Tuesday, July 25, 2006

senior job opening at National Trust

Senior communicators, take note: The National Trust for Historic Preservation is searching for a Vice President for Communications and Marketing, a newly configured post that will oversee communications as well as the Trust's national magazine, Preservation. Twenty years' communications experience is preferred, and experience with mass electronic communications vehicles and magazine publishing would be "a big plus," as would experience and/or interest in preservation, community revitalization and related fields.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

revealing leaders, one blooper at a time

If you're wondering why the nation and the world seem so fascinated with playing and replaying Internet-spread video of President Bush (or any world leader) getting caught with a slip of the lip, wonder no more. In today's New York Times Week in Review, Jim Rutenberg here notes how times have changed for modern U.S. presidents, thanks to President Nixon:
Nixon famously and reluctantly provided 2,700 hours of tape from his inner sanctum, along with tens of thousands of pages of transcripts of conversations, which combined to blow any vestige of a strait-laced facade off his White House--and hastened the march toward impeachment. After Nixon, though, presidents tended to keep the candor well guarded, and so to the blooper bin we go for insight.

It is deep.
Rutenberg also notes that the Nixon tapes and the resultant damage "pretty much ensured that no president would again make the mistake of keeping vast archives of recordings. White Houses are better than ever at hiding the true humanity of presidents, so historians are glad to have the bloopers." Not to mention the joke-passers of the Web...

measure that podcast

Today's Washington Post business section reports new data from Nielsen Analytics that put specifics on our gut sense that podcast audiences are growing. But how? The article, here, notes that:

-more than 9 million Internet users downloaded podcasts last month (not a high proportion of the total);
-ten percent of respondents said they download eight or more podcasts a week;
- more than 75 percent of podcast listeners are male;
- 38 percent say they're listening to the radio less, as a result of using podcasts.

While still a small audience overall, it pays to stay abreast of these trends as they grow and change. One analyst quoted in the article suggests that the car stereo will be the first device to be replaced by podcast technology...a change that would revolutionize the captive audience of commuting drive-time radio.

Friday, July 21, 2006

no more writer's cramp

Writers who struggle with forearm and wrist pain from too much typing will welcome an improved generation of dictation software. Reviewed in the New York Times this week here, NaturallySpeaking version 9 (available at www.nuance.com) comes close to 100 percent accuracy -- without having you read extensive passages into the software first. The review offers an extensive description of how it works, comparisons to other versions and brands, and special features for Macs and PCs. Best: It works whether you're writing a memo, the Great American Novel, or just a text message.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

a fresh blog

Fresh and local vegetables, that is...Don't Get Caught president Denise Graveline has launched another blog, Vegetables for Breakfast, about the environmental, scientific and culinary aspects of participating in a community-supported agriculture project. She gets a prepaid weekly "share" of organic, locally grown vegetables from a farmer within 100 miles of her home in Washington, DC. After Farmer Allan Balliett of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, drops off the weekly bag of what's in season, the fun begins...follow the challenge of cooking fresh and local foods in this new effort!

Monday, July 17, 2006

the shelf life of an egg

...is not, we predict, going to be lengthened by CBS's move to put advertisements on eggshells. Don't believe us, check it out in today's New York Times here. Some 35 million eggs will have laser-printed ads (text only) for programs in the CBS fall lineup right on their shells. CBS likes it, says one exec, because "you can't avoid it" in a cluttered ad environment (if you eat eggs, that is). A company called EggFusion in Deerfield, Ill. handles the laser work. For now, don't look for a rash of egg advertising: CBS likes this approach enough to have secured sole advertiser status on eggs this fall. You're most likely to find them at A&P supermarkets, the first major chain to carry EggFusion-altered eggs. Guess this is a sign that there are now too many promotional pens and t-shirts...

the shelf life of online news

...is rather longer than an instant. And it was measured in, of all places, a physics journal. Reported in today's New York Times, the study in Physical Review E, the journal of the American Physical Society, finds that it takes 36 hours for half of the total readership of an online article to have read it. The article gets confirmation by actual editors of online news. Jennifer Sizemore of MSNBC.com, notes:
“Sure, the top news story always gets a ton of traffic. But sometimes that second-to-last headline near the bottom of the page won’t be far behind. And there are features that will draw strongly for a week or more. Even once they’re no longer featured on the front, they are prominent throughout the site.”
Don't get caught pulling online news stories too quickly, then, lest you lose the other half of the readers who go beyond 36 hours to reach your news.

Friday, July 14, 2006

your online image checkup

How often do you glance in a mirror or plate glass window to check your appearance? Now how often do you check your image -- or that of your organization -- on the Web? Find out whether you're above or below the radar, and what your customers or members are saying about you, with this simple online image checkup:

* Start with your email signature block, your best free ad on the Internet. If you're only using it for your name, phone and email address, you're missing a chance to point your messagees to a news release, new Web page, or blog post that they might otherwise miss. Update your signature block frequently, and it will be frequently read -- this is a major word-of-mouth traffic driver when it's used effectively.

*Next, Google yourself, your organization, your new book title, or your issue of importance. Does your preferred image or site show up as one of the first searches? If not, you may need to update your Web page or blog more frequently; the most recent content rises to the top of any search, which is why we recommend blog posts so strongly. Don't forget to check for yourself or your group on Google Image and Google News to see photos and news stories circulating about you.

*Is your blog showing? As noted above, blogs are search engine magnets, but you can help the process along by "pinging" blog search sites like Technorati, Google Blog Search or Feedster to be sure they include your most recent posts.

Smart communicators, or those needing to raise their visibility, would do well to conduct this checkup at least once a month if not more frequently. For more ideas on how to raise your visibility online, contact Denise Graveline at info@dontgetcaught.biz.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

news release blogging

We encourage clients to consider the easily updated blog as a media relations method, and UMBC, an honors university in Maryland, offers a great example with its news release site powered by Movable Type, a blogging platform. While not advertised as a blog, you'll note that each release is a post, identifying its author; the site also offers RSS feeds. We provide coaching, training and writing services for the public relations and marketing teams at UMBC, and we're proud to share their example as one you may want to emulate.

smooth the way for readers

Many writers get caught in transitions, and we don't mean job changes, but those essential words that move the reader from one thought to the next. An easy-to-use reference for just such occasions is A Writer's Guide to Transitional Words and Expressions by Victor C. Pellegrino. The "pages" in this book are arranged so you can easily thumb through them to find options for transitions that indicate time order, sequence, summaries, cause and effect, emphasis, examples and more. And as a bonus, the last section includes 500 words that can substitute for "said." Make a transition on your reference shelf and include this slim but useful volume.

Buy A Writer's Guide to Transitional Words and Expressions

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

thank you for hating my book

...is the title of a tragicomic op-ed piece in today's New York Times. Author Katha Pollitt describes her horror at learning that a lousy review (complete with bad caricature of her) was deemed "good publicity" by her publisher and friends. She writes about the common author addiction of watching her amazon.com rankings, and hedges her bets by buying $256 worth of her own book for friends and family...one at at time, over time, to boost the numbers. If you are or have been a book author, you'll find this a familiar situation -- but it doesn't have to be. We help book authors to:

- negotiate with their publishers to get maximum PR and marketing efforts;
- conduct a publicity checkup to make sure you're taking advantage of the free and simple ways to promote your book, as a baseline.
- create speaking opportunities and materials to promote your book;
- identify and seek coverage of your book or interview opportunities with print reporters, radio and TV producers and bloggers;
- help you create a blog that can promote your book; and
- measure your book's coverage.

Denise Graveline is co-organizing and speaking on a panel on "Book PR Basics: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You" at the next National Association of Science Writers meeting, in October in Baltimore. Find out more about the meeting here, and email us at info@dontgetcaught.biz if you have a forthcoming or existing book that needs publicity help.