Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Practactical PR in a Wacky Web2.0 World


By Steve Kayser,

Can an industry accused of hype fall victim to its own hype? Answer: Yes. Take, for example, the echo chamber that has become all things Web 2.0 related: blogs, wikis, podcasting, corporate videos, RSS, SEO, PR-SEO, social media and on and on and on—constant, changing content 24x7x365. Just to keep up, you would need a 360-teraflop brain (360 trillion calculations per second; similar to IBM's BlueGene/L supercomputer). I won't even comment on comprehension of the information consumed because it's almost incomprehensible.

So how do we cut through all the digi-hysterics? How do we deal with the flux and get down to the crux? How can you realistically cope with this worldwide information explosion that changes second by second? And how can you do this without having a brainflop implosion (or teraflopically worse, needing the approval of an internal business committee)? The answer:

Get "Practactical"

1. Prac·ti·cal—adjective: adapted or designed for actual use, useful.

2. Tac·ti·cal—adjective: a method employed to help achieve a certain goal.

3.Prac·tac·ti·cal—adjective/adverb: practical, tactical action that's useful and easy to do—right now. No paralysis-by-analysis business committee approval needed. A neologism coined by an obscure Cincinnatian on the Midwest coast (think about that).

How does the practactical concept apply to your day-to-day job, practically speaking? Here's an example. Say you need to track your company mentions in the news online. (If you don't, quit reading here.) Well, you could research countless high-end media monitoring services and then milk the money to pay for them from your budget when nobody's looking, or you could use something like Google Alerts. It will automatically email you when there are new results on your search term—your company in the news. The "comprehensive" Google Alert tracks results on the web, news, blogs and groups. (Very cool. But who needs more email, right?)

Here's a practactical way to do it. We're going to make a dedicated web page for all the information you need to track that will be easy-to-use, access and review. Breathe deep; we're going to make your very own, personalized, PR-tracking dashboard. This will take a very long time to do (for the digi-hystericalians), so shut off your cell phone, shut down your email and forward your business phone. You need to clear some big-time free time to do this—at least 10 to 15 minutes.

We're going to use Google as an example, but only because it's what I use. (Yahoo is very similar, and so is MSN.) Here we go:

1. Go to iGoogle. If you have a Gmail account, sign in (top right of page). If not, you can still do this exercise, but you may lose your changes after you shut down or do maintenance on your computer.

2. Click on the "Add a tab" button (top left side of the page).

It will ask you to name the tab. Name it something like, "My Company Name in the News."

Next, you'll want to add news sources. For this example, we're going to use three different news search engines:

3. Go to Google News and type in your company name.

Click on the "Search News" button. Your results will be displayed. They should include any recent mentions of your company in the news.

4. Now, there are two ways to save this search for your dashboard.

If you see an RSS icon (you know, the little orange box) at the end of the search results URL, click on it. It will ask you to "Subscribe to the RSS Feed." Click to subscribe.

You should then see a page that asks you if you want to add it to either your Google homepage or Google reader. Pick Google homepage for this example.

If you don't see that RSS icon, simply copy the URL. Click the "Add Stuff" button on your Google page. Then click "Add by URL" and paste the URL into the box that pops up.

When that is done, a header titled "Your Company in the News" should be visible, usually at the top left side of the page. It displays the three latest content items based upon your search term, "Your Company Name in the News." You can edit this number from one to nine items. Three works well, but it depends on you. That's the great thing about this; you can get as much or as little information as you need. Yahoo offers up to 50 items. That's TMI (too much information). And it's easy to drag, drop and rearrange the content. Just drag the header to wherever you want it. Go ahead … try it.

5. Now go to each of the other news search engines and repeat the same steps.

That's right, the very same steps.

When you're finished, you will have all the latest mentions of your company in the news by these search engines. I think you'll see they are not only different, but sometimes vastly different. Now that you have all your news on one page—to monitor and track—you can easily create additional tabs for such interests as industry analysts, trade pubs, media events, journalists, market research, etc.

When finished, you'll have a personalized portal of practactical, up-to-date content that is easy to track, view and use—no muss, no fuss and no IT hangover.

P.S. If you need more search engines, the "Two a Day" blog has a review of 300 search engines. I'm partial to Ms. Dewey.

Steve Kayser

Steve Kayser is an award-winning business writer who has been featured in a marketing best practices case study by MarketingSherpa, A Marketer's Guide to e-Newsletter Publishing, Credibility Branding, Innovation Quarterly, B2B Marketing Trends, PRWEEK, The New Rules of PR and Marketing (book by David Meerman Scott) and Faces of E-Content magazine.

His writings have appeared in Corporate Finance Magazine, CEO Refresher, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business 2.0, and Fast Company Magazine, among others. And he's won a few screenwriting awards that have earned him unconscionable amounts of money for the amount of work involved, (ZERO is an unconscionable amount isn't it?) and launched him to ... uh ... well - the launch is on hold. But he's on the launchpad. In Cincinnati, Ohio.


Steve also digi-pens the consistently inconsistent and wildly disrespected, non-syndicated "Shoot the Donkey" column. (Go ahead ... ask)

Impressive Awards!

Steve is a recipient of one of the most famous writing awards on the globe... the SLAP. The SLAP is based upon demonstrated intellectually disingenuous plots and themes. He constantly performs to SLAP's highest standards(described below)


Recent Articles:

More Articles:

The "Shoot the Donkey" Columns:

Is this a beauty of a hat or what?

In his spare time, Steve professionally models kilts for Un-Vanity, Non-GQThe Manly Kilt Wearing Man monthly magazines.

Steve also headlines fund-raising events for his run at an Olympic Gold Medal in the kilt-wearing mechanical bull-riding competition to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2050.

In addition, Steve is retained by a real company, selling real stuff, (on a very tenuous, minute-by-minute basis) to inspire and motivate others by fulfilling a famous Mark Twain axiom,

“Let us be thankful for the fools;

but for them the rest of us could not succeed."

For more (or less) information contact (or don't)

Steve Kayser at skbigm@gmail.com


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