Posts Tagged ‘Business Affairs’

“Edit-bots?” The PR Game Has Changed

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

This post originally appeared on “May the Schwartz Be With You,” the official blog of Schwartz Media Strategies, on December 3rd, 2009.

by Julia Wakefield

Connect to Julia on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

The public relations business and the strategies we use to achieve success are changing rapidly in an age of constantly-evolving technology.  In yet another example of how the game is changing, (a news site covering the “economics of content”) reports that AOL is replacing its news editors with robots.

That is,

“rather than just rely on editors and journalists deciding on what kinds of stories to run, AOL will employ a system that relies on a series of algorithms that will predict the kinds of stories, videos and photos that have the greatest appeal to audiences and advertisers.”

Further, AOL is developing a site called to coordinate article assignments for the 3,000 freelancers it employs.

“The new system will also help determine how much freelancers get paid, as it predicts how much marketers might pay to advertise on a particular article.”

The edit-bots will also screen for grammar and spelling mistakes – even plagiarism.

What does this bode for public relations professionals like us here at Schwartz Media?

Read more…


Spamtastic irony

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

What’s the best spam you’ve ever received?

Mine is an invitation to a free webinar on how to evade spam filters. And I’m blogging about it because I just can’t keep this kind of thing to myself; elegant cases of irony belong to the world.

I’ve left the identifying information intact (but I’ve disabled the links) as I grudgingly have to give this Craig Stouffer fellow props. And bonus points for chutzpah. The guy deserves a bit o’ free publicity, as apparently he does know what he’s doing.

(My initial reaction was #fail… but now that I think about it… #win, Craig, #win.)

Simply put, if you don’t understand how current SPAM Filters work, you simply can’t design for

effective email deliverability.  I’m dropping you a final invite to join us this Wednesday / Thursday

for a *free* Webinar: Understanding SPAM Filters. We’ll follow the path of an email from send to

delivery and explain how current SPAM filters can stop your email in its tracks. Details…

This 45 minute interactive event will cover several tips to help The Weinbach Group, Inc.

improve email response rates.  Topics include:

* How current generation, networked email filters work
* Email authentication: How DKIM and SPF impact delivery
* Tech tips to improve email deliverability

Session #1: Wednesday September 30th
WHAT: Writing Tips to Improve Response Rates
WHEN: Wednesday September 30th at 1:00pm (Eastern) / 10:00am (Pacific)
WHERE: Register:

Session #2: Thursday October 1st
WHAT: Writing Tips to Improve Response Rates
WHEN: Thursday October 1st at 1:00pm (Eastern) / 10:00am (Pacific)
WHERE: Register here:

Not sure you can attend? Sign up – we’ll send the slide deck and on-demand webinar.

As an attendee, The Weinbach Group, Inc. can take advantage of the following-

  • Free NetProspex account. Select 100 target sales prospects.
  • “Recycle” business contacts and get free contacts in exchange.
  • Free Pinpointe email account w/2,000 email credits. Reach new prospects with Pinpointe’s email marketing platform and your Netprospex leads.

All the best,

Craig Stouffer
4601 Lafayette
Santa Clara, CA 95056-4428
408-834-7577 x125

PS: TopTen Reviews ranks Pinpointe as one of the all-time top email marketing platforms! -read the review here

Philosophy and PR have “how” in common

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

If you’ve read my “about me” section, you know that I majored in philosophy, not public relations. Seemingly unrelated fields, yes, but I guarantee you my college degree has been a major contributor to my success in and enjoyment of my profession.  Today, I’d like to explain why. If you’re seeking work and have been forced to look outside your existing realm of education and experience, this might help you discover what you might enjoy doing, what you’re capable of, and why your “soft skills” are assets to potential employers.

As many people do, I had an intense existential crisis upon graduation, sparked by the certainty that I no longer wanted to devote my life to professordom. How, exactly, do you make the quantum metaphysical applications to the study of consciousness into an asset for a potential employer who’s not a unraphael-Plato-Aristotle_yoestiversity or a book publisher?

I figured it out by accident. I was poring through job listings, and came upon a PR position at a marketing communications agency. I read the description and applicable skills and thought “Boy, that would be fun, and I would be really good at that.” I read the required qualifications and thought, “Boy, I don’t have any of that.”

Despite having no coursework, let alone a degree, in communications, and despite a glaring lack of the requested three to five years of agency experience, I sat down to figure out why I was so convinced I could do the job.  I finally figured out that nobody cares about the content of my study, but they might care about how I studied it. Let’s take a look at “what I was doing” (the processes and skills applied) when I worked, rather than “what I did” (the actual product).

As I studied and worked in philosophy, I learned how to research; how to critically analyze a concept or thought sequence; how to apply external influencers to understanding and elucidating concepts; to construct and communicate an argument; to write elegantly, concisely, and persuasively; to think strategically to anticipate and mitigate problems; and to connect the dots between seemingly unrelated concepts. All this, coupled with my enjoyment of talking to strangers, made me a prime candidate for the field of public relations.

I sent in a resume and an aggressive (and slightly arrogant) cover letter describing who I was, why I was applying, and why they really ought to hire me. Turns out, poise, tenacity, and chutzpah are also hallmarks of a successful PRer, because they decided to bring me in for an interview. A second interview and a couple of writing assignments later, they hired me.  I was lucky to find a firm that believed enough in me to train and guide me, and I’ve benefitted ever since from the intelligence, talent, and patience of the principals at that agency.

If you find an open position that’s outside your comfort zone but you think you can handle it, ask yourself why. It probably lies in what you know “how” to do rather than what you know.  Sing it in an A+ cover letter. With luck, you’ll find someone who’ll take a calculated risk on you, too.

Shy guy? How to get the ball rolling at a networking event

For once, here’s some useful information. Drumroll, please.. best practices for rocking networking events.

Everybody knows networking is professionally crucial, especially in the vacuum that is today’s job market, but I’ve met a great many people who are too shy to get started or uncomfortable with talking to strangers.

Forget what your mom told you – taMeeting new peoplelk to strangers. Every chance you get. The most rewarding friendships and professional relationships I’ve ever had have resulted from my affinity for talking to strangers. Even if you’re not particularly curious about the fellow next to you in the elevator, the more you get used to extending a handshake for no particular reason, the better off you’ll be when it’s time to hit the next networking event.  Also, the better off you’ll be in general, in my opinion.

Where do you find out about them? Do some research. Get on some email lists and newsletters. Find a local Yahoo group for people in your industry or potential clients’ industry, check your local business journal’s calendar, or ask a networking rockstar where they hear about events.

I’m not going to describe what you should do while networking. Everybody knows that you should: not talk too much about yourself, don’t sell, look people in the eye, smile, and shake hands firmly.

( Duh.)

The really tough part is getting started.

Walking into a crowded networking event where everybody seems absorbed in conversation can be intimidating. How do you get started? My modus operandi: head for the bar, first thing, even if you’re only ordering a soda. The bar is where people tend to hit the “pause” button on their conversations while they’re waiting to get the bartender’s attention. It’s the most fertile spot in the room to turn to someone, smile, and extend a handshake.  Come on, they’re bored. Give them something to do. From there, making conversation is easy. Best question to start out with: “Do you know a lot of people here?” If the answer is no, great! You’re both in the same boat and you can tag-team it. If the answer is yes, great! Ask them if there’s anybody particularly interesting you ought to meet, and to introduce you. (Incidentally, people like that. It’s flattering that someone thinks they’re in the know.)

One thing to always remember: everybody goes to networking events for the same reason – to meet new people. It’s expected of you – and greatly appreciated – to walk up to a group and introduce yourself. Get used to it. It’ll serve you well.

Lastly: this may be another “duh,” but follow up. The morning after an event, I gather all the business cards I collected and begin dashing off emails. I try to mention something we chatted about or remind them of a favor one of us offered the other. (Plus, I always write the when/where we met on the back of the card, plus a little note if something jumped out at me about them. It’s easy to forget that kind of thing, and having the situation associated with their name can help you retrieve mental info about them later.) (If you can’t for the life of you remember who the guy is, check the company website or their Facebook page – often seeing their face will jar your memory.) If they write back – which they really, really, really should, friend them on Facebook (given that you use your profile for professional purposes) and connect on LinkedIn.

By the way, all this applies to meeting new friends, too.

Future post: Don’t let those connections sit idle. They rot.

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