilda Gurdian : Every week

KTM: What is the newspaper’s weekly readership?
Hilda Gurdian : More than 90,000

KTM: Where can people find copies?
Hilda Gurdian : We have more than 1,000 distribution points throughout our distribution area which includes Charlotte-Mecklenburg and 11 counties around it. Our racks can be found in: businesses serving the Latino community, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, public libraries, hospitals, churches, etc.

KTM: What kind of stories does La Noticia cover?
Hilda Gurdian : Stories that are important to the Latino community and stories that affect the entire community.

KTM: How can businesses – especially those that have products/services for broad demographics – increase their coverage in Hispanic media?
Hilda Gurdian : By establishing a relationship with the Latino media. Running ads in La Noticia, for example, is a good way to obtain that goal. Also, by sending press releases announcing special events where they feel the Latino consumer would benefit from attending. La Noticia is the most effective and efficient way to reach the growing Spanish speaking population in the Charlotte area.

KTM: What are some unique qualities about the Hispanic community that businesses should consider when preparing marketing campaigns – whether PR, advertising, the Web, etc.?
Hilda Gurdian : Communicating to Latinos in Spanish is important. It is also important to create an ad that will speak the language and the culture of Latinos vs. translating an existing English ad that works well in the mainstream media.

KTM: Is it important for press materials to be translated to Spanish when pitching La Noticia or will the paper’s staff handle the translation? Also, does the paper accept multimedia elements (photos, videos) with story pitches?
Hilda Gurdian : It is okay to send a press release in English if you don’t have it in Spanish. If we chose the story we will get in touch with the contact person, get more information, and once we have the complete story, we will translate it into Spanish for running it in the paper. We accept photos.

KTM: What is the best time to contact La Noticia reporters with story ideas?
Hilda Gurdian : Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days.

KTM: Finally, is there anything that people should avoid doing when pitching La Noticia or Hispanic media in general?
Hilda Gurdian : Do not wait until the last minute to send a press release as we and any other paper needs time to look into it and decide. Also, you will have a better opportunity to have your story published if you send the press release by email and then follow up with an email or phone call.

These are great insights. Hopefully, this information will put you on a path to broadening your marketing efforts not only to the Hispanic community, but other diverse groups as well. Happy marketing!

About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; advertising planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and, writing services.

Related Topics:

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  2. A Look Inside
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What Should I do Next?
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IKEA to Sell Solar Panels, Who Knew?

August 14, 2008

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From the title of this post you might think I am trying to help spread the word for big box retailer IKEA about their strategy to start selling eco-friendly products like solar panels.  The idea is pretty cool, but I am more interested in illustrating a mistake I see a lot of firms (large and small) making by neglecting to use their website home pages to feature attention-grabbing company news blurbs.

The folks over at Inhabit and others are blogging about IKEA’s developing eco-strategy but there is no visible mention of it at the IKEA site.  I will be the first to tell you to repurpose your broadcast Television video on the web but tell me what is more interesting; the headline, IKEA the first retailer to sell solar panels in stores or watch all of my tv commercials?  The morale of the story here is to constantly comb your organization for interesting, cool ideas and when you find gold let the world know.  Don’t bury the news in your online newsroom for journalists who happen upon it.  Add a catchy headline to your homepage to advertise exciting news to the world. Heck, have your web developer add a little RSS code to the page to instantly ping search engines about your great news.

How do you use your website to spread the word?

Related Topics

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  3. For hundreds of ways to get customers to call you (subscribe to our newsletter) (browse archive)

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