Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bar Functions, Trade Meetings, Networking and More -- Getting attention in 30 Seconds or Less

Getting attention in 30 Seconds or Less is published in this week's Legal Intellgencer's Young Lawyers' Supplement.

Here are someexcerptss about things you should keep in mind:

. . . . It is up to you, the attorney, to communicate what it is that you do and you need to do it in 30 seconds or less. Some call it the 30-second commercial and others call it the elevator speech or pitch.

. . . . It's a short, memorable statement that tells others who you are, what you do, who you do it for and how it benefits others. It must be easy to understand and compelling enough to leave the listener wanting to know more. . . .

Your crisp, concise, and memorable introduction must state the benefits of working with you. . . . keep it simple, short and focused. . . . [Y]ou must first, know the audience with which you will be networking and second, create different introductions for different purposes, audiences, and venues. Your introduction to prospective referring attorneys is going to be much different than your introduction to prospective clients in a particular practice area.

Ask yourself the following questions when planning how you are going to introduce yourself:

-Where am I going (venue)?
-Who is going to be there (target audience)?
-What do I want to accomplish / get across to those in attendance (key messages)?
-What are the benefits of working with you?
-Why should the listener care?

. . . . Write it down, rehearse it, and time yourself. . . .

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

How website hits are different from number of visits?

I received this message from our graphic design partner, Ampersand Design. . . .

In general conversation, folks seem to think they mean the same thing - "Page Views". However from a web-log's point of view, and in reading web log reports "hits", "page views" and "visits" are very different things.

Hit - A hit is simply any request to the web server for any type of file. This can be an HTML page, an image (jpeg, gif, png, etc.), a sound clip, a cgi script, and many other file types. An HTML page can account for several hits: the page itself, each image on the page, and any embedded sound or video clips. Therefore, the number of hits a website receives is not a valid popularity gauge, but rather is an indication of server use and loading.

Page view - A page is defined as any file or content delivered by a web server that would generally be considered a web document. This includes HTML pages (.html, .htm, .shtml), script-generated pages (.cgi, .asp, .cfm, etc.), and plain-text pages. It also includes sound files (.wav, .aiff, etc.), video files (.mov, etc.), and other non-document files. Only image files (.jpeg, .gif, .png), javascript (.js) and style sheets (.css) are excluded from this definition. Each time a file defined as a page is served, a page view is registered by the log file.

Visit (AKA Session) - A session/visit is a defined quantity of visitor interaction with a website. The definition will vary depending on how visitors are tracked. Some common visitor tracking methods and corresponding session definitions:

* IP-based Visitor Tracking: A Session is a series of hits from one visitor (as defined by the visitor's IP address) wherein no two hits are separated by more than 30 minutes. If there is a gap of 30 minutes or more from this visitor, an additional Session is counted.

* IP+User Agent Visitor Tracking: A Session is a series of hits from one visitor (as defined by the visitor's IP address and user-agent, such as Netscape 4.72) wherein no two hits are separated by more than 30 minutes. If there is a gap of 30 minutes or more from this visitor, an additional Session is counted.

* Unique Visitor Tracking (cookie-based, such as Urchin's UTM): A Session is a period of interaction between a visitor's browser and a particular website, ending upon the closure of the browser window or shut down of the browser program.

Source (if you have trouble sleeping one night...) -

Saturday, October 22, 2005

PR for Lawyers - 10 Good Rules

The ABA Law Practice Management Section held their Technology and Marketing Conference in Philadelphia at the Loews Hotel yesterday. It was an excellent conference. There are a few points that I'd like to stress and or clarify for the readers of The PR Lawyer.

1. Search Engine Optimization is extremely important to your rankings. There was a great company there called Justia and their website has a ton of great information on the subject.

2. Get your attorneys media trained before you send them talking to the media. The media prefer it and it will make all your communications better and easier.

3. Understand your state's rules of professional conduct and promote your firm ethically.

4. Don't be afraid to work within a niche practice - there are "riches in niches."

5. Know what the media want and only send them news they can use in the format they want it. Most legal trade pubs are seeking news in the following categories: Events (time sensitive news), Court decisions, the business of law, and feature enterprise stories.

6. Have a crisis plan!

7. Have someone dedicated to your media outreach.

8. Don't go "off the record" or "on background" with a reporter unless you already have a relationship.

9. Marketing a law practice is NOTHING like marketing consumer products!!

And 10. Use technology to befenfit your firms communications.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Advertising vs. PR: Kotler on Kotler

Here's an interesting article on advertising versus public relations (PR) expenditures:

The following article deals with the relative merits of advertising and public relations in the marketing mix—with some conclusions that are sure to rattle your cage.

Philip Kotler is Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management. He is the author of Marketing Management, one of the most widely used marketing books in graduate business schools worldwide, and numerous other books and articles. Kotler is renowned for pioneering "social marketing," campaigns for nonprofits or causes as "an alternative to coercion or legal action in solving social problems."

His new book, According to Kotler (AMACOM), is a summary of the key principles of marketing and how they relate to current events such as corporate accounting scandals, outsourcing, globalization, warehouse shopping and online marketing. It includes controversial new topics such as "demarketing," "reverse marketing," "body advertising," and other tactics.
What follows is an excerpt of the book, based on the thousands of questions Kotler has been asked over the years by clients, students, business audiences, and journalists.

Question: Can you please say something regarding "the need for a new marketing mix"?
Kotler: The original marketing mix was not 4Ps but about 14. Neil Borden many years ago used a large list of marketing tools. We can always add to the list. So the question isn't "what tools constitute the marketing mix" but, rather, "what tools are becoming more important in the marketing mix."

For example, I feel that advertising is overdone and public relations is underdone. This is seconded in Al Ries's book, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. And direct-marketing tools are also rising in importance in the marketing mix.

Question: TV advertising seems to be losing its effectiveness. What are alternative ways to get attention?

Kotler: The average American is exposed to several hundred ad messages a day and is trying to tune out. TV advertising is losing its effectiveness because of growing advertising clutter, the increasing number of channels, the availability of zapping mechanisms, and reduced watching of television by certain groups. The result is that marketers must consider other methods of getting consumer attentions.

Here are a number of possibilities:

Sponsorships. Companies have put their names on stadiums, on whole teams and on individual athletes in order to gain exposure.

Mentions on talk shows. During his evening show, David Letterman sent a camera crew out to buy Snickers candy bars and ended up talking about it on three subsequent shows, including when Mars sent a whole van of Snickers to feed the audience.

Product placement. In the movie Die Another Day, James Bond drove an Aston Martin, used a Sony cell phone and prominently featured an Omega wristwatch. Products are also mentioned in novels—in fact, Bulgari commissioned a whole mystery novel to be written called The Bulgari Connection.

Street-level promotions. Companies have hired actors and actresses to walk in busy areas and ask passersby to take a snapshot of them using their new camera phone. Hopefully the picture takers are impressed and tell others about the new camera phone.

Celebrity endorsements. Michael Jordon's endorsements gave a boost to Nike shows, McDonald's, Hanes underwear, and Rayovac batteries. Ex-Senator Bob Dole's surprising endorsement of Viagra put Viagra on the nation's mind.

Body advertising. College kids agreed to paste Dunkin' Donuts logos on their foreheads during an NCAA basketball tournament.

Question: What is the main communication challenge?

Kotler: The major challenge today is getting people's attention. Consumers are pressed for time, and many work hard to avoid advertising messages. The main challenge is to find new ways to capture attention and position a brand in the consumer's mind. Public relations and word-of-mouth marketing are playing a growing role within the marketing mix to build and maintain brands.

Question: There is a great deal of hype about integrated marketing communications. What is the status of this subject today?

Kotler: In the past, we taught separate courses on advertising, sales promotion, public relations and other communication tools. Each student became a specialist in one of these areas, remaining ignorant of the other tools and having a tendency to defend the primacy of her tool. Within companies, the advertising person always received the biggest budget for marketing communication (leaving out the sales force), and the others would fight for the crumbs.
Clearly, this is not a good situation, especially considering that the effectiveness of different communication tools changes over time. The decision on how much to allocate to the different promotional tools cannot be left to turf battles. Someone must be put in charge. Let's call that person the chief communication office (CCO). That person should be responsible for everything that communicates anything about the company—not only the standard communication tools but also corporate dress, office decor and even the look of the company's trucks.

Today, an increasing number of business schools are teaching marketing communications using an IMC-oriented textbook. First, this prepares the student to understand the role of different communication vehicles. Second, it makes the point that the company's brand and customer message must be communicated consistently through all media. Thus, if a company wants to be known for its high quality, it has to produce high quality and communicate high quality in all of its messages.

Question: Do you see companies as setting their communication budgets optimally?

Kotler: Marketers develop a certain mindset concerning the most effective communication mix. They will continue the same mix even when evidence shows diminishing effectiveness. Allocations become frozen, and the chief marketing officer is loath to change the allocation.
This would change the power positions of different communication managers in the organization. Also, it will be done at some risk.

Question: Companies continue to spend more money on TV advertising, even as channels proliferate and more channel-switching takes place. Aren't companies being slow to realize TV advertising effectiveness has fallen?

Kotler: Companies are still fairly blind to the cataclysmic changes in the communication marketplace. The days of mass advertising, with its waste and intrusiveness, are passing quickly. I have advised clients to reduce their TV advertising budgets, especially mass advertising. Fewer people are watching TV, many are zapping commercials, and most commercials are too brief to be effective.

If a country had only a few TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers, mass marketing would be effective. When a country, such as the United States, has thousands of TV stations and radio stations, reaching a mass audience is very expensive.

Among the few mass audience vehicles are the Super Bowl and the Olympics. The growing fragmentation of media audiences requires marketers to shift to target marketing and even one-to-one marketing. The good news is that this will reduce wasted media exposures. What good is it to advertise cat food on national television if only 25% of families own a cat?

Question: What should advertising agencies do in response to the declining effectiveness of mass advertising?

Kotler: Advertising agencies can no longer prosper just by creating ads and choosing media. There are so many new ways to communicate today. Smart ad agencies will transform themselves into full-service communication agencies. They will work with their clients to choose the best messages and media vehicles, whether these are in the form of ads, press releases, events, sales promotions, sponsorships, direct mail, email or telesales.

Some advertising agencies have added these communication capabilities—they have created them or networked with public relations firms, sales promotion firms and direct-marketing firms in a move to becoming total communications firms.

Ogilvy called its system "Ogilvy Orchestration" and promised to deliver integrated marketing communications.

In practice, however, the dominant voice in this comprehensive agency is still that of the agency's advertising group. These agencies still make most of their money from their advertising billings. So how can they be fully objective when advising on the best mix of communication tools?

Yet advertisers are demanding more communication effectiveness. They want to shift more of their promotion dollars into direct marketing, public relations, and newer promotion tools. Advertising agencies would be wise to transform themselves from being narrowly defined advertising agencies into broad communication agencies.

Question: What is advertising's main limitation?

Kotler: Traditional advertising works primarily as a monologue. Today's companies would gain considerably by setting up systems that would enable dialogue to take place between the company and its customers and prospects.

Question: Will the Internet become an effective advertising medium?

Kotler: A few years ago, the CEO of Procter & Gamble said that he would happily switch a large portion of P&G's huge advertising budget to the Internet if he could find effective ways to do Internet advertising. So far, the Internet has not become a full-blown advertising medium like television, radio, newspapers, or magazines.

It is true that the Internet carries banner ads, but they are being opened less than 1% of the time. Advertisers are pressuring popular Web sites to carry skyscraper or pop-up ads, but the Web sites see this as risky. Also, consumers can choose to block pop-up ads.

Google has developed a system to align paid-for ads next to topics being searched by consumers. For example, if I type "BMW" on Google, the right side of Google's page will show a BMW ad. BMW will quickly learn whether its ad is leading to sales. All said, it is too early to tell how widespread or effective Internet advertising will become.

Question: How can companies effectively reach mass audiences?

Kotler: Advertisers won't see again the glorious days when they could reach millions of people in the evening with the same TV show or mass magazine.

There are three options today: One is to advertise on a number of media channels in the same time slot. Another is to advertise on Super Bowls, the Olympics, and other major worldwide events that attract large audiences. A third is to build a giant database containing the names of people who have the greatest interest in the company's offerings.

Question: Some media analysts call for more spending on public relations. Do you agree?

Kotler: I agree. Advertising has been overdone in the past, especially mass advertising with its "hit or miss" quality. PR has been underdone. PR consists of many tools, which I call the PENCILS of PR: publications, events, news, community involvement, identity tools, lobbying, and social investments.

When a customer sees an ad, she knows it is an ad, and an increasing number of customers are tuning ads out. PR has a better chance of getting a message through.

Furthermore the message can be fresher and more believable. PR is better equipped to create "buzz" about a new product or service. Interest in PR is increasing—witness the title of the recent book by Al and Laura Ries, The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Blogs, RSS and the Press Release – Which is David; Which is Goliath

I read an email today on a listserv that addresses the impracticality of Blogs reaching reporters. I can’t agree more. They’re best used as a marketing tool. Blogs are a wonderful tool when done right and when they reach the reporters' desks. However, they're not the most practical way to deliver your targeted PR messages to a targeted PR audience - especially in 2005. It's much more effective to build and maintain relationships with key members of the media at 5-10 targeted outlets that your clients and prospects most likely read. Be a resource to those members of the media and make sure they know you so that they will open your emails and return your calls.

With regard to RSS feed, in the March 21, 2005 issue of Adweek, there is an article by Lisa Van Der Pool that discusses RSS in connection with PR tactics and journalists. One statistic that caught my eye is that "Today, only 5 percent of Web users use RSS to get news or other information from blogs and content-rich Web sites," according to a January 2005 survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That said, RSS may be the trend of the future and we should all be planning for the future but if you want your story in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal, I suggest you scrap the press release and the blog all together and pick up the telephone.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Barry Teaches Anti-Media Relations 101 (MarketWatch)

By Jon Friedman, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - He surely didn't realize it, but baseball star Barry Bonds performed a valuable service for journalists everywhere this week.

The San Francisco Giants' slugger showed public figures how NOT to treat the press in times of stress.

The upshot was that the irascible Bonds, expected to miss an unspecified number of games this season following knee surgery, blasted the media over our relentless reporting about him and said WE had driven him to the brink of retirement.

Like other fans, I love to watch Bonds muscle homer after homer out of ballparks across the country. But if he thinks the media would miss him -- one of the most unpleasant people in sports -- all that much, he should buy a clue. Remember, the entire National Hockey League went out on strike this season, and has anyone even noticed?

Folks, history has proved that Bonds' Nixon-like rant never works. The New York Times, for example, responded to his calculated Chicken Little threat to retire by publishing a headline with echoes of Nixon, possibly the most paranoid public figure in modern history.

It said: "We Won't Have That Surly Superstar to Kick Around Anymore."

Bonds might as well be teaching a course for his fellow celebrities called Anti-Media Relations 101.

The big bad press

Think about it. When some pitcher tests Bonds' manhood by whistling a 95 mph fastball under his chin, he typically eyeballs the guy, dusts himself off and, more than likely, blasts the next pitch 450 feet, into McCovey Cove.

On Tuesday, however, Bonds responded to his (self-created) problems in the easiest and most time-honored way possible: he blamed the big bad press.

Fortunately, his threat to retire sounded as credible as his insistence that he hadn't done anything wrong regarding performance-enhancement substances.

Jeez, talk about the bully-boy media! A self-pitying coward can't even crawl into a corner and "retire" with impunity.

Even if you despise what people like me do for a living, your best bet is to take a page out of the wisdom of "The Godfather," where the cardinal rule was to "keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

Understandably, Bonds is depressed these days about the prospects of rehabbing a surgically-treated knee so close to the end of his quest for baseball immortality. Entering the 2005 season, he has amassed 703 home runs and is only 11 homers behind Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time home run list and 52 in back of all-time leader Henry Aaron.

Further, Bonds is being dogged by potentially damaging statements made by a woman, who has been blabbing about money that Bonds supposedly received from signing autographs. Then there are those never-ending accusations from hectoring reporters that Bonds has been taking steroids for years.

ESPN even assigned a reporter, full-time, to The Bonds Beat -- a full-court press that no athlete has ever received, not Ali or Gretzky or Jordan or Tiger. Imagine what might happen when Bonds (if?) Bonds gets within spitting distance of Aaron's mark. Will ESPN call out the Connecticut National Guard?

Shame on you, Barry.

It can't be easy to be the subject of such intense scrutiny. But I never heard Bonds complain when the press asked him to comment about one of his many hard-earned awards. He should know that when you're a public figure and making millions of bucks a year to play a game, you have to take the good with the bad.

Bottom line: Bonds should be ashamed of himself. His father Bobby Bonds was a big star in the 1960s and 1970s. Barry, who was close to his dad, saw first hand how closely the press covers a star athlete.

Even if Bobby Bonds wasn't a big enough name to get hounded and pestered by reporters, Barry's godfather could have filled him in. His name is Willie Mays, widely regarded as the greatest player to come along since Babe Ruth.

Maybe it's unfair of reporters to expect that every kid who comes along should sound as poised and appear as charismatic as Michael Jordan. Perhaps the media demand too much from our sports stars.

But it's not unreasonable, Barry, to expect you and other public figures to exhibit just a little class.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Television Interview Tips

Plan your attire.
-Don't wear White. It glows and it becomes the most noticeable thing on the TV screen.
-Don't wear black; it is too harsh and can suck up all the light. Solid colors work best. (This applies for long interviews only.)
-Don’t wear busy patterns; Thin stripes or busy tweeds and prints produce distracting onscreen effects – this applies to ties and prints on shirts and ladies’ scarves. Pastel shirts work well on TV.
-Don’t wear bright reds; they “bleed” on camera and are distracting. (However, a red accent is powerful)
-Be wrinkle-free.

Wear makeup. If you don’t wear powder on your nose, forehead and face, you will look shiny, oily and plastic. Make sure the powder makeup you use is the same color as your skin, not lighter and not darker. Also be sure to blot your face with a paper towel or napkin before the program begins.

Men: Keep your jacket buttoned. This will keep your tie in place, your suit symmetrical.

Watch other people being interviewed on the same program prior to your interview – look to see what they wear, the background colors on the set, and how it comes across. Then, watch the program with the sound off and see what mannerisms are distracting to you. Don’t repeat them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Public Relations vs. Advertising - What You Must Consider
Before deciding to pursue a media relations program, you must remember that the ability to control the content (advertising) of the message decreases its credibility. Securing media coverage increases the credibility of the message. The desire for credibility is much the same as serving homemade food; it’s often better than store-bought and it takes longer to prepare but the rewards are great. Just as it’s much easier to purchase food ready-made it is also easier to create an advertisement and to purchase the ad space for placement. Media exposure enhances the reputation of the quoted individual by connecting it to the credibility of the media outlet, but it also places the content of the message at the mercy of the reporters, anchors and editors. Much like homemade food – you cannot always guarantee the outcome. This risk is unavoidable. To control the content, you must pay for the privilege through advertising.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

How to Deal with"Less than Newsworthy Law Firm News"

A good way to deal with the "less than newsworthy news" situation is to establish guidelines within your firm and stick to them. Another way is to just send the press release to the people section of your local legal pubs and weekly community newspapers where your offices are located with a captioned headshot. Include it on your website (as it will help with your search engine optimization) and then call it quits.

We have all seen the words "news release" and "press release" too. I looked to Joe Marconi's book, "Public Relations, The Complete Guide," for the definitions. He says the difference is that a News Release is just that: "newsworthy, timely and containing all pertinent facts and at least a degree of impact. A press release is not necessarily time sensitive, nor does it have apparent impact. It is, however, a story with elements both interesting and perhaps valuable to a consumer of information."