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our voYce

The concept was simple.

Everyone should vote on lots of stuff, and often.

A focus group was held at the offices of TopFloorStudio, here in Asheville, to see what people thought of the concept. The website was designed around some of that really great input. We also got a good understanding for the need of a “here’s how it works” graphic video presentation on the landing page.

Steffi Rausch (evolv.com) did the design of the web site and I did the content writing.

This is the embed presentation for the landing page (it lived in that grey box to the right on the home page) that I wrote and art directed, including the search for istockphotos. From the script I timed the visuals and used powerpoint to move through the presentation. I then handed over the assets to Indy film producer  Marcus VanWormer, who took time out of his busy schedule creating exceptional promotional videos to build the graphic presentation. The voiceover was through a production house in Michigan.

Unfortunately, our voYce had a brief life. I thought it was a great concept.

UPDATE: There is a online site that captures the essence called Thetylt.com. Check it out.

Web content | Project management of Video | Art Direction | Focus Group assistance | Public Relations

Public Relations Association of WNC: After 28 years, PRAWNC takes its final bow







Unfortunately, as often as not, it becomes so difficult to keep an organization going when only the same people show up and step up to the plate. Sherri did a great job the past few years at the helm, and the last year trying to keep it going (as did some others, whom are mentioned in the article).Perhaps after a bit, we’ll be able to bring back the “Best of the Mountains” award though.

Public Relations Association of WNC: After 28 years, PRAWNC takes its final bow.


Seven Traits of Highly Effective Press Releases « BusinessWired

The information shared here through BusinessWire is straightforward and simple.

Crafting the message and content is obviously the most important factor in developing an excellent public relations and press release campaign.

When developing a press release, I try to incorporate at least Five out of Seven of  the traits that are outlined in the article. One that I leave out is based on budget; the other the goal of the release. Here are the 5:

1. One link in one form or another in the body of the release.

2. Emphasis on key points in the release via special formatting.

3. A subheadline.

4. Encourage sharing on social media

5. Special characters in the headline.

The two that are missing are:
1. The company name in the headline: It sort of depends on where the brand fits in the scheme of things.  After establishing the company branding, sometimes it’s better to focus totally on the message and support the company branding throughout the release.

2. A photo or video included: There are totally dependent upon the client’s budget as they almost always add some cost in distribution. However, these costs also vary widely, and there are many ways to get the message distributed within budgetary concerns.
If you need effective messaging, please give me a call.

Seven Traits of Highly Effective Press Releases « BusinessWired – Business Wire Blog.

21 Twitter Tips From Socially-Savvy Companies | Fast Company

This is very interesting. Unfortunately, it focuses on companies that actually have budgets (there is a mention in point #3 about “a meager budget of $15,000” for one particular twitter campaign. In Asheville, that would be expected to produce a logo, positioning statement, branding campaign, six months of facebook, tw itter blogging, brochures, feature articles and news releases. Oh, and a website with e-commerce.

Good points in this article. They can be applied on a smaller scale, but on the same hand, there needs to be realistic expectations when budgets of “$15,000” are non considered meager, but exorbitant.

21 Twitter Tips From Socially-Savvy Companies | Fast Company.

5 “must haves” for your travel and tourism site

by Gary S. James

Everyone’s being more careful about how they spend their money these days and travel is no exception. Even those with higher discretionary incomes are feeling the pinch.  Here are some tips from Synergy Point, an award-winning travel and tourism web design firm, to make it easier for visitors to find you and to keep them coming back:

1)   Lodging, Dining and Events. First, the obvious: Visitors to your site will want to see what lodgings are available, the restaurants and attractions in your area. But, you also need to first get them to your website and that’s where keywords and a description are important. For example, to promote Chimney Rock Park, their description includes “a 1000-acre scenic attraction,” and “North Carolina,” “mountains,“ “hiking” with keywords such as “Western North Carolina,” “Chimney Rock,” and even “Rhododendrons,” which are particularly colorful in the spring. Both description and keywords are a must for site rankings.

2)   E-Newsletter – You want to keep visitors abreast of what’s going on and that includes specials and promotions. Remember, even if they choose a different destination this go ‘round, you’re reminding them of all the wonderful reasons you should be on their list for next time.

3)   E-Commerce – If you’re a hotel, a real estate/vacation rental agency or a chamber recommending “places to stay,” it’s a good idea to have a way visitors can make reservations or purchases, or check out package details, without leaving the site. At the very least, use a pop-up window so navigating back to the original site or home page is simple.

4)   A good content management system — Managing all the content, especially if you are working with a large chamber or group, can be daunting. Melinda Massey Young, Director at Polk County, NC Tourism, uses the Synergy Point SiteManager™, a turbocharged content management system built specifically for tourism and travel.  The Polk County website, “First Peak of the Blue Ridge,” recently won Synergy Point its 6th award in a row from a regional public relations association.

Reasons Young sited for using the system, to keep visitors coming back and the content fresh, is the systems “ease of use.” Synergy Point SiteManager™ is miles ahead of CMS, providing seamless integration of news, events, images, video and points of interest and maps. It even helps with e-marketing and leads. Plus, the system offers advanced database-driven technology and custom-class components at off-the-shelf prices, all made friendly with WYSIYG.  And finally:

5)   Maps. There was a time when you could stop at the gas station, and while a guy came out and filled your tank and cleaned the windshield, you could go in and get yourself a free map with great, helpful information in it. Well, that era may be gone, but now there are simple solutions for getting interactive maps into your website. Make it easy for your visitors to find all your area has to offer and they’ll keep coming back to your destination – and your website – for more.