In the world of PR, blogger outreach is one of the sharpest, new arrows in our quiver. Why? More laser-targeted impressions, which means the right reach. And it’s only natural that followers are more likely to trust a blogger’s word over a branded ad.

Our zcomm team taps into the blogger world, in addition to other digital marketing tactics, to target specific audiences in industries including health, beauty, food, consumer and non-profits.

One of our key partner bloggers is Kimberly Vetrano, the founder of “She Scribes.” Kimberly doubles as a mother, wife, photographer and freelance writer. She decided to become a blogger because she loves to write, and blogging was a way to write about her life.

Kimberly prides herself on blogging about a variety of topics for a diverse readership. Her tag line is “A little bit of this, a little bit of that.” In fact, her blog topics are heavily influenced by her readers. She makes sure to read her fans’ comments, and even does yearly “polling” to find the topics that her readers find most interesting. In addition to blogging about her life, she also tracks and writes about what’s trending — crafts, recipes and style posts are all hot topics now.

When asked how she keeps her blog so active, Kimberly says her blog is her business, and she treats it that way. Kimberly says, “I make it a priority to post at least once a day, 7 days a week. If I have something planned on the weekend, I’ll write a post ahead of time and schedule it on the weekend.”

Kimberly tries to engage her followers through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. “Social media influences my blog in a big way…there are plenty of readers who share the same interests and can engage with you about them on social media channels or via comments on the blog posts.”

Kimberly’s favorite social media outlet is Facebook. “I feel like I can connect with readers more on that platform. I can scroll down and read comments and reply to them when I have a chance. I feel like Facebook is more personal.”

When relevant brands come to zcomm for blogger outreach, we call Kimberly (and lots of other bloggers) with the kind of content that she loves. Because we know what she likes. So, when reaching out to bloggers, take time to read the blog on a regular basis BEFORE you contact them so you know exactly what they write about and the content that floats their boat. That’s the key to cracking the blogger code.

Lance Armstrong- What a Dope!

Lance has taken quite a spill and chances are really good he won’t be getting up from the ground anytime soon.

It’s amazing how much wool this guy pulled over everyone’s eyes. Not sure there are any sheep left. And it’s great that his early tattlers now have major street cred.

It’s true the guy had cancer and beat it, but that’s the only thing he honestly ever beat.  He’s been totally stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles and banished from the NY and Boston marathon books, too.

The guy is just a cheat, along with lots of his biker buddies.

I used to watch the Tour de France amazed at these ironmen with legs of steel able to pedal to a medal. But, now the entire world knows it was all a fake. His pedal-power was fueled by just the right amount of steroids to become superman without showing up on a blood test.  This was one cagey biker.

In the PR profession we’d probably counsel Lance to lay low for a long time and then spend the rest of his life doing charity work.  Oh, wait a minute…Lance already has a charity!  And he didn’t do LIVESTRONG any favors by ruining his good name.  And that name is being erased from the sides of bikes, helmets, jerseys and energy bars (so I just made that one up) even as I blog.

What was he thinkin’? Guess is he just wanted to be a winner and was willing to do whatever it took to get him to the medal stand. What a dope!

Lance not only gave pro cycling a black eye, but he also spoiled the sport for all the weekend warriors who strap on their helmets and ride 10 or 20 miles.

If I were Lance?  I’d grow a beard, grab my passport and leave town for a long time. It’s time for Lance to ride into the sunset and never show his smug mug again.

Ruffled Feathers

Who wudda thunk it?  That Big Bird would become a political hot potato in the home stretch of presidential election season?  Only in America could that big, feathery, loveable symbol of childhood get caught in the crossfire.

There’s no debating it, ever since Big Bird was named as a target for cost-cutting by Romney last week, the yellow guy has never seen this much ink.

It all started when Mitt took the mitts off and ran over poor Jim Lehrer while he was asleep at the moderator chair.  Hard-hearted Mitt told the global audience that he would actually cut PBS, Big Bird and poor Jim if he’s elected the next prez.  (I got very nervous about my Masterpiece Mystery! addiction).  But, hey, folks, that’s at least one cut he’s telling us he’ll make.  When it comes right down to it, Mitt is showing us he can make the tough choices.

So, what did Big Bird do?  He goes on a media tour and appears on SNL with Seth Meyers.  Quite a coup for the bird on the street.

But, now the candidates are flippin’ the bird all over the place.  Obama is now using Big Bird in an Anti-Romney ad and in stump speeches, and Romney countered with none other than the Count to show that 2 can play the same game!!  It’s obvious these guys are playing hardball.

This might sound funny, but Sesame Street is NOT laughing.  They do not want to be seen as endorsing either party and want all Sesame-Street-related ads pulled. The Obama Campaign is thinkin’ about it.

Guess that means Big Bird is down for the Count.

Twitter Bowl

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Hailey discusses the Twitter bowl and who would be winning if it was up to social media.

It’s that time of year again. Football season is back and everyone’s excited, especially Washington Redskins fans following Robert Griffin III’s impressive NFL debut. Maybe this really will be their year… The Redskins have built up so much hype surrounding RG3, and his face and name seem to be everywhere. There’s no escaping him. His Subway commercial aired what seemed like 300 times during the Eagles/Browns game, and my entire Twitter feed on Sunday was filled with “Hail Yeah RG3” and pictures of people “griffing.”

It’s clear that RG3 is a fan favorite, both on and off the field. He only has one regular season game under his belt and he’s already up to more than 340,000 Twitter followers. His remarkable talent is what brought him to the DC area and turned him into a celebrity, but what if it were the other way around? What if popularity determined success?

If the NFL playoffs were based on popularity alone, who would be the Super Bowl champion? Don’t get too excited Redskins Fans. You still wouldn’t even make it to playoffs. Behold Super Bowl – Twitter style. If the NFL playoffs were based solely on the amount of Twitter followers each team has, the post season would look like this.

Based on the bracket, it’s obvious that the amount of followers each team has is not based on success alone. The New York Jets have only been to the Super Bowl once, yet they are the Twitter Bowl champions with 449,151 followers, more than the entire AFC South Division combined. The Dallas Cowboys have been to eight Super Bowls, but they have a ton of bandwagon fans so it’s not surprising that they also have more than 400,000 followers.

The Indianapolis Colts, the Tennessee Titans, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals would be the five worst teams in this fictional league with 354,977 combined followers. With only 26,061 followers Cardinals would be absolutely horrible. Their extremely low amount of followers is surprising considering their star wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, has the fourth highest number of followers (1,355,554) of all NFL players. He falls only behind Reggie Bush (2,577,903), Tim Tebow (1,863,891), and Michael Vick (1,486,843).

Chad Johnson, a.k.a. Ochocinco, was the NFL player with the most followers with 3,752,474. Now that he is a free agent, that title goes to Reggie Bush, who probably wouldn’t have that many followers if it weren’t for his relationship with social media savvy Kim Kardashian.

Although the primary goal of professional sports teams is to win, they too are organizations that need to work toward having a strong social media presence. This bracket may not reflect upon the teams’ success, but it does reflect upon their social media efforts. Perhaps a little public relations training camp could do them well.

Twitter followers each NFL team has (as of Sept. 10, 2012)

AFC East

New England Patriots – 412,931

New York Jets – 449,151

Miami Dolphins – 157,929

Buffalo Bills – 112,242

AFC West

Oakland Raiders – 187,214

Denver Broncos – 182,899

San Diego Chargers – 155,173

Kansas City Chiefs – 107,369

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers – 382,262

Baltimore Ravens – 165,720

Cincinnati Bengals – 114,620

Cleveland Browns – 110,340

AFC South

Houston Texans – 138,797

Indianapolis Colts – 100,633

Tennessee Titans – 95,692

Jacksonville Jaguars – 53,364

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys – 402,034

New York Giants – 341,233

Philadelphia Eagles – 217,688

Washington Redskins – 129,870

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers – 225,837

Seattle Seahawks – 103,919

St. Louis Rams – 103,732

Arizona Cardinals – 26,061

NFC North

Green Bay Packers – 309,894

Chicago Bears – 188,945

Detroit Lions – 161,174

Minnesota Vikings – 140,107

NFC South

New Orleans Saints – 238,793

Atlanta Falcons – 131,635

Carolina Panthers – 112,289

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 79,227

Riptide Hero

Stands to reason a guy who’s devoted his life to caring for kids, gets to do just that in his final act.

Dr. Donald Liu, chief of pediatric surgery at U of Chicago Children’s Hospital was at Lake Michigan with his family and friends when two boys, part of his entourage, got caught in rough water.  Without listening to his frantic children who warned Liu not to go in, he plunged into the water to grab the kids.  The kids made it back to shore.  Liu got caught in the swells and currents.

When rescuers grabbed Liu and brought him back to shore, his doc wife performed mouth-to-mouth, but it was too late and he was gone.

Quite an irony, that this hero doc, who lived to save kids’ lives in the operating room, was faced with the chance to save lives in the open water.  His colleagues said he was just that kind of guy and they know he would have done it again in an instant.

What would you do?  I’m a pretty good swimmer and I’d like to think if I saw a couple of kids in danger I’d dive in, unless someone restrained me or there were a nearby lifeguard.

Sad part of the story is that Liu has three beautiful kids and a lovely wife who are heartbroken.  And countless kids he would have saved over the coming years.

His wife said, “He wore scrubs all the time.  He would have gotten married in scrubs if he could.”  And then she went on to say, “It was meant to be.”

I know the Olympians are champs, but to me, Dr. Donald Liu deserves even more gold than Michael Phelps.  He’s the ultimate American hero.  Hats off to you, doc.

K ALREADY: Kim Kardashian Kools on Marriage

Why am I not surprised? Seventy two days into the “marriage of the decade” and this Special K dumps her NBA hubby. That’s 72 days after Kim reportedly raked in $18 million after taking her vows. Do the math. That comes out to a quarter of a million bucks a day for each day they were married. Talk about fantasy.

I was already seeing way too much of the Kim, Kourtney and Khloe show before the split. Talk about over exposure in the media. And now the marital meltdown…

But not for long. Here’s my prediction from a PR stance: the American public will begin to see through Kim’s quest for money and fame and start pulling away from the brand. That means fewer viewers and fewer buyers. I mean how long can some curvy con artist get away with pulling the wool over honest consumers’ eyes?

There’s already so much skepticism and cynicism about marriage in this country. Do we really need more? Come on! Seventy two days to decide your best guy friend isn’t going to cut it for the next couple of decades. It usually takes years to figure that stuff out. Or better yet, figure it out BEFORE you get married.

I think this is endemic of an entire generation of overindulged, young adults. Kim’s just a bit more overindulged than most. Give me a break! Seventy two days and $18 million later she says, “sometimes things don’t work out as planned.” My response is Kim’s career shouldn’t work out as planned and we, collectively, have the means to make that happen. De-friend her on Facebook and stop following her on Twitter. Because in my opinion, Kim’s fans should call it KWITS.

PR and the Spanish-Speaking Media: ¿Hablas Español?

Guest post by zcomm Director, JoAnn Mangione

I attended a session this week designed to better acquaint public relations practitioners with the Spanish-speaking media and its audience.

For the most part, the advice from the panelists was typical: don’t call at deadline, don’t pitch something too commercial, and if they are interested in the story, they will let us know. But this group of media professionals, all with many years of working at Spanish-language outlets, had a few other things to say that wouldn’t come up if the session had been with journalists from English-speaking outlets.

As you read this, please keep these facts in mind: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 50.5 million Hispanics in the United Sates, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. That’s 16.3 percent of the nation’s population. By 2050, that percentage is projected to be 30 percent.

So why would a panelist have to tell us not to treat Hispanic news outlets like second class citizens? She explained that when she sees a story in every major English-speaking news organization and two weeks later is approached to do that same story, she has to wonder what the crazy PR person is thinking. Do you blame her? Her actual words were, “Don’t give us sloppy seconds.”

The news director of a Telemundo affiliate said his content has to inform his mostly immigrant audience about the very basics of how to live in the United States – how to open a checking account, choose a doctor, etc. So when it comes to all these mortgage-related stories right now, he says forget it. He needs to tell his audience the basics of just applying for a car loan, never mind explaining what happened to the housing market and when will it come back. Do English-speaking people even understand that stuff?

He’s looking for stories on the simple things that we know like the back of our hand but are literally foreign to immigrants. And he wants to protect his viewers from scam artists that would take advantage of the language barrier. I’m paraphrasing, but he says don’t pitch the guy who wrote a book about the many ways of baking an apple pie just because the author speaks Spanish. It doesn’t really help his viewers make a go of living in America.

One last tip: to write or not write a release in Spanish, that is the question. Well, actually, no, it’s not a question at all, according to the panel. Get it translated, and by someone who really knows the language, not someone who studied it in college and hasn’t used it for years!