Category Archives: Journalism, publicity and scandals

Improve your blog’s bounce rate and such

I do this blog for fun, not for monies. HOWEVER: even casual bloggers probably want to make their bloggity blog more popular, and get more viewers.

Want to make your blog better and more popular? Neil Patel of Quicksprout is your man.

He’s brilliant. And he made this handy infographic on improving your website’s stickiness.

Check him out if you’re serious about page views and such. I make the same (zero!) whether this silly blog gets 5,932,023,727,099,131,827 hits a day or the only guy reading it is some bored dude in a research station in Antarctica, so bounce rates aren’t my thing. But I know many writers work crazy hard on their blogs and blog-like substances, and what Neil does for free, and for his clients, is packed full of Smart.

How to Decrease Your Bounce Rate
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  6. A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
  8. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Photo by Suhyoon Cho

 

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award and is represented by Jill Marr of the Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Why even the mighty Facebook is DOOMED

So now that social media is an entrenched Big Deal, taking up gobs of bandwidth on the Series of Tubes, you’re starting to see story after story in papers of news and even the Glowing Tube, which still lives.

One hot story keeps popping up, like an invincible monster in a bad horror movie, and that story can be summed up in four words: FACEBOOK IS GONNA DIE.

These stories all point to numbers and extrapolate from there. Teenagers are abandoning the Facebook ship! Now that half the world is on Facebook, growth has stalled!

I’m not saying those stories are wrong. But here’s the thing: Facebook will die. It is not the immortal, invincible juggernaut people think it is. 

Because nothing on the internet stays on top forever. And in the end, angry rocks from space will doom us all.

Want to lose money? Bet your paycheck on predicting what we’ll be using for social media five years from now.

Want to make money? Bet the title of your car that something new will supplant whatever is dominant today.

Facebook will go the way of MySpace–it’s inevitable.

Twitter may fade away, or get smoked by some hot new thing now being created in the dorm room of some 18-year-old at Indiana State University.

Sure, the piles of money Facebook has could keep it on life support forever. Zuckerberg might use those billions to buy other hot new things on the Series of Tubes, or transform Facebook in radical ways.

Yet even if Facebook buys all the other companies in the world, and we all wind up working for Facebook for the next 20,000 years, eventually, rocks from space will blow everything up.

But we won’t have to wait for that. Facebook will fade and die, because we humans are fickle. There isn’t some magical switch that can freeze the quirky intersection of pop culture, technology and fashion.

Fashions come in waves. If short hair is dominant, that automatically makes long hair the hip, rebellious thing to do.

If Facebook is dominant, the cool kids automatically flee to something new and small and subversive until it gets too popular.

The same thing happens with music and movies. True hipster run away once their favorite band gets too popular. Hard-core movie fans are into obscure French black-and-white existentialism and 1960s samurai flicks for the simple reason that they are obscure and unpopular.

The younger the demographic, the quicker they shift allegiances.

Boy bands are a great lesson. No matter how big and unstoppable the media considered N Sync or the Backstreet Boys, they got tossed aside for the next hot new thing. It has always been so and it will always be so.

Because fashion and pop culture work that way. By becoming popular, you guarantee that the hipsters and cool kids will therefore consider you uncool and unpopular, causing your downfall and the rise of some obscure unknown shebang.

So yeah, Facebook will die.

And yeah, something fresh and new and completely obscure will get embraced by the hipsters and cool kids.

Just don’t believe anybody who says they know exactly what replaces it, or when it’ll happen.

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  6. A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
  8. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award and is represented by Jill Marr of the Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

2014 predictions in visual design goodness

Though my love for words could not be stronger, I am not blind to the facts, or to pretty photos. And the fact is, pretty photos and visuals matter more than words.

That’s not my opinion. Brilliant men and women in white lab coats have run experiments, doing things like printing the first page of novels that won insanely great awards with no pictures or visuals, then putting total garbage on a page with a better layout and a photo.

Guess what people instantly liked more, and actually read more often?

Visuals take a shortcut to secret parts of the brain, and get them all excited, while words are still tying their shoes and stretching their hamstrings.

So eye candy is fundamental. Embrace it. Show it the love it deserves.

To start off the new year, here’s an infographic about visual design and photo trends that’s interesting, funny and good.

2014 visual design trends

Also: If you go to the original post on PR Daily, scroll down to the comments section to see an example of how NOT to do comments. It’s not wicked smart to pick on nice young college interns, dogs or sweet little grandmothers. Personally, I think internships are the best thing ever, both for the college student and for the company. Everybody wins. If somebody young and eager wants get into the business, it’s an honor they asked to learn from you. 

Also-also: I’m back from three weeks in India, so if I ignored a tweet, email or secret message, it’s not because I secretly hate you. If I really hated you, you’d know it, because I’d send a singing telegram, and I believe the song would be “Nobody likes you, everybody hates you, you should eat some wooo-rms.” Then you’d get handed a bucket of nightcrawlers and some Tabasco sauce. 

Related posts:

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award and is represented by the brilliant Jill Marr at Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Slaves of the Internet, Unite! – NYTimes.com

This man speaks the truth. Read him.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/opinion/sunday/slaves-of-the-internet-unite.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Insensitive Hippo opens Twitter account, harasses man it once swallowed

Protip: Do not play around with hippos.  Art by Netlizard.

At 27 years old, Paul Templer was swallowed by a hippo.

In 1996, Templer was giving a tour of the Zambezi river in Africa when his canoe was overturned. As Templer paddled out to rescue a fellow guide, he was swallowed by a rude hippopotamus.

Templer documented the incident in an article written for The Guardian in May 2013. Templer writes:

I reached over to grab his outstretched hand but as our fingers were about to touch, I was engulfed in darkness…I seemed to be trapped in something slimy. There was a terrible, sulphurous smell, like rotten eggs…My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo’s snout. It was only then that I realised I was underwater, trapped up to my waist in his mouth.

…I’ve no idea how long we stayed under – time passes very slowly when you’re in a hippo’s mouth.

After having a book about the experience published in 2012 (ironically titled What’s Left Of Me), he thought that his nightmare with the “rogue hippo”, as he calls it, was over.

Continue reading

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Animals, monsters and monstrous animals, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Muffin chokers, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

The Overachiever’s Guide to Job Hunting

In my final semester of school, I juggled four classes, three jobs, and an internship. Did I mention that I also had a social life?

Hi, I am an overachiever and unemployment is crushing my soul. How are you?

Lucky for me, my job search has become a great way to channel my inability to sit still. As it turns out, I am not the only grad in America who needs a job.  So, I thought I would share these five tips to overachieving in your job search.

1. Network like a boss.
Unfortunately, I do not come from a “connected” family. I don’t have an Uncle at a marketing firm—in fact, my Uncle thinks SEO is a disease. So, I have to create all of my connections. How does one do that? I tell everyone what I studied in school and what I want to do with my future. I request to connect on LinkedIn and I find professionals on twitter. I attend workshops and then ask the speaker out to lunch. I find people with connections and ask them to introduce us. Then, I offer to take them out to lunch too. If you’re doing it right, you should be going out to lunch several times a week.

2. Practice, every damn day.
While my twitter account may seem like another youngster on the twitter, it is not. I take my tweeting very seriously, because it could land me a job. Every tweet I send, every article I read, and each blog post I write contributes to my professional credibility. I even offer free help to local businesses. That’s right, I actually go into businesses and provide PR and social media advice free of charge. Because, you know what? They might know someone who is hiring.

excel

3. Do like the mob: get organized.
I was a mess when my job search first began. I would open a million job tabs on my browser then become overwhelmed and close my laptop. Now, I have an excel spreadsheet. I repeat, I have an excel spreadsheet to help me keep track of potential job prospects. The spreadsheet also includes what positions are available and the date I applied if qualified. I even have a color-coded system for my favorite companies. This thing is nuts.

4. Revise, Rinse, Repeat.
My resume has gone through more revisions than I can count, and I can only imagine how many more it will endure. I have been revising my resume since my sophomore year in college and it is still changing. No matter how many times I fix it, there is always something that can be done or said better. For the love of God, please reread your resume before you send it! Even after ten people read my resume, I found little mistakes.

5. So I creep, yeah.
This last tip is borderline stalker status, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Okay, so there is this feature on LinkedIn that allows you to see who has looked at your profile. While not all users have this option on their profile, many do. I intentionally look at people’s LinkedIn profiles in hopes that they will get curious and look at mine. It’s like staring at someone; eventually they are going to stare back and ask, “What’s your deal?”

So at this point you are probably saying, “Cool story bro, but aren’t you still unemployed?” Very good work my dear Watson, but that is not entirely true. I have just secured a contracted position. And I swear to you, it took every single step above to land this position. Hopefully, my next post will be “How to go from contract to hire.”

lp_final_pic-smaller

Lauren Palazzo: Write words for the right people. Recent #PR grad (Summa Cum + 4 internships). Public speaking coach and #SocialMedia ballerina. Will work for peanut butter.

Twitter: @laurenpalazzo
LinkedIn: Lauren Palazzo
Portfolio: www.laurenpalazzo.com

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Journalism, publicity and scandals

3 ways to change the digital world FOREVER

It is official: social media now dominates the Series of Tubes.

Every year, these smart people produce a slick video about the interwebs, and this year’s video is especially good and interesting.

Now, having filled your brain with facts and numbers and industrial euro-pop dance music, WHAT DO WE DO?

Simple. We change the world.

Change # 1: One Contact Thing to rule them all

So you’ve got contacts in your gmail at home and Outlook at work, Twitter lists of followers and all kinds of Facebook friends, Tumblr buddies and Pinterest pals and a dozen other things.

It is an unholy mess.

Blessed be the app that gives us One Contact Thing, a single shebang with the magical powers to organize all your contacts, from all those stupid platforms, in one tidy place. The power will be unthinkable.

This means ending the nonsense about Instagram not talking to Twitter because she saw him flirting with Google or whatever. And yes, we need it to be easy and quick and on our phones. Because I’m not firing up the PC every time I need to look up a phone number or Twitter handle.

Whoever does this first — Apple, Google, Microsoft, some dude in his basement coding the app in his pajamas — will rule the interwebs forever and ever.

Change # 2: Obliterate voice mail and switch to texting

Am I saying  we should take voice mail behind the barn and shoot it? No. I’m saying take it behind the barn, hang it, set it on fire, THEN shoot it.

Nobody likes voice mail. Nobody.

Don’t call my cell phone and make me dial up voice mail, punch in a password I keep forgetting, then listen for two minutes. Especially when 99.99 percent of all voice mail messages are things you can sum up in a short text like, “Phone tag, you’re it” or “Pick up some milk, yo” or “I’m a reclusive billionaire with $400 million sitting around, and instead of handing it to Karl Rove, who I wouldn’t trust at this point to run a successful race for student body president at Willapa Valley Junior High, I’d like some return on my investment.”

Send a text, people. College kids these days don’t even use email anymore. They think email is so 1994.

If it’s too complicated for a text, send an email.

If you really hate me, send a voice mail. Make it long. Don’t leave your number or email — assume that I’ve memorized it. And then when I call back, make sure you don’t answer your phone so I can start the whole thing rolling with a voice mail of my own.

Therefore, we will nuke voice mail from orbit, and the world will rejoice.

Change # 3: Real photos, good bios and no anonymous trolls

Twitter, Facebook and every other social media shebang is full of photos and bios of people that may be human, and might be young or old, male or female, con artist or genius.

You can’t tell, though, because (a) their profile photo is a shot of a cat, Yoda holding a lightsaber or a pile of leaves, (b) their Twittter handle is @jkringer392 and (c) their bio is a train wreck of obscure references to Star Trek fan fiction and such. I have seen all of these things and more. Who will pay for my therapy?

Related post: 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys

There are plenty of places for anonymous folks to say whatever they like. Sites like reddit will always be around. Have at it.

HOWEVER: papers of news, TV stations and serious blogs need to stop feeding the trolls by letting TrailerParkNinja and TexasMustSecede2016! dominate the comment sections with anonymous spam and hateful, nonsense. So let’s cut back on that by requiring commenters to use real photos and bios. Want to spew? Go spew in Anonymous Land.

If you’re going to be on the Series of Tubes, and want to be taken Seriously, you need a Serious photo — of you, not your cat — and a real bio. Period.

Long ago, only famous people needed public relations folks, who made sure actors, authors and other celebrities had good mug shots and nice bios. Today, everybody is online. Your photo, bio and name are what people see first. But average people don’t have a publicist. They’re flying in the dark with a blindfold, and yeah, it shows.  

Wonder why you aren’t getting many followers on Twitter or hits to your blog? Take a look at your photo and bio.

Trying to get a job / book deal / punk rock music contract? Take a hard look at what people see, in the first five seconds, when they check you out on Twitter and the Book of Face and such.

People don’t make a decision about you after reading your short stories or listening to three mp3s of sample songs on your blog. They glance at your photo and decide, in half a second, whether to interact with you or never give you a second thought. They do this all the time, in a hurry. Ten people just followed you on Twitter, and you follow back or not, clicking away with your mousity mouse, no-no-yes-no-yes-yes-no. You don’t ponder these decisions, right? Bam. So make it easy on people by taking it seriously. I’m talking to you, Miss Duckface, who shot your profile photo in the bathroom mirror using an iPhone.

duckface collage or montage or whatever

A duckface collage or montage or whatever.

People need a place –a Profile Doctor–to get easy and quick help with this sort of thing, without putting a public relations firm on retainer.

As an experiment, I just did a bit of profile doctoring for Lauren the Palazzo, recent public relations grad. Did she get a job? Yes, she did.

Yet I can’t doctor the profiles of all 3 billion people with profile photos of their cat, Spock or Darth Vader paired with  a train-wreck bios, not unless I quit my job and hire a crack legion of  minions with red pens and Photoshop skills. Though if such a crack legion of secret editing agents existed, it’s a good bet that the underground headquarters would include tiger sharks (lasers optional) swimming in the moat and komodo dragons next to the BBQ pit.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Is journalism dead?

By Alex Corey
Contributing Editor

Every day, you see stories wailing about the death of journalism, about newspapers shedding jobs or closing their doors.

So is journalism dead? Or is it a phoenix, dwindling close to the end of its life points only to come back bigger, faster and stronger?

The rise of citizen-journalists

A big part of the revival of journalism will involve citizen-journalists. Billions of people around the world are now portable news production studios, with every iPhone and Droid giving them the power to shoot photos or video and share breaking news with the world.

The negative side of this trend is quality control. Journalists have editors. There’s no editing involved with hitting the share button on your phone, leading to the very possibility of words, photos and video that simply stink up the joint, and wouldn’t have seen the light of day at a newspaper or TV station.

There’s also the problem of sorting through a sea of random stories, blog posts, Tumblr pages and YouTube videos about breaking news, all with similar taglines and descriptions.

Yet those negatives are outweighed by the positives. Giving any citizen the power to document events and break news can only be good news for transparency and fairness and bad news for censorship and oppression.

Quality control

As far as journalism’s overall quality, the milk’s gone bad–a little bit. The carton says it expired yesterday but you might still be able to drink it.

There used to be a 24-hour news cycle, back when newspapers got printed once a day. Blogs, Twitter and the Series of Tubes have made the old 24-hour news cycle as relevant as your dad’s collection of eight-track Meatloaf tapes.

Now there’s pressure to break news all day and all night, even when there’s not really any news to break. Added pressure for sports reporters covering the NFL to search for a scoop of raisins in the Raisin Bran when there aren’t any raisins to be found because it’s the off season.

With more pro athletes, actors, politicians and celebrities using Twitter and other means to break their own news, the pressure to produce has never been greater.

That pressure eventually reduces quality. It’s hard to do a big investigative story when you’re trying to crank out three blog posts a day while tweeting and replying to Facebook comments. The pressure to produce can lead journalists to begin poking and prodding when there is nothing to be poked and prodded, or to focus on the newest shiny object or controversy, whether that controversy has merit or not. Conflict is news.

White noise

Don Delillo’s nightmare from White Noise could be coming true. Soon enough, we will be speaking TV-glish instead of English and having difficulty distinguishing theWalking Dead on AMC from theWalking Dead on TMZ, the people who are famous for being famous — the Snookies, Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians of world.

Rise like the phoenix

Snooki and other passing media obsessions will fade away. Journalism, though, will rise like the Phoenix.

Despite Jersey Shore still being on TV for one last season, there is still lingering hope for journalism and civilization.

There’s a misconception that people aren’t reading as much these days. Not true. People may not be subscribing to newspapers, but that’s because they’re reading those same stories online. And it’s wrong to think content needs to be dumbed down to attract readers. Not to start a conspiracy thread but it is partially the marketing ploys of the media which perpetuate this kind of thinking. For example, you never see Neil deGrasse Tyson on Dancing with the Stars or plastered on a bottle of soda pop, but that doesn’t mean we don’t, as consumers, want to see that. What we see commercialized in everyday life can be misleading.

People want substance, and they’re getting it wherever they can. The Economist could not be denser and meatier, yet circulation of it is skyrocketing while fluffier magazines like Newsweek are going online-only.

While the way we get our news is shifting from paper and broadcast to the Series of Tubes, there’s a growing demand — not less demand — for good content.

Journalism will adapt, evolve and eventually thrive because it’s the only way to feed that demand, that hunger in every person to find out what’s going on in their neighborhood, their state, their country and the world.

Give us the who, what, when, where and why. Show us men landing on the moon and women becoming presidents. And yes, tell us about celebrities, but only if you’re breaking the news that Snooki is going away forever.

Alex Corey, writer from California

Alex Corey

Alex Corey is a writer studying journalism at California State University-Northridge and a staff reporter for the bilingual El Nuevo Sol. He can be reached on Twitter @ptyjournalist and on the Series of Tubes at ptyjournalist.wordpress.com  

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong

A media star is born, then goes all supernova on us

Who ever suspected that a sign-language interpreter could ROCK?

Lydia Callis has been the star of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s pressers. (That’s journalism slang for a press conference, which is PR slang for “Hey, reporters, bring your cameras and notebooks and we’ll talk about stuff.”)

 

Do I know sign language? No. But when I watch her, hey, even I get the gist of things. She is seven separate flavors of awesomesauce and deserves her own show, teaching kids across America sign language.

 

 

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Filed under Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong

5 ways to make blog posts GO ALL VIRAL

There is no guaranteed method, no secret way, to make a blog post that causes the Series of Tubes to explode.

Anybody who says otherwise is a lying liar full of lying liaosity.

Because this is an art, not a science.

HOWEVER: There are things that are smart, and give you a chance.

yoda after the death star blows up

If your magical blog post causes the Series of Tubes to blow up like a Death Star orbiting the second moon of Yavin, then Yoda will celebrate by dropping it like it’s hot.

5) Swing for the fences

If all your blog posts are kinda the same — the same topic, the same length, the same tone — it’s a good bet none of them will ever magically shock the world.

Learn from PETA, which gets gobs and gobs of free ink and airtime by trying bold, crazy PR stunts.

Most of them fail. Sometimes, they get a little bad press for a stunt gone wrong.

But they keep swinging for the fences, because there is no real penalty for swinging and missing. Continue reading

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes, Viral media math