COLOUR SEPS, FREE CONSULTATION, CASE STUDIES AND SOME OTHER, QUITE FUNNY, THINGS

Subject: COLOUR SEPS, FREE CONSULTATION, CASE STUDIES AND SOME OTHER, QUITE FUNNY, THINGS

December 17, 2007

‘PRefect BY MAIL’ – PR & MARKETING NEWS FROM STONE JUNCTION

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IN THIS ISSUE:
- EDITOR’S LETTER
- BEATING THE COLOUR SEPERATION TRAP – HOW TO WORK WITH MAGAZINES TO - PROVIDE BETTER CONTENT
- FREE COMMUNICATIONS AUDIT
- SEE A STONE JUNCTION POWERPOINT CASE STUDY
- BUSINESS BOOK REVIEWS: CONFESSIONS OF AN ADVERTISING MAN
- CLIENT TESTIMONIAL – TM ROBOTICS (EUROPE) LTD
- THINGS WE’VE FOUND FUNNY THIS MONTH – FROM THE STONE JUNCTION BLOG

Participate in the Stone Junction online vote on the most effective elements of your marketing mix here: www.stone-junction.blogspot.com.

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Dear Communications Professional,

“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat and the time to reconsider the way you spend you marketing budget, before creating a plan for 2008 is coming.” Okay, perhaps that phrase doesn’t trip off the tongue quite as well as the original Christmas carol version but nevertheless it’s true. December brings with it the opportunity to look back on the year and consider the results your PR spend has delivered. With that in mind, this edition of PRefect, the Stone Junction newsletter for marketing and PR professionals, has been created to help you make those decisions.

We begin the newsletter with a short analysis of that bugbear of engineering and technology PR, the practice of charging colour separations. If you have a strong opinion on this practice, I would love you to post it on the Stone Junction Blog. There’s even a link in the article below for you to follow if you want to do this, making things simpler than simple.

If this has whetted your appetite for a good chat about PR, take advantage of the offer made in the next story – a free communications audit from Stone Junction, covering your PR practice and its impact on other elements of your marketing activity. The second offer in this festive season of Christmas plenty takes the form of an auto running case study in PowerPoint format. This contains analysis of a Stone Junction run, Toshiba Machine campaign - covering both product launches and opinion forming tactics. To take advantage of either offer, read on to the story in question or contact Richard Stone direct on 020 8699 7743 or richards@stonejunction.co.uk.

Next, if you still don’t know what to do with your marketing budget for 2008, why not dip into Confessions of an advertising man, David Ogilvy’s seminal text reviewed in this issue? It really does contain some sound advice that can be applied to the modern technology marketing mix.

December’s issue has as its penultimate story another testimonial for Stone Junction, this time from TM Robotics’ managing director Nigel Smith. Following this, there will, of course, be some light-hearted observations gleaned from the Stone Junction Blog. Oh, and for the two recipients of the last edition of this mail who were interested enough to play Pac-Man on our Web site, you can play Space Invaders this month.

Blimey-o-Reilly, that’s an interesting newsletter and a half in anyone’s money…

Best regards,

Richard Stone, BA, MA, MCIPR
Managing director,
Stone Junction Limited

PS – If you want Stone Junction to discuss your PR needs, get in touch. We would love your business, that’s why you’re on this newsletter’s circulation. Contact us by replying to this mail or using this contacts page: http://www.stonejunction.co.uk/cont.htm

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BEATING THE COLOUR SEPERATION TRAP – HOW TO WORK WITH MAGAZINES TO PROVIDE BETTER CONTENT

As a public relations junkie, sorry practitioner, I’m often approached by firms who want to generate publicity for their products or services but have become tired of issuing press material only to be confronted by a request for payment before it’s used.

Often a trade magazine will ask for something called a ‘colour separation’ before publishing an article or news story. This is particularly true in the engineering industry and related areas of the media. The practice isn’t great for publishing, but as pragmatists we have to accept it. Personally, I believe that if magazines and newspapers ran only editorial that had been selected or written by the editor, or another journalist, the value of the magazine would be greater. Readers would give it more credence and ultimately it would be able to charge higher rates for its advertising. As a result, it wouldn’t then have to charge colour separations for editorial. However, I’m not here to argue with the business case of individual magazines – they too are pragmatists.

But that still leaves plenty of businesses out there facing the dilemma of what to do if they can’t get publicity without paying colour separation requests. So here’s my practical advice to them:

- Make it interesting: The main reason a journalist will not run the material you send them for free is that it isn’t interesting enough. The best thing you can do is make sure that your press releases aren’t short adverts for your company but rather news stories you could envisage one of your customers finding interesting enough to read.

- Target the magazine individually: It’s much better to generate one really strong piece of well targeted coverage than several poor quality pieces of badly targeted press. To this end, read the magazines you want to appear in and make sure the copy you send them is appropriate to their readership.

- Tackle every opportunity in the magazine: You should be producing news for the news pages, features for the features pages and letters for the letters pages - and so on. Don’t simply presume that a press release about your new widget will be perfect for the front cover. Instead find a home for it in the right part of the right magazine.

Finally, as a caveat, advertise. Most magazines that charge to run editorial do so because they can’t generate enough revenue through advertising. By choosing the right magazines for your advertising spend, no matter how small it is, you will find that the magazine is much healthier when you come target it via PR. This doesn’t mean that, by advertising, you gain the right to appear in the news pages - merely that those news pages will still be there when you have the right story for them! I say this without bias – Stone Junction doesn’t book advertising for its clients so I can’t make money out of this particular suggestion.

I would like to conclude this month’s rant by inviting your stories and anecdotes, advice and complaints about the worlds of publishing, promotion, journalism and PR. I would love to hear about your experiences – so leave a message about this article on the Stone Junction Blog and get the debate going http://stone-junction.blogspot.com/2007/12/beating-colour-separation-trap.html. Alternatively, if you are more interested in talking to Stone Junction about your PR requirements, give us a call on 020 8699 7743.

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FREE COMUNICATIONS AUDIT

Stone Junction, the media relations and strategic communications firm that produces PRefect by Mail, is offering all of its readers the opportunity to receive a free marketing communications audit. Contact Richard Stone on 020 8699 7743 for more details.

The audit will be conducted at your premises and can cover any or all of the following issues:

- Media relations – Assessing not only content but also the tactics and strategies you employ*
- Speaker opportunities – Looking at the process you use to obtain places as well as preparation and ways of maximising the opportunities available on the day
- Integrated communications – An analysis of how above the line tactics work in tandem with other investment
- The Internet – How you can improve your Web site content, present it better and integrate it more closely with PR strategy
- Direct mail material – Addressing the way your PR tactics positively benefit your direct mail campaigns

Within a week of the consultation you will receive a written report focusing on areas of improvement. This report will include recommendations on how to improve areas of concern as well as budgetary guidelines for doing so. However, it will not be a proposal from Stone Junction nor a quotation, although this can be provided on request.

Contact Richard Stone, on 020 8699 7743 or e-mail richards@stonejunction.co.uk.

*Please note: Stone Junction will not offer advice on investor or analyst relations practice, should this apply to your campaign, on the day.

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SEE A STONE JUNCTION POWERPOINT CASE STUDY

If you are addressing the way you conduct your PR campaigns, we would love to send you a copy of a recent case study, in auto-running PowerPoint format. The case study covers the promotion of a several new products on behalf of a Stone Junction client, as well as the initiation of a thought leadership campaign to position them at the forefront of thinking within their industry. If you would like to see a copy, just e-mail me at powerpointcasestudy@stonejunction.co.uk.

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BUSINESS BOOK REVIEWS: CONFESSIONS OF AN ADVERTISING MAN

Continuing my series of reviews of books that haven’t been published recently I’ve been reading David Ogilvy’s seminal Confessions of an advertising man of late. It’s a great insight into a bygone era of advertising, in which almost all of Ogilvy’s clients were peers of the realm, but, despite this, it’s still relevant.

What’s more, this book about advertising is relevant to the PR industry and to anyone running a small business. Actually it’s quite relevant to anyone running any business of any size.

Firstly though, its significance for PROs lies not only in its insights on positioning but also in its wonderful chapter on copy writing. The section on headline writing is particularly pertinent. I won’t reproduce these guidelines here in full but, let’s just say, fans of headlines that are little more than clever if irrelevant puns will not be delighted.

In terms of running an agency, or indeed a business of any kind, Ogilvy’s thoughts on creating a company culture are still important. Ignoring the fact that, due to being written by an ad exec in the sixties, they are rigidly male orientated, many of the tips in the book are still useful.

For instance, Ogilvy believes that you get nowhere in business without manners. He writes, “We detest office politicians, toadies, bullies and pompous asses. We abhor ruthlessness.” In terms of setting the standard for an agency culture he isn’t far short of the mark here and very in tune with modern HR practice.

So, in summary, Confessions of advertising man may not be new but it’s still worth a plane ride or train journey of anyone’s time. Now, I’m off to the House of Lords to see if I can bag a few more clients…

PS – My only complaint might be that, if one insists on lambasting the readability of type when set in reverse (a light colour printed on a dark background) as Ogilvy does, it might be an idea to not set the type on the cover using exactly that technique. I should revert to the more attractive sixties cover which featured a haggard Ogilvy smoking a pipe if I were the publisher…

To read more business book reviews, go to the Stone Junction Blog, PRefect: http://stone-junction.blogspot.com/

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CLIENT TESTIMONIAL – TM ROBOTICS (EUROPE) LTD

“Stone Junction produces all the text for our PR and advertising material, as well as brochures and other print copy. We rarely change a word. The key is to provide the right person with the right information at the right time. If you can do this, the end result will be effective material, produced quickly,” Nigel Smith, managing director, TM Robotics (Toshiba Machine).

To see the kind of material Stone Junction produces for TM Robotics, take a look at the company’s press Blog http://www.tmrobotics-pr.blogspot.com/ or its German press Blog www.tmrobotics-presseanfragen.blogspot.com/

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THINGS WE’VE FOUND FUNNY THIS MONTH – FROM THE STONE JUNCTION BLOG

This month Stone Junction has mostly been laughing at amusing videos sent in by visitors to its Blog – PRefect (http://www.stone-junction.blogspot.com/). The first is an absolute classic on the makings of an engineer. Take a look at it here:

http://stone-junction.blogspot.com/2007/11/blog-post.html

And if laughing at engineers doesn’t give you enough of a sense of self deprecating pleasure, why not laugh at the other side of the technology marketeers’ personality by taking a look at this video about Hollywood PR execs planning a campaign:

http://stone-junction.blogspot.com/2007/11/blog-post_30.html

It should be stressed that the views expressed in both of these videos are not necessarily held by Stone Junction. We do think they are funny in the most part though.

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WHY YOU’RE GETTING THIS NEWSLETTER: We’ve probably met at some point and you gave me your business card. Or, you may have subscribed to the newsletter from our Web site. There is even a slight chance that I’ve purchased a commercially available e-mail list and your name was on it. Actually, if this is the first edition you have received, that is almost certainly the case. Anyway, all you have to do to stop receiving this newsletter is send an e-mail with a blank subject line to mailto:unsubscribe@stonejunction.co.uk or use the auto unsubscribe facility at the bottom of this e-mail.

Or, and this would be my preferred option, just play Space Invaders on the Blog instead. You know who you are http://stone-junction.blogspot.com/2007/03/or-just-play-space-invaders.html

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ABOUT STONE JUNCTION: Stone Junction is a PR and strategic communications agency specialising in technology and engineering technology. As well as PR it offers writing services for other media, such as newsletters and internal communications material. If you want to contact Stone Junction, you can do so on 020 8699 7743 or by e-mail on mailto:richards@stonejunction.co.uk.

Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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