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August 2009

July 2009

Zemanta - A Major Step Forward in Blogging and Content Creation

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Zemanta is incredible. It searches through blog posts and enhances it with visuals and content based on a review of its' keywords.  Marketers and bloggers can immediately improve the end user experience with the tool.

Notice how this post has been enhanced with relevant articles using this tool.  Fantasic!!!  Thanks for the post today from Fred Wilson.

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Affiliate Summit East 2009 - A Must Attend Event

The must attend trade show in New York City this summer is Affiliate Summit East 2009.  The show promises to be a "who's who" of experts in affiliate marketing, blogging, SEM, SEO and social networking.  It will be taking place from August 9 - 11 at the Hilton New York.

If you ever want to know where the industry is going, always ask the direct marketers since they have real money at stake.  Affiliate Summit is where next generation direct marketers hang out.  I'll be covering the event for this blog, and highly recommend that anyone reading this quickly sign up as the show is expected to sell out by July 31st.  The Expo Hall is already a sell out.  Congrats to Shawn Collins and team.

The keynote speaker for Monday, August 10 will be Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs, and the keynote for Tuesday, August 11 will be Peter Shankman, founder and CEO of The Geek Factory.  I've been a big fan of the HARO approach for generating press and can't wait to hear Peter's keynote on everything public relations.

What is Public Relations in the Web 2.0 World?

What is public relations in the web 2.0 world is something I often think about as I work to improve the marketing efforts at  Today's New York Times further fueled that thinking with an article by Clare Cain Miller called "Spinning the Web: P.R. in Silicon Valley."

The Times article describes changes in the PR from the traditional to the "buzz" creation tactics of one of its lead Silicon Alley practitioners Brooke Hammerling.  The article does an excellent job of describing the direction PR is heading with the need to "whisper" into the ears of opinion leaders such as "Jay Adelson, the chief executive of Digg; Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter; and Jason Calacanis, the founder of Mahalo."  Gone is the traditional press release, the PR agency pitch and all of the traditional media approaches of the past.

As an interesting aside, Fast Company magazine showed how Madison Avenue leaders who are introducing products they develop are more reliant on PR than advertising as a tactic to promote their fledgling low budget brands.

All this said, I think the article left out an important component or flaw in the approach of most PR agencies, the need for some ROI accountability.  In this environment it is difficult to ask for the thousands of dollars needed per month for PR agency fees when it is unclear how any placements fuel the business.  While intuitive that it helps, it is difficult to support as hard chioces on funding cuts are being made.

I'd propose that PR should start thinking more like DR, what I call PR DR or direct response public relations.  Why can't a press placement have a call to action similar to a direct response campaign.  For example, a green energy company can invite editors to experience an online carbon savings calculator.  The number of visitors can be measured as well as those that go on and become leads and revenue for the company.  PR as described by Brooke Hammerling is fine when publicity is the goal, but support for PR programs will be fleeting.  They may feel good, as I'm sure the Wordnik people are reacting right to their mention in the New York Times, but the attention is fleeeting without understanding how traffic will translate to revenue.