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SEO Marketing free eBroadcast: Frost & Sullivan & BMA October 11, 2006

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You might like to sign up for the free SEO Marketing eBroadcast from Frost & Sullivan and co-sponsored by BMA (I am the VP, Programs, for the Northern California Chapter of the Business Marketing Association – the top b-to-b marketing association in the nation).  Here is the info:

http://www.frost.com/prod/servlet/ebroadcast.pag?eventid=74836659

Thursday, 26 October 2006 – 2pm EST/11am PST

EBroadcast description (with my emphasis) :

Over 85% of Internet users leverage Search Engines to find information they’re seeking either regarding products and/or services.  This fact illustrates the importance of the following question when developing your marketing mix: How do I get top placement on the search engines to ensure that I am in the direct path of my top prospects? 

The differentiator: A strong search engine marketing plan with proven organic search engine optimization services will increase your rankings, sales and brand visibility online, while minimizing marketing costs that can significantly impact your bottom-line.  

Strategic internet marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available today. Such techniques have proven the ability to catapult core messages providing that competitive advantage to stand out above the clutter.”

BTW, I also saw a new book on SEO that looks interesting.  It was mentioned on enewsletter: “Web Marketing Today.”

Search Engine Optimization an Hour a Day
by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin
Wiley Publishing, 2006
Paperback, 318 pages
ISBN 0471787531

SEO can be very time-consuming.  Read Raph Wilson’s review of the book here
 

Business Wire News Distribution Service Finally Adds SEO October 10, 2006

Posted by The PR Cassandra in Posts.
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Business Wire, one of “les grandes dames” of fee-based news release distribution services, has come late to the game in offering SEO (search engine optimization) capability for news releases distributed over its circuits. 

I have typically used Business Wire (a new Berkshire Hathaway Company)  for my clients’ news, except for non-profits, since free web-based news services work fine for them, and Business Wire tends to be pricey. 

However, due to client budget restraints and wanting to employ SEO techniques with newsroom and Internet distribution of releases, for the past year or so I have tended to use other services who offered SEO options, such as PrimeZone Media, a Nasdaq Company, or PR Web.

For the next client news releases, we’ll be going back to Business Wire, since they now offer a number of SEO news release options that seem well thought-out.

As with PR in general, choosing a news wire service, deciding on the circuits and options, is part experience and part art.  However, it appears worthwhile to check out these new SEO options, and the only way to do that is to distribute releases using them.

My rep is Reynolds Morgan in the Santa Clara office of Busness Wire.  I met with him briefly – but long enough to get a general idea of their new SEO services.

BizWire is also partnering with PR Web/Vocus – if interested – be sure to check on pricing – Biz Wire charges can quickly add up.  Here’s from the release about it:

“LANHAM, Md. & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Business Wire, the global leader in news distribution, and Vocus, Inc. (NASDAQ:VOCS), a global leader in on-demand software for corporate communications and public relations, today announced that the two companies have entered into a strategic partnership in which Business Wire will use a private label version of Vocus PRWeb press release distribution platform to provide a new search engine optimized (SEO) and social media distribution service. The partnership will utilize Vocus proprietary PRWeb press release SEO methods and social media distribution channels to give Business Wire customers maximum visibility on the internet and in social media networks.  Vocus will create and host for Business Wire a co-branded version of the PRWeb direct-to-consumer and SEO service. Business Wire members may disseminate press releases so they will be indexed by major search engines, distributed to thousands of news sites, including Google News and Yahoo News, and delivered through more than 20,000 RSS feeds that collectively reach tens of millions of consumers and thousands of journalists daily. “

Here’s the address of the Santa Clara BizWire office:

5201 Great America Pkwy # 450
Santa Clara, CA 95054

(408) 970-4550
(408) 970-4562

 

PR Cassandra Back to the Living! October 10, 2006

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Sorry my blog has been so terribly interrupted.  Just recovering from a terrible ‘flu and hacking cough.  Getting back to blogging this evening.  Can’t wait for my ‘flu shot – stay well!

The PR Cassandra is Ill – Check out this article on H-P September 29, 2006

Posted by The PR Cassandra in Uncategorized.
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http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/SuperModels/HowMuchPatienceDoesHPDeserve.aspx?GT1=8506

H-P CEO Mark Hurd to Testify Before Congress re Pretexting Scandal September 25, 2006

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Looks like H-P’s relatively new CEO, Mark Hurd, will be testifying before Congress this Thursday, according to Reuters, about the pretexting scandal.

In my opinion, this is the only reasonable communications strategy to take:

1.  Accept it was a mess and wrong.

2.  Note new internal corporate governance processes in place to never let this happen again.

3.  The investigation was an over-reaction – don’t try to justify it.

4.  Choose board members more carefully.  Place the blame properly.

5.  Take responsibility for a lack of management over the investigation.

6.  Apologize for the use of pretexting and do not try to justify it – even though pretexting may not specially yet be illegal in California – it should be, IMHO. 

7.  Use this as an opportunity to leave with this as a caution for other companies.  Just because a company CAN do something like this technically or even legally, doesn’t mean it SHOULD.

8.  Stop treating companies like city-states.  Have a policy to deal with rumor, innuendo or leaked information.  It’s really been an issue, it seems to me, about corporate politics.

H-P CEO Mark Hurd to Testify Before Congress re Pretexting Scandal September 25, 2006

Posted by The PR Cassandra in Uncategorized.
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Looks like H-P’s relatively new CEO, Mark Hurd, will be testifying before Congress this Thursday, according to Reuters, about the pretexting scandal.

H-P Pretexting Scandal Grows – Really Discouraging September 23, 2006

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The H-P pretexting story has now turned into a spying scandal – with watched homes, phony personas and spyware that fortunately didn’t work (gosh – I guess they couldn’t find a 16-year old to write the program for them). 

More details are coming out, and Congress has called H-P’s CEO, Mark Hurd, and its lead counsel, Larry Sonsini, to testify.  I guess I’ll have to get a TV for this show down. 

Of course, it doesn’t make me feel better that a bunch of Congress people will get to act all holier than thou, when political shenanagins to me are on the same level as a company’s spying on employees, reporters and even attempting to infiltrate their computers with spyware written specifically to trick a Cnet report into revealing sources — see the story by a Forbes reporter whose family was targeted (“H-P spied on me…and my family”).

Elizabeth Corcoran Elizabeth Corcoran of Forbes – photo by Christain Peacock, Forbes.com

Here are a few excerpts from her article:

“…For us, the story has gone from weirdly funny to downright creepy as more details have emerged. Ultimately, there are going to be quite a few casualties from this hit-and-run demolition of HP’s ethical standards…”

“…As it turns out, the techniques the investigators considered seem unbounded by decency, common sense or even by a budget. Along with scrutinizing phone records, they watched people’s homes and even thought about planting spies disguised as janitors in the offices of The Wall Street Journal and CNET to look for clues…”

According to the Washington Post, and what Elizabeth Corcoran reported in Forbes.com (see link above), this whole affair wold be laughable if it weren’t such an indictment of the lack of any kind of reasonable trust, privacy or, common sense within one of the most respected high tech companies ever. 

Here is a brief excerpt from The Washington Post – you’ve got to read the whole piece:

“HP’s leak investigation involved planting false documents, following HP board members and journalists, watching their homes, and obtaining calling records for hundreds of phone numbers belonging to HP directors, journalists and their spouses, according to a consultant’s report and the e-mails.”

Not to mention, that in my opinion, PR-wise, it has been badly bungled since the first story broke. 

What were some of the errors?  Letting details and decisions trickle out without any kind of seeming outrage from anyone at H-P (maybe too many are compromised).  Spying on journalists and on one’s own PR professionals. 

What have we come to and who the heck do companies think they are?  The Keystone Kops?  Don’t these executives have things they need to do – like go acquire someone or reduce their huge compensation and stop laying off thousands who believed in “The H-P Way?”

Or, is it just about arrogance, power and control?  The new despots and tyrants.  For the parts of Marie Antoinette we have chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, who was finally sacrificed today — and for Robespierre?  Well, that is not yet certain. 

I hope Congress does more than grandstand.  The excesses and greed of Enron, et al, has led to onerous financial reporting, and with the clear message that corporate leaders are on the hook.

Perhaps this scandal – by turns ridiculous and discouraging – will lead to legislation that curbs companies’ abilities to play “I, Spy” and “Mission Impossible” with their own employess and the press who give them the coverage and visibility that leads to great wealth for those at the top.  Although, this seems more to me lke “Get Smart” than “I, Spy.”

I can understand investigating internally when there is a case of theft – but to stop leaks?  Goodness – is this the Watergate scandal for corporate America?  And – NEWS FLASH – WHEN THEY WANT TO, COMPANIES LEAK TO THE PRESS!  Just get over it!  Let your bottom line do the talking for once.

Companies need to really get this – just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  And, if you don’t like the press you’re getting, this sure as heck isn’t the way to fix that.  The day when companies can control a free press is the day of the end of freedom of expression in America.

If you want your message unadulterated and out there – it’s called advertising.  If you want the benefits that an article from a truly independent and well-respected business or technology journalist can give, then play fair – and learn to take a few hits.

No PR can fix a situation like this.  People have to take responsibility and resign or be fired.  Very strong condemnation is needed.  And, corporate governance that won’t let it happen again.

Wake up, corporate America – continue to act like this and the peasants may actually revolt.

Oops – Localization can be a tricky business, if like Jerusalem, the translation says it’s not there! September 21, 2006

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I love BBC News.  As even “mainstream” broadcast and print news in the US becomes ever more celebrity and commercially-oriented, one can still find news in independent blogs and foreign news services such as the BBC.

Even for the “Beeb,” some stories have a wry angle.  We often hear of gaffes by US translations of brochures or news releases – here’s one from the Middle East.  I liked this news piece (having once lived in Jerusalem/Al Quds):

Jerusalem is lost in translation The al-Aqsa complex in Jerusalem

 

Officials had hoped to attract tourists to the city

Tourism officials in Israel did little to sell the city of Jerusalem as a must-see for visitors when a brochure suggested it did not exist.

The sightseeing pamphlet was translated from Hebrew and should have read: “Jerusalem – there’s no city like it!”.

But instead the slogan in English read: “Jerusalem – there’s no such city!”, reported the Israeli newspaper Maariv.

Tens of thousands of the leaflets were distributed before the Jerusalem municipality realised its mistake.

The flyers were promoting a musical and arts festival held in the city in August.

Oops!!

The Latest on the H-P Pretexting Scandal: Verizon September 18, 2006

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Looks like Verizon is now ensnared in the H-P pretexting scandal – see BusinessWeek.  And, excuse me, but why haven’t those board members responsible resigned?  Not changed titles – but resigned? The PR is bound to expand.  When H-P turned on the media, it could add to the “legs” of the story.  Good grief – where is Crisis Management?

And, I am tired of hearing people in authority say that they did something “because they could.”  I am trying to raise my family to steer away from allowed practices, if those practices are harmful to others.  Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.  Any role models left in the world???

Responding to al-Qaeda’s PR: The Speech I Wish had been Given September 18, 2006

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As I listened to US president, George W. Bush, give his address to the Nation on the anniversary of Sept. 11th, I thought what a missed opportunity.  Click here to see the video address – type in “Bush address 2006” and the BBC video player should come up.

My father, a doctor during WWII in North Africa & Sicily, and who was awarded the purple heart and the silver star for saving the wounded and becoming wounded himself, probably would have felt the talk was a correct attack on America’s current “enemies.”  However, I have a different view.  The war my father fought was by nations.  What we face today is a global crisis of violence, around competing ideologies fueled by proxies on all sides.  And what makes me both angry and sad is not only the senseless slaughter, but that so much of the suffering affects the poor, women and children.

Unfortunately, al Qaeda has managed to position itself as equal to the US in its PR campaigns.  This was our chance to de-position them and talk about the real “enemies’ of freedom – poverty, hopelessness, injustice and disrespect.

In our increasingly monetizing everything age, it is difficult to get major news organizations to give up time from revenue-producing programs (especially as most of them are owned by major corporations).  Thus, here was an opportunity to speak not only to America, but to the world.

I was asked what I would have said, and a lively (to say the least) conversation ensued.  Here is the speech I would have given (I hope the White House and Karen Hughes read this):

Good evening.  Tonight, as the United States mourns its 3,000 dead from the unprovoked attacks on helpless civilians, many of whom were immigrants, we also mourn the continued loss of life from the pursuit of a war that we didn’t ask for.  All life is precious.  The world is full of grieving families tonight.  We want to end the grief and suffering, yet we cannot allow our country, our citizens and our allies to continue to suffer from useless attacks by a few people whose harm greatly outweighs their numbers.

America is a religious country, but with a separation of church and state that ensures freedom of worship and tolerance for all.  Some may see this as licentiousness – we do not. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hundus and New Agers, live side-by-side because we are a nation of tolerance, built by men and women fleeing religious oppression.  Has America always acted justly?  No, has any nation or civilization?  No.  But, in an age of instant communication, when the Internet and low-cost phone calls can bring us ever closer – what can we do to close the cultural divide that has all sides screaming across it?

For the West and the Middle East to demonize one another gets us nowhere.  Yet demonizing is the first step toward murder.  Jesus, who is revered by Muslims, worshipped by Christians and considered a rabbi, or teacher, by Jews, said, “Any one who hates his brother is a murderer.”  Why?  Because hate is the first step toward killing.  Islam, like all the great religion, teaches that the loss of one life is like losing a universe.  Our planet is losing too many universes.  Too many poets who will never write.  Too many teachers who will never instruct.  And too many children who will grow up as orphans, if they grow up.

Tonight our country is at war.  Brave men and women are risking their lives every moment.  And we all want them to come home.  But, it is not only our troops and civilians in the fields of war who suffer.

Thus, tonight, I am asking the American people to reach out here at home and across the globe, with a hand of friendship to Muslims in countries everywhere.  It is time we visited local mosques, had exchange students in our homes and developed conferences between academics and conferences for businessmen and women.  It is time for the children of the world to do what their parents can not and begin to unite us. Time for the poets, singers, musicians, artists of all kinds to come together.  For women and students to cross the chasm.

Yes, many things divide us – but many things also unite us.  We share values of family, education and aspiration. 

That is why tomorrow, I will be presenting before Congress a plan for reopening communication with The Islamic Republic of Iran.  It is time not to forget, but to forgive.  It is time to heal and not to hurt.  I will also be proposing positive measures – scholarships and grants for those with a vision of peace.

While we remain vigilent against those who wish us harm – tonight I say to the people of the world: In the Name of God, the Merciful and the Compassionate, the time has come to plant seeds of hope and trust to replace the bitter dregs of hate and fear.

My fellow Americans, and citizens of the world, reaching out in friendship is a sign of strength and not of weakness.  our hand is being outstretched – the generosity of the American people is boundless – who there in the Islamic world will meet us?

Good night and God bless you all.