Digital Marketing

Hard Cider in Hudson Valley – An Empire State of Mind

I don’t know about other New Yorkers City dwellers but I often like to escape this urban jungle. An easy escape is New York’s Hudson Valley, where I was lucky enough to be raised for the better part of my childhood. The region consists of 10 counties and extends into an area of 150 miles. It begins just minutes after leaving the tip of Manhattan by car or train, over and alongside the river, named after Henry Hudson, who explored the famous Valley over 400 years ago. The area has a myriad of natural beauty, history and tradition, hence why it is designated as a National Heritage Area. Aside from quaint towns, breathtaking hiking trails and shopping malls, there’s also plenty for food lovers to cheer about, like renowned farm-to-table restaurants  and bakeries, The Culinary Institute of America, bountiful farms, wineries and distilleries. Fact: Hudson Valley is actually the oldest wine producing region in the United States, and  in addition to all this enticement and charm, it was also devotedly named as the nation’s “apple belt”. The Empire State is the second largest producer of apples in the USA, producing nearly 30 million bushels of this pomaceous fruit annually…

Media Relations

Call me Caitlyn: Jenner’s Textbook Media Strategy

caitlynBy now, we are all aware of Bruce Jenner’s story and the subsequent media storm that followed his public transformation and reveal.  Since the June 1 unveiling of Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover story, this story has been everywhere—it has headlined virtually every news source, overtaken every social media property and has been stitched into every leisurely phone, lunch or dinner conversation.  And what does that mean exactly?  It means that, whether you’re sick of the story or not, the media blitz surrounding Bruce Jenner’s public transformation has been nothing short of brilliant— from Diane Sawyer’s two-hour “20/20” interview special to the buzz of the June 1 Vanity Fair cover reveal of Caitlyn. As Josef Adalian so eloquently put it in a recent Vulture feature, “..nstead of trying to sell a product or cover up a scandal, this effort had a different aim: to allow its subject the chance to reclaim ownership of her own story.” An examination of the Caitlyn Jenner media relations strategy provides us with a paradigm we as PR practitioners can all take a lesson (or four) from.

1. Creating a Culture of Trust

The behind-the-scenes director of the media relations…

Digital Marketing

Where’s the Media Buzz for the Women’s World Cup?

2How much do you know about the Women’s World Cup? If you’re like me and have no athletic ability or interest, the answer’s likely not much; or if you have been following it, the articles or TV coverage you’ve seen have likely focused on controversy (FIFA anyone?), rather than eagerness for the women’s team success. Though the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has historically done better overall than the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team, women’s soccer, and women’s athletics in general, consistently receive less media hype than men’s.

Last year’s Men’s World Cup was the most-watched world cup championship ever averaging over 17.3 million viewers, and one of the most engaging social events online with hundreds of millions of Facebook posts, tweets and Google searches. In fact it was such a big deal in our office, we streamed it online at work and went to watch games together during happy hour, and I can imagine that trend carried to many workplaces. While the time zone is different this year and it’s less likely we’d be watching games at work, the Women’s World Cup has not received nearly as…


On-Demand Culture: How Can Brands Keep Up?

1How did you start your day? My morning ritual includes a cup of tea, a look through my BBC News app, a podcast download for my subway ride, a peek at my Instagram feed and then an occasional Amazon Prime purchase – whether it’s restocking the apartment with necessities or a new book. That last item is not instant like the rest, but I know it’ll arrive within the next business day. All this and for those who know me, I’m NOT a morning person.

Our culture has evolved into one that seeks instant gratification in this digital age. Consumers expect fulfillment on demand and across the consumer journey, each touch is a brand experience. They want to interact at any time and any place. Let’s look at some companies who have evolved and then a few who were born out of this trend:

Amazon Prime – Everything on Demand

How do they deliver so quickly? In many cases, it’s robots shuffling your packages around to work faster and more efficiently than any human. Watch the video below to check it out, plus find out about their newest Dash product.

Netflix – Movies…

PR Industry Trends

Surf, Turf and BLURF: Three Creatures Responsible People Should Be … Eating??

Foodies, be advised: the entrées of tomorrow might have a few more legs and spines than you were expecting.

In a Buzz Bin post last summer, I included insects on a list of “formerly vilified” foods, noting how they were slowly starting to crawl their way toward acceptability – at least for early adopters – in Western food culture. Well, in the past 12 months, some of those critters have picked up the pace and are now downright hopping and flying onto ingredient lists of experimental products at natural food stores. In particular, crickets.bb1

Freeze-dried and ground into indistinguishable “flour,” crickets are adding protein to energy bars marketed by Exo, Chapul and Bitty Foods, among others. (When you Google “cricket flour,” currently more than 672,000 results pop up!) The thought is that the homogenized particles will hide well amongst other familiar, palatable ingredients and lend sustenance without adding any unusual flavor or texture, thereby increasing acceptance and adoption. For these very new kinds of snacks, however, there remains an age-old culinary challenge: are they actually yummy?

A recent NPR story observed that:

“Policymakers and the media have…


A Content Marketing Strategy that Works – eBook

Picture2What was the first thing you did before making your last big purchase? If you’re like most Americans (around 70 percent according to SiriusDecisions), you opened a web browser. No surprise there – of course you’re going to do some online research before making a big purchase!

However, many businesses struggle to effectively align their marketing efforts with the way their customers are researching and buying big ticket items today.

If your organization could benefit from a revised approach to online and content marketing, our latest guide is for you. It equips you with the quick and dirty on:

- How to think about content marketing
- How to create effective content
- How to promote content so it drives more prospects to your website where they can become leads

Our guide gives you seven steps that will allow you to Drive Revenue with Content. It’s a fast read, good resource, and free!

Click here to download our latest guide as a PDF: Drive Revenue with Content.



The Scope of Periscope and How Brands Can Benefit



Last night, I enjoyed the sunset in New Haven, Michigan; watched Neil Diamond play “Red, Red Wine;” received a guided tour of the British Museum’s blockbuster exhibition, Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art; and was serenaded by a man singing “Pure Imagination,” as various fictional characters floated about behind him at one of the ComiCons occurring this week.

I didn’t have to apparate to any of these places to experience them in real-time – they were all brought to me through Periscope, Twitter’s recently released, live-streaming app that allows users to share their experiences in real time. Though it’s not the first mobile live-streaming app to exist, Periscope’s relationship to Twitter certainly boasts significant advantages, such as automatically suggesting people you already follow on Twitter to follow on Periscope. Originally only available on iOS devices, Periscope

launched its Android app this week on the Google Play Store.

You may be wondering what all the ruckus is about. Why would people want to watch live-stream broadcasts on a mobile device when they can just as easily sit on their couch and…

PR Industry Trends

How to engage today’s digitally distracted readers

writingOur shrinking attention span has prompted widespread handwringing – and some unflattering comparisons. First it was fruit flies. Now, even gold fish can concentrate longer than the average Internet surfer, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  • Average attention span of a goldfish: 9 seconds.
  • Average attention span of a human: 8 seconds – down from 12 seconds in 2000.

“Our Attention Spans Are Getting Shorter, and It’s A Big Problem,” was the Huffington Post headline touting a recent book that laments the “ocean of distractions” – digital and otherwise – we all navigate daily.

But face it: the digital deluge will only intensify. The number of websites alone is approaching 1 billion. Then there’s your inbox, your Facebook friends, your Twitter feed . . . all vying for your attention.

As professional communicators, how can we quickly engage today’s time-starved readers, and win mindshare for our clients?

There’s no magic formula. But here are a few key tips:

Be relevant. Audiences are naturally interested in information that affects them personally and professionally. They immediately want to know: Why should I read this? What’s in it for…


Sweet Surprise Dinner

aOne of the biggest challenges in public relations is to continue to capture and increase interest among our audiences – one of the hardest audiences being media. So how do you host a media dinner in the center of a major global media hub filled with influential writers who are constantly invited to multiple dinners a night?

With this challenge in mind, the NC Sweet Potato Team decided to add an element of surprise. On behalf of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission (NCSP), we partnered with Dinner Lab, a social dining experiment uniting undiscovered chefs with adventurous diners. Our team reached out to local media with a lone promise: enjoy a delicious, one-of-a-kind dining experience. What was our selling point? The air of mystery – mystery chef, mystery pop-up venue, mystery menu (with sweet potatoes of course).

Turns out, suspense wins! Held in a vacant factory penthouse lit up by skylight windows, the dinner was attended by more food editors and bloggers than we expected (fortunately no one had to sacrifice a seat).  Dinner Lab sold out tickets to consumers who exclaimed the dinner was “one of the best…

PR Industry Trends

Terminate the Robo-Writers

Striking out with media pitches? Blogging to the sound of crickets?

Maybe your readers think you’re a robot.


Credit: Flickr User isherwoodchris

Robots, it seems, are infiltrating the ranks of real, live writers.

A robot “wrote” (a rather rote) news story about a Los Angeles earthquake last spring. The content originator for the earthquake piece is a software algorithm called Quakebot. The writing bot used key information from a U.S. Geological Survey report to populate a content template.

The narrative arc? Less than earthshaking. Here’s the lead:

A shallow magnitude 4.7 earthquake was reported Monday morning five miles from Westwood, California, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A reporter at the Los Angeles Times humanized the Quakebot report and converted it to a front-page story with this much-improved lead:

Seismologists say Monday’s magnitude 4.4 tremblor near Westwood could mark the beginning of the end for L.A.’s years-long “earthquake drought.”

Now there’s a hook with context and dramatic tension. Score one for humans.

But robots aren’t the only ones strangling the life out of today’s writing. Quakebot has its share of human counterparts too, including staff writers at aggregator…