June 15, 2020

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Press Release Doesn't Suck

Ok, you have some news, BIG news... now what? Well, if you have a PR or marketing person/department then no doubt youll be sending out a press release soon. The following are 5 tips for a better press release, some useful tips from experts, and some related "how to" tools. Before you do that though, make sure that your press release doesnt suck!

1 Have Something to Say
Sounds like a no-brainer, but seriously, unless you have something new, earth shattering, and/or down-right cool then you might as well save your time. Some announcements may be idea for certain publications and others might be of interest to all journalists... you might want to hand-pick who gets which release.

2 Get Visual
Many industries are visual. So, if you have a new solution, app, service or ? then use graphics that enable the reader to visualize exactly what your talking about. Include an image and provide links to where high-res images can be seen on your website along with supporting information. Dont bother distributing your PR releases with 10 image files attached, a ZIP file or other large media files. Ideally just provide a link to where the images can be accessed.

3. Make A Movie
Video is all the rage and if PR folks havent clued into that yet then you may want to ask them why? If appropriate, consider creating a short video to complement your news. If you have a new app, solution, project win or the like then Im sure your team can put together a short video about it. If video isnt your thing then you can always use still photos and images, mash them up and drop some nice music in with them. Dont have movie mixing software? Sorry, thats no longer a valid excuse as Windows PCs come bundled with Movie Maker software, theres freebies galore online, and YouTube even provides basic movie mixing. Lastly, keep it under 3 minutes!

4 Let Them Find You Again
Another no brainer, however, youd be amazed at how many companies fail to include detailed contact information with their PR. Include a valid email address, phone number, website URL, and be sure to also include your Social Media resources - Twitter and facebook page at a minimum.

5 Track It
Creating and distributing a good PR takes time and effort so dont let it all be for nothing. Create custom short url web links using a service like bit.ly. Include these unique links in your PR then follow up to see how effective your press has been. If you send your PR via a number of different channels then consider unique urls for each site/source that will be running your PR.

November 06, 2019

5 Money Conversations to Have with Your College Grad

The end of the year is near, perhaps your child has finished his/her education and is now heading out into the real World. Yup, that means time to start planning… financial planning! No doubt, for most of us, if we could go back in time we would change the way we budgeted, spent, and saved in our early years. Don’t let your kid make the same mistakes! 
Here’s some topics that you need to bring up with the recent grad. If they listen, they’ll be laughing by the time they hit 50! 
These five conversation topics can give recent graduates the confidence and know-how they need in the “real world.”
  1. The Low-Down on Student Loans
    Most student loans have a built-in six-month grace period, but this time goes by quickly. The faster the debt is paid down the better, as you avoid accruing more interest or late fees. Further, too much student debt can negatively impact your ability to qualify for other loans, such as an auto or home loan, stalling other post-graduate goals. You can help recent graduates research the best payment options for their individual circumstances. Overwhelmed? Contacting an experienced student loan counselor may bring clarity.
  2. Budgeting isn’t Boring
    Gaining the independence that comes with graduating offers the perfect opportunity to learn more about budgeting. There are plenty of smartphone apps and other tools to keep tabs on how much money is coming in and going out. Getting a good grasp on a budget is the first step toward financial security.
  3. Everything About Emergency Funds
    A safety net should be part of any budgeting strategy. This money is kept for true emergencies — when the car breaks down or for an unexpected hospital visit. Stash as much money away as your budget allows until you reach three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Even $20 a month will add up over time.
  4. Don’t Forget Healthcare
    It’s required by law to have health insurance, so graduates need to include healthcare costs in their budget as well. While they might be on their parents’ plan now, coverage ends on their 26th birthday. Sooner or later, young adults will need to choose a plan according to individual circumstances, including what deductible and premium they can afford.
  5. Credit Card Debt? No Thanks.
    Recent college grads are inundated with pre-approved credit card offers. But don’t be tempted by deals that seem too good to be true. Having one credit card payment, paid off in-full every month, is the best way to establish a positive credit history. Emphasize that missing even one payment can result in fees and ding their credit score. Carrying a balance, too, can wreak financial havoc as interest adds to the total balance due.

April 11, 2019

Creating Story Maps with ArcGIS StoryMaps Beta



Do you enjoy creating Story Maps? If so, there's something new for you to explore, the Story Maps Beta. The new, Beta resource offers a completely new experience, new UI and new look and feel of your maps. You won't find all the pre-defined templates that you might be used to in the original Story Maps, however, you will find a more modern, block-style editor that enables you to create clean maps that are even more mobile friendly.

I spent a little time testing out the Beta system and was pleasantly surprised. It really is easy and nice to use and the experience is in line with the development of all the ArcGIS apps (like Web AppBuilder and Survey123 etc...). If you've authored blogs using the new Wordpress Gutenberg experience this will look familiar to you! The story map below is a bit of a trial that shows you a new look Story Map - jump directly to the map HERE


Story Maps are a fabulous way to create compelling data visualizations and are an ideal fit in any company's marketing mix!

Read more about Story Map BETA HERE

April 10, 2019

10 Reasons to Include Video in your Marketing Mix



Video is hot, really hot, however, many businesses are reluctant to add video into their marketing mix. The reasons are pretty simple. Most businesses that are avoiding video think that video marketing is too expensive, hard to figure out, takes too much time, and doesn't result in ROI. All of these things are far from the truth! Creating video may seem difficult, however, it’s really not. With some careful planning, a business can generate ideas that produce many hours of video content.

So, why consider video content? Here are 10 reasons:

  1. Stats show that video is growing in usage year-over-year and not just for companies with a large ad budget. 
  2. Videos are proven to attract and engage your audience
  3. People want more video! Guess what the #2 search engine in the World is... yup, it's YouTube! 
  4. Memorable videos are engaging and create trust.
  5. Video is an extremely powerful medium to assist in making a decision to buy
  6. Adding a video front and center on your homepage or landing page is a proven strategy.
  7. Video helps reduce your website bounce rate and thus helps build Google page ranking
  8. Video also indexes in search - think SEO!
  9. Videos are easily repurposed over many of your marketing channels (Youtube, facebook, live feeds, web)
  10. Share your best content in video. If you spend hundreds of hours creating a case study, article, or putting on an event, be sure to generate video around that content. If it worked once it will work again in video format! 
Bonus Tip - videos have been proven to be more easily shareable. Facebook and LinkedIn have been upgraded with added support for embedding video.

Example. In the past, I've created articles about creating and distributing your PR (for example, this one on tips for creating a PR). An article or blog is great, however, I've also provided these tips using video (See https://youtu.be/-m5_aR5-kF4). This is an efficient and fun way to share the same materials, however, it is much more engaging!

April 08, 2019

Master Your Marketing & Design in One Slide



Here's some amazing Infographic inspiration. If these marketing stacks don't inspire you then nothing will. Enjoy the top 48 marketing stacks from the Stackie awards - these decks have been designed by the best in graphic design from all over the planet. What is a stack? Simply put, each slide illustrates a “stack” - the collection of marketing technology tools they use and how they conceptualize them together. The entire marketing channel process is conceptualized and visualized in just one amazing slide. (see slide deck above from Stackie winner, Esri)

ABinBev, Airstream, Alliant Credit Union, Artemis Health, BraunAbility, Esri, G Adventures, Juniper Networks, Lola, Nationwide Advisory Solutions, Paychex, Racing Post, Sargento Foods, The Telegraph, Tennant, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha were some of the non-martech brands who participated this year. Plus many wonderful entries from companies within the marketing tech industry.

Learn more and see all the winners HERE

April 05, 2019

Google Tip - How to Download your G+ and ALL your Google Data


Google plus G+ was shut down on April 1. You may not care, however, you may have data there that could be useful to you in some capacity. But don't worry, using Google's tools you can archive ALL of your data that exist in the Google cloud, including your G+ history.

Some of the data that you may have stored with Google, and are available for download, include:

  • blogger blogs
  • bookmarks
  • calendar
  • Chrome history
  • Contacts
  • Drive
  • Photos
  • Fusion Tables
  • and more!

Retrieve your Google history HERE

See details of the Google+ shutdown