Perspectives

Perspectives on communications management in a socially-connected world

Number #2 on Google

Number #2 on Google

I review how Integrated Media Strategies is doing on Search platforms on a regular basis and for the past few months, we have been holding steady with a #2 ranking on Google for 'integrated media', just behind Wikipedia.  For a startup company less than a year old providing media and consulting services - not some buzzworthy Silicon Valley clone, it is a significant achievement. 

It also shows that it is possible for smaller companies providing good services and who have a sound integrated marketing and communications plan to be able to compete against organizations with far larger budgets.  But it does require some attention to what I call the basics:

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Joomla Help - how to create a link in text

Joomla Help - how to create a link in text

I originally created this help topic to assist members of the Experimental Aircraft Chapter whose site I created and manage.  Many of the members are older and were insecure about creating content on a website.  To foster engagement, HELP instructions demystifies the processes they use.  After all, if they are capable of following the instructions when building a kit aircraft, they can do so when posting to a website.

This page provides information about how to post a link in text on a Joomla site page using the TinyMCE text editor

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Integrated communications - the missing link in workforce development

Integrated communications - the missing link in workforce development


Both the American Manufacturing Association and the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association report a shortage of skilled technicians of hundreds and thousand of jobs.   They are just two industry sectors facing this challenge and with thousands of older technicians reaching retirement age, the trend may even accelerate.  Workers needed to fill these positions typically require a two -year degree or less and hands-on training on specialized equipment.  Other skills sets are also required, but these can also be met by community and technical colleges.  So why the shortfall?

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Happy holidays and 2012 in review

Happy holidays and 2012 in review

Integrated Media Strategies would like to wish all its clients happy holidays.  The company has had an eventful first year in business and has would like to thank it's clients here in the United States, the United Kingdom and China for the work we've been able to do for you in these past twelve months. 

We've launched multiple websites, helped build social media presences for several clients here in the U.S. and U.K., and assisted two Chinese companies with their English-language marketing.  Additionally,

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Creating a profile in Joomla's Easyblog

Creating a profile in Joomla's Easyblog

Working with a 10-community college statewide advanced manufacturing workforce development initiative called the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, which uses Joomla's Easyblog for their News & Updates, it became apparent that the participants needed some instructions on how to create their profiles on the site.  Helping people posting to the platform from within the site helps to ensure their postings are more consistent, complete, and provides some context about the person posting, their credentials and their role within the initiative.  This was particularly important to visitors from out of state, within the advanced manufacturing industry sector, or potential students interested in a career in advanced manufacturing. 

Although Easyblog provides more options for enhancing a profile and provides additional detail and fields that can be important for other blog uses, the steps below provide the basic information needed to get a person's profile looking useful.  The images below are from the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance site.

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Progress on Advanced Manufacturing Alliance site

Progress on Advanced Manufacturing Alliance site

Integrated Media Strategies has been assisting the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance for the past few months with their branding and helping them establish their communications infrastructure.  The alliance's website made a significant leap forward at the end of August, with the addition of most of the content to the site.

The alliance is an ambitious initiative using $18 million in DOL funding to significantly upgrade the quality of training for the advanced manufacturing industry in North Carolina.  It comprises 10 community colleges offering a range of certificate, diploma, and associate degrees aimed at producing graduates who can be hired by companies using advanced manufacturing for their products.  The website acts as an important bridging tool for the 10 community colleges, which are scattered statewide across North Carolina, as well as a powerful marketing tool for the state and a recruiting site to students interested in a career in advanced manufacturing.

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Video killed the radio star - and other technology shifts

Video killed the radio star - and other technology shifts

In the late 1990s, a technology change caused a massive shift in the way in which news organizations produced prime-time news.  While most news organizations were shooting on the industry standard at the time - Betacam SP - and editing tape to tape to produce the nightly news, I helped usher in the digital revolution at a TV newsroom in South Africa called eNews.  Although we shot on tape, the digital footage was imported to servers where it was accessible easily for viewing and editing on non-linear software. Commonplace today, the evening news, script, graphics and video was compiled and broadcast from server.  Although our newscast was an hour earlier than the flagship SABC competition, our deadlines for airtime were very similar.  It meant we could broadcast the same story as the competetition an hour earlier.

Server-based, nonlinear digital video was a key factor – along with a kick-ass team -- that allowed eNews to eclipse the SABC’s audience share within just a few months, overtaking their primetime evening news audience numbers. 

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Integrated media biofuels public education campaign showcased

A powerful, integrated media, public education campaign I led that cost-effectively reached more than 80% of North Carolina has received a write-up by the NC Department of Commerce.  It's being held up as a shining example of a ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment) energy project.  The biofuels education project was accomplished on a relatively tight budget and ran for a year.  At the time, I was the Communications Director of the Biofuels Center and I was responsible for concept, budget development and management, and implementation of the campaign. One example is embedded below.

It was launched in the Green NC tent at the 2010 State Fair. The fair attracts about a million people over a 10 day period.  The campaign included a dedicated website about biofuels answering the three main questions asked by the public - what are biofuels; where can I get biofuels; and, can my vehicle run on biofuels?  In the Green NC tent, we gave people the opportunity


to show their support for home-grown biofuels by starring in their own green-screen video which we edited on site, uploaded to Youtube and embedded in the website.  A Facebook page and twitter feed were also created to share information about the videos and to highlight fun and interesting videos.  By the end of the 10 days, more than 500 video endorsements had been shot and posted.  Those provided the basis for a traditional TV PSA campaign that was scheduled to run during March Madness and with a promotional piece done in conjunction with NC-based Novozymes, by the end of the short run, the Facebook page had attracted more than 2,000 fans.  Over the course of the next  eight months, working with a freelancer, the fanbase grew to almost 2,500.

The campaign is an excellent example of how the public, digital video, social media, traditional media, and informational content can be woven together effectively for high awareness about subject.  Integrated Media Strategies is doing similar projects for small businesses with brand and market development.

Read more about the project at the NC Department of Commerce.

 

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Single point of failure connectivity for the small business

Single point of failure connectivity for the small business

The storms that blew through yesterday with lightning that fried our company's modem and the data line from the road to our building reminded me of the old tech variant of the joke that 'real men don't do backups'.  My many years as a skydiver has taught me the value of a reserve parachute and developing a plan B.  What this means is examining processes for a single point of failure and then determining the cost/benefit that a failure at that point is likely to have for survival.  Clearly, in skydiving, it's a really good idea.

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Leaving a biofuels startup, now mature

About 1,500 people I know received an email about my planned departure from the Biofuels Center at the end of June.  Four and a half years ago, I helped start up the organization.  Earlier this year, I led the search for my replacement and provided transition support and change management assistance to the communications team and the Center.  Since its startup, the Center has grown to maturity and strategic communications efforts have resulted in its being widely seen as a credible, technical and economic development agency for biofuels globally.  For those who haven't subscribed to my news email list, it follows below. 

Biofuels Center website header

Norman Smit to Leave Biofuels Center

Oxford, N.C. - 26 June 012.  At the beginning of July, I will have left the Biofuels Center of North Carolina to devote myself fully to yet another startup; this time, my own communications company.

It seems just a short while ago that I joined five new colleagues for the first meeting of senior staff to start up the Biofuels Center, but four and a half years have passed.  Since then,

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