Online PR

This is a grouping of articles and posts all losely gathered under the heading of Online PR.

Video is more and more important in this day and age. Video lets you tell your story effectively and evocatively, meaning it will resonate more fully with those you need to reach, including customers and press.

People also remember something they’ve watched much more than something they have simply read – by about 50%.

What kind of video you should shoot can vary with each project and the type of message you are trying to get out. More and more, unique video companies are carving out very specific niches for themselves. Here are two great unique video companies have really defined themsleves uniquely. And both are very good.

My City Lives helps location-based business and organizations tell great stories about themselves and what they do through video. The place and the context is every bit as important to the storytelling as the people, and they do really interesting beautiful work. They also have a mobile app. Check out their “about us” video at the top of the page.

Epipheo Studios does wonderful Explainer Videos. If you haven’t run across that term before, it’s much as you would expect it to mean given the title. An explainer video is a short, often animated video that is meant to explain a harder concept. Their website is a total work of art in itself. They’re not cheap, but they do great work. Here is an example of one of their videos:

How about you? Have you worked with a videographer who has a unique eye or has a really defined mandate? I’d love to hear about them.

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Young adults, those roughly 30 and under, have not embraced products that were or are mainstays of the lives of their parents and grandparents. They don’t care so much about television, prefer other messaging tools to email, and many don’t have a land line phone.

Every generation picks and chooses what they will carry forward from those who have gone before them. This next generation isn’t content with any kind of one way communication that expects them to be passive audience. And they aren’t just looking for opportunities to comment.

They want to help shape content, direct mandates and essentially be in the boardroom deciding on how products will be created or reimagined to be more relevant to them.

Reimagine CBC is a product of the new collaborative spirit that the next generation brings to their lives, their leisure activities and their work. It is a joint initiative of, a pro-democracy youth group, and, which works to engage, educate and empower citizens to defend and advance their communication interests, values and rights. Full disclosure, I am an advisor to the former and on the board of the latter.

People are vested in that which they create or have helped to shape.

Television viewership is declining and funds to public broadcasting are being slashed left, right and centre. The CBC is seeing severe cuts that have seen them chop overseas bureaus, drastically reduce documentary programing, and cut 2/3 of the live concert budget; studios across the country are also being closed. The cuts will get even deeper over the coming years.

If television is going to survive, particularly public broadcasting, it must reach its next generation of viewers and supporters. That means broadcasters have to reimagine a more collaborative relationship with their audience.

Reimagine CBC is a collective forum to share ideas about public broadcasting and what the CBC means, has meant and can mean to every Canadian, no matter how old. It is a grassroots organization helping to encourage the broadcaster to embrace its audience as an active participant and to better exploit the digital tools and cultures that will let that happen.

It brings together people of all generations, all walks of life and across a range of cultures and ethnicities both online and in the real world, including at this Vancouver event. The common thread running through them is a belief in public broadcasting and in the excellence of CBC, which is celebrated throughout the world for its journalistic integrity, its documentaries and its concert series and recordings.

People value what they have created or co-created. For generations, the CBC has united Canada, telling our stories and acting as our window to the world. In an increasingly digital age, we are surrounded by windows and platforms ready for us to tell our own stories and engage in those of others.

The participatory age is here.  And not just for the CBC.

There are very few businesses that will be able to thrive if they do not move towards greater collaboration with those they serve. The time has come to Reimagine Everything.



More than 100 million people have a Linkedin account (can you believe that?) but most people only scratch the surface of what Linkedin for b2b can look like. If you’re one of the folks who has neglected your account, or you haven’t even gotten around to setting one up, now is as good a time as any to get your head wrapped around using Linkedin for b2b marketing and PR.

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions (with answers) I get asked about Linkedin.

1. Should I accept the invitation of anyone who sends me one? 

There are those who will disagree with me but I’ll say no. Sure, it may seem that if you’re using Linked in for b2b efforts, the more contacts you have, the merrier. Yes, it’s good to have contacts, but you want your contacts to be quality contacts. Linking your name with someone is a kind of endorsement for that person, and you want to make sure that an association with them will help and not hurt you.

2. Should I make my contacts public to those I’m LinkedIn with?

Yes you should. The vast majority of people will not rifle through your contacts madly trying to link in with them as they go. They might have tried that early on in their exploration of Linkedin, but if they did, probably got a whole lot of nothing at best, and they will have abandoned it. People who don’t make their contacts public are secretly resented by others who do. It’s like inviting people to your party and telling them you’ll be counting the silverware when they leave.

3. Should I try and link in with as many of my colleagues’ contacts as possible?

Many people are relatively thoughtful about which invitations they accept online, and they approach a Linkedin the way they might about answering their door at home by first trying to figure out who’s there and if they want them in their house. You really want to be knocking on doors you’re welcome. Knocking where you’re not wanted isn’t going to help you anyway – because no one will answer!

4. Should I pay for the premium profile?

I have tried it on a trial basis and didn’t feel it was something I needed. Most people are just fine with the free account.

All that’s well and good, some of you might be saying, but you’ve been there, done that. What you really want to know is how to use Linkedin for b2b communications and PR. Okay, you b2b types, I like how you think!

Let’s get down to business with a few tips on how to use Linkedin for b2b growth:

1.Make sure you set up a company page in addition to your personal profile(s). And make sure you keep it updated and have all necessary contact information there.

2. Ensure everyone in your company has their Linkedin profiles fully or close to fully filled out as possible. You’ll present a better face to the world and more opportunities to be found by people looking for services or products like yours.

3. Like Chuck Hester said in this video, keyword your Linkedin profile (company and personal). Think through what someone looking for what your company does or sells would put into the Linkedin search window in order to find a company that does or sells what you do, and then ensure that your profile features those keywords and themes. Here is a short explaination on what are keywords, and here is an article that will help you understand how keywords work.

4. Linkedin lets one person with your name grab the vanity URL with your name in it, just like mine is. If you haven’t already, try and grab it. It helps you return higher in the search when people are searching those with your name, making it easier for people who are looking for you to find you.

5. Think visually. If you have a paid Slideshare account, you can drop a video onto one slide and then insert that into your Linkedin profile. You can also drop in any kind of slideshow, including a powerpoint presentation. Slideshare, incidentally, is a very cool sharing site for slide presentations of all kinds. You can actually do a fair bit for free but if you do a fair amount with powerpoint or slides of any kind, you will likley find you want the paid version.

6. Get active in groups. Linkedin has 1million groups – at least one of them is bound to be helpful to you. To the left of the search bar is an arrow. In the drop down menu, you will see a number of choices, including “People,” “jobs,” “companies” and “groups.” Anyone of these categories will help you research companies or people you’d like to do business with, so spend a little time nosying around in there.

And make sure you jump into some of the groups that fit your business. Unless you are in a very niche business, you should find a number of groups that will be helpful to you. Make sure you listen first, look around and get a sense of where the conversation already is before you try and steer it. If you have helpful thoughts about a question someone else has asked, chime in.

Same goes if you have something helpul to share with the group, say an observation, a great new tool, a blog post that will given them info or insights they need. Linkedin for b2b is all about being helpful.

7. Start a group. Don’t do that until you’ve explored how other groups work. Once you’ve determined the need for your group and figured out how your group will be different, go for it!

8. Look up in the “More” tab at the top for the menu option that says “Answers” and search the questions for those you can answer. The more you answer helpfully, the more people will see you as a thought leader.

I hope that helps you in using Linkedin for B2B. None of this works if you don’t use it, so go on, jump in. You know you want to…





Social Media has moved from being something organizations “should do” to something many now understand they “must do.”With it comes great opportunity, and whenever there is great opportunity, there is also crisis. And there is no crisis like a social media crisis.

Before social media, all corporate communications really went one way: out. Now, of course, with social media, it is very much a two way street and customers and donors don’t just want to tell you about their experience with your brand. In many cases, they want a seat at your board table.

If they do not feel that they are being heard, or if they feel you are acting not in their interests, they will one of two deadly things:

  • ignore you
  • push back

Either way, it means fewer sales or donations. Even brands with lots of money get it very wrong as this infographic from Frugal Dad demonstrates:

social consumer






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PR isn’t just offline anymore. It’s a fascinating mix of online know how and offline experience. I had a chance to talk to Ric Dragon, author of the Dragon Search manual of Online Marketing recently and he had some helpful advice about how you can make Google work for you and not just your competitors.

This will not be my last post on blog promotion tips, that’s for sure. There are so many facets to successful blog promotion that it’s impossible to even scratch the surface in a single post. Afterall, there are more than 150 million public blogs on the internet. It takes more than luck to get your website or blog into the hearts and minds of the people you hope will buy from you, donate to you or otherwise care that you exist.

Blogging is one of the most effective ways to establish thought leadership. But the number of blogs and bloggers will only increase not decrease, so here are some blog promotion tips to help you rise to the top in your chosen field.

The Holy Grail for any blog is to land at the top of the first page for a search in google around your chosen keyword(s). In fact, most people don’t look beyond the first few selections on the first page of Google, let alone check out page 2 and beyond, so figuring out how to get to the top of the first page for important phrases and words – known as keywords – is, well, key.

If you watched my interview with Ric Dragon, you heard Ric talk about something that trumps all other blog promotion tips out there: know what it is that your audience is looking for.

When you need information on something, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re like most people, you do a search on Google. Since that’s where your audience is, you need to be there too. Search is very much end-user driven. One of the biggest mistakes people make is writing about things that just don’t matter to the people they need to reach. Most blog promotion tips start with this: go where your audience is, not where you wish they were.

You may have heard the term Search Engine Optomization or SEO. Essentially, SEO helps you connect with people who are looking for your services, products or ideas by providing content on your website that will have you return high up in people’s searches. To do that, you have to seed your website with content and copy that includes the keywords they search for when they are looking for something that relates to your product or service.

A keyword is not particularly well named because it sounds like one word, when in fact, more often than not it is a phrase. A keyword is just whatever word or series of words or phrases that people put into Google to find what they’re looking for.

But keywords are a bit of a double edged sword. Yes, you want keywords that people are searching for, but you don’t want to use keywords that lots of other competing, probably bigger sites are already using because you won’t break through on them.

I’ll be covering that in greater depth later on, but for now, as Ric Dragon mentioned, you can use the free Google Adwords Tool to put in phrases that you think people might be looking for, and then see how many people are actually looking for it.

When you get to the page, you’re going to look for this near the top:


Keyword area of google adwords landing page


In here, you can either put in your website address or a category (for example, food) that you would like the tool to return keyword suggestions for, or, you can start by suggesting a keyword. The last option is probably your best.

To the left of the box pictured above, you will see a box that looks like this:


Google Adwords Keyword Tool - option to determine how closely the phrase should match.


This box lets you determine how focused the returns will be. The options are “broad” “exact” or “phrase.” If you go with broad, you will get more returns, but many of those people actually won’t be looking specifically for the keyword you’re searching. That keyword will just be part of the phrase they are using.

If you’re simply looking for inspiration, you might want to choose broad, but when you are looking to actually determine what keywords to bet the farm on, you want to use “exact” or “phrase.” That way, you know you will get a better idea of who is really searching using those keywords and not just inheriting those keywords from a less than satisfying search effort.

When you do see your search results, they will show up in a box below with four columns:

  • Keyword
  • Competition
  • Global Monthly Searches
  • Local Monthly Searches

So what does all that mean and how does it help you?


Here is where alternatives to your keywords will return. You may get dozens or even hundreds of keywords showing up here, depending on how broad the keyword was that you originally searched and how popular the topic. Out of these you hope to find a keyword that people are searching for but without a lot of competition in terms of websites that have content that pull people in looking for that particular topic. Which brings me to…


This tells you how many other sites will return for the alternative keyword listed on the same line in the keyword column beside it. The lower the competition number is, the better. While your blog is gaining traction, you might want to concentrate your efforts on keywords with few than 100,000 competitors, because this will give you a fighting chance of cutting through.

Global Monthly Searches:

This tells you how many people are searching the keyword on the same line as this number. This number may be more important or less important to you than the Local Monthly Searches, depending on your business. If you have an Internet based business that isn’t specific to any particular geographic area, this may be your most important number.

Local Monthly Searches

If you have a location based business, let’s say a restaurant, this number may be way more important to you than the Global Monthly Searches. Local Monthly Searches will let you focus your search to a particular country, which you can change near the top of your screen. If location is important to you, you might want to further refine your keyword to reflect your area or even neighbourhood.

The keywords you choose to seed in your content on your site need to be keywords that people are actually using in their searches (what you will determine by looking at the Global and/or Local Monthly Searches) but not be so popular that there are tons and tons of websites trying to get their attention.

That’s where you walk the tightrope, and the best strategy for emerging bloggers is to target what’s known as the Long Tail keywords – keywords that aren’t as popular, maybe even one that a handful of people use each day. But enough different pieces of content, each one pulling in a handful of visitors today can add up quickly, making that your best way to drive traffic to your site.

One final thought on keywords: each page or piece of content should have its own main keyword. Don’t create every blog post capitalizing on the same keyword and don’t stuff every keyword you want to target into one page or post. Take the longview on keywords, and they will start to work for you.

I’ve shown you the free Google AdWord Keyword Tool, I personally use a moderately priced paid service called Market Samurai. It accesses the information from the Google Keyword Tool but digs a bit deeper and lets me take a keyword I like, select it, and drill down easily on that keyword.

I have used the service very happily now for more than a year, so much so that I recently became an affiliate, which means I receive a fee from Market Samurai which is triggered when anyone  buys Market Samurai using this link but you might want to read more about Market Samurai here first. I will only ever recommend products that I have used, tested and believe in, so I believe in Market Samurai. That said, however, you might be perfectly happy with the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool.

In addition to Market Samurai, there are other paid services, but I haven’t tried them so I can’t vouch for them. Like Market Samurai, they aim to make the Google Search process a bit easier and more streamlined.

But back to the matter at hand. Once you have all this research, now what?

Armed with this research, you will create content that you know people are looking for. It will help you determine what content to put on your site, including copy, sales material and blog post content.  This is not a fast process. But it is necessary, and the time to do it is before you write a post, or better yet, even before you create your website.

If there is some key thing you want to be known for above all else, keep drilling down until you find the perfect keyword. You might even consider buying the website domain name and building your site around it, if it has good enough traffic returns and it is available, but more on that in a future offering.

And now that you have something of an understanding about keywords and how to source them, down the line I’ll look at how you can use them to have any press releases you issue help drive additional traffic to your website whether media pick up the story or not.

One final word about Google searches. Some SEO experts have been serving Kool-aid for years and a lot of people have been drinking it. Just getting people to your website is only a part of the battle. What you get them to do while they are there is key if you are an online business. And if you are a location based business, matching the online promise with the real world experience is at the heart of it all, but where many businesses fail.

But we’ll talk about that a lot more as we go.

I do hope this first in a series of blog promotion tips posts has been helpful. Let me know how it goes, will you?  This post came out of our online survey. If you have questions of your own that you think will be of interest to others, you can take the survey and ask them there or you can like my Facebook page and leave me a question there too. If it’s a topic that will be helpful to others too, I’ll answer it in a future article.

In the meantime, Ric Dragon’s recent book Dragon Search Manual of Online Marketing is available on Amazon. It’s a fast read and filled with all kinds of helpful advice.


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