Are you ready for the new media release?

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An event is happening happened in Washington D.C. tomorrow morning on May 19, 2006, that I really wish I could have attended. Beyond Blogging 2006 featured some great thought leaders and topics. There is a post on the event blog by Coleman Hutchins (of Fleishman-Hillard) about the evolution of the press release that I found really timely. Some of us in the PR and digital communications committee have been working for years at repackaging news for online consumption. Coleman does a great job of summarizing what works best – these are his words.

  1. Write directly to your audience – including all key micro-segments – when appropriate. With the new approach, write one release (or “releaselet” — mini-release) for each audience using words and concepts they personally relate to.
  2. Take advantage of research resources like Yahoo and Google keywords tools or Wordtracker to find out what terms people are searching for and integrate them into your “release.” Ensure that the way you structure your release and the keywords it contains are in alignment with what people are actually searching for.
  3. Incorporate links back to content on your site, or add multimedia and RSS features to add richness to and extend the reach and life of your release.
  4. Publish more often, take advantage of cheaper distribution channels like your own site, blog or services like PR Web.
  5. Deliver a clear call to action.
  6. Be more familiar.

Repackaging your news materials is a simple (and fun) process once you know exactly who your audience is and how they can use what you have to offer. As I commented on the event blog, context and community are integral elements of new news delivery techniques.
There is a webcast of the event scheduled to be posted at the site early next the week of May 22nd. I can’t wait to check it out and hear the dialogue!

Mashup at mesh

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For the past two days, I attended the mesh conference in Toronto. Billed as “Canada’s Web 2.0 conference”, it was an opportunity for people across multiple industries and disciplines to come together and explore how new innovations in technology, marketing and communications are redefining how organizations and people connect.

The event was a real-life mashup. I was really impressed with the variety of speakers and the consistency of insights regardless of people’s expertise. Not everyone agreed though. There were some great dialogues and debates. At the end of the day though, if I had to pick three topics that emerged as the general principles (from my perspective), here’s how they’d look.

  • Organizations need to find comfort in relinquishing control over their marketing. Instead, they need to focus on ensuring that the quality of their products, services and overall brand experience are relevant to what customers want from their relationship with an organization. This was reinforced by Jonathan Ehrlich of Chapters Online.
  • These are early days. Conference participants are ahead of the curve and need to focus at this point on defining strong models and measures for success. The mainstream will follow, but only once the value is defined. Early adapters see the value and need to package value.
  • Those engaging in social media and new communications need to embrace authenticity. This hit home on several occasions by the likes of Steve Rubel who in my opinion correctly dismissed character blogs and Tara Hunt who introduced some great principles for the new communication climate.

I also left the event wondering why people were really there. There were many traditional PR folks I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with over the years out in full force. Was it because people realize the need for change or simply because the event was coordinated by some of Canada’s most prominent journalists and new media/marketing minds? Regardless, it was a great turn out and an excellent event. Congratulations to Mark Evans, Stuart MacDonald, Matthew Ingram, Rob Hyndman and Mike McDerment.

Tackling time and finding tools of efficiency

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So, I’m sitting on the subway making my way home after a long week. The days seem to get shorter with the amount of work and information we need to process in this digital era. In fact, this past week I just had my performance review. My main gripe? Not enough time to read news and keep up with industry trends. In my job, this is a necessity. Not having time is no excuse.

I need tools to make time. Don’t we all!

I’m now holding a time machine in my hands, my Palm Treo. I’m writing this blog in transit. I’ve just installed Quick News on my Treo so I can keep up with my RSS feeds. Now we’re talking. This is a great application that allows me to grab updates for my favourite feeds hot xxx pics nipples braless pokies at any time from anywhere I have a signal on my phone. I load up before diving underground to the subway and start scanning headlines. I have just added 20 minutes of real-time reading to my day. Excellent!

It seems to be a reality of digital life that devices keep us on top of our game. I don’t know how bloggers do it. Debbie Weil posted last year about Steve Rubel’s4-hour a day blogging playbook“. Talk about commitment.

Keeping up with email, phone calls and meetings, oh and work is pretty much all I can seem to pack into a day. It’s no wonder blog desertion rates remain high.

Enough of my rant. With this said, I am going to apply some discipline to keep navigate communications more timely and informative. Wish me luck.