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Friday, February 29, 2008

What do you want to read about?

Hi Everyone,

I want to know what topics you are curious about and what you would like to read about in the MNPR Blog.

Please let me know what you think the most relevant issues related to PR are. What do you want to know more about?


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tracking Result

One of the greatest and most salable portions of SEO is its ability to be tracked. Although only a few advertising or public relations activities can offer absolute tracking of the work completed, SEO gets incredibly close to this. In SEO there are different ways to track everything from page rank to keywords people use to enter a site. Some of this information can be determined by doing queries to check for search engine placement changes or studying site logs. Other information can be found through analytics tools ranging from free, , to not so free, Omniture; but any analytics tool is priceless in terms of data.

We are seeing a major trend in companies using analytics to track their PR efforts. Some ways they do this is by sending out an optimized press release and tracking the traffic to the site in reference to the release, including the website in a media spot and watching changes and traffic metrics, or doing a guerilla marketing campaign and measuring any increase in visits or time on site with the newly created buzz. These programs also show where the visitor came from so you can see if certain links are working well or if Google searches bring in more traffic than Yahoo!

The information that can be seen through these analytics programs gives invaluable insight to directions a campaign should take. It is possible for a company to see that a press release caused an increase in traffic when posted online or see that it caused no increase at all. It helps focus the work in the places that make the most impact for the client and offers measurable data to show why certain decisions are being made.


Job - Event Specialist - Kroll Ontrack - Eden Prairie, MN

Monday, February 25, 2008

PR Professional Help Wanted

The Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters (MAHU) was established in 1937. MAHU is a professional association whose membership is comprised primarily of professional health & disability insurance agents and brokers, and health & disability carrier and third party administrator representatives.

MAHU is a state chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), which is located in Arlington, VA. Members participate in state and federal legislative and public policy development that is of mutual interest to our clients, the consuming public, our membership and to our industry. We also offer programs conducive to the professional and educational development of our membership and the greater health and disability benefits community.

Our Mission is to promote and sustain a knowledgeable and professional environment for those engaged in the health insurance industry; to further enhance their professional skills and services which, through education, will foster a greater financial security and independence of the consuming public.

We're looking for an individual or agency that will help raise awareness of MAHU's contributions to the MN insurance landscape and assist in our efforts to bring and sustain positive change to consumer insurance policy. If interested, please contact Greg Sailer at or . This would be a pro bono opportunity. However, MAHU will promote your organization through various ways with our members which include some of the most recognizable names in the Minnesota insurance market.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) has honored "A Day Made Better," the 1,000-school cause marketing campaign produced by OfficeMax and Minneapolis PR agency Maccabee Group, with a national 2008 RACie Award. "A Day Made Better" involved more than 4,000 OfficeMax associates at more than 900 stores, with the PR campaign generating $2.4 million in positive publicity for OfficeMax, including 227 TV segments and hundreds of news articles reaching more than 50 million consumers.

Maccabee Group’s campaign for OfficeMax drove a 1,018 percent increase in Web traffic and a 459 percent increase in donations for OfficeMax’s non-profit partner, Adopt-A-Classroom. The campaign earned RAMA’s coveted Peter Glen Award, which honors companies who give back to their community in a unique way.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Job - Creative Director Wanted @ Schermer Kuehl

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Advertise on MNPR Blog

I added a new feature on the blog today, because many of you from the agency world have been requesting information on how to advertise on this site. Now you can. Click here to find out more information.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Online Reputation Management and Social Media

In last week’s post, I referred to the issue of receiving negative feedback online. This brings about the topic of online reputation management. It’s an emerging practice that combines search marketing and traditional public relations, and allows them to work together to monitor and promote a positive image for a company on the Web.

The increasing importance of online reputation management is a result of the social media boom. Checking and managing every social media outlet on a daily basis would be impossible, but there are a few tools that can help. RSS feeds, blog search engines, and search engine alerts are all good ways to keep an eye on the conversation. If negative comments are being made, don’t be afraid to join the discussion. Try and answer the questions people are asking, thank them for the information and, most importantly, let them know the company is listening. Another way to deal with negative press online is to get as much of the search landscape for your company name as possible. Owning the space can help to push any negative stuff down in the search results. This can be done by doing some pay-per-click advertising to show up in the sponsored search area, creating another Web site, making a MySpace page, or getting a Wikipedia listing.

Here are some examples of how a company has done a good and bad job with monitoring their online reputation. First the bad: Target recently received negative press on a blog for a billboard that some deemed explicit. Target responded to the blogger with an email stating they will not participate in non media outlets because traditional publications help them focus on their core guest. The blogger posted this email with even more rage. It then spread virally to numerous blogs and resulted in far more negative online PR for Target. The simple way to have avoided all of this would have been to join the blogger’s conversation in their medium and state that they were sorry that the billboard was seen as offensive, it was meant to be a snow angel. Guarantee that the issue would have stopped there and that the blogger may have even wrote a positive post about how well they handled it. Now the good: When a Google search for is done the entire first page is filled with positive Target brand material. Most of these positive results were actually created by Target. Very few large brands can claim that their first results page is all positive. This is a great job on their part.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Have you thought about APR?

APR Prep "Crunch" Course

MinnSPRA proudly presents this weekend prep course to its members as well as to colleagues in other fields of public relations who are members of Minnesota PRSA and MAGC.

The Crunch Course in intended to be an intensive study of APR relevant topics. Participants will learn what is needed to prepare for the Readiness Review and APR Examination. Topics include: introduction to the APR process; benefits of APR; Readiness Review preparation; public relations models and theories; information technology; research; PR planning and evaluation; media relations; crisis communications; business literacy; ethics and law; and advanced communications issues.

Time: 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Minnetonka Public Schools District Service Center
5621 County Road 101, Minnetonka, MN 55345

Cost: FREE

Get Registration Information Here

Friday, February 15, 2008

YMM selects Children’s Theatre Company as pro bono partner

Yamamoto Moss Mackenzie (YMM) has selected The Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) as its pro bono partner for 2008 and will work with the theatre’s leadership to develop a new brand identity for CTC.

Each year, YMM works in partnership with a non-profit organization to provide a full range of brand strategy and creative services. Yamamoto Moss Mackenzie reviews requests for support annually through this program and does not award cash grants.

"The program is designed to maximize our resources to do the most good in communities in which we do business, to support our partners in building or maintaining their brand and equipping them with the tools to sustain the effort," says Shelly Regan, president, YMM. "And, as an added bonus, in the selection of CTC, it will be rewarding work for our employees, many of whom are regular CTC attendees with their families."

"We appreciate YMM’s inspired choice of Children’s Theatre Company as its 2008 pro bono partner," says Kathy Schaaf, CTC director of external relations. "We look forward to an exciting year of rebranding. YMM’s branding direction will help CTC broaden its reach to bring the best possible artistic work and education programs to our community. As a result we will be better positioned to focus our message and deliver it more effectively to children and their families throughout Minnesota as well as nationally."

CLS Promotes Powers and Nordeen

Carmichael Lynch Spong has promoted two employees of its Creative Resources team in the Minneapolis office. Robert Powers has been promoted from design director to creative director and Craig Nordeen has been promoted from designer to senior designer.

"Bob and Craig are catalysts of creative development at Carmichael Lynch Spong and they continue to bring ingenuity to the table and provide our clients with work that cuts through the PR clutter," says Douglas K. Spong, APR, president of Carmichael Lynch Spong.

Powers joined Carmichael Lynch Spong two and a half years ago from his last position as a freelance designer for clients including Carmichael Lynch Spong, as well as Wellbridge Inc. and the law firm of Briggs and Morgan. Prior to freelancing, Powers handled advertising design and brand management for Blount Inc., and various design assignments at Upfront Productions.

Based in the Minneapolis office of Carmichael Lynch Spong, Powers manages and implements the conceptual and production process for all creative materials produced by the firm. He works closely across all client teams.

Powers graduated with bachelor’s degree in art and English writing from Concordia College in Moorhead , Minn.

Nordeen joined the Minneapolis office of Carmichael Lynch Spong in early 2006 as a designer. His current responsibilities include providing art direction for all of the firm’s clients and leading the creative process on projects that range from media kit design to production of event marketing materials.

Prior to Carmichael Lynch Spong he worked at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., a law firm in Minneapolis , where he created marketing and case-specific designs and illustrations for the firm and its clients.

Nordeen received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Minnesota , Duluth .

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Layoffs at Newspapers

According to PR Week's article yesterday Tribune Co. is slashing jobs thanks to the slow economy. Can already understaffed papers maintain their quality after cutting more jobs?

Publisher Stephen D. Carver said he believes the reductions at The Courant – ten are expected to be from the newsroom - can be done without hurting the quality of the newspaper.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Communication: The Ingredients of Leadership

Council of Agency Executives (CAE) Seminar
Communication: The Ingredients of Leadership

Please join your colleagues for a stimulating discussion of public relations practice and the role of the top executive in any organization. Because of a new partnership between Minnesota PRSA and the Council of Agency Executives, we can offer you two hours in the company of two of the nation’s best-known counselors to CEOs and other top leaders.

You’ll hear James E. Lukaszewski’s seminar, "Communication: The Ingredients of Leadership," a talk which advises top leaders on how to establish a communication strategy, and their personal role in executing it. Author of hundreds of articles and several books, Jim’s newest book, Why Should the Boss Listen to You? will be released two weeks before the Feb. 21 event. Preceding Jim’s seminar, you’ll hear remarks by Lynn Casey, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Padilla Speer Beardsley, one of Minnesota’s oldest and largest public relations firms.

Time: 8 a.m. continental breakfast; 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. program

Location: Padilla Speer Beardsley, , Suite 400, (Down the street from the Guthrie Theater)

$30. Includes continental breakfast and a copy of Jim’s new book, which he will sign. Please note that this is a special members-only event for Minnesota PRSA and Council of Agency Executives members.

Register online!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Linking=Building your relevancy

So for all of you who guessed linking would be this week’s topic, you get a gold star. Link building is another essential aspect of search engine optimization (SEO). The number and relevancy of links that a site has affects how a search engine will rank it. Linking can and should be both internal and external for a site.

Internal links can be found on any page within a site and lead to different pages on that site. They show extreme relevancy, promote usability to consumers, and help lead the search engine spiders through the site. External links connect different sites or sources on the Internet to one another. The goal is getting external sites to link to the site being worked with. These links offer some of the greatest weight in where a site will rank in the search engines.

However, this does not justify recruiting links from as many sites as possible. The relevancy of the links is just as important (if not more) as the number of links. A highly relevant link would offer the physical link and also a connection to a site’s topic. This is why directories are a great place to get external links. Directories are broken down into very specific categories and can even offer geographic locations. For example, a public relations firm in Minneapolis receiving a link in a directory under is about as relevant as you could ask for. Another determinate of relevancy is the type of URL. Any URL that ends in an .edu or .gov has had to be verified as an educational institution or government organization. No other URL has to be verified, so this alone gives them a greater relevancy within a search engine. Links from sources like these can offer a great impact on a site and offer more “link juice” than 100 unrelated links. It is also important to remember that a link from highly respected and trafficked sites such as can have a similar impact.

Creating a link building campaign can help to increase a site’s ranking in the search engines. Determine internal and external links that seem to fit and go to work. Be creative, but a word of warning: when contacting someone about a link, remember each contact situation is different. Be sure to understand the culture behind the site. Nothing can destroy a link building campaign faster than some negative feedback instead of a link. This results in a whole other issue which will be covered in next week’s post.

Have a good one and Happy Valentines Day!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Public Affairs Company hires Frederickson

Public Affairs Company is pleased to announce the addition of Heidi Frederickson to their office. Heidi joins PAC after working on several federal Senate campaigns, both from Washington , D.C. and here in Minnesota . Heidi has also served as Press Secretary for a member of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

"We're very excited to have Heidi on board at Public Affairs Company," said Steve Knuth, President and CEO of PAC. "Heidi’s experience and enthusiasm for public service, advocacy, and media relations make her an ideal fit for PAC and we look forward to her contributions on several levels moving forward."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Job - LaBreche looking for a Senior Account Executive

Does Writing Matter?

I am going to play devil's advocate for a minute and ask a potentially unpleasant question. Does writing still matter?

Reporters get 100's of emails a day. Many of them are untargeted email pitches from well intention PR practitioners. I do get some responses from my email pitches but I have to wonder, how many reporters actually take the time to read our emails? I don't think many do - and I don't blame them.

Generally, I engage a reporter once I get them on the phone. The chance of coverage for my client goes up exponentially once I get that personal connection.

Take a look at Writing Still Matters Professor Bill Sledzik says it absolutely does.

What do you think? Is the press release becoming outdated in our e-mail centric world? Does writing still matter?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Nonprofits gain valuable communications tools during free day-long workshop

On Saturday, February 9th, from 8:00 a.m. - 2:15 p.m., Weber Shandwick will be hosting its 16th annual Telling Your Story workshop for local non-profit organizations at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. The free day-long workshop will provide over 25 local non-profits skills they can use to address their organization’s primary communications challenges.

The organizations will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of sessions including, "How to Get Value for Your Web Site" and "I Laughed, I Cried: Creating a Compelling Nonprofit video." CEO and founder of, Joel Kramer will also address the non-profits about the changing landscape of the media in the Twin Cities.

In addition, the organizations will have the opportunity to participate in a one-on-one consulting session with a Weber Shandwick employee to address any specific communication needs and questions. This year's event is co-sponsored by the St. Thomas chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

For more information on this event contact at Weber Shandwick.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Carlson and Tuthill promoted at Weber Shandwick

The Twin Cities office of Weber Shandwick today announced the promotions of two employees in the consumer marketing and corporate, community and public affairs practices.

Jessica Carlson, who joined the agency in 2005, has been promoted from account executive to senior account executive in the consumer marketing practice. Carlson, an Eagan, Minn. native, graduated with a bachelor's degree in English and management studies from St. Olaf Collage in Northfield, Minn.

Stacey Tuthill, who joined the agency in August 2006 as an intern, has been promoted from assistant account executive to account executive in the corporate, community and public affairs practice. In addition to her work on client accounts, Tuthill is a member of the Weber Shandwick | Minneapolis office Employee Action Group. A native of Faribault, Minn., Tuthill graduated from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn., and holds a bachelor’s degree in business entrepreneurship.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Keyword Research: Finding the Right Terms

In the land of search engine optimization (SEO) and public relations the phrase “Content is King” is familiar and lived-by. However, in public relations the focus is on having the “Right Content,” while in SEO having the “Right Content” is fueled by having the “Right words.”

Keyword research is at the core of any SEO project. It’s a process that involves the analysis of numerous terms and phrases to determine what words the public is using to attempt to find you (and your competitors) when searching online. Doing Google or Yahoo searches for terms related to the site or topic, asking a client or friends for phrases that come to mind, and analyzing a competitor’s site for different words they are using, can all help to get a base of words to try. Then, there are keyword research tools such as the Google Keyword tool which is free and allows you to put in some of these words or phrases, hit a button, and get different terms related to the ones you typed in. This provides useful information about how many times the terms were searched and lends insight into what the “Right Words” may be. This tool is obviously not the only one. Working at an advertising agency, I have access to a variety of fee-based SEO research tools that give me different types of information about the effectiveness of each term. It is important to remember that it is always helpful to have a trained SEO eye look at the research to get the best possible output.

This is how you find the RIGHT words. One of the biggest misconceptions is that people think they already KNOW the right words. Often times, people in an industry speak much differently than the general public. One of my favorite examples of this is versus advertising agency.

In my mind I think people would search for ad agency more than advertising agency-however, this is not the case. After doing keyword research, I found that advertising agency is searched for about 4 times more than ad agency. Why would this be? The very simple reason is that people in the advertising industry call it an and the general public calls it by the more formal advertising agency. I have seen this type of thing happen in basically every industry you can think of. It is all about finding those words that the average person thinks apply to your site, not necessarily the industry jargon that is thrown around an office.

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have. And just for fun, there will be bonus points to anyone who can figure out what next weeks topic is based upon the hints throughout this post.

Have a great week,

Monday, February 04, 2008

Spong Named to Advisory Panel for University of Minnesota

Carmichael Lynch Spong President Douglas K. Spong, APR, has been named to the inaugural eight-member advisory panel for the Professional M.A. in Strategic Communication Program in the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The panel is comprised of some of the Twin Cities most recognized advertising and public relations professionals and will serve as a recommending, consultative body, helping to shape the strategic communication program.

Doug Spong founded Carmichael Lynch Spong in 1990. He is an accredited member of the and has received five presidential citations for extraordinary service to the society. Spong is also a founding member of the Council of Public Relations Firms where he has served as both a four-year director and three-year treasurer.

Launched in the fall of 2005, the Professional M.A. in Strategic Communication provides advanced strategic thinking capabilities for early career professionals. The program is tailored to provide the best foundation for future communication leaders, recognizing the communication industry is changing rapidly. Participants include approximately 20 high-caliber students annually from a diverse range of professional backgrounds, and the program focuses on meeting the needs of the Twin Cities business community.

"I’m delighted to be partnering with a renowned institution like the University of Minnesota because I’ve always had a particular fondness for the journalism school," says Douglas K. Spong, APR, president of Carmichael Lynch Spong. "Our panel is excited to provide informed leadership for the University of Minnesota's first master’s program in strategic communications, and we believe this program will produce professionals that will play a key role in the success of Twin Cities businesses."

Job - Multiple Job Openings at PSB

Friday, February 01, 2008

Job - Select Comfort - Public Relations Manager

Ringham promoted to Client Relationship Director at Fast Horse

Betsy Ringham has been promoted to Client Relationship Director at Fast Horse, a Minneapolis-based consumer marketing agency. Ringham had been a Client Relationship Manager with the firm.

Ringham, who joined Fast Horse in 2006, specializes in the development and execution of marketing campaigns, media relations and special event coordination on behalf of local and national clients.

"Betsy’s promotion to Client Relationship Director reflects her growth as a counselor," said Jörg Pierach, President of Fast Horse. "She has distinguished herself through an unwavering commitment to her clients as well as our agency culture, and we are delighted to recognize her efforts with this promotion."

At Fast Horse, Ringham has been instrumental in the execution of several high-profile marketing campaigns for clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, University of Minnesota’s West Bank Arts Quarter and MacPhail Center for Music.

Ringham began her career in Chicago, first as a member of Hill & Knowlton’s public affairs team and then as an associate at Burson-Marsteller, where she worked with clients such as National Cattleman’s Beef Association, Marshall Field’s, Illinois Lottery and Minute Maid. Ringham graduated with a B.A. in communication from the College of Saint Benedict , in St. Joseph , Minn.
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