Just Got In To San Antonio

Chuck Zimmerman

Hello from San Antonio. 2nd hotel. The first one didn’t have working high speed access. Can’t have that. I promise not to make you look at pictures of me. I’m just happy to be in my room and ready to go. It’s off to the convention center next and see what’s going on. I’ll start out in the media room and post more later. Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see me cover while I’m here. Post a comment or email me.Posted by Hello


Off To San Antonio

Chuck Zimmerman

I just couldn’t leave a wimpy little post from a cell phone on my blog while I’m travelling. I just sent that last post to show you that if you’re really desparate, you can even use a pretty standard Sprint phone to post a message on your blog.

I’ll be getting in to the Cattle Industry Convention tomorrow afternoon and will begin posting information as soon as I find it.


First Audio

Chuck Zimmerman

As soon as our new blog design is complete and new website/server up and running we’ll begin true podcasting. In the meantime I’ll be posting links here to audio files you can listen to, especially this week at the Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show.

Here’s the first one. ZimmBlog Podcast

You should be able to click on that link and your media player will open automatically, download the mp3 file and play it for you. Let me know if you have problems. If you don’t have a media player I recommend Windows Media Player.

Looking forward to blogging you from San Antonio!

Audio, Podcasts

Are Press Releases A PR Strategy?

Chuck Zimmerman

I think they can be a very important part of a communications plan or we wouldn’t have a business that focuses on the production and distribution of press releases. I like to refer to them as news releases since reporters are looking for news. They’re not looking for an opportunity to provide free publicity to some company or organization (usually).

Here’s an interesting post that I thought you might want to read and contemplate. I will admit to not having read the book, which is the subject of the post. But it does contain some excerpts and in particular I agree with one phrase about genuinely helping the reporter do their job. That’s why we strongly encourage sending audio to radio reporters. That helps them and makes your release more likely to be “used.” So here’s that post. I’d be interested in your thoughts, especially if you’ve read the whole book.

Saturday, January 29

Press Releases Are Not a PR Strategy

* A new book from PR expert Linda VandeVrede takes a fresh look at our misunderstood discipline. The title of her book: Press Releases Are Not a PR Strategy. Some selling points of her public relations analysis:

“If you think your company’s lack of success in gaining “ink” in your favored publications is due to a dearth of news releases or a lack of hard-hitting messages that resonate with your customers, you may want to think again.”

High on the book’s myth list is the venerable press release. “In our digital world of minute-by-minute news updates and rampant information overload, press releases can be the least effective way to get your message across to your target audience,” says VandeVrede.

Who is the target audience for PR? Not the purchaser or end user of your products and services, as most companies believe. Instead, VandeVrede’s book maintains that, the editors and analysts responsible for writing about your company and its products can be your biggest obstacles or your strongest allies in getting your message across — and genuinely helping them to do their jobs can pay big benefits.

“One of the best lessons in this book is that the editor is your boss,” says Lisa Vaas, associate editor, eWEEK.com. “Not the product, nor the company. The best thing that a PR rep can do for me is enable me to deliver something honest and timely to my readers.”

posted by PR Machine at 1/29/2005

Public Relations

Busy Week For Talking News Releases Coming Up

Chuck Zimmerman

Things are heating up here at the office. We’ve got projects going on this coming week for United Soybean Board, National Biodiesel, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Beef Industry Council and of course Southeast AgNet.

Plus I’ll be travelling to the 2005 Cattle Industry Convention on Wednesday and hopefully blogging my way through it, going and coming. Look for audio, pictures, thoughts, news and just about anything I come up with.

There’s a big trade show there and I plan to talk to as many communications people as I can to find out how enlightened they are about the blogging and Talking News Releases.

Check back often or better yet subscribe to our blog and be notified of new posts automatically.


Can A Blog Replace a Website?

Chuck Zimmerman

That’s basically the question I was asked yesterday during a presentation to the executive staff of a division of a major ag company. They appear to be very frustrated getting information on their traditional website in a timely manner since it has to go through the “technical” folks who are always very “busy.”

I told them that although the answer is yes, since a blog is a website, they might want to consider a marriage of the two styles. They could for example make their blog the home page and have links to pages of static information that’s necessary, like contacts, products, ordering. The blog itself could be their constantly updated place to put the information they’re frustrated about.

They have researchers and field staff who have projects, thoughts and opinions that they want customers to know about. By setting the blog up properly they could actually all post to it. I think 4 of the 6 people attending had Blackberry’s. I told them they could actually email their post to their website from their little pda/phone and that got them even more interested!

They might even consider a blog of blogs. Meaning a blog page that links to blogs on separate topics like those of each division.

They were worried about letting just anyone post comments because of the fear of negative comments. However, as their communications director pointed out, they want honest feedback and if someone posts a “stupid” negative comment others will see it for what it is.

I cautioned them against restricting people from commenting since it seems like they might then run the danger of being seen as only an updated “commercial.”

All of this started from a discussion of the traditional news release and taking them a step further by turning them into Talking News Releases. With the audio we produce they could then post full interviews on different subjects on their website or blog. That’s when they asked “What’s a blog?” And then we were really off to the races.

We even got into podcasting for those of you who are really enlightened. I’ll be writing more about this new form of audio distribution soon so stay tuned.

Public Relations

Reaching Consumers With TNR’s

Chuck Zimmerman

We like to talk about beef around ZimmComm. That’s because one of our regular clients is the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Of course you can see a picture of Steve, the Executive Director in a previous post.

Besides doing producer communications we also produce TNR’s (Talking News Releases) targeted to the general public promoting beef.

You can link to our latest release promoting the National Beef Check-off and see how we regionalize it for Missouri distribution. This can easily be done for any area of the country.

I think I’ll go have a hamburger now!