The Wax Blog

The other night I apologized to an editor in chief of a major magazine  - the intern had pulled her name from Cision and I didn't notice before we started pitching. My apology turned into an opportunity for this editor (who was working at 10pm her time, by the way) to start a rant on how pitches came into her email "like weeds". Many people doing their own PR look at the masthead of the magazine, screw up their courage and pitch right to the top. That might seem like a good idea, but in reality, most unknown people get into stories through a freelancer, who isn't listed in the magazine. Or an associate editor. Or through HARO. NOT by sending their "amazing, creative and compelling" pitch to an editor in chief. I realize that everybody can't afford to hire a PR person. But I really wish these DIY publicity "teachers" would teach something other than "how to write a fantastic pitch for the Today Show" that ends up in the email of a top producer who never works at that level. There are relationships that need to be developed, protocol to follow and a natural hierarchy of media that virtually no DIY teacher is teaching. Basically, people are learning how to be salespeople to the media...which the media HATES.  You can't just pitch holiday guides and magically have it turn into "thousands of dollars in sales". Or send to 10 or 20 people and get 2-3 feature articles! Or how about creating a pitch the media can't resist! Or better yet, buy this book and get into O Magazine to become an overnight sensation! 

By Beth Graddon-Hodgson, who is from Canada.  Which may make her opinions rather suspect, if not subversive.  With constantly evolving demands in social media, it is interesting how there is such a high frequency of social media conferences when techniques almost can’t be taught.  Why do so many people feel the need to share their expertise on something when there are no real rules? The question is on my mind because there are a number of social media conferences popping up around the Toronto Area. The 140 Characters Conference is on a North American tour and just happened here.  Blissdom Canada is another conference coming up this fall. Here are a few thoughts of mine about why these conferences are important and also some words of caution for those trying to learn from them. 

By Thomas Douane As Steve Jobs steps down from his position at Apple, he leaves behind a legacy that doesn’t seem to be lost on anyone considering how many retrospective pieces have been published. However, this media storm is unsurprising. Jobs’ roller coaster career with the company and ultimate redemption borders on a fairytale and has led to a consumer base that identifies with Apple tech at an almost genetic level. One undeniable element Jobs brought back to the ailing company was a design philosophy based on things humans recognize as objectively beautiful. Apple designs appeal to something deep within us, far past the aesthetic surface. There are things we mechanically recognize as beautiful, things we immediately if subconsciously find comforting or soothing. It’s an important lesson for any industry: How can you get in tune with the most basic functions of your audience? Bloggers often publish list pieces due to the cursory nature of reading on the Internet. Media content providers calibrate the length of their video production to the attention span of their target demographic. Here are the top three ways Apple has effectively tapped into our biological attraction, making their products more appealing to our deeper sensibilities.

By Beth Graddon-Hodgson Last week's post was all about techniques for pushing your blog articles on social media. This week, we'll keep going on a similar direction and talk about how hard you  should have to work to market your blog. It's a question I'm asked all the time - people hire me for the writing but don't have a budget for  social media, guest posts, sourcing etc. However, they also aren't interested in trying these things themselves,  believing that the blog content will do all of the work. If you're only going to invest your money and time in one marketing arena and you've got a lower budget, a blog is your best step. However, it is part of a bigger puzzle - you can't always expect to have 10,000 hits per month if  you just focus on great blog content. When determining your priorities for marketing time, consider the following:

Last September I ran this post -  as we get into one of the busiest seasons in PR I thought it was a good idea to remind ourselves that a) we're probably not going to ever be truly original b) our products and service are not story ideas and c) being annoying never works. Enjoy! (PS - there were some great comments last year, so check out the original post for those as well) [caption id="attachment_3667" align="alignright" width="234" caption="I would never imply that the media are a bunch of babies."][/caption] Ever wonder why some people get instant press and others languish? Despite all the reasons you hear (bad publicist, bad timing, dumb media, war, famine, smallpox outbreak..) it’s because their pitch is not nearly as interesting as they think.  If you think you don’t have to read this post because you KNOW this doesn’t apply to you…you probably need to read this post. So bear with me… here are the top five reasons why pitches get ignored:

It is always a bit of dilemma when a client asks that we promote all new blog articles via social media on a daily basis. It’s not that I’m against promoting in this manner, but I am always concerned about balance. I don’t want to get too far into social media strategy, but I would like to discuss how the use of social media affects your blog when you choose these different strategies.

[caption id="attachment_3654" align="alignright" width="221"] Find these icons at www.hongkiat.com[/caption] Those wanting to self-market their new business, book or product with a limited amount of funds typically turn to free resources in order to get the promotion they want. One of the more popular choices is utilizing one of the leading social media networking sites— Twitter. And it's a great avenue to pursue too. Just about everyone has one including high-profile bloggers, celebrities, powerful industry executives and most importantly tons and tons of prospective customers and clients. It's a great way to reach potentially hundreds of thousands of people at no cost. Using the site may seem simple. After all who can botch a 140 character long sentence? But the truth of the matter is that a lot of people do so on a regular basis. So many in fact that instead of building a strong clientele base, some entrepreneurs and business owners actually turn-off their customers via tweets instead. To make sure you don't use the site incorrectly, brush up on some common "tweetiquette" by learning a few simple rules:

Looking at many of the job postings for writers, I see a lot of people saying that they don’t want ‘spun’ articles. Obviously, the term is being used in a negative context, which I find interesting, because I’ve always looked at it in a more positive way.  Once again, with the evolution of web content we’re seeing one term being used in a variety of ways, which can lead to serious confusion.

[caption id="attachment_3642" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Solar roof...Target or Walmart?"][/caption] I'm not going to argue the merits of Walmart with everyone but comments on last week's post made me wonder how much we really know about Walmart or Target...and how much misinformation has been fed to us by the media based on clever PR? Check out the following questions and then see below for answers. You might be surprised.
  1. Which company created a sustainability consortium between big box retailers, 34 manufacturers and 9 universities to develop "green" label standards?
  2. Which company had no corporate goals for sustainability as of last year?
  3. Which company had 30,000 people apply for jobs at a store opening?
  4. Which company has admitted to keeping part-timers weekly hours below 32 as a policy to avoid paying benefits?
  5. Which company is shown an anti-union video as part of its orientation?
  6. In 2008, which company's health and wage plans were viewed as "more restrictive" by the UCFW?
Okay, here are the answers. If you guessed wrong you're not alone.

In my last post, we looked at some of the different ways of defining original content that you may not have considered when writing your blogs. I introduced the idea of using Copyscape to ensure that there is no duplication within your posts, and this week we’ll look exactly at how you can use that tool to your advantage. Copyscape is designed primarily to prevent plagiarism.  Often, websites use it to ensure that no one else has stolen their original content.  It is also a great tool to use as a writer. When I’ve discussed this with other writers in the past,  I’ve received looks like I’m crazy using Copyscape on my own writing – because it should be pretty clear to me whether or not I’ve plagiarized the content. That may be true, but as we covered last time, there are other definitions of ‘original content’ and if I want to ensure that I meet the criteria for one of those – ensuring there is  ZERO duplication within the content - Copyscape is the best option. Want to know more about using Copyscape to ensure your content is original ?