Media Relations Blog
Dedicated to the world of media, public relations and marketing from TopRank Marketing.

Archive for January, 2006

Blogging As A PR Tool

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

There have been many articles written about how the blogosphere is impacting public relations. Indeed, bloggers are finding that they are being pitched news and stories because, now, the blog is another arena in which to build brand visibility.

Along with the growth of the blog as a target media outlet comes the fear that blogs can create too much negative PR.

I would diasgree. Yes, the blog is a forum in which any opinion can be voiced, but for this reason, the blog can be a very powerful sales tool.

We all recognize customer testimonials as a great way of marketing to our prospects, as these testimonials build our credibility. Now, imagine those testimonials completely unsolicited and visible online. They are no longer a direct marketing sales tool; they are personal recommendations from one blogger to another.

If your company is responsible for selling a product that is less than par, or a service that leaves a lot to be desired, the best thing you can do is work to improve that product or service.

Remember, PR is not about lying, it is about communicating the merits of a company, product or service. Negative PR is based on a reality.

The Problem With Bacons

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Some journalists will do anything to avoid PR companies. From purposely ignoring the PR agency and contacting the client direct, to suggesting that all PR companies should be blacklisted, there’s certainly no doubt in my mind that PR pro’s are highly disliked.

These anti-PR attempts really do rattle my cage, especially when the journalist contacts the client direct and then is surprised when they do not receive a return phone call or email. Companies hire PR agencies for a reason – to handle this kind of communication. The client does not want to be bothered by endless calls from journalists and advertising sales reps. And everyone talks about PR people being the spammers………

Many public relations agencies rely on databases such as Bacons MediaMap to retrieve up-to-date background and contact information on journalists and publications. Bacons charges a hefty price for this service and it has recently come to my attention that it does not carefully monitor the quality of its information.

Some journalists have been extremely irritated – and rightfully so – by snooping Bacons reps that have listed personal email addresses and phone numbers in the database – without requesting permission.

ISO 11607 Revisions Will Impact Packaging Compliance Requirements – Package Testing Expert, DDL, Offers Advice to Packaging Pro’s

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Minneapolis, MN, January 26, 2006 – DDL, a leading package, product and material testing services laboratory, is offering advice to packaging professionals as to how ISO 11607 revisions will affect their business.

DDL COO, Patrick Nolan, is involved in the AAMI/ANSI/ISO Sterilization Packaging Working Group, which is responsible for drafting the Technical Information Report (TIR) for the ISO 11607 revisions.

“It is really important that packaging manufacturers and engineers understand just how the ISO 11607 revisions will affect compliance requirements for their packaging,” said Nolan. “Even small changes to sample size requirements can significantly impact the package validation process.”

The proposed revisions will affect the following aspects of package testing and validation:
• Sample requirements
• Testing methods used
• Requirements for validation
• Documentation
• Labeling

DDL Package Engineers are offering a free PackAdvice consultation service to their package testing customers to ensure that they understand the compliance implications of the revised standard.

“Many manufacturers find the package validation process confusing as it is,” said Nolan, “DDL plans to make the change in compliance requirements as smooth as possible for its customers, while making sure they clearly understand how their business will be affected.”

Press Releases Versus RSS Feeds

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

There are many journalists that are not necessarily anti-Public Relations, but instead, wish that PR could work a little better.

While the onslaught of the online revolution and growing popularity of RSS feeds are screwing the lid on traditional public relations practices, I believe that they may also be providing the key to better public relations.

Remember: new PR does not have to be a negative thing.

If journalists are tired of sifting through their inboxes for a decent PR lead and are instead subscribing to RSS feeds and searching for content online, guess what? We have to make sure that our press releases and PR efforts are visible online.

Many people misunderstand Public Relations and believe that it is all about annoying sales people calling journalists about irrelevant press releases.

Public Relations is about building positive brand visibility and communication. It doesn’t matter whether that communiation is direct from PR pro to journalist or whether it comes via the online webosphere.

Here are 5 ways that PR pros can make the most of their press releases and move their efforts online:

Minco Enhances HVACR Product Suite with New Relative Humidity Sensor – Offers Building Automation Industry One-Stop-Shop&Greater TCO

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Minneapolis, MN, January 23, 2006 – Minco, a designer and manufacturer of critical components for critical applications, is broadening its building automation product offerings with the launch of its new Relative Humidity Sensor.

The Relative Humidity Sensor is designed to guarantee system accuracies of +/- 1% in a previously unavailable economical manner. Since Minco is also a temperature sensor manufacturer, it is able to offer its customers a more comprehensive sensor package than its competitors.

“Relying on one vendor for multiple sensing parameters eliminates costly sourcing exercises and the cost of issuance of purchase orders,” said Marty Knutson, Minco Marketing Manager, Sensors Division & HVACR Industry. “One-stop shopping also allows lower transactional costs, lower installation time and greater reliability, which all add up to ideal total cost of ownership.”

The launch of the Relative Humidity Sensor not only enhances Minco’s building automation product offering, but it also establishes Minco as a sensor product one-stop-shop that offers both customer ease and cost efficiency.

“Minco has found that customers that require temperature sensing, oftentimes require humidity sensing as well,” said Knutson. “Minco is now in a position to offer customers a full-service sensor package that ultimately saves them money.”

Minco Launches Thermal Vial™ Temperature Sensing System – Responds to Industry Need for Advanced-Capability Building Automation Systems

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

Minneapolis, MN, January 18, 2006 – Minco, a designer and manufacturer of critical components for critical applications, has launched its Thermal Vial™ Temperature Sensing System to provide accurate measurement and documentation of freezing, process and storage methodology.

Designed and manufactured for the HVAC and building automation markets, the Thermal Vial Temperature Sensing System builds on existing Minco sensors with additional options such as vial size, multiple thermowell configurations, loop powered indication and three levels of calibration accuracy to ensure that customer requirements are always satisfied.

“Minco recognizes that facilities with critical environments and processes are in need of building automation systems with advanced capabilities,” said Marty Knutson, Minco Marketing Manager, Sensors Division & HVACR Industry. “Facility managers and systems engineers are looking for something that will provide more accurate monitoring, alarming, logging, and control. Standard HVAC sensors do not have the capability to perform to these advanced standards.”

The Thermal Vial System not only ensures that processes and storage temperatures are accurately measured and controlled, but it also removes the need for in-house calibration and simplifies the validation process.

"No" to Press Release Pitching?

Monday, January 16th, 2006

Charles Arthur, a technology writer for the UK newspaper, The Guardian, is saying “no” to press release pitching.

Instead, Charles, like many journalists these days, is relying on news feeds to find his stories.

The problem with traditional press release pitching is this:
Too many PR specialists do not take the time to ensure that they are sending journalists press releases relevant to their particular beat. Why would journalists spend the time sifting through irrelevant press releases in their inboxes to find a gem, when they could more easily use an RSS aggregator to find the news they are really looking for?

RSS feeds are not only more successful in delivering material that journalists are actually looking for, but they also remove the annoyance factor that haunts every journalist that has ever received an inappropriate PR pitch.

It would seem that the role of the press release is rapidly changing. To successfully communicate client news, PR professionals must now keyword optimize press releases and distribute via RSS feeds to make sure that they reach their target journalists.

Which news feeds are you subscribing to?
Feedback from journalists is highly encouraged.

Storage Virtualization Expert – Evolving Solutions – Helps 7 Medical Systems Consolidate Storage&Provide Data On Demand

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

Minneapolis, MN, January 12, 2006 –- – Evolving Solutions, a leading IT architect providing data on demand and storage virtualization solutions, today announced that it has deployed an IBM BladeCenter storage consolidation solution at 7 Medical Systems, an on & off-site storage service provider (SSP) serving the healthcare industry.Evolving Solutions is helping 7 Medical Systems to cost effectively host and manage their utility computing based storage platform for healthcare providers, by architecting and implementing an IBM BladeCenter technology solution that includes fiber & data disk along with tape.“As radiology images continue to grow in size, imaging centers, hospitals and clinics require more and more storage both on site and at an off site location,” said Bruce Buerman, IBM Intel & Storage Specialist for Evolving Solutions. “Storage service providers are searching for the most efficient and cost effective technologies available to them in order to serve their customers with high availability, easy access storage.”The IBM BladeCenter storage consolidation solution from Evolving Solutions, integrates 7 Medical Systems’ current computing resources into a centralized, cost-effective, high-density chassis.Storage consolidation & virtualization has enabled 7 Medical Systems to:• Maintain system uptime (99.999%) 24/7 for mission critical applications.• Expand storage easily as customer needs arise• Lower cost of ownership due to storage virtualization and centralized computing operations.• Lower up-front and ongoing costs for customers via platform utilization & provisioning.“7 Medical Systems’ goal is to provide electronic health record data on demand to our care providers via an easy-to-use, high availability platform,” said Jason Studsrud, CEO of 7 Medical Systems. “Evolving Solutions has given us the means to do just that.”For more information on storage virtualization, consolidation and data on demand solutions, visit or call 1.800.294.4362.About Evolving SolutionsProud to have been named a CRN Magazine Fast Growth 100 Company, Evolving Solutions is an open systems technology integration firm that provides business solutions for Data On Demand, Storage Consolidation, Server & Storage Virtualization, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. Evolving Solutions is an IBM Premier Business Partner with a Business Partner Innovation Center (BPIC). http://www.evolvingsol.comAbout 7 Medical Systems7 Medical Systems, LLC (7 Medical) is a platform enabler that provides small and midsize healthcare providers with a utility-based IT computing platform. By bringing together best-in-class infrastructure vendors and medical software manufacturers, 7 Medical delivers small and midsize healthcare practices with Fortune 500 technology and applications at a fraction of the cost.

ADVANTAGE®, Business Service Management Software from Magnum Technologies Lights the Way for Starz Entertainment Group VongoSM Launch

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Magnum Technologies’ ADVANTAGE® Business Service Management Software monitors Starz Entertainment Group LLC’s (SEG) entire IT infrastructure to give IT and Business personnel proactive insight into how technology fault and performance affects, and will impact, deployment of SEG’s newly- released Vongo service.MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 11, 2006 – Magnum Technologies®, the leading provider of IT Business Service Management software, today announced its role as a critical enterprise-wide IT infrastructure monitoring software solution provider, which has enabled the successful launch of Starz Entertainment Group’s Vongo service.In order to successfully offer more than 1,000 movies and video selections and a live streaming Starz TV channel to subscribers using broadband or wireless-enabled devices, Starz Entertainment Group relies solely on Magnum Technologies’ Business Service Management (BSM) software for not only monitoring its infrastructure, but for also monitoring key services provided by its partners.“Magnum Technologies deployed ADVANTAGE®, a superior business service management and information technology monitoring system, that gave us the critical data necessary to adjust our infrastructure and processes in real-time in order to support our goal of the ultimate Vongo experience,” said Richard Brownrigg, vice president of technology for SEG. “A surprising benefit of ADVANTAGE® is its powerful ability to see issues in our partner environments that could ultimately impact the SEG business applications.”The ADVANTAGE® BSM system was deployed at SEG in order to detect and immediately notify operations and business staff of any technology issue that could ultimately affect the operation of the Vongo-branded entertainment system. Not only is the product currently effective in the real time performance monitoring of IT and its associated business impact, but it was also used during development to fine tune different portions of the infrastructure and partner integration prior to launch. This has enabled SEG to focus on Vongo end user performance, guaranteeing customer’s seamless wireless entertainment satisfaction.“The entire deployment of ADVANTAGE® Business Service Management software was executed with a focus on supporting the SEG rollout of ITIL best practices,” said Gregory Crow, Magnum Technologies CEO. “ITIL was one of the requirements which presented a need to create an industry first, real time dashboard view of how IT performance measures against true business goals. ADVANTAGE® is satisfying this requirement for SEG while monitoring their service level goals for the launch of their breakthrough Vongo entertainment service.”Success of the ADVANTAGE® BSM deployment was initially celebrated when system and database performance, as well as network loads, could be quantifiably measured prior to – as a baseline of performance – and again after full production cutover to the Vongo process.ADVANTAGE® was installed with the vision of integrating with SEG’s Remedy system so that when there is an incident within the IT infrastructure, a trouble ticket is issued. ADVANTAGE® can then decipher the threat of the incident and translate how it will impact the Vongo production process and ultimately affect subscribers from a customer care/billing perspective. Within seconds of this automated analysis, ADVANTAGE® communicates the severity of the infrastructure or partner incident to the appropriate IT personnel.The ADVANTAGE® rollout within SEG was also leveraged as the system to measure and manage the performance of its Voice over IP (VoIP) installation and currently serves as a cornerstone for a future planned Configuration Management Database (CMDB) deployment.About Magnum TechnologiesMagnum Technologies, develops software solutions that align IT operations with enterprise priorities. Magnum’s suite of automated management solutions includes DIAGNOSEIT®, COORDINATOR™, CAP-TREND® and its flagship product, ADVANTAGE®. Magnum’s software solutions are designed to easily integrate with and enhance the effectiveness of existing management platforms by monitoring and measuring IT performance from a line-of-business perspective. Magnum Technologies clients include Fort Sam Houston, BRG and Starz. To learn more about Magnum Technologies, visit StarzStarz Entertainment Group LLC (SEG) is the largest provider of premium movie services in the United States. SEG offers 13 digital movie channels including the flagship Starz® and Encore® channels with approximately 14 million and 25 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment Group airs more than 750 movies per month across its pay TV channels and is a forerunner in offering its subscribers advanced services such as Starz HDTV, Starz On Demand(R) and Vongo [SM]. Starz Entertainment Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L, LMCb),

Online Forums = New Media Channel?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

USA Today ran an article this week on the latest teen Internet hit –

More than being an online forum for teen chat, MySpace is actually becoming known as a network for gaining exposure. With over 47 million members, musicians and entrepreneurs are using MySpace to gain public awareness.

WIRED Magazine recently ran an article on the band Hawthorne Heights, which became a success after signing up with MySpace. MySpace has now started its own record label in conjuction with Hollywood Undead, a rap band that launched on MySpace in June, which has developed a following of 111,000 MySpace members.

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