Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Strike when the opportunity is hot

Friday, May 13th, 2016

One of the more important aspects of public relations is being able to uncover opportunities and being agile enough to ensure the best outcome for your clients. When an opportunity to help a client presents itself, you need to move fast. But it’s not just about turning around something quickly, it’s also about knowing the company’s audience, understanding market issues, and presenting a coherent discussion. Being smart, agile and quick can lead to great results.

For example, when a busy reporter was about to decline a time-sensitive story idea about the Portland CyberPatriot Camp recently, we seized the opportunity to offer up a guest column instead and drove hard to get it turned around in a day. Since many of us at McKenzie Worldwide are former journalists, we know what makes a good article or guest column. We quickly identified one of the leading companies in cyber security (Galois, Inc.), discussed the opportunity with the company’s marketing team and quickly wrote up the guest column for the CEO.

We ended up developing a guest column on behalf of Galois that focused on hot trends in the cyber security space and also promoted the Portland CyberPatriot Camp (an event that McKenzie Worldwide is sponsoring) which was published in the Portland Business Journal within two days. We also promoted The Galois Foundation’s sponsorship of this cyber security camp for high school students while highlighting their focus on supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

It was a win-win for Galois and provided great exposure for the event.


Let’s do some infographics!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

One of the tactics we often recommend to clients is to create infographics. These graphic images pull together a lot of information on a particular topic and present it in an attractive way that can be easily shared. Editors and bloggers love them because they drive click throughs to stories, while the infographic sponsors get their names and logos splashed across the Web.

A problem for vendors is that publications might see their infographics as overly self-serving. An effective way around that, as in the example below, is for vendors and industry organizations to work together to create the infographic. In this case, Hyland Software/OnBase worked with the government community site GovLoop to build a nice infographic on how governments are using enterprise content management software. Naturally, given how much publications dig infographics, it landed on Government Technology’s site as a news item. (Full disclosure: we did not work on this one, it’s just an example of some good work.)

At McKenzie Worldwide we enjoy turning on the creative juices and brainstorming concepts for infographics that help build your brand. Hope to hear from you.


ECM in government infographic
ECM in Government infographic example


Enough Leverage Already!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I had the opportunity recently to be a co-presenter in a media training session.  One of the tips we always give prospective spokespeople is to avoid the use of jargon and meaningless tech words.

We have a solid list of offenders:

  • Leading
  • Enhanced
  • Unique
  • Significant
  • Solution
  • Integrated
  • Innovative
  • Advanced
  • Sophisticated
  • E-anything
  • Best-in-Class

And, last but not least, the word I’ve found most bothersome of late: Leverage.

Most of the time PR, marketing and sales folks are leveraging leverage to such a degree that it’s meaningless.  Whether as a verb, noun, adjective, it’s been misused, overused and tweaked to the point where all relevance and impact is gone. There probably hasn’t been an enterprise hardware or software press release issued in the last 20 years without some leverage, somewhere.

It’s especially popular in headlines:

Oracle Service Architecture Leveraging Tuxedo

IBM reveals Long Term File System (LTFS) to leverage LTO-5

Webinar: Leverage Microsoft SharePoint in your Online Marketing

Leverage Your Existing EMC Centera Investment with OnBase

RIM’s New MVS 5 Leverages Cisco Unified Communications Manager

Maybe somebody knows what it means to leverage LTO-5 with a long-term file system, but you’ve got me with that one. The point of putting out a press release, for instance, is to communicate information so that it can be understood, not to leave people scratching their heads in confusion.  Most of time when I see the word leverage, it’s unclear what going on.  Or, maybe the author didn’t know either.

 If you’re a TV watcher, you know that leverage even has it owns series on TNT starring Timothy Hutton.  The series is well done, and the use of the word leverage here almost forgivable.  As names for undercover spy-like thrillers with a twist go, it’s impossible to top Mission Impossible. But Leverage perhaps isn’t horrible, as used in this trailer:

So if you’re producing a hit TV series, I’ll let you off the hook. For everyone else, take a minute and look at your copy or slide deck. How many times are you leveraging something? Three? Five? Ten? Do yourself and your readers a favor and cut that number in half. Or, if you’re truly committed to reform, delete them all.  You just don’t need any more leverage.

Ping blog