Press Releases for the Masses

The reason that subscription rates for daily newspapers are dropping is not because people are opting to read them for free online. The reason that subscriptions are dropping on everything from the New York Times to the Atlanta Journal Constitution is that we, as consumers of news, are no longer waiting for the dailies to dictate for us what is newsworthy. Instead we’re out using our own aggregators and media filters to select our own news.

It used to be that AP and UPI decided what was newsworthy, based on what their reporters saw that day and the thousands of press releases that came across their wire. Subsequently they would filter news to the dailies and voila today’s news appeared on your doorstep by 7AM.

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Although I never recommend that you adhere labels to envelopes…

There are times when I do actually recommend clients buy labels. Usually as part of a promotion — where you might use them to highlight a special offer — or to personalize collateral that was pre-printed by someone else.

The second instance is one we encountered recently, where it made good economic sense for my client to make use of the high quality materials provided for a product he resells. Before passing the brochures along to his customers/prospects, we’re labeling them with his contact information so when they receive it, they’ll be sure to call him for more information. I ordered his labels from www.onlinelabels.com. They have a great selection and easy to use downloaded templates that you can use to setup your labels inside of Word.

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Ordering printing is getting easier but that doesn’t mean you should DIY

It seems that every day I run into a better, faster, cheaper option for printing everything from postcards to business cards to banners. 

Printing is a perfect example of a product or service that has been radically changed by the Internet. Individual buyers no longer have to go through professionals to make purchases of their corporate communications materials. First they were able to take the short cut by going to quick print locations like Minute Man Press or Sir Speedy. Then they just started ordering their printing on-line. And each time they show me the results they are so proud of how cheap they got it. Well sometimes you get what you pay for.

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Banishing Overused Words

I recently read an article that summarized the most overused phrases in the creation of marketing and public relations material for products and services from the technology industry. The debate was over the appropriate use of “solutions” and whether there was really any meaning to that term at all. As someone who has to write A LOT of copy about technology, I’m going to argue that there is still a place for solutions. But in the same breath, I’m going to nominate a new phrase that I’m seeing used and abused lately: “take it to the next level.”

Unless you are riding on an elevator, what exactly does take it to the next level mean? Unless the product, service or experience you are describing is provided with different levels or versions, I’m having a really hard time validating the use of this phrase. Just today I received an email campaign from an e-marketing solution provider who wanted to help me take my frequency campaigns to the next level. I’m left wondering, what level would that be, precisely?

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PR Efforts Driving Interest in Massage for the Cure

This year Massage Envy, the nation’s largest employer of massage therapists, will donate more than $250,00 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation through their annual Massage for the Cure program. Massage for the Cure will be coming to Atlanta for the first time on July 28.

On that day, appointments will be available at all 18 Atlanta area clinics for free massages. Any donations made for those massages will go to the local Komen Greater Atlanta Chapter. Reservations will be accepted beginning July 21 by calling any area clinic or 866-917-3689.

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The Power of a Personal Message

While I’m a huge advocate of frequency marketing campaigns — either email or direct mail programs that keep your name or that of your business in front of your prospects and/or referrals sources — sometimes the programmatic nature of frequency campaign becomes a little too impersonal. That’s when I have to defer to my friend Vanessa Lowry, a huge advocate of the power of a personal note.

Earlier this month I was invited to speak at the annual training conference for one of my clients. The room was filled with franchisees that he had invited from across the country. My objective was to educate them about the marketing programs that we were doing at the corporate level (web development, frequency programs, new collateral, etc.) and generate enthusiasm for the support that was being provided across the organization.

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Good Listeners Get the Worm

I bought a car last week. Actually I bought two but that is another discussion. This was the first time I’ve purchased a car using a buying service and lots of other resources on the web. Even with loads of info, when if finally comes time to do the deal, it is interesting to see what happens.

Armed with a ton of information about cost and pricing, you’d think that “negotiations” would go out the window but that wasn’t necessarily the case. I emailed several dealerships plus visited a few that were close by and posed identical requests for financing information based on specific models. Despite specificity, I still received tons of generic resposes  like “Come by and we’ll see what we can do” and “Tell me about the features that are important to you.” If I wanted to negotiate, I wouldn’t have bothered to get pricing in advance. And once I visit a dealership, I’m ready to deal so please don’t leave me hanging.

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Brand New

I enjoyed lunch today sitting at the end of the bar at the new Ted’s Montana Grill in Cumming. From my seat I had a prime view of the chefs and was intrigued by the training going on just days after their grand opening. Not only were things neat and orderly but even the uniforms identified the trainees from the trainers. While my server was baffled by the menu, my lunch arrived without a hitch but that wasn’t the point here.

The overall affect of their brand was awesome. Not just in the appearance of the venue and the uniforms but in the attitude of the staff, even the new staff. They were excited to be there (hey, it’s new, you expect that) but also passionate about their work and their offering. They’d been drinking the Kool Aid and understood the pressure to perform.

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Death of Me or the Tri-Fold Brochure

It happened again. I got another call about a tri-fold brochure. Wasn’t her fault. She told me that her printer recommended it. Darn that printer. He should know better.

Unless you absolutely have to have something to mail in a #10 envelope or need something that fits into an acrylic display next to your register or in your trade show booth, I can’t conceive of any good reason to ever make a tri-fold brochure.

They are unattractive, difficult to design for and confusing for prospects to read.

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