Eye-tracking technology, monitoring ed cals, more

Web sitesHow can state-of-the-art eye-tracking technology be used to increase your Web site's usability?

Web sites
How can state-of-the-art eye-tracking technology be used to increase your Web site's usability?
"Eye tracking is a non-intrusive tool that looks at your online presence through the eyes of your preferred audience - literally," says Lisa Wehr, CEO of Oneupweb.

And it's not just for Web sites. "It can analyze and help optimize each critical element on a Web page, as well as a landing page, ad, e-mail, or video," she adds. "It identifies the variables that affect what is and isn't seen, and therefore, what is and isn't working."

Wehr explains that the data garnered from eye tracking is used to perfect a variety of variables, including placement, size, messaging, font, color, spacing, imagery, and more.

"The result of eye tracking is optimal design and functionality that improves communication, delivering a more effective message that is seen and acted upon by more people," she concludes. "The bottom line is greater conversions and sales."

Editorial calendars
How can I manage to keep better track of publications' editorial calendars?
The days of pulling together a once-a-year master document of editorial calendars have changed dramatically. According to Eric Hill, EVP of MyEdcals, at least 50% of
all publications that produce editorial calendars will make significant changes to the roster of story opportunities over the course of the year.

For example, Hill notes that InformationWeek, with a circulation of over 400,000, only produces editorial calendars up to three months in advance. Other major publications, such as Federal Computer Week, have created informational call-in numbers that a publicist must contact in order to stay on top of who is writing what and when.

If you have a handle on 2008, Hill suggests you try moving ahead with your planning because long lead publications have started to produce editorial calendars for 2009.

"We already have collected and published over 1,200 story opportunities for 2009 and continue to add thousands more each month," Hill says.

How do you get media to trust you and regard you as an authority?
"First and foremost, you need to know your media," advises Jennifer Baum, president of Bullfrog & Baum.

With increased access to information, Baum notes the ease in researching and learning about the media you are approaching in order to gain insight into what they have written about in the past.

"The number-one complaint we hear from media is that publicists don't research their beat before pitching a story," she says. "Journalists will appreciate that you know their history and respond more favorably."

It is also important to thoroughly research your topic, present it clearly, and make sure your client backs up your claims. Baum also suggests you pitch intelligently and assertively, though not overly aggressively.

The surest way to gain a journalist's confidence is to present yourself as a resource for information, she adds, thereby encouraging an ongoing relationship. Remember that gaining press coverage for your client is usually a marathon, not a sprint.

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