Monthly Archives: May 2013

Don’t leave online friends wondering what happened to you

Did you ever stop to wonder what your social media friends and followers would think if your sites went dead  — after you’ve gone to the great beyond?  Probably not. I know I haven’t.

Fortunately, someone has taken on that task. A Wisconsin-based company, MyEbituary, just launched a website allowing you to create your own virtual resting place, complete with an Ebit — an online obituary that your write. And you get to choose from a number of MyEbituary-provided landscapes, headstones or urns (or upload your own design). Even feel free to add a few headstones for other family members. The company will maintain the site for you.

You provide a caretaker with the codes to take control of your social media sites upon your passing. With just a few posts all of your online buddies will be directed to your final resting place.

There, your friends can visit the site, read your Ebit and electronically sign a guestbook. You’ll even have a chance to leave your “last words” allowing you to communicate from beyond the grave. Too bad you can’t leave multiple messages, one for your friends and others for a particularly nasty boss or an ex.

As a company executive said in a press release, “The conundrum with social media is that these sites are intended to facilitate interaction between users who are alive.” How true.  But with MyEbiutary you can ensure that your social media legacy will not be forgotten. And as of now, it’s free.

Sign up today — while you still can.

— JD

Twitter: @jdaum

DIY PR? Not when success is crucial

Can the average entrepreneur just starting a new enterprise serve virtually every business function — CEO, bookkeeper, secretary and PR person? The president of a Chicago-based boutique PR firm seems to think so.

In a recent column, she posits that DIY PR makes good business sense for a young start-up company. Money is likely tight, so handle the job yourself and reduce costs, she tells entrepreneurs. She is right about immediate money savings, but I have serious questions about the longer-term results.

Granted, I’m in the PR business and like to think that most of my industry colleagues and I can do a much better job than someone not trained to handle the media and other aspects of the job.

The column’s author suggests that the entrepreneur can better target his or her market than a PR firm that simply blasts press releases to a multitude of editors and bloggers. Maybe that’s the way her firm handles PR, but that’s not the norm for a professional, experienced agency.

Rather than approach 500 potential media outlets, she counsels entrepreneurs to spend time targeting the top 10 to 25. That’s good advice and something any reputable PR firm would do as well.

Once targets are identified, she suggests the entrepreneur take just 2-3 hours a week to develop a media list, write a press release, pitch the media and follow up. For someone not trained in PR to accomplish that much in three hours would be virtually impossible. Most PR professionals would be hard pressed to condense that much work into such a short time.

Then when the media comes calling, she tells the entrepreneur to drop everything to meet the reporters’ schedules. Forget about that meeting with your investors for the next round of capital.

In my 20+ career, I’ve worked with a number of start-ups and have been willing to work for less with the idea that the retainer will grow as I help the business mature and develop. There are many other PR professionals willing to do the same. I have more than one story where my partner and I have helped a start-up business make contacts with more and bigger investors because of a favorable article in a local newspaper, TV station or trade journal. I think we more than earned our money.

The idea that PR can be handled by anyone is ridiculous. The vast majority of PR people are trained professionals that can bring about results — most often for a reasonable fee. Would our Chicago PR person also suggest that an entrepreneur serve as his or her own DIY attorney or tax accountant?

I doubt it. It’s time that PR practitioners stand up and demand to be treated with the same dignity and respect as other trained professional service providers. We deserve it. We’ve worked hard and proven ourselves time and again. We allow our clients to do what they do best — run their businesses without having to worry about PR.

Ideas such as DIY PR are great for the PTA. Let’s keep them there.

— JD

Twitter: @jdaum


Tumblr Buys Yahoo

This week Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer bought blogging platform and social media site Tumblr for an estimated $1.1 billion.   Although in a company press statement Mayer promised that she would "not screw it up," one of the major changes Tumblr users can expect is advertising.

One of the best things about Tumblr, other than a plethora of moving screen shots, is its lack of advertisements.  But let's face it; companies have to make a profit.  My biggest question is what type of ads will be put on Tumblr?

Yahoo tends to cater to an older generation where as Tumblr's target audience are Gen Y's and Millennials.  Will Tumblr start trying to attract an older crowd or will Yahoo try to be cooler?  Whatever happens it's just sad to see such a creative and personal space being diluted with advertisements. But as we all know, no space is sacred on the Internet.

A positive though is that Yahoo promises to refine Tumblr's personalized search technology to make it easier for users to find bloggers that they will likely enjoy.  The biggest problem I have with Tumblr is its search function.  There is just so much out there and not enough refinement.  I remember when I first created a Tumblr about a year ago I felt bombarded by categories and often had to utilize outside sources to find bloggers I liked.

Only time will tell how this relationship plays out or if Mayer will keep her promise. But one thing is for certain — expect more ads.

– Niki Perri