Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Status of Our Philadelphia Attorneys

Daniel A. Cirucci, a public relations professional and former associate executive director of the Philadelphia Bar Association, recently wrote an article titled the Sad tale of Philly lawyers in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Cirucci discusses how a well-known Philadelphia-area magazine cover recently posed the question, “Who killed the Philadelphia lawyer?” Cirucci takes a moment to disagree with the cover by demonstrating how neither greed, mergers nor ego have killed the Philadelphia lawyer. “To the contrary, legal business in the city and the region appears to be booming. There are nearly 16,000 lawyers in Philadelphia now and the magazine points out that one in five Center City offices are occupied by law firms.”

Cirucci goes on to address a laundry list of falsities and realities within the Philadelphia legal realm. Cirrucci concludes the article by reminding his readers, “Don't worry about Philadelphia lawyers. They'll be around as long as humans are imperfect. And that's not such a bad thing. In fact, it's good for the city because, for better or worse, these lawyers are vital to the local economy. Without the tax revenue that the lawyers, their employees and their firms generate, the city would probably go under.”

This article is a must-read - check it out!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

SBA Report About Women Business Owners

If your business targets women business owners in its marketing, advertising, public relations or business development efforts, then listen up. Business Development Advisors Darrene Hackler, Ellen Harpel and Heike Mayer issued a report for the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy this month that details information and statistics about women business owners..

According to the SBA, “the report, Human Capital and Women’s Business Ownership, shows that self- employed women differ on most human capital variables compared to wage and salary-earning women. Self-employed women have more education and increased their educational attainment at a faster rate compared to other working women. The percentage of self-employed women in managerial occupations consistently exceeded the rate for other working women, and self-employed women participated in different industries than other working women. Self-employed men and women differed little in education, experience and preparedness. Important differences remain when considering occupational and industry experience.

A full copy of this report is available at: http://www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs323tot.pdf

The research summary can be found at: http://www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs323.pdf

Information about this report can be obtained by calling Chad Moutray at (202) 205- 6533 or advocacy [at] sba.gov.

To sign up for Advocacy updates via RSS feed, visit http://feeds.feedburner.com/sba/rAIO.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers Weekly Tip: Crafting Effective Authoritative Article Language

Here is a recap of the last Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers Weekly Tip:

Writing an authoritative article to garner positive publicity: Writing authoritative articles is one of the easiest and most effective ways to garner valuable publicity—especially if you like to write. When an article is published and you haven’t paid for the space (as opposed to placing an advertisement), you immediately establish credibility with your target audiences. It positions you as an expert without you saying, “Hey, look at me, I’m an expert on this topic.” When you read Chapter 11 on ethics, you will see that calling an attorney an expert can get you into hot water.

And now here are some quick tips for crafting effective article language that is clear and concise:

- Define legal and technical jargon in easy-to-understand language
- Your readers would rather read a short, to-the-point piece than a long, drawn-out piece
- Paragraph length is among the most important, if your paragraphs are too thick, the information looks slow and uninviting

For more important tips to understand when crafting article language, read Chapter 4 in Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers. Excerpt from Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers, Copyright 2007. Furia Rubel Communications, Inc. To purchase the book, click here.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Katie Couric and NY Times Among Media Layoffs Making News

It seems like all we’ve been hearing about lately are media layoffs. With good reason: the news has generally been negative, we’re headed into (if not already in) a recession - just look at gas prices, advertising expenditures are down across most industries and journalism is in a state of unrest.

According to today’s New York Post article, The Worst of Times by Keith J. Kelly who pens “Media Ink,” “The New York Times' news room is bracing for a bloodbath in the next 10 days.” Kelly shares lots of details as to why – be sure to read his article.

Other media layoff stories include:

WCCO.com Chicago, Good Question: Why So Many Media Layoffs? by Jason DeRusha

Los Angeles Times, CBS layoffs signal a financial squeeze on TV stations by Matea Gold and Meg James

Webpronews.com, Nielsen Business Media Makes Layoffs by Doug Caverly

And here are more articles that came up in my search:

'NY Times' Expected to Turn to Layoffs After Buyouts Fall ShortEditor & Publisher - 7 hours agoManagement and other non-unionized employees were to have accepted their buyout offers by Monday," the Post said, later quoting Anthony Napoli, a Newspaper ...

New York Times Expects Layoffs In Newsroom to Meet Job-Cut TargetWall Street Journal - Apr 15, 2008By SHIRA OVIDE NEW YORK -- New York Times Co. said it expects its flagship newspaper will resort to newsroom layoffs as buyouts offered to trim the paper's ... NYT

WNWO workers facing layoffsToledo Blade, OH - 17 hours agoWNWO-TV, Channel 24, announced layoffs yesterday of reporters, photographers, and editors as part of what vice president and general manager Jon Skorburg ...

The Look and Feel of Newspaper LayoffsPhoto District News (subscription), NY - Apr 18, 2008By David Walker San Jose Mercury News designer Martin Gee is one of thousands of inside eyewitnesses to the decline of the newspaper industry. ...

Lay off Katie Couric! CBS is to blameMSNBC - Apr 10, 2008In the morning, she was a popular personality as one of the co-hosts of NBC’s TODAY. But since she opted for the night shift as anchor of the “CBS Evening ...

Katie Couric Likely to Leave CBS Evening News After ElectionBroadcasting & Cable, NY - Apr 10, 2008The news of Couric's departure, which was first reported Wednesday night on The Wall Street Journal Web site, comes on the heels of a raft of layoffs ...

Seattle Times to cut nearly 200 jobs by next monthSeattle Post Intelligencer - Apr 7, 2008A second memo, issued later Monday, said 70 percent of the 191 positions set to be cut will be eliminated through layoffs, while the remaining jobs will go ...

Layoffs sweep TV networks and their affiliatesBroadcast Engineering, KS - Apr 7, 2008Also, last week, ABC News announced that it was eliminating about 20 jobs (though an ABC spokesperson said other positions will be added, ...

Layoffs of CBS veterans signal industry in crisisSan Jose Mercury News, USA - Apr 5, 2008They were part of 15 layoffs spread over CBS 5 and its sister station, KBCW-Channel 44. Combined, the two San Francisco-based stations employ about 250 ...

Local TV is no longer a cash cowBaltimore Sun, United States - Apr 3, 2008This week, CBS announced a series of layoffs at its stations in cities across the country, including Baltimore. And last month, the local ABC affiliate, ...

Harold Greene, Ann Martin leaving anchor posts amid CBS budget cutsLos Angeles Times, CA - Apr 2, 2008Reporters Jennifer Davis and Jennifer Sabih also are among those affected by layoffs at sister TV stations KCBS and KCAL. Los Angeles television news ...

TV media finally feeling print media's painSan Francisco Chronicle, USA - Apr 1, 2008The cuts follow 20 layoffs last week at ABC News. Over the past two years, NBC News has lost about 30 jobs as a result of a companywide effort to reduce 700 ...

Layoffs, Restructurings Hit CBS O&Os, CBS NewsTelevision Week, MI - Apr 1, 2008By Michele Greppi The first quarter of 2008 ended with separately directed layoffs and restructurings at CBS News and in the news operations at several ...

TV Layoffs in Miami, Denver, and SacramentoU.S. News & World Report, DC - Mar 28, 2008Three different metro newspapers are reporting layoffs at local CBS stations. The Sacramento Bee reported today that the CBS affiliate in Sacramento would ...

More Layoffs at ABC NewsBroadcast Newsroom, CA - Mar 27, 2008It will also make that support more directly responsible to those at ABC News who depend on it the most. And it should move us forward faster and more ...

ABC workers face layoffsHollywood Reporter, United States - Mar 27, 2008While Scott didn't specify the number of staff that would be made redundant or the cost savings involved, he said the creation of a new ABC Resources ...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dealing with Sky Rocketing Gas Prices - Improve Your Gas Mileage

In today’s Inquirer, Tony Gnoffo taps the issue on everyone’s mind – improving gas mileage. With Philadelphia region’s gas prices hitting new highs of $3.50 and in South Jersey $3.35, everyone is looking to cut costs and improve their gas mileage any way they can.

Gnoffo suggests trying techniques like hypermiling or ecodriving. According to Gnoffo, they both involve a radical approach to driving in a society that seems to view speed limits as minimums. The approach simply involves slowing down.

Gnoffo’s tips include:

- Taking your foot off the gas and coasting to red lights.
- When the light turns green, go easy on the gas pedal.
- On the highway set the cruise control to the speed limit or perhaps even lower.
- Observe the speed limit.
- Remove excess weight and roof racks when they are not being used.
- Keep tires fully inflated.

To see more gas mileage improving strategies, check out sites like cleanmpg.com, ecodrive.org, ecomodder.com, fueleconomy.gov, greenmpg.com and hypermiling.com.

Friday, April 18, 2008

How to Turn A Recession Into A Profit for Your Business

With so much talk about America going into a possible recession, we thought we would post an article on new businesses owners who found success and beat the odds in this tough economy. Rich Sloan’s Boost Sales by Filling ‘Screaming Needs’ article breaks it down by demonstrating that “Even in a down economy, customers will pay for products and services that save them time and money.”

To learn how Tom Sausen, a former chef whose food business, Bonewerks Culinarte, found success by selling gourmet sauces and fully-prepared entrees to professional chefs and howRyan Allis's iContact, an e-mail marketing service, are increasing their bottom line year by year... click here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Extreme Hybrid Vehicle Hits Philly

Okay - so here's a great example of public relations at work. Tom Schmidt of the Philadelphia Daily News reports in his Extreme makeover: Hybrid SUV edition article that "a supervan rolled into Penn's Landing yesterday and unloaded two vehicles that their owners hope will revolutionize the auto and oil industries. Inside the van were two hybrid SUVs, called XH-150s, that their creator claims will outperform anything on the road so far."

Low and behold, the man in the van was no other than the organizer of the first Earth Day celebration in Philly in 1970, South Philadelphia Native, and past regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency -- Edward W. Furia. If the name sounds familiar, that's because my "Uncle Ed" is also an attorney. He and the rest of the team at AFS Trinity have much to be proud of!

Just think, in our home town of Philadelphia, we'll be celebrating the 28th Earth Day later this week. Hmmmm - see the PR connection?

According to AFS Trinity's website, "The XH-150 started a cross country tour on 4/8/08 to give Americans their first onroad look at what CNN and others suggested may be "the car of the future," as the XH-150 works its way to Earth Day on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 20, 2008. Halfway through the cross country trip, the XH-150 was demonstrated for Austin Energy, a large municipal utility as well as for the leadership of Plug-in Partners, an Austin headquartered consortium of electric utilities and others supporting new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technologies. AFS Trinity is making the XH150 available for selected test drives in several communities from coast to coast."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Expand Your Web Site By Using a Content Management System

Craig McGuire of PR Week recently wrote an article titled “Expanding Web sites helps readership.” McGuire found that updating Web sites to offer easier and effective tools brings in a broader audience and I couldn’t agree more.

McGuire used FedEx’s Online Newsroom as an example of how an organization can take regular press release, news and company background content and turn it into an interactive, Web 2.0 hub for all Web site users from the press to shareholders. FedEx used a permission-based content management system to apply such effective and descriptive tools as videos, images, social bookmarking, multimedia flash video and many more. FedEx went from having 4,500 unique visitors per month to 65,000 per month.

The Furia Rubel site is also built on a content management system foundation and we completely stand by McGuire’s analysis. Your company’s Web site is your store front or as quoted in this article, “one centralized, 24-hour official company online newsroom.” You want your store front to look good and feel clean, offer the most recent and desired goods and entice customers to keep coming back. McGuire lists some key Web site guidelines that may help you expand your Web site.

Do
- Track audience interest and allow feedback
- Lean toward simple, clean navigation
- Offer a means to subscribe to news

Don’t
- Follow the herd
- Produce a variety of Web sites
- Let your content grow stale – timely content is vital

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yellow Book Scores Big on Web Ranking Reports

comScore Media Metrix recently released its monthly analysis of U.S. consumer activity at the top online properties for March 2008. The analysis named Yellow Book Network as the top-gaining site position for the month with a 54% gain to 13.5 million visitors. Again, stating that Yellow Book is strong and substantial company growing in leaps and bounds. See the complete comScore Media Metrix analysis below.

_______________________________

comScore Media Metrix Releases Top 50 Web Rankings for March

(Yellow Book Network and MLB.com Lead Top-Gaining Properties)

RESTON, VA (April 14, 2008) comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released its monthly analysis of U.S. consumer activity at the top online properties for March 2008 based on data from the comScore Media Metrix service. March saw traffic increase to online radio, gambling and retail-health care sites.

“American sports factored in prominently for the top gaining categories and properties in March,” said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore Media Metrix. “The NCAA tournament drove substantial traffic to online gambling sites during the month, while the start of spring training made MLB.com one of the top gaining properties. Both events also contributed to ESPN.com’s surge in the top properties rankings.”

Top-Gaining Sites for March: Yellow Book Network secured the top-gaining site position for the month, with a 54-percent gain to 13.5 million visitors due, at least in part, to a new partnership with addresses.com. Baseball spring training and fantasy team drafts prompted a flood of earnest fans to MLB.com, which jumped 50 percent to 9.8 million visitors. Bankrate.com Sites witnessed a 46-percent increase to 5 million visitors with the addition of the InsureMe.com entity in March.

Radio Sites See Surge in Visitation: Radio sites experienced a sharp increase in traffic in March with the category growing 27 percent to 61.8 million visitors, making it the top-gaining category for the month. AOL Music led the category with 21.9 million visitors (up 5 percent), following by Yahoo! Music with nearly 20.8 million visitors (up 4 percent) and Clear Channel Online with 11 million visitors (up 2 percent). Other significant increases were experienced by Pandora.com (up 9 percent), Citadel Broadcasting Corporation (up 11 percent), and Disney Music (up 17 percent).

Online Gambling Traffic Propelled by March Madness: The NCAA basketball tournament, also known as “March Madness,” attracted a flurry of online bettors, prompting a 14-percent gain to the online gambling category. Sportingbet PLC increased 35 percent to 975,000 visitors, UPICKEM.net jumped 174 percent to 396,000 visitors and SportsBetting.com rose 114 percent to 145,000 visitors.

Walgreen Co. Leads Retail – Health Care Category: Retail – Health Care sites experienced a 12-percent increase in March to 26.3 million visitors, as Walgreen Co. led the category with 5.4 million visitors (up 10 percent). Drugstore.com, Inc. captured the second position with 3.7 million visitors, followed by CVS with nearly 3 million visitors.

Top 50 Properties: The top 10 properties maintained their positions from February with Yahoo! Sites continuing to lead as the top property with 139.5 million visitors, followed by Google Sites with 137.5 million visitors and Microsoft Sites with 121 million visitors. ESPN jumped 12 spots on the popularity of March Madness and anticipation of the 2008 Major League Baseball season. Gains were also experienced by AT&T (up 8 spots to #18 with 31.3 million visitors), Target Corporation (up 5 spots to #20 with nearly 30 million visitors), and CBS Corporation (up 6 spots to #24 with 28.6 million visitors).

Top 50 Ad Focus Ranking: The top 10 Ad Focus properties also maintained their February rankings with Platform-A, the ad network combining Advertising.com, Tacoda, AOL, and Quigo, leading the ranking in March, reaching 91 percent of Americans online. interCLICK gained 9 spots in the ranking to position 14, reaching 58 percent of the 188 million Americans online. Real Cities Network and YuMe Video Network both entered this month’s rankings in positions 38 and 43, respectively.

About comScore Media Metrix: comScore Media Metrix provides industry-leading Internet audience measurement services that report details of online media usage, visitor demographics and online buying power for the home, work and university audiences across local U.S. markets and across the globe. comScore Media Metrix reports are used by financial analysts, advertising agencies, publishers and marketers. comScore Media Metrix syndicated ratings are based on industry-sanctioned sampling methodologies.

About comScore: comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com/boilerplate.

Friday, April 11, 2008

E-mail Productivity for Lawyers by Neen James

Neen James tells attorneys how to be more productive when using e-mail. First, she tells us to “avoid answering email first thing in the morning.” Ah – I need to follow her advice. She also says that if you apply these strategies, you will get back some of the time you are spending on e-mail each day.

Just some of the things Neen tells us to do are:

  • Unsubscribe (I’m great at this one)
  • Use the Out of Office Reply (Ah – this is a life saver)
  • Filter SPAM (But please check your SPAM filter too)
  • Be short and to the point (Yes, brevity is best)
  • Use and e-mail signature (Not having one is my biggest pet peeve!)
  • Be polite (Ever get one of those e-mails with all CAPS and !!!!!!!!!)
  • Spell check (and re-read aloud)
  • Remove distractions (and please turn off the backgrounds…)
  • Delete (But as an attorney, I say, not always….)
  • Avoid BCC (It’ll come back to haunt you)
  • Avoid FYI (Okay – so I need to follow this one more too)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Effective Ways To Manage Up in the Workplace

In today’s cutthroat environment, having the basic skills will not lead you to the road of success in the workplace. One skill that differentiates the good workers from the great is having the ability to “manage up”.

In the April issue of PR Tactics and The Strategist Online, Ken Jacobs of Jacobs Communications Consulting, LLC writes a great article on Managing up: Helping your boss is the best way to help yourself. In this article, Jacob provides some key points on what is takes to be on the accelerated career track.

Jacob provides tips such as:

  • Understand the assignment – Listen and ask your manager questions about your assignment. It will ensure that you and your supervisor are in sync.
  • Lead with their need – Re-evaluate your goals along with your manager’s goals everyday. By making sure your managers’ priorities coincide with your own, you contribute to their success and in essence contribute to your success.
  • Stay a step ahead – Before you accept or recommend a deadline, think about how long it will take to complete an assignment and what you already have on your plate. Build in extra time so if something comes up beyond your control, you will still be able to meet the deadline.
  • No surprises – Sharing bad news such as a deadline that can’t be met, a budget cutback or unanticipated results is part of your job so sharing it at the last moment with your manager is unacceptable. Keep the communication lines open so you can create a bond of trust with your manager.
  • Plan for the unplanned – Keep on top of your daily work assignments because your manager will bring you new assignments, deadlines and problems to solve and you will get appreciation when you can say, “I’m on it.”

For more information on Ken Jacob’s article, go to Managing up: Helping your boss is the best way to help yourself.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Deposition Foul Language Hits Media Due to Sanctions

My Father, Richard F. Furia, Esquire, is one of the best sources of blog ideas. He’s always sending me great material. This morning, he sent me a few articles regarding U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno’s 44-page opinion in the GMAC Bank v. HTFC Corp. case. (Opinion: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/Robreno.pdf)

In this case, Judge Robreno levied sanctions of more than $29,000 on a lawyer and his client after finding that a deposition was a "spectacular failure" because of the Aaron Wider, the CEO of HTFC’s, hostile and abusive conduct during a 12 hour deposition. The CEO dropped the F-bomb73 times, interrupted counsel, gave unnecessarily protracted answers, interposed his own objections and wrongfully refused to answer questions. His attorney, Joseph R. Ziccardi of Chicago, did nothing to stop his client's conduct, and in fact, snickered at his client's behavior.

There’s a great article in The Legal Intelligencer by Shannon Duffy titled Lawyer and Client Sanctioned Over Client's Outbursts that goes into the details of the opinion.

Attorneys need to counsel their clients (and themselves) from the very start of a case that anything can become fodder for media coverage. It is imperative to remember everyday public relations includes the way you dress, the way you speak, and even the way you react when even one other person in public is watching.

Gina F. Rubel, Esq.
Author: Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers
http://www.furiarubel.com/

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dealing with a PR Crisis - WSJ Outlines First 90 Days

Last week, Toddi Gunter, Special to The Wall Street Journal, wrote “Dealing With a PR Crisis Takes Planning and Truth” and hit the nail on the head!

In Gunter’s article, she outlines what a company should do in the first 90 days of a crisis.

-Remember, rumors are a crisis, too.
-Gather your crisis team.
-Identify the type of crisis.
-Determine who needs to know.
-Create a consistent message.
-Manage and monitor media flow.
-Reflect and move on.

However, too often corporations (and law firms alike) don’t take the proactive steps necessary to prepare a crisis communications plan. And as an attorney and publicist, I advocate that including corporate counsel in the crisis communications planning process is also an imperative part of that mix!

That said, if you’re considering crisis communications planning, I encourage you to register for Rich Klein’s upcoming seminar on April 16th: Crash Course on Crisis Communications for Law Firms.

Not having a crisis communications plan is like running a business without liability insurance. It’s better to invest in the coverage and never have to use it than not have it at all.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Importance of Print Publications

Keith O’Brien of PRWeek recently wrote an article titled; Print journalism teaches us the importance of precision. In the article, O’Brien discusses the pros and real importance of print publications and what they still bring to the table in comparison to the Web. O’Brien spells it out as clear as day saying, “You can’t read Web sites in the subway (though you can read RSS feeds, and wireless connectivity is on the way); print publications are easier on the eyes; everyone wants something tangible to hold in his or her hands; and a spread provides a better opportunity to display a story’s expanse than a six page breaks online.”

He also outlines three tried and true reasons why we should all care about print which are listed below.

- The judgments of journalists and readers keep things in context. The print issue takes the news of the world into a substantive, concise solution. No print title can ever encompass all the news that’s fit to print, but it can constrain it.

- In each story, we have to reach the core elements in a shorter space. This benefits all, providing both writers and readers the challenge of constructing arguments in shorter spaces and times. The world still revolves around the elevator pitch, which is what a print story ensembles. I have never encountered a piece written above word count – including Op-Eds – that couldn’t do with a fat trimming.

- Deadlines help us all. I know very well that the “unofficial deadlines” of a Web property are frenetic and unforgiving. I know very well that a publication that wants relevancy online needs to publish as close to instantaneous as possible. But those online deadlines that never begin nor end don’t teach us much. Print deadlines are real. They control the situation. There’s no room to follow up – or amend – later that day. Print deadlines give us a structure by which to operate.

I found this article to be very interesting and hope as O’Brien does that print stays viable forever.

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