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Sony PlayStation 3 First Look

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PS3_60_topupright_small

PlayStation 3 finally went on sale nationwide today. In addition to playing games, the Sony gaming console can surf the Web, download video and music and play movies with its Blu-ray high-definition disc drive. There are reports that some people here in Indianapolis waited in the rain and cold for 48 hours to get their hands on one of the few PS3s available. At least they were safe. In Connecticut, two armed men tried to rob a line of people waiting to buy the new gaming console this morning, and shot one who refused to give up the money.

Prices on eBay reached $10,000 even though it costs only $500 for a 20-gigabyte version and $600 for a 60-gigabyte version. Sony hopes to sell 1 million units of the PS3 in the US by the end of March. Experts suggest each PS3 could last 10 years and could go a long way toward helping Sony meet its goal of staying at the top of the $30 billion gaming market.

For those not lucky enough to get a PS3 of their own, our friend Keith Shaw of NetworkWorld has a great preview on his Cool Tools weekly video show. He reveals his limited-edition PS3 that he got from the “underground.” Watch it here!

Pound for Pound -Dollar for Dollar- PR is the most powerful tool in your arsenal.

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“PR isn’t in our budget right now”……When I hear this from companies I immediately ask, “What marketing efforts are you utilizing today that are immediately resulting in sales? What else are you doing to create sales leads? How are you actively engaging with your target audience? How are you letting the world know about your product?

PR is usually one of the least appreciated and the most under-valued sales / communication tools. We at BLASTmedia believe – we know – PR can actually be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal! When consumers read an unbiased expert article in a media outlet that recommends a product (via a review, company feature, etc.), they are more likely to purchase that product. Advertising is what a company says about itself; PR is what an expert says about it. Which one do you trust?

Here’s a great example of the impact of PR: We secured coverage for our client Sonnet Technologies in The New York Times. The direct result was Sonnet shattering both their one-day and two-day sales records by a factor of 5. We launched SLEEPTRACKER last year before the Holiday Season and secured dozens of articles in major media outlets including an award as on of the “50 Best Inventions of 2005” from TIME Magazine. Their founder credits us for helping him become profitable after six months (as PR is the ONLY marketing they do), and in 2006, they expect to sell over 20,000 units in over 40 countries!

Another example comes from our client Horizon Software, who wanted to grow visibility within school systems as a company in the forefront of tackling childhood obesity with their MealpayPlus solution. Through our media outreach we secured numerous articles in not only national media including Good Morning America and CNN, but also in newspapers and education trade pubs. This coverage has helped Horizon Software increase their new accounts by 175% and their revenue is up 35% in just a matter of months!

Shouldn’t PR be the first tool you grab out of your marketing bucket?

While visions of coverage danced in their heads….

By | Industry Perspective | One Comment

sugarplums

As the calendar turns to November, people everywhere start getting ready for the holidays. I personally love this time of year—the weather gets colder, leaves start to fall, and hopefully snow will be just around the corner! But I also love it because this is what PR gurus have been working on for the past few months.

The holiday season really began back in June for the PR folks. It was then that the publications with six-month lead times began looking for products to include in their holiday gift guides, and the mad dash to get your product in front of the editors commenced. It seemed so odd at the time to be speaking with an editor on the phone and explaining to him/her why your product would be a great holiday gift for your parents, kids, sister, etc…

Those publication issues that you worked on way back in June are starting to appear now on newsstands and hopefully all of your hard work paid off. But, the cycle starts all over again because daily and weekly publications are beginning to gear up for their holiday gift guides, and those guides are equally as important. For me, having a client included in a holiday gift guide or an end-of-the-year roundup is always exciting, because I know what a direct impact they can have on my client’s 4th quarter sales.

As the holidays approach, more and more consumers turn their minds to one thing—gifts. You have to start thinking about what you are going to buy for everyone on your list, and that can be extremely overwhelming. Here’s where the media steps in, with gift guides ranging from the hottest gadgets, the trendiest new clothes, or even the best new foods to try. If your client/product is included in these guides, their visibility will soar, sales will increase and in the end, clients will be happy. This is what we PR people all strive for, after all.

If you haven’t started contacting gift guide editors, what are you waiting for? There is still time, but you have to move fast. Here are some tips for finding last-minute gift guides:

1.) Identify your target– Long-lead publications’ gift guides are closed, but daily newspapers and weekly publications are most likely still accepting submissions.
2.) Find the correct contact—never underestimate the power of the phone! Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call an editorial assistant or an assignment editor and ask if they are doing a gift guide, and who the correct contact is.
3.) Convince the editor—once you find the correct contact, persuade them that your product is a must-have this season by highlighting its unique features.
4.) Continue to follow up—editors are extremely busy this time of year, and staying in constant contact with them is important. Make sure your product is always on their radar so that when they decide which products to include, yours is fresh on their minds.

There are going to be a ton of BLAST clients in holiday gift guides this season – will your clients be there next to ours?

"Relationships Won't Go Away", a Conversation with Network World's Keith Shaw

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KeithShaw

I had a nice conversation yesterday with one of our favorite journalists, Keith Shaw of Network World. I’ve worked with Keith for years and have developed a good relationship (he sends me pictures of his adorable daughter; I send him good products to review) so I was very excited to hear him tell me about his new promotion. Keith has been named Programming Director for Network World. He is in charge of driving their multimedia strategy – videos, pod casts, and developing an interactive chat channel. Keith will continue his work in the labs of Network World but limit himself to only coordinating wireless testing. He is keeping his Cool Tools blog and weekly video show (our favorite). He will also continue to be the other half of Network World’s Twisted Pair weekly pod cast with Jason Meserve. Keith’s weekly blog for DEMOletter will continue, as well. As if he doesn’t have enough on his plate, Keith also continues to drive traffic to his snack food review web site Taquitos.net. Who would have known – top technology journalist by day, snack food aficionado by night?!

Network World creating this new position for Keith is a clear indication of the direction that media is going. “Until two years ago, print was the most important,” says Keith. “All of the extra material was thrown online.” Times are certainly changing. From our experience at BLAST, we know that a blog mention may result in higher web traffic to a client’s web site than an article in print. It’s happening more and more as blogs become more popular, more targeted and more familiar. Keith made a good point when he told me that with his labs reviews, in addition to being in print, he can put them online and add graphs, a pod cast interview with the developer, or a sidebar. Online space is limitless. “You can’t record on a piece of paper,” he says. “You can just do so much more online and provide much more information to your readers.” And another positive – the shelf life is certainly longer online than for print. We can testify to that – we could save a few trees with all of the magazines and newspapers we throw out each month here at BLAST. Keith said that if he could tell PR people one thing it is “Stop trying so hard for print.” Blog coverage or a mention in a pod cast could very well drive more traffic and result in more sales than a print article – we see it happen every week

It’s an exciting time to be in the media industry – media is changing rapidly and you either adapt, or get left behind. There is one thing Keith and I discussed that will never change, however. That is the relationships between media and PR people. The relationships we’ve built with reporters, journalists, editors and producers are priceless. You need those relationships to be successful in PR and to make your clients successful. It can be the difference between getting your client average coverage, and getting your client consistent and quality coverage. It’s a give and take relationship between the media and PR people – give them good news angles and good products, they give you time, expert opinions and (hopefully) coverage. As online media takes away some of the dominance of print, there is one thing in the industry that will remain unchanged. Keith and I agree, “Relationships won’t go away.”

“Relationships Won’t Go Away”, a Conversation with Network World’s Keith Shaw

By | Industry Perspective | One Comment

KeithShaw

I had a nice conversation yesterday with one of our favorite journalists, Keith Shaw of Network World. I’ve worked with Keith for years and have developed a good relationship (he sends me pictures of his adorable daughter; I send him good products to review) so I was very excited to hear him tell me about his new promotion. Keith has been named Programming Director for Network World. He is in charge of driving their multimedia strategy – videos, pod casts, and developing an interactive chat channel. Keith will continue his work in the labs of Network World but limit himself to only coordinating wireless testing. He is keeping his Cool Tools blog and weekly video show (our favorite). He will also continue to be the other half of Network World’s Twisted Pair weekly pod cast with Jason Meserve. Keith’s weekly blog for DEMOletter will continue, as well. As if he doesn’t have enough on his plate, Keith also continues to drive traffic to his snack food review web site Taquitos.net. Who would have known – top technology journalist by day, snack food aficionado by night?!

Network World creating this new position for Keith is a clear indication of the direction that media is going. “Until two years ago, print was the most important,” says Keith. “All of the extra material was thrown online.” Times are certainly changing. From our experience at BLAST, we know that a blog mention may result in higher web traffic to a client’s web site than an article in print. It’s happening more and more as blogs become more popular, more targeted and more familiar. Keith made a good point when he told me that with his labs reviews, in addition to being in print, he can put them online and add graphs, a pod cast interview with the developer, or a sidebar. Online space is limitless. “You can’t record on a piece of paper,” he says. “You can just do so much more online and provide much more information to your readers.” And another positive – the shelf life is certainly longer online than for print. We can testify to that – we could save a few trees with all of the magazines and newspapers we throw out each month here at BLAST. Keith said that if he could tell PR people one thing it is “Stop trying so hard for print.” Blog coverage or a mention in a pod cast could very well drive more traffic and result in more sales than a print article – we see it happen every week

It’s an exciting time to be in the media industry – media is changing rapidly and you either adapt, or get left behind. There is one thing Keith and I discussed that will never change, however. That is the relationships between media and PR people. The relationships we’ve built with reporters, journalists, editors and producers are priceless. You need those relationships to be successful in PR and to make your clients successful. It can be the difference between getting your client average coverage, and getting your client consistent and quality coverage. It’s a give and take relationship between the media and PR people – give them good news angles and good products, they give you time, expert opinions and (hopefully) coverage. As online media takes away some of the dominance of print, there is one thing in the industry that will remain unchanged. Keith and I agree, “Relationships won’t go away.”

Office by the Bay

By | Work at BLAST | 3 Comments

Many of our clients have been asking about how our new office is coming in SanFran, so I thought I would post this video which shows the progress. For those keeping notes at home, we’ve been working for the last 6 months on opening our office in SanFran. We really got lucky by a chance meeting with Mitch Kemp of PCL Real Estate in SanFrancisco (he’s been a force in the SanFran commercial market for over 30 years) who showed us properties all over the city. By complete serendepity we heard from Mitch that some space recently came available in the Hearst building, which is one of the most recognizable landmarks in SanFran located right in heart of the city.

Office space rarely comes available there as I think the average tenant occupancy is over 15 years with some tenants being there over 60 years. Did I mention the Hearst Corporation also has offices in the buildings for a few of their magazines: O,Oprah Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Cosmo, Esquire and a number of others. You can probably guess we’ll be hanging out in the lounge seeing what story opportunities are cooking!!!! Long story short, we secured space in the Hearst Building and demolition started 2 weeks ago. I flew out last week to check on the progress and finalize paint, carpet, etc and took this short video. -We’ll try to keep you abreast of the progress in the weeks/months to come.

So you have a blog – Now what are you going to do?

By | Industry Perspective | One Comment

In our past few posts you may have noticed a more “serious” tone to our blog…it is not by accident and it is not a permanent signal that we are turning into a boring PR company. It is just a desire to add positive discourse to the blogosphere. Don’t worry – I have a feeling that an eating competition involving pizza is just around the corner …

Many companies are blogging, even the FTC. Yes, the FTC is blogging. So what makes your blog better than anyone else’s? There is no right or wrong answer. But there is one thing you must have – a voice. I have a number of blogs that I keep track of on my RSS but there are only a few that I make a point to read every day. As I started evaluating each blog, I realized they were all different. Seomoz is a blog that I really like. I don’t know a ton about SEO but I like how transparent they are about their company. From client proposals to hiring, they offer a glimpse of the company culture and their business philosophy. Another blog I often read is Seth Godin’s blog. Seth’s blog is usually quick posts of reactions/insights to situations he comes across on a daily basis. I like his posts because they usually make me stop and think, if only for a second, before I continue to my next feed.

Blogging is not art. I have yet to come across a “professional” blogger who I think has created an art form. But that is the beauty of it and why they have become popular. Anyone can blog. Just remember if you are going to do it, do it well and do it consistently. The most successful blogs keep up to date posts. Whether posts are weekly in-depth posts such as BlogMaverick, or quick daily posts, the content should be new, fresh and insightful. Don’t be afraid to open up a little and show personality. If your company is fun, show it. Be true to your company and to your culture, and people will respect you for what you are.

So blog away, friends! Just remember to have a voice and be true to that voice. As far as we’re concerned, you will continue to see our more in-depth and professional posts as we try to create our voice. Hopefully it will help provide you, dear reader, with something to think about, as well as entertain you with our fun side. And if you need a quick tool, take a look at this good resource on how to write for blogs.

Who are your favorite bloggers and why? (C’mon, send me a comment!)