Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Social Media Day!

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Mashable.com has declared June 30th Social Media Day. This worldwide networking event was created to bring together social media users IRL (in real life) and celebrate the ‘revolution of media becoming social’.

With over 93 countries celebrating nearly 600 events, Social Media Day is sure to be memorable. Here are some ways you can participate:

  • Attend a Meetup near you to network and connect with other social media fans.
  • Watch the live streaming videos of other Meetup events around the world.
  • Follow SMday on Twitter and be sure to use the #smday handle in your tweets.
  • "Like" the Facebook page and share photos and comments

I’m attending a Meetup in Center City later this evening. For our local readers, in addition to the Philadelphia Meetup, there are also Meetups in Lancaster and King of Prussia.

Some of the other ways I’m participating are:

  • Following the event on Twitter at smdphilly. There are games planned for the event such as Twizzo, which is a Twitter spin on the classic pub quiz normally found at Irish bars.
  • I’m also using the hashtag #smdphilly in my tweets to allow others who are attending the event to watch the trending topic on Twitter.

I’m looking forward to meeting fellow social media advocates tonight!

For more details about the Philly Meetup and to RSVP, click here.

How are you celebrating Social Media Day?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yahoo Releases Style Guide for Web Content

Posted by Katie Noonan

Yahoo! has released a style guide much like the AP Stylebook that offers help for those who write Web content. “The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World” includes useful articles on writing Web content, creating effective headlines, grammar, punctuation and style rules for Web-specific language, and an "Ask an Editor" feature for questions not addressed through the online guide.

What I like about Yahoo!'s style guide is that it takes into account search engine optimization in addition to editors' preference. Mashable brings up an excellent example- according to the AP Stylebook, "e-mail" should still be hyphenated, but in common usage it is often used without the hyphen. Since those who write for the Web have to take into consideration what people are most likely to conduct a search for, a seemingly small distinction like "e-mail" or "email" matters.

The Yahoo! Style Guide is currently available online and will be released in print and for iPad and Kindle on July 6.

Following Social Media Development Through Past World Cups


Posted by Amanda Walsh

Hi everyone! I’m back from Madrid after two years abroad! I miss it there, but there is no place like beautiful Bucks County, Pa. to call home! One hobby that I picked up while living abroad was watching soccer games. What perfect timing to come back to the US with the 2010 World Cup in full swing. I wanted to share some interesting World Cup social media developments I discovered through mashable.com.

According to The World Cup’s Social Media Evolution article by Zachary Sniderman, 2002 was the first year that the Internet was heavily used to reach out to fans. Looking back though, the most notable development was creation of a few websites dedicated to connecting with fans. Social media surrounding the World Cup has certainly come a long way since then.

The following World Cup in 2006 was held in Germany. Social media was growing, but not nearly at the stage it is now. For example, Facebook was still only for high school and college students (remember that?)! MySpace was the website of choice at the time in the US. That year in fact, Google and Nike teamed up to create Joga.com, known as “the first social network for football fans worldwide”.

In 2010, World Cup fans use social media more than ever before. Twitter recently reported on their blog the challenge of updating the website and accommodating the growth of new users tweeting about the World Cup. Most recently however, the folks at Twitter shared a Twitter platform application for worldwide soccer fans called, TweetBeat World Cup.

In addition, I did a few searches on Facebook for keywords like World Cup, FIFA, and Spain fans and I found a variety of fan pages dedicated to soccer. YouTube has the “Ten Best World Cup Goals” as a feature on its site. Even the iPhone and other applications for smartphones such as Android are featuring exclusive applications for the World Cup. NPR has dedicated a blog to following the game results and other major news outlets like CNN, NYtimes and Huffington Post are sharing news 24 hours a day.

I knew that soccer was an integral part of European and international culture when I was in Madrid, but I did not expect the fan fever to be as rampant here in the States! I was quite shocked to see that Americans are following the sport more closely than ever before. To read more about the development of social media through the World Cup, check out Sniderman’s article here.

(photo credit: fifa.com)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Major LinkedIn Group Updates to Note

LinkedIn has consistently been a well-organized and trustworthy social media site accepted for use corporate settings. The area known as "Groups" on LinkedIn allows sharing and discussions via groups set up with common interests. Recent updates to the Groups area on LinkedIn are being released this week with improvements designed to help users navigate and use Groups more efficiently.

Aside from an overall dashboard design update, other notable updates include:

1. Integration of shared news articles related to the group or topic.

2. A scrolling carousel of popular discussions within the Group and quick "like" and "comment" tabs underneath.

3. A widget showing influential Group members (the most active members in that Group).

For more information on these updates, visit the LinkedIn Blog.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Websites: Then, Now and Looking Ahead

Written by Lauren Sullivan & Laura Powers

Evolving Media: Let's face it, most websites built 10 years ago didn't look so great. For the most part, content was not organized well, navigation was confusing to the user and graphics were unsophisticated. Today, there is a higher standard to which designers and developers build websites and, because of that, website design, usability and functionality has improved immensely.

Websites have changed how we communicate, find information and share information with one another. Advancing from static pages and scripts, our online environment has become a publishing avenue from which content in blogs, social networks, chats, and forums are all interlinked together.

A website is a portal. Properly created, it gives the user an "experience" of a product, service or company. Here are few good before and after examples of popular websites. No doubt, you'll recognize most of them as they appear today and get a chuckle from their original appearance.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Trends In Monitoring Online Reputations

Posted by Amanda Walsh

As most of our loyal readers know, we have been advocating for quite some time on ThePRLawyer a responsible approach to online reputation management. A recent Pew Report announced some new trends in monitoring online reputations.

Some interesting facts from the report include:
  • 46 percent of online adults have created their own profile on a social networking site, up from 20 percent in 2006.
  • 56 percent of people use search engines to look up information about themselves.
Young adults ages 18-29 are the most active in management of online profiles. They are most likely to customize privacy settings (71 percent) and limit information about themselves found online (44 percent). Furthermore, 47 percent delete unwanted comments and 41 percent remove their names when tagged in photos.

In comparison with users in age groups 30-49 and 50-64, the younger 18-29 crowd seems to be the most vigilant of their online reputation and have reported that they are “less trusting” of sites that host their personal content.

The results of the report shed light on the idea of promoting or downplaying certain aspects of our social media profiles depending on the audience. According to the report, “44 percent of online adults have searched for information about someone whose services or advice they seek in a professional capacity.” This shows that online reputation certainly has an impact.

Are you monitoring your online reputation? Are you taking the steps to be more cautious about what you say and post? To read more about the report and findings check out the NYTimes.com article.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Headshot and Company Photo Tips

Written by Lauren Sullivan & Katie Noonan

Headshots and company photos are a great marketing tool either for use in corporate capabilities, company websites, social media sites and much more. Businesses and law firms should have photos that jive with their company's culture and aesthetic, but professionals in other creative or unique industries may want to use headshots and company photos to showcase their individuality and personality.

Here are a few tips for getting the best headshots for your team…

Dress accordingly. Make sure everyone wears clothing that is appropriate for the mood of the shoot. This means gray, navy, or black suits, crisp shirts (neutral, bold, or basic colors), ties, dress shoes and well-done hair and make-up. Hire a professional if need be for hair and make-up and make sure to do trial runs with this professional before the day of the photo session.

Choose a professional. A professional photographer is someone who is trained in framing shots and managing subjects for the best images possible. Don't rely on a friend with a digital one-shot. Hire a professional. Be sure to give your photographer lots of examples of images you like and be sure to include a few locations for the photo shoot.

Choose a location. A vital part of the photography mood is the setting that you choose. A lot of people prefer inside shots over the outdoor ones, but choosing a location in a park or outside your building has a lot of potential for interesting angles and lighting. Consult with the photographer on the location – and prepare yourself. Always check the weather forecast for outdoor shoots and have an alternate location selected in advance.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Looking Back: FRC Offers Timeless Media-Related Tips

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Over the years, my fellow bloggers at ThePRLawyer and I have passed along some amazing resources and shared lots of information that we hope you have found as valuable as we did.
Today’s post is media-themed and highlights a few tips from our Furia Rubel’s archives.

Television Interview Tips has points that are still relevant today. It is most important to plan what you’re going to wear for an on-camera piece. Gina cautions against choosing white, black, busy patterns or bright reds. Check out more helpful hints here.

Preparing Your Spokesperson offers techniques to help company representatives prepare for public speaking. The speaker’s facial expressions and tone of voice all play a role in their credibility. Gina also advises to keep answers short. This great post can be found here.

In a post called, Working with the Media, Gina offers guidelines for PR professionals when working with the media. She encourages building long-term relationships. Having a specific media spokesperson for your company or business provides a consistant contact person and helps foster relationships. More tips can be found here.

It’s amazing to go back into the archives and discover the relevance of our tips and guidelines even years later. It shows that informed, good public relations is timeless!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Six Recommended Marketing and PR Blogs

Written by Lauren Sullivan & Laura Powers

Marketing, social media and public relations are blogged about every hour of every day. To keep up with opinions, advice and trending topics in these arenas, The PR Lawyer follows many sites including other blogs. Below is a list of blogs that we frequent - we hope you enjoy them.

Scobleizer: Exploring the 2010 Web
- Author and blogger Robert Scoble explores a variety of topics on Web publishing for business through his blog. He is the author of a great book called "Naked Conversations."

Chris Brogan: Community and Social Media
- Chris Brogan's blog advises businesses, organizations, and individuals on how to use social media and social networks to build relationships and deliver value.

Mashable
- Mashable is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and social media news. It’s a great resource for PR and marketing professionals who are interested in utilizing Web 2.0 and social media initiatives in PR and marketing campaigns.

The Steve Rubel Lifestream
- Steve Rubel is SVP, Director of Insights for Edelman Digital. This blog helps clients identify emerging technologies and trends that can be applied in marketing communications programs.

How To Change The World
- Twitter guru Guy Kawasaki has written many books on sales and marketing and uses this blog to show how online publishing can be a useful tool for business growth and other initiatives.

Greg Verdino: Marketing, Media, Technology & Trends
- Greg Verdino is a futurist, marketer, writer and speaker who works as Vice President, Strategy & Solutions at full service social media agency Powered, Inc. In his blog, Greg discusses trends in media and marketing along with changes being brought on by disruptive technologies, new business imperatives and the rise of the empowered consumer.

PR Squared
- In this blog, Todd Defren discusses Web 2.0 in the public relations arena. He frequently speaks across the country on social media.

Consumers Beware: Your Facebook Complaint Group Could Land You In Court

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Legal experts are saying more and more companies are now taking legal action against consumers who vent online about their dissatisfaction with company services. I found a recent article on NYTimes.com by Dan Frosch which points out that social networking sites have given dissatisfied customers and clients a platform to air their complaints to many followers and friends.

In the article, 21-year-old university student in Kalamazoo, Mich., Justin Kurtz, lashed out against a local towing company after his car was towed. Kurtz was set off after paying the required $118 fee to get his car back and took his aggression out on Facebook. He created a page called “Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing” which drew over 800 followers within two days. Shortly after, T&T filed a defamation lawsuit against Kurtz seeking $750,000 in damages.
According to the article, “some First Amendment lawyers consider the lawsuit an example of the latest incarnation of a decades-old legal maneuver known as a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or Slapp.” Different states have different laws concerning Slapp, but in Michigan there is no anti-Slapp legislature. Kurtz has become quite famous and his Facebook page has now grown to 12,000 people.

I wanted to share this news with ThePRLawyer audience because Furia Rubel provides marketing and public relations services to law firms and lawyers. However, this is a reminder to everyone, in any industry, that what we say and do online is in a public forum.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

In-house Marketing Challenges

Written by Laura Powers

Companies with in-house marketing departments handle a growing variety of projects these days. At some point, though, the workload often becomes overbearing. So, when is a good time to consider an outside firm to outsource work to?

When corporate budgets are tight, and time and resources are limited – that’s really the perfect time to contract work out. Here's why:

1. MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION PLANS - An agency will help develop sophisticated marketing and communication plans for businesses that define and promote sales and marketing opportunities for the company, increasing ROI. Plans provide reports that map out results. They take into account an important aspect that is most often overlooked in companies -- strategic marketing -- and plan for the implementation and integration of marketing tactics.

2. TARGET AUDIENCE - Agencies can help enhance the definition of a company's target audience because they look at businesses from an outside perspective. While a company may know an audience already through a metric such as sales reports, an agency can go in-depth to research and define not only who they are, but also how better to target them with results that work, creating a higher ROI.

3. NETWORKED IN THE COMMUNITY – Most likely, a local agency will be well-networked in the community, an added benefit for their clients. Agencies should be familiar with local news and media, for public relations and advertising purposes, and know what tactics work best for each part of your communication strategy. They also work with a variety of community vendors, which leads to the next point…

4. PRICING AND RESOURCES - Outside agencies may be able to negotiate better pricing on service and materials (such as stock photos and printing services) than in-house marketing departments. They have established relationships with a wide array of vendors which allows for price shopping and high quality.

5. CREATIVITY can be greater when a company's marketing team works in tandem with an agency. In fact, most companies believe that the quality of work is much better. In-house marketing departments can often get too comfortable with products - losing their creative appeal. Outside agencies will have a fresh outlook and new ideas. They can also act as a catalyst for change by offering a different perspective on a myriad of issues.

6. WORK HIRED UNDER CONTRACT will be accompanied by a legally-binding agreement ensuring that roles and responsibilities are defined, ideas are well-crafted, and costs are calculated in the appropriate areas - which can be difficult for internal departments to determine.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Copywriting that Makes an Impact

Copywriting should be easy-to-read, concise and formatted with headings. The Internet should also follow these basic rules for hard copy – and even have some extra guidelines for better viewing on computer screens.

Here are some tips from Furia Rubel's Vice President of Marketing and design guru Laura Powers:

  • Use a light or neutral background, with a dark, serif 12-point font and proper spacing for texts that have a lot of important information. If you have a more creative document, play up the fonts, but keep it legible. If you are going to incorporate a background color, make sure it is harmonious with the font color. Neon backgrounds with colorful text can distract the reader.
  • Make proper headings, especially for a longer document. Your first heading should be bold, underlined or a larger font from the rest of the text. You can check out a number of formatting styles sheets within Microsoft Word. Adding bullets can also help the reader decipher information. ...eh hem...
  • Use shorter sentences and focus on the emotional impact of the text. Break up paragraphs to 2 or 3 sentences to make visual impact on the reader. Try to be as concise as possible.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Just Your Average Blogger

Posted by Katie Noonan

The typical blogger is, (drum roll, please!) a lot like one of us, here at ThePRLawyer according to a June report released by social media monitoring and analytics technology firm Sysomos. The firm recently monitored over 100 million blog posts that provided information about the author's age, gender and location. What they found out about the blogosphere is interesting even if it's not surprising.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • The majority of bloggers are ages 21-35, while only 7.1% of the blogosphere is comprised of individuals over the age of 51.

  • Bloggers are split right down the middle according to gender with 49.1% of bloggers being male and the other half female.
  • It also probably doesn't come as a surprise that globally Americans have the largest share of the blogosphere with 29.2%. The UK, Japan and Brazil are behind the United States with 6.75%, 4.88%, and 4.19% respectively.
  • Of Americans who blog, most reside in California, New York, Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania (What, what!)

So there you have it- we fit the profile for the average blogger, with the PR/legal know-how to go with, of course!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Track What People Are Talking About....Kurrently

Posted by Katie Noonan

There are plenty of aggregates out there that will track what people are saying about a topic, but Kurrently is one that gets high marks for its simplicity and ease of use.

Kurrently allows you to search Facebook and Twitter status updates in real time. Simply visit the site, type in your search terms into a search engine reminiscent of Google or Bing and see what people are saying about a given topic. It's as simple as that.

VisitPA Teams Up With Foursquare To Increase PA Tourism

Posted by Amanda Walsh

The State of Pennsylvania announced last week that it would partner with Foursquare.com in an effort to increase tourism to the keystone state. According to the NYTimes blog, In Transit, the tourism board of Pa., VisitPA, is teaming up with the location-based social network, to award special badges to users who "check-in" to various places within the state.

Switched.com also wrote about the recent partnership, highlighting PA´s push to increase tourism this summer. Three custom badges were specially created for Pennsylvania. They include the 'PA Shooflyer' for food lovers, the 'PA Retail Polka' for those who love to shop and the badge for those who enjoy history is called, 'PA 4 Score and 7'. To read more, go to the VisitPA Foursquare page.

I wrote about Foursquare a few weeks ago here on ThePRLawyer. Now it seems to have been gaining popularity. It's neat to see the state of Pennsylvania jump on board with this social network to bring visitors to the Keystone state!

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