Archive for the 'PR' Category


5 Ways to Get the Media to Pick Up Your Story – Part 1 of 3

Please welcome guest blogger, healthcare communications professional Rachel Brand who will bring The Side Note a series of three blogs for the next three weeks on health care public relations.

Do you want to write more compelling press releases and earn more coverage?

You should. Health care is ripe with dramatic medical rescues, fascinating technology, unsung heroes and stirring ethical debates. But these stories often don’t get told. That’s because pr pros are writing leads like this:


The new health insurance plan, authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is designed to provide coverage to uninsured individuals who have been denied health insurance or been offered only unaffordable options.

Sure, it’s important. But is it interesting? And – will it drive coverage?

1. Lead with the impact

For your next lede, ask yourself out loud, “what does it mean to the man in the green pick-up truck?” You can see him, across the park under the tree, sitting in his rusty forest green truck.

In other words, how does your news benefit, effect or change the lives of real people?

How about:

Thousands of uninsured Americans, desperate for healthcare coverage because they are chronically ill, can now see a doctor thanks to a new federally funded health insurance plan.

But what if your program doesn’t have any direct impact on people, at least not yet? Then…

2. Lead with people

Whether you are promoting a walk to fight cancer, a rally for homelessness, or the appointment of new CEO of your hospital, find a person and tell his or her story. Better, yet, tell the story of an important person in an unusual way.

Typical CEO appointment releases have headlines/first paragraphs like this:


(Anytown, USA) Lawrence Leader, currently the COO of St. Elizabeth’s Regional Hospital, has been appointed CEO of the hospital. He takes over as current CEO Marcy Mercy retires after a long and distinguished career.

But what if you took a half hour to find out Larry’s story?

The results might be:


(Anytown, USA) Larry Leader’s mother, a first-grade schoolteacher in Moline, IL, used to count out coins from her wallet each Saturday morning before grocery shopping. Rarely was there extra to buy candy.

Poor but strong-willed Florence Leader pushed her children to go to college. Larry, the youngest of five, enrolled as an Army medic to pay for it. …

The moral of the story? Writing a compelling press release that leads with the impact or leads with people is a better way to get the media to notice your press release.

(Continued next week)

Rachel Brand is a healthcare communications professional who can teach writing over brown bag lunches at your company. Contact her at rachel (at)


Ted Williams – You Know You Love His Story!

Ted Williams’ rise to greatness in our little advertising world bubble is one that I can only smile about.

The fact that one of his first new voice over gigs is for Kraft Mac & Cheese….even makes it better.

You know you love it.


Five Marketing Trends for 2011 and Beyond

As 2010 is drawing to a close, marketers reflect on the past year in order to prepare for next year as well as avoid mistakes and surprises. It is also a good time to reflect on changes and leverage some marketing trends. Here is the first Weise Communications list of marketing trends for 2011:

1. Marketing Budgets Shifting Toward On-line

Clients, customers and prospects are spending more time online and are going online earlier in the buying process to collect information, create relationships, compare choices and determine conclusion about the items they will buy. Therefore, marketers must reposition marketing budgets to reflect their customer and prospects preferences.

2. Corporate Social Media-ization

Many organizations have deployed social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. However, they have not fully integrated it into their corporate website.  Primarily, this is due to the pressure to simply “be there.” 2011 will bring social media/website integration and a recurring social media marketing cycle:

  • Research
  • Plan
  • Engage
  • Measure
  • Repeat

3. Location-based Marketing

As smart phone adoption grows, according to a 2009 study from nielsenwire the U.S. smart phone penetration is 17 percent, location-based marketing and mobile applications will be a key mobile marketing trend in 2011. As of October 2010, Foursquare had more than 4 million users and has spawned a slate of competitors: Gowalla, Google Latitude and the recently launched Facebook Places are just a few of the mobile applications poised to take advantage of this trend.

4. Video as a Marketing Tool

YouTube is not simply a way to share video clips. It has become a massive search engine. Video content that addresses common concerns and issues clients, customers and prospects are facing then distributing video through social networks is a powerful way to stamp impressions into their memory and strengthen customer relationships.

5. Privacy is a Major Concern

The Internet has made it easy for anyone to obtain someone else’s birth date and social security number. It also houses other personal and potentially embarrassing (but technically public) information. While some may never be comfortable with data nudity, marketers must be leaders the privacy protection issue as enterprise marketing gets more social and mobile. One high-profile mistake and the entire industry could face forced government regulation.

Tell us what marketing trends you see in your 2011 crystal ball, if we have missed the boat or if you have another trend to add to our list. Share your ideas with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.



When Black Friday and Location-based Social Media Mix, Consumers win if they can stand the heat

Denver-based Sports Authority is launching a very interesting Black Friday Foursquare promotion, and they are not alone. Other retailers like Pepsi, JC Penney, Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy are getting in the game as well.

Sports Authority is giving away $500 gift cards to 20 randomly selected people who use Foursquare to check in at one of its stores on Black Friday. Participants are required to publish the check-in on Twitter to have a chance to win, and the promotion runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST. When someone wins the $500 gift card at one of its 463 U.S. locations, a store manager will make an announcement over the intercom system.

This is not the first Foursquare promotion that Sports Authority has run. Corporate officials were convinced to add fuel to the fire for this already busy retailer due to past ROI for location-based promotions. Officials are confident they have the operations steps in place to make the campaign a success.

This social media campaign will be advertised in the coming days with display ads, e-mail campaigns, Facebook, Twitter and its home page.

Other retailers are getting in on the Black Friday social media promotions too. JC Penney and Pepsi are running Foursquare campaigns this holiday season. JC Penney is offering check-ins $10 off any ticket exceeding $50 until Jan. 8. Pepsi has partnered with Hess gas stations, where check-ins can get a Brisk iced tea beverage and a Frito Lay product for $1.99. Perhaps more importantly for encouraging participation, they will be entered into a sweepstakes for free gas and Brisk for a year. The campaign runs until Dec. 29 at 643 Hess locations nationwide.

Other big-name retailers Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy are using Whrrl to run their promotions with the Holiday Deals Society.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this social media fuel for Black Friday. My guess is that retailers will succeed if they can have enough of the desired products to keep soccer moms from pulling each other’s hair out, but if not – this could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Hopefully these campaigns will be successful and lead to more location-based give aways and deals, because so many campaigns are sending consumers to a corporate website, if successful location-based promotions are another tool in the marketers arsenal.

Marketers, keep your eyes on the deals to see if this might be something for your company to try as well, and tell us what you think and what Black Friday promotion impressed you. Visit us at, Facebook: Weise Communications or follow us on Twitter @Weise_Ideas.


Building Social Media Campaigns that Work

Credit Unions tap into Young & Free Franchise

Whether you refer to them as Gen Y or Millennials, it is clear that this generation relies on social networking to engage, communicate and learn. One industry that is achieving tangible results with Gen Y through a robust and effective social networking campaign is Credit Unions.

Spokesperson Larissa's YouTube Video

Yes, Credit Unions.

Even though credit union’s cooperative values are in line with Gen Y values, this demographic (younger than 30) was simply not signing up for membership.  Until the franchise, Young & Free, was launched.  Based on the principle that we all learn from the knowledge and experiences of those who have previously traveled the path, Young & Free was challenged to provide free checking accounts for the younger than 25 year old consumers.  There is only one Young & Free franchise per state, so the Credit Union that buys into the franchise gets the exclusive rights to the entire program in that state.

Tim McAlpine, owner of Currency Marketing in British Columbia, launched the Young & Free franchise. In a 2009 interview, McAlpine said, “Young people want access to products that are relevant to them.” He continued, “The focus of Young & Free is what the credit union is giving away, what useful information it is offering and how the credit union is providing a head start for young people.”

A large part of the success of the Young & Free franchise concept is that the social networking program is real and authentic. The cornerstone of the program is a spokesperson competition.  A contest is held to select Young & Free spokespeople in each state. They win a one-year paid position with the sponsor credit union. Young & Free spokesperson writes daily blogs, produces weekly YouTube videos and connects on Twitter, Facebook.  The first spokesperson was Larissa Walkiw, click on her picture above to go to one of her YouTube videos.

Credit Unions have developed financial services tailored to Gen Y, the Free 2B packag  the e includes: Free checking, free debit card, free direct deposit and an ‘Oops refund’ (once per quarter a customer can waive overdraft charges – all they have to do is ask for the waiver).

In less than two years, there are now more than 40,000 credit union customers with products and services associated with Young & Free.  Additionally, Forrester Research gave Young & Free a Groundswell Award

What do you think? Have you seen social networking campaigns that are reaching their target market and getting results like Young & Free? Please write a comment and let us know. You can find Weise Communications on Facebook and follow Weise_Ideas on Twitter.


Older Adults and Social Media

While social media use has grown dramatically, older users have been especially enthusiastic in the past year about social media. Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22 percent in Apr. 2009 to 42 percent in May 2010 according a survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between Apr. 29 and May 30. During the same period, use among those ages 65 and older grew 100 percent, from 13 to 26 percent. By comparison, social networking use among users ages 18-29 grew by 13 percent.

So, what does this mean for companies trying to have an impact on their audience on social media? While young adults continue to be the heaviest users of social media, their growth pales in comparison with recent gains made by older users.

Email is still the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, but many older users now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications.

So, while social media may not be the first tool to use in your communication plan for reaching an older audience, it should definitely be in the mix.

Other take aways from the survey:

  • One in five online adults ages 50-64 say they use social networking sites on a typical day, up from 10 percent one year ago.
  • Among adults ages 65 and older, 13 percent log on to social networking sites on a typical day, compared with just four percent who did so in 2009.
  • One in ten Internet users ages 50 and older now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others.

How are you reaching your audiences online? We’d love to hear about interesting or innovative ways to reach audiences of all ages.


Social media tips and tricks – getting started

There are a lot of social marketing proponents and statistics creating the image of social media as one of grandeur and greatness. Though this might be a stretch, the fact is that social media is a cornerstone for branding, sales and public relations in today’s world.

Of the Fortune Global 100 companies, 65 percent have Twitter accounts, 54 percent have Facebook fan pages, 50 percent have YouTube channels and 33 percent have corporate blogs.

Social media probably should not be the only place that your company markets itself, but it should be included in your overall strategy. And, success in social media is like success in general – it takes an investment of time, money and effort. Quality outcomes can only come from quality contributions.

One great benefit to online social media is that is highly track-able. You can easily measure the level of engagement and how this translates into increased revenue. So, here are some general tips to keep in mind when beginning your company’s journey into social media:

  1. Learn the lingo and etiquette of the communities. You are more likely to be accepted into a community if you play by the rules,
  2. Entries on all forms of social media need to be short, concise, focused and designed for SEO.
  3. Find your niche and invite participation with your social profiles and take a moment and explore others profiles too.
  4. Don’t give up. The social media may seem overwhelming at first, but with the right tools and strategy, you’ll be a productive member of social media community with a growing presence in time.

In the coming days, we’ll profile tips and tricks for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Blogs to help you understand why social media is such a powerful marketing tool. So stay tuned!

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