Monday, February 27, 2006

How Do People Actually Use Websites?

Research by Jakob Nielsen* shows how people actually use websites. People need to keep these points in mind when creating them:

· 80% of web users only scan pages.

· Only 10% scroll past the first page.

· We ignore fluff – promos, mission statements, etc.

· Large fonts, bold and color catch the person’s attention.

· Hyperlinks and meta tags get picked up by search engines, raising the ranking. To sink in, messages need to be consistent. People remember keywords.

· Users lock onto headlines, graphics, captions, summaries, bullets. They ignore written text.

· Even bullets have their limits: 9 to be exact.

When using a web site, note how you use it.

For help with website, blog and enews alert creation, copy and maintenance and updates, check out our website at and use our online form.

* Info on Jakob Nielsen’s research is at

Sunday, February 26, 2006

How do you choose a PR firm?

Because there are so many PR firms, choosing the right one can be difficult. Unfortunately, agencies often promise more than they can deliver.

In the world of PR, no one can promise anything. Especially media coverage. It’s NOT possible.

The only people who can promise space are advertising firms. But, even they cannot guarantee results.

Advertising is the least effective, most expensive marketing strategy out there. Most people only start there because they don’t know what else to do.

PR is effective because of the difficulty of placing articles. If an idea has to go through a reporter, editor or producer, it has some legitimacy.

Sophisticated people realize that PR is the fastest way to build credibility and reputation. That value translates into money eventually.

So, how do you choose? There are four major things to look for:
· Experience counts, but what type of experience is it? Someone who has never been a journalist can’t talk to a reporter the way another journalist can. They don’t know what to say or how to say it. Look for someone who has been a journalist.

· What type of experience do they have? If the firm mainly worked for government agencies or large corporations that get coverage easily, they won’t know how to place them for a mid-size, much less small, firm. Or start-up. Creativity is what counts.

· What industries have they worked in? If they have worked in your industry, they may know reporters, editors and producers. They also may be more familiar with the issues and jargon, which means less time getting up to speed.

· Speaking of which, beware of anyone who speaks in biz buzzwords or jargon. Reporters, editors and producers hate it. If the publicity firm can’t simplify information enough to make a child understand it, they can’t place articles. Journalism is targeted to eighth grader.

If you want to know what they a publicist can do, ask to see their portfolio. Looking at reprints or copies of actual articles will give you the best idea of what the PR person can do. And, whether they are right for you.

For more information, check out our website at and use our online form.

Why do people use PR?

· People see 10,000 pieces of information daily, most of which is subconscious. While people automatically hit the remote when they see an advertisement on TV, they watch the programs, seeing products in the background and assuming the talking heads are experts in their field.

· Few people realize that most news and feature articles are the direct result of PR people getting stories on them. A study by the Columbia University Review of Journalism showed that even in the Wall Street Journal, 45 percent of the articles were placed by PR people.

· The people in the articles are not experts, but people smart enough to hire a PR agency to get them publicity. They are not experts, yet they are taken as reference points because they are part of the media.

· People believe the information they see and read. The media has credibility that advertising never achieves.

· Think of it this way: Television advertising is bought in .15- or .30-second spots while most television segments are 3 to 5 minutes long. That’s ten times as long, or more.

· Measured by the amount of money it would cost to buy an ad that long, an appearance on a newscast would be worth $10,000, if not more. If you could buy the space, an article in a newspaper or magazine could be worth $20,000 or more.

· But, you can’t buy that space. Think how much more valuable publicity becomes as a result.

· Add the credibility factor and you to see how valuable publicity can be.

For more information, check out our website at and use our online form.

What Do PR People Do?

We are often asked what PR people actually do. Here are some of the things we do on a daily basis.

· Help clients understand what is newsworthy and what is not.
· Spend a lot of time with editors pitching ideas, sending memos and following-up with phone calls about the client, their services or products.
· Call editors to place news, business, lifestyle and feature articles in newspapers, magazines, trade journals and industry publications. Get television and radio producers to do stories on clients.
· Write articles about clients themselves, issues and innovations in their field.
· Ghostwrite columns and op-ed pieces for client by-lines.
· Do advance media publicity in association publications to maximize trade shows and conferences.
· Create, copywrite and maintain websites and website blogs, like this one.
· Copywrite and oversee email alerts, newsletters and marketing materials such as reprints of articles and brochures.
· Create fact sheets and press kits, when necessary.
· Copywrite and oversee production of print and broadcast advertising.
· Copywrite and oversee internal materials such as employee handbooks, how-tos and training videos.
· Track publication of articles, news stories, etc.
· Arrange introductions to the media for clients so they can be used as sources in future articles.
· Arrange publicity for client events such as seminars, speaking engagements and fund-raisers.

For more information, check out our website at and use our online form.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Our blog went online today.

Stop in soon for new posts. We'll have more information on PR and marketing soon.

For more information, check out our website at and use our online form.