Monthly Archives: December 2008

For Your Consideration: Oscar Publicists

As someone once involved in this insane process (I handled an Italian longshot that wanted to be nominted for Best Score in my days as a Hollywood Press Agent), I thought this article from the Washington Post on “Oscar Campaigns” was interesting. CLICK HERE TO READ.

oscar1My job in those days was to make sure they had the best screenings with the best food (a task made even easier since I got to clean up and take all the leftovers home when screening after screening no one came). If you added up how much they spent and how few came, the price per ticket had to be thousands of dollars for that overlooked little film. I’m sorry to say I can’t even remember the name! But I sure remember the food.

Holiday Bonuses in Trouble

holiday-bonus

The holiday bonus as we know it is fading fast. As our nation’s economy continues to stumble into uncertain times, many small business owners are finding that they can’t afford to lavish their employees with the cash rewards they once could. When the numbers are down, the luxuries are the first to go.
Holiday bonuses, however, are a great way to show your thanks and appreciation to a hard-working and deserving staff. Eliminating them altogether may cause employees to feel underappreciated and resentful. So if you’re a small business owner who wants to show your appreciation but can’t afford to fork over large sums of money, then you may need to get creative.
More and more businesses are shifting their bonus structures toward performance-based pay. With a pay-for-performance structure, the money that an employee receives is tied to meeting certain goals and objectives, which are typically tied to meeting company-wide goals and objectives. Paying for performance gives employees the chance to still receive a bonus. The only catch is that they have to earn it. It also increases productivity and makes employees more accountable, which makes employers much more willing to give.
If monetary compensation of any kind is simply out of the questions this year, then perhaps you could try rewarding your employees with a cool, relatively inexpensive experience. Consider taking them to a concert or theater production or on a ride around town in a limo. Maybe they’d enjoy a gourmet meal at a nice restaurant. Look for any gesture that your employees will appreciate, and you won’t have to sacrifice nearly as much money for.
If money is simply too tight for you to be able to spend even a single dime on your employees, which will be the case for many small businesses this year, then there is still another option-time off. Time away from work to enjoy with family and friends is something that every employee wants and needs. They will appreciate the extra days to relax after all of the hard work they put in this year. Plus it won’t touch your budget, something that all employers will continue to watch very closely.

Exclusive Interview with Guy Kawasaki

Last week, Growthink Co-Founder Dave Lavinsky interviewed Guy Kawasaki, a legend in the world of entrepreneurship. As a member of his exclusive GrowThink Forum, I share that interview with you here.

Guy was one of the original Apple employees responsible for marketing the Macintosh in 1984. He has since launched many successful ventures including Alltop.com. He is the Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, a venture capital firm which specializes in high-technology start-up firms. He also runs the blog “How to Change the World” which is ranked among the world’s top 100 blogs.

Guy spoke with us candidly about the challenges of raising capital, the key phrases to avoid using when speaking with a VC, and about his new book, Reality Check.

CLICK HERE to listen to the interview in it’s entirety and download the transcript.

When Your Website Becomes a “Lost World”

Although they are loathe to admit it, most companies websites are “lost worlds”.

Meaning: They are hardly visited. They are un-loved. They provide little useful information.

Net, net: They are of little or no value to anyone.

How does this happen and what does it have to do with digital PR?

Let’s take the questions in order:

1. It happens because companies get caught up in the aesthetics of their sites and give short shrift to the strategy, or lack of it, that should be their driving force.

Just the other day, I talked to the partners of a five-year old law firm that is struggling in the current economic environment. When I asked them about their sweet spot in terms of expertise, they waxed poetic about their exceptional experience in representing businesses entangled with government agencies. A perfect place to be through all economic cycles, especially in times like these.

And then, seated in their conference room, we reviewed their website together. This window to their world said not a word about their government expertise. Why? Thinking of all the clients they could serve through the broadest possible shotgun approach, they were fearful of being pigeon-holed into a limited practice segment.

End result: they created a plain vanilla, cookie-cutter site that completely omitted their sweet spot and made them appear like a zillion other law firms. Worse yet, like so many other firms and companies in all industries, they actually camouflaged their greatest asset.

2. And now for the PR fallout. As PR professionals, we all recognize the need to hone in on our clients’ unique expertise or whatever comes close to unique. And then we go to the media with the story, the case examples, the Op Ed’s. And if we do our jobs well, the media is intrigued and even before they talk to us, they zip right over to the client’s URL.

Here is where the message we seed the media with and the message on the site, must be in tandem. One and the same. In fact, the site must reinforce and make our media message bullet proof. It must provide:

* A philosophy that relates to the core expertise

* Testimonials demonstrating that the company can deliver on its promise.

* Documents that expand on the key message.

* Ideas on how the company’s expertise can be applied in the real world.

There is a hand and glove, a fusion, a marriage, between a company’s PR and its website that right now is often an awful disconnect.

One that leaves the planet forbidden and the press pitch sucked into a black hole.

Courtesy of Mark Stevens’ blog DIGITAL PR.

Search Marketing & Small Businesses

A Microsoft AdCenter study of 400 small-business owners in the US indicated that a majority invest in developing websites, but do not take steps to enhance their online business presence (throuch paid search marketing). Fifty-nine percent of respondents don’t currently use paid search marketing, and of those, 90% have never even tried!

A Microsoft AdCenter study of 400 small-business owners in the US indicated that a majority invest in developing websites, but do not take steps to enhance their online business presence (throuch paid search marketing). Fifty-nine percent of respondents don’t currently use paid search marketing, and of those, 90% have never even tried!

Despite the low participation among small businesses, they still see the value. In fact, 86% of the small business owners surveyed said that they could be missing out on oppotunities to grow their business, while three in four believed prospective customers could be searching online for the type of service their business offers.

The primary concerns most cited by the surveyed group included cost, time and compexity as major hurdles to conducting search marketing campaigns for their business. Other interesting statistics include:

  • Nearly nine in 10 (89 percent) feared keywords may become too expensive.
  • Eighty-one percent questioned if paid search marketing is the best use of their marketing budgets.
  • One quarter of respondents believe paid search marketing is too complex.
  • Twenty-one percent thought it would be too time-consuming.
  • Thirty-five percent felt they would need an agency to help set up a search marketing campaign.

Despite the low participation among small businesses, they still see the value. In fact, 86% of the small business owners surveyed said that they could be missing out on oppotunities to grow their business, while three in four believed prospective customers could be searching online for the type of service their business offers.

The primary concerns most cited by the surveyed group included cost, time and compexity as major hurdles to conducting search marketing campaigns for their business. Other interesting statistics include:

Nearly nine in 10 (89 percent) feared keywords may become too expensive.
Eighty-one percent questioned if paid search marketing is the best use of their marketing budgets.
One quarter of respondents believe paid search marketing is too complex.
Twenty-one percent thought it would be too time-consuming.
Thirty-five percent felt they would need an agency to help set up a search marketing campaign.

What the heck is “Cloud Computing”?

If you read anything about Internet Technology (IT) these days, you hear a lot of people talking about today’s latest craze, “Cloud Computing”.  But if you’re like me you’re wondering “what the heck is it” and “how can I take advantage of it’s capabilities in my business”.  When is it gonna rain down money on me?

Admittedly, the idea is not for everyone. But since I get asked these questions all the time, here is the best summary I’ve found that explains what so-called “Cloud Computing” really is and where it might fit into your company’s plans.

CLICK HERE to read the full explanation of this new service and it’s benefits, courtesy of WEBSITE MAGAZINE.

Build Your Recession Brand

logo-branding-thumb We Are In a Recession, So Build Your Brand On The Internet Now! During the great depression in the 1930’s, you may think that businesses did not spend money on marketing, but you would be wrong. The truth is that according to research I did, many businesses actually boomed, why? Because they expanded their marketing!

History has shown that during past recessions, many businesses took an aggressive approach at marketing, and building their brand during a economic downturn, and they are the ones that flourished, and were very profitable during these times.

How about our current recession? What can you do to remain profitable? Build your brand on the Internet!

I have been doing this with a couple of my newest clients, and I will show you what I have been doing to help them remain atop the search engine rankings, leveraging them to have huge advantage on the Internet when the recession ends.

Take for example my client, Accurate Termite Control Company in Irvine, California. They have had a good presence on the Internet already in southern Cal, but there is much more room for improvement, and potential to take up more space in the search results (over time). So here is what we did.

CLICK HERE to read the full list of brand building techniques, courtesy of RED VW BUS.