How to send “good” eblasts.

I’m signed up for many eNewsletters. Some come daily, some weekly… you get the idea. Some I unsubscribed from after a while, others I do not unsubscribe from but usually delete immediately after reading the subject line, but one website actually sends me eblasts that I read (sometimes even saving it for later), and usually click on at least one link. So what are some companies doing better than others? Well to be honest for me, to open and read an eblast is dependent on frequency of said eblasts and content. Subjects I am more interested in I want to read about.

If you want people to read your eblasts, earn their trust. By “earning their trust” I simply mean do not abuse your power to push out emails. Make sure you have a few (or at least one big) newsworthy thing to your readers.

If not every reader is interested in each section of your newsletter, split them up and give your readers options. For instance some people may only want an eNewsletter from Nordstrom to hear about sales, not what new line just arrived.

Basically just remember that quality is better than quantity. That’s all you really need to know. If you need to break your eblasts down into different segments so different people with different interests can sign up.

Now for who I think does a wonderful job at eblasts. Don’t worry this shocked me too, but WebMD. As some of you may know I am interested in health and fitness, so I opted in for their “Healthy Eating” and “Fitness” eNewsletters. These newsletters give me workout tips, healthy tasty recipes, random facts, and more. Pictured below is an example of an eblast from WebMD. You can see there isn’t too much information, it is all relevant, and it’s separated in a nice easy to read fashion.

I actually made the “Charred Tomato and Chicken Tacos” referenced in the photo above. You can find the recipe here.

They are as delicious as they look.

Overall I think that a lot of companies could learn from the tactics WebMD uses to issue eblasts.

What are things you hate or love about eblasts?



Pitching to bloggers what PR pros and bloggers should know

What bloggers and PR pros need to know.

There are many resources for understanding how to pitch to bloggers, some of the advice may seem like common sense to you, or it may seem foreign. The general guidelines are as follows: read the blogger’s posts, understand the blogger’s target audience, and know that whatever you are pitching should be something the blogger’s readers are interested in. Here are some excellent sources to reference for more detailed tips, the Social Media Explorer, Problogger, and pretty much everywhere littering the internet you can find tips on good (or bad) pitching to bloggers.

There are many notions of how PR should be, but what many fail to realize is the dependency of a PR pro on their client. A lot of time (unfortunately, but realistically) the amount of time PR pros can dedicate to researching and pitching to specific bloggers is dependent on a budget. While it may be ideal to research the blogger in-depth and discover what you can provide the blogger as incentive for their readers, sometimes the amount of hours in PR services clients are willing to be billed for is the bottom line. This isn’t to say that PR pros are not selective when adding blogger to press lists. Some PR pros are selective and do the amount of research they are able to conduct within time constraints; however, not every pitch can be specifically tailored to each blogger. Pro pros select the bloggers they identify as influential, and from there sometimes PR pros must treat bloggers as professional journalists, not always as citizen bloggers.

I feel that with an understanding of both parties, perhaps bloggers and PR pros can both grow to find a mutual understanding with the others’ profession. This understanding could increase the relationship between the two professions and perhaps help bloggers understand why sometimes they are pitched to more as if they were a journalist.

Until next time (or tomorrow),


Let’s go Viral!

A huge misunderstanding people have is that a video going viral is an intentional obtainable goal. Yes people make videos to be noticed/promote a cause/whatever, but there is no formula for what the masses will watch over and over and over again. Sometimes a celebrity or brand name helps – sometimes it doesn’t (see Jennifer Anniston’s “viral” video for smartwater). The point you should gather from the smartwater video is that you can do everything you think is popular, you can select an awesome topic, but it doesn’t mean you will be guaranteed success. In the smartwater video they essentially mock the demand for videos to become viral.

What you can do, fine-tune a video to pop culture. You can take steps in a direction to make a video catchy, you can promote it properly, but at the end of the day you are putting the destiny of the video in the hands of the people. At the end of the day if “viral” is your goal you should take a few steps. (Not that I think any “viral” effort will 100 percent of the time be successful.)

-Select popular catchy elements, don’t be dated.
Don’t do what’s been done before and done before and done before – it’s old news, no one cares.
-Brand yourself properly. AKA when I finish the video I want to know either who was behind it, or why it was created. If people watch it, but it doesn’t drive traffic to your website… you wasted your time.
-Do the best job you can. This means properly adjust the video with your marketing consultant.
-Utilize and recognize proper methods and channels to release your video on. This means consulting a PR pro and maybe a marketer and developing a plan.

There you go, I gave you some tips… are you happy yet? But if I hear one more person say “how do you make a viral video,” well I don’t know what I’m going to do. Probably nothing. But the point is you can make a video, you cannot make it go viral – but you can make it well.

Here is a terrible viral video that no one could have predicted would be this popular. Now you understand, don’t you.

That’s all for now folks.


Social Media Tips from the PR World

Why PR is better than marketing: the social media edition.

I am not writing this post to accent any feelings about marking professionals, I am simply trying to exert that you don’t go to an electronic store for clothing.

Social media can be an excellent tool in building a reputation within psychographic communities. But there are some rules, just like everything. This week at my internship we’ve touched upon clients’ wants to be on Facebook and Twitter, because they think they should be. But should these highly technical companies be Facebook and Twitter, or other social media sites?

Not every social media outlet is applicable for your business. Don’t try to go to a social media platform and hope to gain followers; go to social media platforms where potential customers already are. With some research you should be able to figure out which social media outlets, if any, a company should be participating in. So if the research shows that the target audiences you wish to reach are not active in specific online communities, give it up don’t start a social media site you won’t maintain. Perhaps in the future a shift will occur and you’ll be able to jump on the bandwagon. But you have to make sure you hop on, on the right foot.

If social media turns out to be for you, congrats, but you can never turn back. Know from the get-go that creating a Facebook fan page, a Twitter page and what ever else does not equal obtaining instantaneous followers. There are so many tactics one can execute at this stage (and you’d have to hire me to get the full effect ;)), but let’s touch on the basics.

Brand your pages, you want your potential customers to know who you are no matter what page they are viewing. Provide relevant and interesting content; this often requires linking to longer articles (that your company can provide or industry relevant news). Engage individuals, comment back, ask questions… you get the idea. Listen to what people are saying. This particular piece can go a long way. If you are not listening, you are able to identify trends, potential problems, etc. as well.

Do not initiate a social media outlet if you are not up to doing it and doing it well. Social media is not only strategic, but also time-consuming and time sensitive. If you are interested in reading further, this post from the Social Media Examiner is a good reference. Hopefully you’ve learned from this blog that PR’s tie to relationship building and communication trumps the markers aspect… on the social media front. Say it don’t spray it.