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PR 101: Articles Win Over Ads to Get Consumers to Act Study Says

What is the best way to get consumers to visit your website and follow your brand? The answer–not advertising but public relations efforts resulting in articles mentioning your brand.

eMarketing reports this week in “Brand Mentions Preferred Over Ads” that according to ARAnet, based on polling by Opinion Research Corporation:

Compared with banner ads, pop-up ads, e-mail offers and sponsored links, articles that include brand information were most likely to lead US Internet users to read-and act. When it comes to getting someone to read or take action after viewing content, it turns out PR related functions – namely, placing your client in a story – are more effective than online advertising tactics.

Headline News
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The eMarketing article quotes ARAnet president Scott Severson:

“A key finding for marketers is that younger audiences respond to information that reaches them in the form of articles. More than two-thirds of the respondents between 18 and 34 said they conduct Internet searches for products or services they read about in online articles either very frequently or somewhat frequently.”

How about you? Do you react to company pitches more often through advertising or by articles?

The Social Reef from Jeremiah Owyang

Top Environmental, Green, and Clean Tech Must Read Publications: In Honor of Earth Day

Today is the 39th annual celebration of Earth Day. Earth Day was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and is intended as a day to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment.

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In honor of Earth Day, I am releasing the answers today of the following two questions I recently posed to three of my LinkedIn groups:

What are the three most critical environmental, green, and clean tech publications that you read each week and why? What reporters get this space?

Based on the LinkedIn responses, the top publications are:


Mother Nature Network


Yahoo! Green

The Huffington Post Green

Solar Daily

Solar Buzz

Greentech Media

Solar Plaza

Photon International

Gunther Portfolio

Bloomberg Environment

Technology Review

NY Times Dot Earth Blog

Clean The Official JRSE Blog

Clean Edge

Clean Tech Blog



Natural Resources Defense Council


The Week

VB/Research’s CleanTech & Renewable Energy weekly pipeline report

New Energy Finance

Renewable Energy World

New York Times Green Inc. Blog

Clean Techies

Got 2 Be Green

Three reporters were cited by the respondents as getting this space and they are: Matt Wald and Andrew Revkin of the New York Times and Mike Casey of AP. I also received a great deal of input and insight from Jeff Kart, an environmental reporter and blogger for the Bay City Times.

Any other outlets or reporters that should be on the list?

How to Construct an Elevator Pitch Online? Try the Harvard Business School Elevator Pitch Builder

When was the last time you had to describe yourself and what you do in order to get something you wanted? Were you successful? Do you know the key ingredients of a successful elevator pitch?

According to the Harvard Business School, “You have one minute to explain yourself, your business, your goals, and your passions. Your audience knows none of these. Are you prepared? Can you present your vision smoothly, enticing them to want to know more?”

Man on the Mound
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To make it even easier to craft your pitch, the Harvard Business School has an online tool that explains the mechanics behind the pitch and then steps you through creating your own pitch–even suggesting key words for you to use. Once you are done, the Harvard Business School Pitch Builder will  then analyze your completed pitch. Try it out here.

Ashton Kutcher Gets Social Media — Do You?

By now– unless you have been living under a rock for the last week without any Internet connection and have taken an oath against listening to any news—you have heard about how Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to see who could get to one million followers first on Twitter. Kutcher won. But maybe his challenge means we all won.

On Friday, April 17, 2009 after winning his challenge, Kutcher told Oprah that he believes that “We’re at a place now with social media where a single person’s voice can be as powerful as an entire news network — that is the power of the social web.”

He went on to say that as a celebrity his life “somewhat on display anyway, and not always by choice… so instead of them publishing pictures and videos I don’t like, I can publish pictures and video of myself… that I’m happy with. If there’s some sort of fallacy that’s out in some magazine or that some blogger has written about, you can respond to it, and you can actually respond to it in a genuine way, directly with your fans.”

In an article for The Huffington Post titled “Changing the Face of Media: Kutcher vs CNN” Andrew Cherwenka, vice president of business development at trapeze.com wrote:

Kutcher gets new media. His livecast during the race – a continuous live video stream over the internet – was an engaged conversation. He read followers’ tweets on air, asked questions, and actively engaged his audience using Twitter. He linked us to YouTube clips and his chosen charity, www.malarianomore.org. He advanced his next cause, fighting human trafficking.

At the end of the day, Kutcher has been able to raise almost one million dollars for Malaria No More and maybe he also showed the power of social media to the non-believers out there. What do you think?

Hillary Clinton Not Tweeting Yet, But is Embracing New Media

Although you won’t find Hillary Clinton sending out tweets yet on Twitter, “Clinton’s State Department has embarked on a digital diplomacy drive aimed at spreading the word about American foreign policy and restoring Washington’s image. Part of a broader Internet outreach by President Barack Obama’s administration, Clinton’s Web efforts already have outpaced those of her predecessors,” reported Matthew Lee, The Associated Press on March 21, 2009.

In Lee’s article “Hillary Clinton, e-diplomat, embraces new media” he writes how Clinton’s team has revamped the department’s Web site at www.state.gov and the Dipnote blog at http://blogs.state.gov and is sending out tweets at http://twitter.com/dipnote. In addition, interested citizens can keep up with her activities on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

In the article, Lee quotes Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, “New media is critical in this new era of diplomacy, where smart power and expanded dialogues are essential to achieving our foreign policy goals.”

It can’t be long now before Secretary of State Clinton follows in her good friend Senator John McCain’s footsteps and starts sending out her own personal tweets. Wonder what she will take as her user name?

Southwest Airlines Makes Flying Fun

How do you build customer loyalty? Southwest builds loyalty by making the safety instructions fun!

Vaporware Versus Creditability

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For what seems like eons, many software companies have followed a common practice of announcing products or services that are not yet ready for the market in the hope of creating buzz for the company and or to secure a space for their product in the marketplace. These products are called vaporware.

Last week Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang discussed this growing trend in the social media space  in his Web-Strategy blog and warned,  “As a response, I’m going to start calling out vendors that do that. Why? it protects buyers from getting caught up in the hype of an announcement, flashy videos, and buzzword industry-changing definitions. I fill the space with enough buzzwords myself, there really isn’t any room left for vendors.”

In the past, before the Internet was alive with bloggers, the most a company risked in announcing vaporware was being ignored by the technology press. The technology press realizes an announcement without an analyst and a customer describing the benefits was at best premature.  But today, one of the worst things that can happen to a young company is to launch a product that does not exist and get called out on it. You not only risk alienating the reporter or blogger but everyone that does a search on you and your product.

Owyang provided his requirements for vendors as they launch, “On day of announcement they should be able to show a demo of their product. If it’s an enterprise product, or complicated, then show a video with it working. Consider using a customer reference or a test case to demonstrate how it’s been working in the past. I like what John Furrier said, that sometimes products are still getting the bugs worked out and that’s fine –but in any case, show that the product exists.”

I believe these guidelines could help establish creditability for any vendor launching a real product.  What do you think?