View “Snippets du Jour”

MarkeTech’s “Snippets du Jour” provide miscellaneous information, handy hints, cool tools, and more. Previously only available to our firm’s clients, these weekly FYI items are now available to any B2B high-tech business.

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Snippets List

Social Media Press Preleases (The Man-Bear-Pig)?
Engaged since 2005, are the press release and social media now happily married?

How Many Press Releases Are There?
The number of press releases issued every day may surprise you.

Social Media Poll Results
How are people using social networking media sites?

Technical Specs and Standards
“How Specs Live Forever” is dedicated to all CEOs, CTOs, and engineering chiefs who are… 

Brain-Cramping Social Media Stats du Jour
Social networking and blogging are the 4th most popular online activities, even beating… 

Surveys Say…Audience segmentation by how age groups get their new.

 Clichés: Trite or Trendy?
Use of cliches is more complex than you might think.
Even if you only write e-mails, knowing all the ins and outs will help.

 The Essential First Step In a Successful Press Release
Often overlooked or neglected, targeting a specific audience is the
first critical step in achieving success with a press release.

Look on the Brighter Side of Life
The immediate future of high-tech business looks better, according to…

Google Secrets
Some of the Google tools are particularly useful for web researchers; here are the ones…

Cool Web Marketing Tool du Jour
Get e-mail every time your brand, company name, etc., is mentioned on Twitter.

Compelling Content
When one strips away all the hype, it all comes down to…

Solving A Puzzle: Weak Web Links
My links stink!

Social Media Survey
According to a Social Media survey of businesses, 81.7% said they will…

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Snippets on 06-26-10:

Note: In response to Snippeters’ inquiries about no Snippet last week, the issue was that the entire wordpress.com system went down. Everything is now back up and running, and we’re doing a double Snippet here to make up for last week.

Social Media Press Preleases (The Man-Bear-Pig)?

No matter what we do for a living, it seems inevitable that something will happen which requires a press release. Even if it’s just a new-hire announcement, or providing engineering information for a company’s new product release, the press release seems inescapable.

Those who deal first-hand with creating press releases appreciate how complicated and detailed these documents really are. The requirements are seemingly endless in number, and range from following the “Inverted Pyramid,” to keeping any qualitative statements in attributed quotes. There are stylebooks that dictate punctuation, capitalization, word usages, etc. (e.g., use “that” in a sentence if it’s the first usage in a subordinate clause but, thereafter, use “which” instead for any following subordinate clauses in the sentence. You got that?!). The press release is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, so you can imagine how many nit-picking DOs and DON’Ts it has accumulated.

Now, what would you think might happen when one tries to merge this over-encumbered century-old document with the even more complex and still barely understood Internet concept of Social Media?

Okay, let’s look at the problem this way:

From this list of words, which one doesn’t belong in Social Media?:

  • Blog
  • Tweet
  • Text Message
  • Emoticons
  • Press Release

Those who think all five probably also might believe in Al Gore’s “Man-Bear-Pig” from TV’s South Park.

The marketing/PR industry has been working on this marriage of the press release and social media since circa 2005. Read the guest blog by Glenn Shoup (aka the “PR Snoop”) for yourself, then come back and take the little quiz above again.

Source:  JSC-DIRECT

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How Many Press Releases Are There?

It’s hard to get reliable data on the total number of press releases issued per day. The newswire services don’t want to disclose accurate competitive information, or they puff the numbers. On the receiving end of press releases, journalists, editors, bloggers don’t provide enough data to arrive at cumulative figures. Nevertheless, Jeremy Porter did make a concerted effort to go to the sources and ask the tough question.

Here are his findings, as of March 2009:

  • PR Newswire – about 1,000/day
  • BusinessWire – about 1,000/day
  • PRWeb – 300/day (actual count on a Monday)
  • MarketWire – 400/day (actual count on a Monday)
  • Reporter at a small local paper – 80/day (of which 2% were relevant to that publication)

Jeremy adds that some journalists may only receive 10 a day, but there may be more that receive 100+ a day. Further, these numbers do not reflect releases sent directly to journalists via e-mail, fax, etc.

Source:  http://blog.journalistics.com/2009/how-many-press-releases-are-sent-out-each-day/

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Snippets on 05-29-10:

Social Media Poll Results

How are people using social networking media sites? Recent polls produced some interesting data:

Social Media Statistics

Poll statistics from Social Media Vision provide insight into the amount of time businesses and individuals are spending on social media:

  • 95% of business decision makers worldwide use social networks to some extent
  • 13.9 billion minutes: The time Facebook users spent on the site in one month
  • 35% of Americans 18 and over use a social networking site

An analysis of 2,000 random tweets by Pear Analytics found the following data about the quality of Tweets:

  • 43% — Babble
  • 38% — Conversational
  •   9% — Moderately Interesting
  •   6% — Self-Promotional
  •   4% — Spam

One can extrapolate from this data of Tweet-quality, that Twitter’s audiences worth engaging are the “Moderately Interesting” and “Conversational” segments, which translates to 47% of the Tweet community. One might also consider that, of that almost 50%, a percentage of them may be using Twitter for non-business purposes.

All of this data is very valuable if you are trying to determine whether or not social media — or social networking sites — are worth your time.

Sources: Social Media Vision, Pear Analytics.
Credit: “Social Media Statistics” image created by www.SearchandSocial.com.

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Snippets on 05-22-10:

 Technical Specs and Standards

This is dedicated to all CEOs, CTOs, and engineering chiefs who are leading—or about to lead—their respective company’s participation in one or more specs and standards programs. It taught the MarkeTech team many years ago the relevance of technical specifications in a humorous way. 

“How Specs Live Forever (author unknown) 

“The U.S. Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and the U.S. railroads were built by English expatriates.

“Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

“Why did ‘they’ use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.  

“Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that’s the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

“So who built these old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. 

“Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot. Specs and Bureaucracies live forever. So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse’s butt came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two war horses.” 

Learn about specs and standards marketing
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Snippets on 05-15-10:

 Brain-Cramping Social Media Stats du Jour

As if you haven’t already grasped the business implications of social networking, here are some compelling statistics. The data support the need to build an online presence and implement social media strategies as integral elements of your overall B2B marketing and PR campaigns.

Social networking and blogging

  • Are the 4th most popular online activities, even beating personal e-mail
  • 67% of online users visit member communities, including both social networks and blogs
  • 10% of all the time spent on the Internet is on social media sites
  • 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; of those, 95% use LinkedIn
  • There are more than 200 million blog sites
  • On average, 900,000 blog posts are created within a single 24-hour period
  • 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands
  • The number of blogs indexed by Technorati exceeds 133 million. Each month, 130 million unique visitors access the site and generate 1 billion page views

Wikipedia

  • Has more than 15 million articles in more than 270 languages
  • Attracts over 68 million unique users a month. Studies show that the information it contains is more accurate than the Encyclopedia Brittanica
  • Has so many submissions that, if you were paid $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia, you would earn $156.23 per hour

Delicious, the social bookmarking service, has

  • More than 5 million users
  • Over 180 million unique bookmarked URLs

Facebook

  • Has more than 400 million active users
  • 50% of the site’s active users log on to Facebook on any given day
  • More than 35 million users update their status each day
  • Over 1.5 million local businesses have active pages on Facebook
  • More than 100 million active users currently access Facebook via mobile devices
  • The average user has around 130 friends on the site
  • Each month, more than 3 billion photos are uploaded to the site

MarkeTech views statistics, in and of themselves, as simply data points. On a macro level, they define trends. Jumping into the social media pool because the stats are tantalizing, however, is not a solid business rationale. Instead, build your social media presence based on:

  • Your company’s unique objectives
  • Your target audiences and how they expect you to engage them in a social conversation
  • A realistic assessment of resources required to launch and sustain a successful social media program
  • An action plan that meshes these programs with your total online and offline B2B programs

Social media statistics sources: Delicious, Facebook, Nielsen Online, Socialnomics, Technorati, and Wikipedia

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Snippets on 05-07-10:

 Surveys Say…

Here’s some data about audience segmentation by how age groups get their news. This info might cause you to reconsider the relative value of newspapers and other media the next time you distribute a press release or other type of news story.

Media

Ages 18-49

Age 50+

Print Newspaper

19%

35%

Online

34%

16%

Television

52%

69%

Radio

20%

22%

“Don’t Know”

2%

1%

Here’s survey data on how frequently each age group reads a print newspaper.

Frequency

Ages 18-49

Age 50+

Daily

20%

42%

2-3 Times/Week

20%

17%

Weekends Only

21%

12%

Don’t Read

39%

29%

Source:  SSRS 1/15/10 – 1/24/10  N=1,040

Related issues are the general health of the above-cited media. Vocus reports that 300 newspapers folded in 2009. While not surveyed as a news medium by SSRS, the print magazine category is also shrinking — eight with circulations over one million folded last year. Print media employment shows hundreds of editorial positions eliminated. In TV land, 100 stations were affected by Chapter 11 filings, and 10,000 jobs in radio were lost last year.

Source: Vocus Whitepaper “Re-emerging Trend in 2010: Integrating Marketing and PR.”

What’s the relevance of this data? One point is the old saw that purchasers (both B2B and B2C) have to see or hear about your company, its brand, product, etc., in at least 4 to 6 different media outlets before they will form and embrace a belief about you that will lead to a buy.

In other words, maybe you shouldn’t put all your messaging marbles into online media. Box that investment with offline content as well.

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Snippets on 04-27-10:

 Clichés: Trite or Trendy?

Successful B2B business communication always boils down to using just the right words or phrases.  Whether it’s a speech, blog, e-mail, tweet, or press release, word-smithing is a factor. As the author of any of these document types, you may want to consider clichés as a category of phrases or words to either avoid or embrace.

Here are the top ten business clichés according to business author Seth Godin. His original ten have now grown to over 380 words or phrases in his “The Encyclopedia of Business Clichés,” most all of which have been added, or voted upon, by site users on Squidoo.com. 

Top Ten Business Clichés

1.

Win-win situation

6.

Paradigm shift

2.

Thinking outside of the box

7.

At the end of the day,…

3.

Giving 110%

8.

Low-hanging fruit

4.

Best practices

9.

Going forward

5.

Synergy

10.

Push the envelope

Clichés are important to good writing and effective communications. Since we all write, even if it’s just e-mail, we should understand the issues and implications of clichés, such as:

  • What are the various manifestations of clichés? Text messaging acronyms?
  • As shorthand, are they communications efficient?
  • Are clichés okay to use in certain types of documents?
  • What role does the target audience play in determining whether clichés are acceptable?
  • Can clichés contribute to Web 3.0’s “compelling content?”
  • Is Godin’s interpretation of clichés correct, that some make communicating “easier,” while others hide, obfuscate, lie, or confuse/avoid the issue?

Learn more about clichés.
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Snippets on 04-20-10:

The Essential First Step In a Successful Press Release

Often overlooked or neglected, targeting a specific audience is the first critical step in achieving success with a press release. Often there’s a misconception that stems from the audiences identified by the content distributor. Especially when a wire service is used, one tends to assume that the press release content should be written to address the wide (and divergent) audiences offered by the wire service. In reality, 90% of the time those who receive your press release through a wire service are not the audience your content should target. Wire services target publications (editors, journalists, bloggers, et al). When those press/media professionals are your intended audience, the strategies and tactics – especially content and messages — are totally different.

 Here are a few examples of possible target audiences:

  • Existing installed base that you want to purchase your product upgrade
  • Your customers’ customers (end users)
  • Channel partners
  • Competitors
  • Vendors/suppliers

The list may be quite extensive. Here’s a way to back into discovering your press release’s intended audience. Using the subject matter of your planned release, write three benefits or outcomes for each audience identified in your list. Only one audience should become apparent. If that doesn’t happen, your subject matter is probably too loosely defined, or you should consider more than one version of the press release.

 With the proper audience defined, and three (or more) benefits attributed to that audience, you can now write a compelling press release that has focused audience information and messages.

Source: Team MarkeTech
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Snippets on 04-11-10:

 Look on the Brighter Side of Life

The immediate future of high-tech business looks better, according to the statistical projections of Forrester Research:

  •  +84%  — Expected growth in information technology this year, to $550 billion
    Attributed to increased spending on communications equipment, and continued rebound in computer and software purchasing.
  •  +7.7% — Anticipated growth of the worldwide tech market, to $1.6 trillion
    Expect double digit growth in computer equipment and software purchasing.

Source:  Los Angeles Times, via Times Wire Reports
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Google Secrets

Some of the Google tools are particularly useful for web researchers; here are the ones that I’m playing with now.

On the search results page, select the “+ Show options” link at the top. This expands to show you a wide range of additional filtering tools. Although the options have been changing fairly frequently, one that is worth looking at lets you see only those sites you’ve recently visited, or just the sites you haven’t clicked through yet. (“Visited pages” and “Not yet visited.”) If you have been trying a number of search strategies and feel like you are running in circles, clicking the “Not yet visited” option may help you find what you are looking for.

With Google Transliterate, you type a Roman character on your keyboard and Google transliterates it to the equivalent character in 19 languages. While this doesn’t offer the translation feature of Google Translated Search, it lets you run a quick search to see the number of mentions of a name or brand in a language you cannot easily type on your keyboard. 

Google Public Data Explorer is an example of Google taking public data and making it more intelligible. Right now, the data sets include the OECD Factbook, World Bank statistics, US Census data, and Eurostat tables, among others. You specify a data range, and Google will generate a line chart, bar chart, map or bubble chart. This Google tool may be a helpful way of visualizing information.

Contributor: Mary Ellen Bates, of Bates Information Services, Inc.
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Snippets on 03-30-10:

Cool Web Marketing Tool du Jour

Tweetbeep sends you e-mail every time your brand, company name, etc., is mentioned on Twitter. You can configure just about any keywords or URLs (your website or blog) to trigger the hourly-updated response.

It’s FREE! With TweetBeep Premium ($20/month) you get 200 alerts, a 15-minute alert option, and no advertisements! http://www.tweetbeep.com

MarkeTech neither endorses, nor is it affiliated with, any of the products or services it mentions in Snippet du Jour.

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Compelling Content

Web 2.5-3.0 anticipates “compelling content.” The term compelling means many things to many web “experts,” but when one strips away all the hype, it all comes down to good writing intended for online publication, usually on your website.

If you want to write in a way that compels your site visitors to find their way into your sales funnel, there are certain characteristics of your writing “style” and content that will help achieve that outcome, such as:

  • Use the time-honored inverted pyramid to structure your document’s information flow
  • Since you have a visitor’s attention for perhaps 2-3 minutes, rely on bullet points whenever practical (no more than five)
  • Hit the relevant highpoints, then text-link to more detailed information
  • Be concise. It’s good practice to write the first draft and set it aside for a few days, then come back and edit it until you have reduced the word count by at least 30%
  • Try to anticipate what brought a visitor to your website, and include keywords that they may have used in their online research
  • Do your messages and positioning statements present your primary keywords, and vice versa?
  • Avoid blatant “market-speak.” Replace all of the feature-based hype about your product with real-world user benefits, for example, but don’t self-proselytize
  • Always spell out WAASF (What All Acronyms Stand For)
  • Don’t use “techie” jargon…plain English is best.

By the way, your content doesn’t always have to be the center of your site’s attention. Publish other’s material now and then, especially that from recognized authorities in your marketplace. Industry news is also a big draw for boosting site traffic.

Source: Team MarkeTech
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Snippets on 03-23-10:

Solving A Puzzle: Weak Web Links

Puzzle: My links stink! The quality of external links to my website reflects low traffic, weak search-engine page rankings (SERPs), high cost-per-visitor, etc.

 Solution: These easy steps can improve the quality and ROI of your inbound links:

1. Be stingy about the number of links:
          a. Let the quality of your site’s content drive the number of links
               i. Make sure the content is compelling enough to cause a link-generated visitor to become a potential conversion
               ii. Update content frequently on your links’ landing pages

2. Never have more than about half of your external links land visitors on your index page. Poor landing page or anchor text selection are very common mistakes, and failing to embed keywords in your anchor text is also a usual faux pas

3. Always evaluate the relevance of the external link site. Most (at least 75%) of your links should come from sites that your customer prospects are likely to frequent

4. There are questionable links from sources that can quickly get your site red flagged by search engines. Watch out for link farms, any type of for-purchase link scams, and links that have weak relevance to your site’s content.

Click here to find out more about links, including lists of online directories, wikis, profile sites (many of which are free), and best practices for posting your information on these kind of sites.

Source: Team MarkeTech
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Snippets on 03-10-10:

Social Media Survey

According to a Social Media survey of businesses:

81.7% said they will spend more time on social media this year

 Benefits of social media cited: 

  • 66.3% — increased site traffic
  • 36.5% — increased incoming links
  • 33.7% — better search engine placement

 B2B preferred social media outlets:

  • LinkedIn – 39.2%
  • Facebook – 35.5%
  • YouTube – 34.8%

Note that 43.2% of respondents were B2B

Source: Website Magazine, 2010: (N=186)

Today’s Question: Is it okay to send an editor/journalist a press release announcing your company’s presence on a social media web site (LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.)? Read more about this.

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