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Top 10 Tips for SMB PR

May 09, 2008

David Meerman Scott recently did an interview with the John Jantsch, one of the brains behind at Duct Tape Marketing.

David nearly always provides breakthrough material.

But this is different. It's reinforcing what works in the real world of PR and social media for the small business. Here is the short list of David's Top 10 Ways to Get Attention:

2. Don't talk about what your products and services do. Instead talk about how you solve problems for your customers.

6. Comment on blogs, forums and chat rooms (but don't talk about your products and services).

8. Shoot a short video and put it up onto YouTube

10. Don't be egotistical. Nobody cares about you and your products.

For the even numbers and more detail, visit his blog.

Three additional comments:

Vatortv_whats_your_pitch_2008050721 1) A favorite CEO friend of mine came by yesterday to brainstorm of how to get his book and media assets working for him. This guy is laser-sharp and bright as the sun. A a truly cool leader.

He was 20 minutes early, so took a seat and grabbed David Meerman Scott's "The New Rules of PR and Marketing". When he left, he left with the richness of that book engrained on his newly inspired brain.

2) He also pointed me to these guys. I had read about them in Inc magazine, but forgot they were from my very same town:  Dash Consulting (The Elevator Pitch folks)

3) You think a PR pitch has to be refined? Try it in 140 characters: Enter the TwitPitch.

Try this: Refine your pitch (Dash Consulting). Get it to 140 characters (TwitPitch). Then Twitter it, blog it and do a simple video about it (anyone for Vator.tv? That's Bambi Francisco's new startup).

I think David would be proud.

Viral Marketing's New Rules

April 29, 2008

David Meerman Scott makes sense.

He's one of those rare individuals who knows his industry inside out. He also works as a sort of "glue" to help keep it together. (This is my favorite tongue-in-cheek example of how to Keep It Together):

David has a new buzzword that was developed to help clear the air of sploggers, spammers and other truly nasty, hated and just plain bad industry practices. He calls it World Wide Rave. And it's a concept whose time has come.

Worldwideraverichcontent World Wide Rave is about viral marketing done without the awful after effects of spam (and spam is tremendously bad for the online marketing and advertising industry).

What he shares is about how tribes of viewers create viral marketing... not spammish internet marketers who abuse the free range of the interweb.

In David's own words:

"For decades, the only way to spread ideas was to buy expensive advertising or beg the media to write (or broadcast) about our products and services. But now we have a tremendous opportunity to create a World Wide Rave, generate stuff on the Web that people want to consume and that they are eager to share with their friends, family, and colleagues. A World Wide Rave sells an idea or a product by virtue of its educational or entertainment value."

As we launch RichContent to the public, it's vital that we have a filter in place to alleviate potential spam and the spammers behind those efforts.

Currently (and into the foreseeable future) we maintain live editorial control of what gets broadcast and distributed through the RichContent platform. Every digital media asset is reviewed by human eyeballs before being optimized and distributed. It's not us trying to play God. It's spending the last 5 years in the trenches of of the search world helping clients get "above the noise". We are part of the marketing solution, not the noise problem.

If you haven't read David Meerman Scott's books, I HIGHLY recommend them. You can also download the free eBook versions from his site. (But do yourself and David a favor and buy the book. If you're a corporation or group in need of a truly insightful thought leader, I can vouch for his speaking talent as well).

And remember that the best way to generate "viral" marketing is to:

1) Use great, resonant creative in your work.

2) Have a real, valuable, interesting, funny or frightening message.

3) Optimize your message for search.

4) Engage the hearts and minds of your tribe.

5) Quit trying so hard. See #1. (David's book on Viral Marketing will tell you a whole lot more).

And remember to echo Kit Ramsey's message: to Keep It Together

As an online marketer, we've been making up terms for the industry for a decade now. And I certainly meet clients who look at me like I'm speaking Jupiterian or Venusian.

(BTW: if you don't know WHY I emphasize "Keep it Together", then you're missing out on the whole Content Harmony piece of the RichContent platform. I'll share more in some upcoming posts. If you DO know why, send an email to harmony@richcontent.tv and I will give the first know-it-all a free media editing, optimization and broadcast package).

To your viral success,
Mark Alan Effinger

My Universal Search for Seattle

February 08, 2008

I just returned from a truly "Sleepless in Seattle" gig with our COO, Mike.

The MIT Forum was the first stop Thursday night. I was pleasantly surprised by:
1) Bellevue Washington's rise in the business class. It is truly the beloved stepchild of Seattle and Redmond.

2) Ron Weiner, CEO and founder of Earth Class Mail. I've known Ron for 17 years now, and he is one of Earthclassmail_richcontent the true, diehard serial entrepreneurs. Earth Class Mail is Ron's 5th or 6th startup, and each one is amazing for many reasons. This one looks to be a serious global enterprise, and I am very excited for he and his team. I hadn't seen Ron since my return to Vantucky from Newport Beach, CA in 2004.

3) Seeing Jonathan Conners speak (VC and a founder of Ignition Partners). The guy was a straight as I John_conners_richcontent have ever seen. And funny. And engaging. And smart as hell (a product marketing guy from the word "go"). Funny thing: All of Seattle is seeded with ex-Microsofties. John is no exception. And he spoke very fondly of Macintosh throughout the night (he once ran the Excel product line, and gained some great product insights from a Cupertino Apple Store).

4) See and hear Kelly Smith of CuriousOffice cover some truly inspiring road from the stage. Kelly is another example of "the real thing" Curious_office_kelly_smith in terms of being an entrepreneur who still rolls up his sleeves (he was creating the Powerpoint for the Northwest Entrepreneur's Network presentation until 4AM. I thought I was the only one doing that sort of thing...;-). Thanks to Kelly, all the YouTube wannabe's have a platform to play with.

5) Staying in Mike, Jen, Dan and Ben's "marina view" room after an evening of martini's and great conversation and TiVO explorations (I don't keep a TV in my home, so I'm always like a deer in headlights when I'm near one of those shiny boxes).

Very enlightening 24 hours.

Greatest lesson?

Make SURE you have awesome, grounded, "sane", fun and really smart business partners who are willing to go the extra mile with and for you.

Certainly in this company, I have the delight to be surrounded by phenomenal people:
Mikey P is a standout. We call him our "Adult Supervision". The MBA in the group... but not afraid to ask the "dumb" questions to get the smart answers. And as giving a soul as they come.

Spence is one of those dream partners you never knew existed... and can't live without. Not only a brilliant designer, but a truly passionate and committed business mind. Like Mike, Spence goes the extra mile, and does it without a complaint. And with a killer sense of humor (mandatory around our place).

Kelly Smith said it best this morning: "No Certified Orifices". Companies, especially startups, have no room for "&$%#-holes". Or, as I saw it: No Bandwidth for Buttholes. Oh, how true.

AndyB is another example of one of those "I'll go home when this sucker works... or I ain't leaving" kind of guys. Thanks to Andrew, we have a radically effective broadcast platform that performs amazing feats without even breathing hard. Very fortunate to have his genius on hand.

I'll cover Paul, Dave, Marty and David in another post. All unique, wonderful, cool and wicked smart in their domains.

Suffice to say, I believe we have one of the most diverse, talented groups around. And thank God they all think this is fun and engaging.

BTW: Bellevue is where I first met David McInnis, CEO and Founder of PRWeb. Thanks to David, I got the unique opportunity to evangelize online media, spend time with The Wizard, and experience yet another ExitPath... this one a great win for David and his associates, employees and friends (a $28,000,000 win).

More later. I'm zonked.

Musical Interlude. US Accidents

February 05, 2008

One of the most exciting elements of web search is the constant surprises. Stumble Upon built a thriving business on this process:

Search for a specific item... and 15 minutes later, you're watching a video of a new band.

Don't believe me? Here's the proof (oh, and a new favorite band in the process):

Gotye’s “Hearts a Mess”

Add to My Profile | More Videos

It started with this: A search for Radio Paradise (a favorite Internet Radio Station). I heard a tune, and needed to see the song list. That lead to seeing this interesting name in the list: Gotye. A direct search gave me back this Universal Search Result:

Gotye_universal_search

Now, you'll see that Gotye has enough activity on YouTube to garner some excellent Universal Search results. Gotta' love that. That's a lot of left-hand, above the fold real estate to own. The most valuable on the web (if you need a deeper understanding of what that means, just wait for my next post).

So, being a Child of the 60's, and seeing a title like Learnalilgivinanlovin Gotye snared me with this ditty:


Which triggered the Related Videos browse on YouTube, and a killer progressive tune...

Because Gotye is only using 2 video sources (YouTube and MySpace Video), he's missing a massive number of valuable inbound links, mentions and enhanced search results.

But I believe his talent will take him far (he recently returned from a tour in Japan... probably ran across Cheap Trick, which is a scary thought).

In an upcoming post, I will show how to accelerate a single media asset (video, image, press release or podcast) to join your web site in Universal Search.

I hope you enjoy the videos as well. His album is not yet available on iTunes US, but you can find used copies of his CD on Amazon.com.

Here's to your success: Above the fold, left of the page.
Mark Alan Effinger

The Ultimate Online Press Release

January 01, 2008

Online PR rocks.

In 2003 I started really working online PR using PRWeb's platform. I tried them all. In fact, at RichContent, we broadcast into many different online PR channels. But if I had to use just one, it would still be PRWeb.

(David McInnis sold PRWeb to Vocus for $28 million in August 2006. It was a wild and engaging ride, and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat).

So as a quick primer, this thumbnail view (and the accompanying attachment) are some of the keys to creating an effective online press release. There are a number of additional elements you could add to improve your results (attachments, title tags in links, deep linking, your choice of landing page in the PRWeb iFrame, tying off-page media elements to the press release, etc..). But this will get you going:

Perfect_online_press_release_rich_3

(Click the image for more detail, or download the complete PDF below).

Some of the key elements I've addressed here (and in the Perfect_Online_Press_Release Primer PDF) are:

  • Place your keywords early in the Title
  • Pleace keywords front and back of your Summary.
  • Lead with a strong first paragraph. A real grabber if possible.
  • Follow with a 2-part quote from a credible individual.
  • Add high-level but key industry-related info.
  • Follow with another key quote.
  • Detail the product/service/event.
  • Closing comments.
  • Contact information.
  • Signature block (company) and PR Firm (if separate).
  • Any legal disclosures.

As I mentioned, this is far from all inclusive. We have another, much more detailed document on how to optimize every area of a press release. If you'd like it, please send an email and I'll forward it to you.

To see the actual press release, view the ThoughtOffice PR on PRWeb.

OK, the sun is shining (rare here in the Pacific Northwest) so I'm tying my Nike's and headed down the hill.

Have a phenomenal '08, and I look forward to seeing you in the news.

best,
Mark Alan Effinger

Strangers with Candie...

December 12, 2007

Here I sit, in a local McMennimen's, not far from the office.

Nearby is Candie Perkins, Will Marre' s Executive Assistant and all around guru of what needs to happen to make The American Dream Project a reality.

Today's project? Permanent Media Placement (whew! good thing we're here...;-)

So one of the more significant elements of this process we perform has to do with social media indexing and management.

What the heck do I mean by that?

It means how we help escalate social media assets to help you gain the visibility you need.

One component of this is how PRWeb has used Trackbacks to help add your voice to press releases.

So here's what I'll ask you to do: Visit the page uno momento.

Now, scroll to the bottom of the press release.

See this comment?

That's a trackback in action.

Pretty impressive, eh?

In the next post, I'll address how to use trackbacks to create a "media mesh" of traffic that helps escalate your search engine position, or create a Universal Search umbrella.

Until then,
Mark Alan Effinger