Best Year in Safety Ever! Now Gimme a Bonus…

Only 11 deaths = best year in safety performance in our company’s history? Really?

It is surprising these people still have jobs after first awarding themselves bonuses for their safety record, then agreeing that that the decision was maybe not such a good idea, but only giving part of the bonuses back.

I agree with Fortune’s Colin Barr, they should be called ‘unsafety bonuses’.

Press Release Savings Calculator? Right!

This offer is ridiculous. Cision is pushing its PR distribution services hard, knowing that Businesswire, PR Newswire and a host of other wire services are raking in the dough on wire service fees.

While I applaud the full-court-press manner that Cision is applying to this effort, the idea that this service can save you thousands of dollars on annual press release distribution fees leaves a lot of questions out of their math.

Cision suggests that it can calculate an accurate savings estimate for your PR distribution fees simply by estimating the number of words in your average press release, plus the average number of announcements you distribute annually. It told me that I would save more than $6,000 using CisionWire.

Right.

Once you learn that this automated calculator is comparing rates to the published list prices of Cision’s top 3 US competitors for National Wire Distribution, you can throw everything else out. Because who actually selects ‘National Distribution’ for a press release any longer? Only people who don’t know what they are doing.

Your press release wire distribution service exists to feed the search engines. That’s it. And you can guarantee search engine pick-up by selecting any local distribution channel from a wire service, thereby saving yourself literally hundreds of dollars for each press release you put on the wires.

If you are counting on a wire service to get your news in the hands of the right contact at a key media outlet, then you’d better start praying for some divine intervention. Because the best and most affordable way to get in front of the right media contacts is by knowing where they are, how hey prefer to be contacted, and what kind of news they like to get. That sort of work is best left to a PR consultant that knows how to work with the media.

So next time you issue a press release, don’t forget that a wire service does have its place in the PR outreach process; it will give your SEO a nice shot in the arm thanks to the search engine pick-up it enables, but it won’t get your important news in front of the people who matter: the journalist that has become a trusted source of news to your prospects through years of covering your market.

Connect Your Story to a Bigger Issue

You have a new product or service that you want to promote, one that needs a big splash to help generate early momentum for your company.

Well, how do you define big splash? Do you want to develop some print and/or broadcast ads? Not a bad idea to help create awareness.

What about a webinar to help define the business case for your new widget and put the spotlight on benefits experienced by early adopters? “Of course,” you say.

And direct marketing? Sure, you need to let your clients and prospects about your important news.

But don’t forget about the PR, which can help create buzz about your new product or service like nothing else.

For example, Microsoft is trying to promote the availability of its Windows Phone 7 smart phone. And the company has leveraged its PR arm to do so, but the PR message from Microsoft is designed to get people to think about bad phone behavior, not about its Windows Phone 7 smart phone.

Microsoft’s PR wonks hired Harris Interactive to help tell a story about bad phone etiquette, and to help its new customers to say NO to things like taking phone calls in public bathrooms and answering calls while at a funeral.

I love the idea, because the topic is obviously something everyone can relate to. Half of the people reading this probably saw their life flash before their eyes within the past week thanks to a distracted driver that was talking or texting instead of paying attention to the road.

PR should allow you to think outside the box and approach an idea from a different angle. This particular example also demonstrates how to effectively incorporate market research into your PR messages. Surveys can be your friend in PR.

While I won’t be rushing out to get a new Windows Phone 7 any time soon (my contract isn’t up for several months), I applaud Microsoft’s PR team for this idea and wish I saw more of it from business today.

Drowning in Social Media Ocean?

If you feel like you are drowning and don’t know which platforms to keep up with, which ones to pay attention to and which places to get advice, Advertising Age’s BL Ochman has some advice for you: start with a list.

And some of the experts she highlights in her piece are of the same mindset, though Seth Godin says it is more about finding the right approach, and then to keep experimenting with it to improve it.