The Perfect Email, 10.10.2013

According to the Radicati Group, 144.8 billion e-mails were generated per day last year, out of which 89 billion, or 61.46%, were business emails. Whoa. No wonder we feel like our first-born children have been preemptively scarified to the email gods. With so many emails flying in and out of your inbox, it’s easy to get fall into a routine of mindlessly replying and senselessly forwarding. But amidst the craziness, one seemingly minor mishap could land you or your organization in hot water.

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To save you the trauma of a major email “oops,” here are our tips to keep your business emails in perfect condition: read more »

Take A Walk In Their Shoes, 08.22.2013

As PR professionals, we are constantly pursuing media coverage for our clients, and part of being an effective media relations practitioner entails putting yourself in the media’s shoes. First things first: What is the difference between a press release and a pitch? A press release is essentially you already writing a story for the media. A pitch entices someone else to write the story. If you’ve decided that a pitch is the way to go, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions and do some background research before you get started.
  • Prepare what you will and will not answer
  • Have all of the basic and background info prepared, along with visuals
  • Look for an expert who will speak on camera
  • Make sure you answer the five basic Ws: who, what, where, when and why.
  Then, start making some phone calls! And keep in mind these basic questions:

“Would I want to talk to myself?”

“Would I have answered that email?”

“Would I take the time to read that story?”

Honey Boo Boo Hello

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A 20K Confessional, 06.21.2013

Straight from the intern's mouth to your computer screen: our intern, Gemrick, tells all. Show him some love in the comments!

Do you know what we love more than this Alot? Correct grammar. (A lot.), 03.07.2013

20K Group has acquired a new addition to our office space – the friendly Alot. He lives in our Lightbulb Lounge and serves as a gentle reminder to the team to be on the lookout for easy-to-miss grammar errors. (For those of you not familiar with the story of the Alot, read about his origins at Hyperbole and Half.)

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In addition to not combining words that should remain separate, the Alot also reminds us to drop the Oxford comma in a series, use commas when they are required, avoid ending sentences in prepositions (unless it would sound silly not to) and generally be the grammar cops we were destined to be. We’ve all seen Facebook statuses like this one: read more »

Understanding Other People Through Social Media, 10.29.2012

I attended the HiMA 2012 Interactive Strategies Psych! Conference a few weeks ago, which focused on human psychology and how to it relates to communication. The session that really stood out to me was Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Persuasion by "The Confidence Coach" Beverly Flaxington. Just as the title indicates, the talk focused on how to understand other people and how to use that information to influence. For me though, the secrets really boiled down to one point: you must listen and understand your audience and their behavior to effectively communicate and inspire action. read more »

Don’t Ignore the Elephant in the Room, 10.21.2011

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons User MG

  During a recent trip, I picked up the book “Switch” by authors Chip and Dan Heath. The book explains that each person has a strong emotional and analytical component. The authors refer to these facets as the elephant and the rider, respectively. According to the book, the elephant and rider must be in tandem to make a change on any level--individual, social, or corporate. I think this method of reflection is pertinent to the work of communications, marketing, and public relations professionals. The take home message for us isn’t necessarily how to make a change, but rather how we can develop compelling examples and materials to demonstrate why our clients are special, and why the public should view their work as such. The best way to represent a client is in a manner that evokes both analytical and emotional rationale when people see, experience, and read about their work. It's true that a strong elephant is quite weak without its rider, and vice versa. However, we should also recognize that an emotional connection (elephant) can be an extremely motivating factor for employees, colleagues, and audiences alike, and we should infuse this bond into our work and support it with research and numbers (rider). *Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Switch, Broadway Books: New York, 2010.  

Strength in Others, 09.17.2010

Our Community - The City of Houston issued a challenge to building owners to green their offices and office buildings.  Participants in the challenge will learn about green building practices from some of Houston’s leading sustainability experts, with the goal of increasing the number of LEED certified buildings in the city.  Register online at www.houstongoc.org. Social Media - Advertisting Age wonders if the press release’s heyday has come and gone and if corporations will now rely on social media platforms, like Twitter, to communicate.  Simon Dumenco writes, “…BP dutifully issued press releases detailing its well-plugging and clean-up efforts, but it dropped the ball on Twitter, leaving an opening for the parodists of @BPGlobalPR to wreak havoc.” read more »

If it means saying “we don’t know,” so be it, 06.02.2010

Those of us in the business of  watching and partnering with media and working with companies and organizations to develop their messages are utterly frustrated with BP’s communications since the spill on April.  BP has been handed umpteen opportunities to make amends for last week’s or yesterday's gaffes, and the company’s management team continues to manage the message with a) NO message (well, I could give you their message but you wouldn’t be satisfied; b) silence until they’re damned ready to respond with a non-message; and c) lack of interesting, tangible data that would help both the media and the public understand the inner workings of a “complex” process like deepwater drilling, let alone recovery management. read more »

Fresh Air, 04.30.2010

We finally launched our new website. Would you think we were kidding if I told you it took us three years to get this done? During that time, the world changed forever: the earth continues to seem angry over something, as yet another hurricane targeted our great city; earthquakes and volcanoes have become a common occurrence; we elected the first non-white president of the United States; and social networking has become (in my humble view), the most important sea change in communications in a century. read more »