Products and Tools this week

The PRWeek Products & Tools newsletter provides news, features, and campaigns delivered direct to your inbox. Here are certain featured sections from the weekly newsletter.

The PRWeek Products & Tools newsletter provides news, features, and campaigns delivered direct to your inbox. Here are certain featured sections from the weekly newsletter.

This Week

ALEXANDRIA, VA: PRSourceCode is now offering the Op-Ed Playbook, a guide for placing op-ed articles in leading publications.

SAN DIEGO: Juice Media, developer of on-demand marketing software, has entered a partnership with VoiceStar.

NEW YORK: Teletrax will provide a suite of video monitoring and reporting services to track broadcast use of AP video news content in real-time, on a story-specific basis globally.

Check out more products and tools news at In Brief

The end User

Andrew Lark is the CMO of LogLogic

What helpful product or tool have you discovered?

Rather than opening an IM application, say Yahoo instant messenger, simply open your browser, log-on to Meebo, and see all your Yahoo!, Messenger, AIM and Google buddies in one place.

Set-up is simple and Meebo supports most major IM services including AOL's AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, and MSN Messenger. While you can connect via iChat, ICQ, and Jabber it doesn't link to them directly from the Meebo home page. Meebo also offers plug-ins for blogs and widgets for your desktop.

Meebo's approach has the added benefit of freeing from your own computer. Open a browser on any computer and you'll be chatting in seconds. IM to go... that's messaging bliss.

Expert Q&A

Mark Sigal, CEO and co-founder, vSocial

What does vSocial do?

MS: vSocial provides a hosted software platform known as the vConnect social media service that allows companies to very rapidly deploy custom branded video services that leverage social networking functionality. Using social’s vConnect social media service, customers can launch, virally distribute, monetize and govern video channels, online communities, and word-of-mouth marketing campaigns.

How can communications professionals most effectively use video in their PR campaigns?

MS: There are three primary areas [where] we work closely with PR professionals, agencies, and major brands. One is to leverage rich, social media as part of a larger conversational marketing strategy to create brand awareness through uploading, rating, reviewing, commenting, sharing and an underlying contest for most popular/interesting/ viral content. For example, this is a link to a blog I wrote about a campaign called "laidback legends" that we did with Fosters Lager and their interactive agency, Chunk, which allows consumers to upload videos of the different characters that you encounter at a bar. Weekly winners get their bar tab covered for the week. The grand prize winner gets a dream trip with their bar buddies.

The second is the use of these technologies to supplant the type of community engagement that previously was dependent on a face-to-face event or was relegated to an email list.

The last is to test new social media services very rapidly without the high cost, high execution risk and long time to market. In this case, we enabled Disney, by working with their interactive agency, avenue a/razorfish, to create a new virtual theater concept that has the potential to reinvent the way companies market new DVD releases. Here is a blog post on that service which went from storyboard to first pilot in a few weeks.

What are some of your tips for building a community surrounding a company or brand?

MS: I have codified my tips into two primary articles. The first, called "Breadcrumbs and Conversations" , [says] the key to success is all about embracing de-centralization (versus walled gardens) in a way that treats individual pieces of content as breadcrumbs that provide clear paths for consumers to traverse back to the brand owner’s typically longer form content on their web site.

The second, called "Channel Me," speaks about the dual objectives of enabling the consumer to be participatory in the brand creation process, while asserting that it is critical that brands not give up their identity, integration and conversational control to third party sites.

How is online video affecting the media landscape?

MS: I think that the combination of online video and social networking is destined to impact the media landscape in as profound of a way as the evolution of media from radio to television did. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the types of messages that you can convey [on] video are virtually unlimited. [Also,] this medium is, by definition, interactive and bi-directional so the concept of media as a lean back, one way experience is destined to change. Three, [is] the simple cost economics of creating, distribution, and marketing to very targeted audiences (a la the long tail model). Finally, social networking changes the center of control by elevating the audience to arbiter of what constitutes the network.

Media Watch

Republican Presidential Race Kicks Off Early Political Season

Political pundits looking for any indication of who might rise above the fray and capture the Republican Presidential party nomination need to look no further then Iowa which held its recent "Straw Poll". Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won the so-called popularity contest, which he claims demonstrates strong support in this key mid-western state.

Most frequent messages

-Former New York City Mayor Giuliani and Arizona Senator McCain, two leading candidates, decided not to participate.

-Low turnout and the absence of many strong opponents could diminish the outcome for Romney.

-Romney felt the results indicate the overall strength of his burgeoning nationwide campaign.

-Many felt that Romney would win the Straw Poll as he spent millions of dollars and months campaigning in Iowa.

-Former Arkansas Governor Mike Hucabee finished second, and Kansas Senator. Sam Brownback placed third.

Based on monitoring and analysis of more than 15,000 radio and TV broadcast news programs August 11 thru August 15.

Evaluation and analysis by VMS

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