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Original articles from Len Stein.
The Immeasurable Power of PR
With a rainbow assortment of metrics now available to public relations professionals with which to measure the reach and impact of publicity in every medium and social channel, there is still one outlying, yet highly valuable, dimension that is rarely stressed to clients and that defies attempts at quantitative measurement.

All Brands Want to ‘Surprise and Delight’
“Many brands are making this customer service tactic, commonly called ‘surprise and delight,’ far less random, and in some cases it's the driving force behind multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns,” reports Ad Age, citing MasterCard and Bud Light as leading examples. So just what’s happening in the emerging world of surprise and delight? A quick scan of recent news headlines can provide an overview of today’s ubiquitous marketing mantra.

Using Celebrities to Drive Traffic is Nothing New
So you think that celebrity endorsers are the answer to all your brand awareness and loyalty needs? Well, the answer can be an unqualified yes or a resounding no. It all depends on the character of the celebrities and the quality of the brand/endorser relationship.

How to Market Published Content
Your public relations agency succeeded in getting your bylined column published and you’re thrilled to see your content live in an influential industry publication. But how do you maximize your investment in time and treasure after publication?

Content Marketing at 30 Minutes a Week
Yes, Virginia one can wage a successful B2B content marketing campaign while investing but 30 (OK maybe 45) minutes a week. Even at this minimal level of commitment, it appears that the majority of managers are too time-stressed to devote the time to support their marketing objectives.

The Perfect Content Marketing Opportunity: 'Write for Us'
In a recent post I offered to arrange to have a column written by my LinkedIn contacts published in a reputable publication – for free. But it seems the once-magic word “free” has lost its luster, or perhaps my Linkies are too famous and busy to bother to enhance their thought-leadership status with a free sample of content marketing.

Learning from Losing Clients
A client called last Sunday...a client of three years who never calls on the weekend. That didn’t bode well, and it wasn’t good news. Everything was going well. Probably too well, as the call demonstrated.

Snap It, But Make it Professional!
You’re a confident businessperson, or a job seeker. So why do you have a grainy, years-old, amateur photo of yourself on your website? If you’re serious about connecting with clients and want to show the world you mean business, invest in a professional photo portrait. People who want to do business with you will appreciate seeing what you look like.

Create Content, Not Blog Posts
In-depth content (a.k.a bylined columns) provides marketers greater value in terms of thought leadership development and lead generation than does routine blog posting. Championing in-depth content as a marketing tool may appear to fly in the face of web usability guidelines — short, sweet, and simple — but elite expert blogs are the exception to the rule. Rather than striving to impress a vast audience, one should focus on the 10% that want, need, and deserve your offering.

Client Expectations: How PR Can Manage…
Charles Dickens’ famous opening to A Tale of Two Cities provides a fitting summation of the state of public relations today, where much time and treasure is invested in winning new business — from prospecting through gratis programs and budget development to the creation of a campaign timeline and agreement on analytic metrics. Unfortunately, a PR practitioner’s hard work can quickly be undone should the agency fail to effectively manage the new client's expectations.

Create (Content) and be Social
Social media's growing dominance compels marketers to abandon their old hard sell in favor of a content-driven marketing conversation that can facilitate meaningful brand relationships with customers and prospects. In this challenging environment, content is a key tool to foster relationships, but publishing a blog, creating a Facebook fan page, or launching a Twitter feed is only the beginning of a strategic content marketing program.

Does Size Matter?
It happened again. I was recently invited to pitch an emerging and marginally funded company — "an innovative documentary news organization launched in 2013 as a timely online counterweight to today’s 24/7 news cycle."

For Better PR Results, Don’t Call
If you work for a public relations firm, does your job description entail calling reporters and editors to pitch stories? If you are still using that old-school PR tactic, you’re career is at a dead end — because, aside from ill-informed publicists, journalists' leading complaint is the number of unsolicited phone calls they receive. We now live in a communications environment in which the phone call has become by appointment only.

A Quiet Day in the Life of a PR Consultant
Public relations consulting in the digital age is a quiet business. As a solo marketing PR practitioner working from a home office, I’m no longer distracted by colleagues dropping by my "cube unannounced, by an endless queue of meetings, or surprise phone calls from clients or journalists. And, unless one streams the hits all day, the only high-decibel intrusions are the seemingly endless parade of gardeners along the block or my dog’s insistence on her after-lunch walk.

The E-Sig, a Marketing Opportunity Not to be Missed
Everyone has seen email signatures following the message. Some look professional; others not so much. Amazingly, many emails arrive without any signature at all. More shocking, many companies lack e-sig templates or leave it to individual departments to create their signature style. This situation is inexcusable when there are many tools and apps available, paid and free, to create personal and business email signatures.

The Public Relations Society Crowdsources a ‘Modern’ Definition
The last time the definition of public relations was updated, in 1982, computers had hardly entered the PR scene and the result was the watery, ”Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” Interesting to note, there is no mention of the use of communications techniques. Further attempts to update the definition in 2003 and 2007 failed to gain traction.

It's the Age of the Expert
Knowing your subject and having the ability to express what you want to say clearly is the key to authority. Of course, it never hurts to have a sense of style. The goal is to be the go-to expert in your field, whether it’s brand loyalty, social media, or web graphics.

Using Social Media to Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy
Social media's growing dominance compels marketers to abandon their old hard sell in favor of a content-driven marketing conversation that can facilitate meaningful brand relationships with customers and prospects. In this challenging environment, content is a key tool to foster relationships, but publishing a blog, creating a Facebook fan page, or launching a Twitter feed is only the beginning.

Why Having a Strong Brand Voice Is the Best Way to Connect With Consumers
The more people can relate to the brand as a distinctive, trust-worthy personality (read, individual), the more approachable it will become, and a deeper customer relationship (loyalty and engagement) will develop.

Using Social Media to Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy
How can you deliver great content that will attract and retain loyal customers? Start thinking like a publisher. The following tips should help you start your journey in the right direction.

Thought Leadership, the Next Public Relations Frontier
Converging forces are at work to revolutionize public relations as practiced in today’s social media landscape. Business now finds itself compelled to open new channels of communications in its quest to influence the public and to establish a position of “thought leadership.” Thought leadership is rapidly emerging as the key to enhancing company and entrepreneurial, credibility and to influence decision-makers in every field of endeavor.


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