SPPR Consultants

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled a suite of Microsoft Surface products, including a signature tablet. The 9.3 mm Microsoft Surface tablet, powered by Windows 8, is a hair thinner than the 9.4 mm iPad 3, and its 10.6-inch display has a full inch on the iPad’s. The Surface’s two standout features are a full-sized, multitouch keyboard with trackpad that also doubles as the device’s case, and a built-in kickstand for hands-free use. It also includes a magnetized stylus that uses digital ink and a full-sized USB 2 port.

Watch the video->

Filed under microsoft tablet surface technology

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Why We Think Jeff Pester @SocialMedia411 is #FollowFriday Worthy

Our #FollowFriday worthy recommendation this week is Jeff Pester, founder of @SocialMedia411.   Jeff is an expert in consumer internet, social media platforms & applications, and behavioral economics.   He was named one of the “35 Influential People in Social Media” by Poynter Institute in 2010.  @SocialMedia411 curates highly relevant content for Social Media professionals.  Twitter Grader ranks @SociaMedia411 100 out of a possible 100, TwitterScore ranks it 10 out of 10, Topsy ranks it “Highly Influential”. It was also recently ranked #5 on the list of “25 Twitter Accounts Corporate Communicators Should Follow.”

To learn more about Jeff Pester, please visit his blog and follow him on Twitter @SocialMedia411 and @UniqueVisitor.

Who are your favorite Social Media Pros?  Share them in the comments below, so we can follow them too.

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Blogs that We Recommend

Each morning, the first thing I do is open my Google RSS Reader on my iPhone and lay in bed while catching up on the latest industry news.  Below are the blogs that I read and highly recommend if you’re interested in staying in the know about technology, social media, journalists and the PR industry.

10,000 Words - Where journalism and technology meet.  The ultimate resource for writers, journalists, photojournalists, and bloggers.  Features opportunities and social media news as well as “how to” information and jobs.

AllFacebook - A services directory for all things Facebook and a how-to-guide for Facebook marketing and development.  It also provides information on any viruses, changes with Facebook, upcoming events, and all Facebook news.

AllTwitter- The unofficial resource for all things Twitter.  Features analysis, information on bugs & issues, events, how to information, interviews, new features, and more.

Cision Blog - This blog, by the folks over at Cision, whose media database I use, discusses trends in the media and PR industries.  It offers strategies for adapting to a changing landscape, particularly with regard to social media.  They also interview influential journalists and top PR executives on broad industry trends.  In addition, they offer education about targeting campaigns to the right outlets and whole lot more.

FishBowlLA - A blog dedicated to LA media news… what could be better!  It features news about journalists, newspapers, the city of Los Angeles, and show business.  In addition, it has a section for job listings (powered by Media Bistro) and an Idiot Box to highlight when people do things in the public eye that are not so smart.

Journalistics - Journalistics is a blog dedicated to covering all topics at the intersection of public relations and journalism today.  This blog has great content, but I do wish it was organized a bit better with categories and archives.

Mashable- Mashable is the top source for news in social and digital media, technology and web culture. They are the most prolific news site reporting breaking web news, providing analysis of trends, reviewing new websites and services, and offering social media resources and guides.

PRNewser - This is such a great resource for PR professionals!  Not only does it offer media news, industry news, and news about changing companies, but it also offers information on opportunities to pick up new clients and jobs.  It also gives advice and insight to the world of PR, marketing, crisis communications and technology.

Social Times - As you might have guessed, this site offers social media news including social gaming, web videos, mobile, development  & design, privacy and various businesses, as well as events and job opportunities.

Entrepreneur- For entrepreneurs at every point of business, this blog is powered by Entrepreneur Magazine.  It offers advice, business ideas, franchise opportunities and a directory of tools and services.  If you are self employed or own a business, this is a MUST read!

TechCrunch -When it comes to tech news, no blog is better than Tech Crunch.  They are dedicated to profiling startups, reviewing new internet products, and breaking tech news.

Seth Godin - Seth Godin is a marketing pioneer!  He has written twelve best sellers that have been translated in 33 different languages.   A successful entrepreneur, author and public speaker, Seth popularized the topic of “permission marketing.”  Permission marketing is used generally in e-marketing,  where marketers obtain permission before sending email newsletters to prospective customers.

Is there a blog that you think I should check out?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Why We Think @LyndaDotCom is #FollowFriday Worthy

Lynda.comI am OBSESSED with @LyndaDotCom!  Forget about the training videos you can find on YouTube, Lynda.com has thousands of videos on hundreds of topics that are taught by hundreds of professionals.  They handle all of the production in-house to ensure the quality of the videos.

It’s a given that people need to have computer skills.  Technology changes constantly and this service is helpful in keeping your skills  current as it changes.  The service is available 24/7 and you can literally learn anything you want to know.  It even works on smart phones!

It’s organized so that you can find quick answers or you can take full courses equipped with exercises.  The monthly fee is cheap for what you get out of it… as low as $25/ mo.  They offer new releases every week and I’ve never had a problem finding a ton of info on anything I’m looking for.

Have a #FollowFriday recommendation?  Share it in the comments below, so we can follow them too.

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GUEST POST: 9 Killer Interview Tactics for Pitching YOU and Your Business!

Does this describe you? You’re an expert, author, speaker, CEO, showbiz pro, creative-entrepreneur, speaker – who charges a fee for providing a product, service, content or consultation in a particular industry or field?

Someone with a good deal of firsthand knowledge, experience, training, or experience in a particular field or activity?

If it is, then you need to get the word out! By using media, you get to tell the world who you are, what you’re selling and what problem your business, product or service solves for the people that want to buy from you!

What this means to you is, you’ve got to learn how to PITCH IT TO PROMOTE IT so you can TELL IT TO SELL IT!

MURPHY’S LAW: In 2011, media is “Anyone, or anything that has the ability to take your message and move it forward.”

To get ‘celebritized’ and start using media so you can jump on the PITCHING and PROMOTING bandwagon, you need to begin by analyzing and breaking down exactly it is that you have to offer – so you can create and deliver a KILLER PITCH for it. A killer pitch is Media Gold!

It will make the difference between – as Mark Twain so famously said, “The lightening bug and the light.”

Here are 9 INTERVIEW TACTICS! For Creating and Delivering A Killer Pitch…

1. Define your expertise in simple language. Break it down.

2. Create 2 or 3 concise messages that best describes your skill set.

3. Create a 10sec and 20 sec pitch that tells your story.

4. Prepare in advance and know what you’re going to talk about.

5. Think bulletpoints to keep your message and pitch concise and fluid.

6. Stay on topic and stay focused. Be specific.

7. Give details and know when they’re needed: places, names and dates.

8. Connect your pitch to a story or trend in the headlines. This makes your expertise timely, newsworthy and something people are already thinking about.

9. Relax, enjoy and take your time and have fun.  You’re the star of the ME SHOW starring YOU!

Can you confidently pitch yourself, business, product or service to the media, or a prospective client – get the deal, get in the door and get up and running?

If your answer isn’t a definitive and resounding YES, then check out my book, “Interview Tactics!” REALLY.

It’s loaded with all the media power-tools and insider techniques and tactics you need for creating and delivering winning soundbites and a killer pitch.

Murphy’s Law: “If you can’t tell your own story who can and who will?”

Gayl Murphy is The Celebritizer. A respected media and presentational coach, speaker and author of INTERVIEW TACTICS! HOW TO SURVIVE THE MEDIA WITHOUT GETTING CLOBBERED!

She media consults, trains and coaches entrepreneurs, authors, experts, executives, companies and corporations.

Gayl is also an award winning Hollywood correspondent. Her celebrity interviews, news features and Hollywood commentary have appeared on TV, radio, print and online worldwide, including ABC News, BBC News BBC5Live, SKY News  and E! among many others.

Get a Free Interview Tactics! Report at www.InterviewTactics.com

About Gayl Murphy

Gayl Murphy is a Media Expert, veteran Hollywood correspondent, speaker, media and presentational business coach and the author of the bestselling Interview Tactics! How to Survive the Media without Getting Clobbered!

As a Hollywood Correspondent, Murphy specializes in interviewing the industry’s biggest stars. Based in Hollywood, she has worked with many of the top news outlets including; ABC News, BBC News, E! and SKY News, to name a few. The media-savvy Murphy has been up-close and personal with about 14,000 of the most famous celebrities and news-makers in the world.

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Virtual Agency vs. Traditional Agency

Virtual Agency vs. Traditional Agency

Traditional Agency is designed to be most cost-effective when the most inexperienced people do the most work.

Virtual Agency is designed to utilize the skills of Independent PR and Marketing professionals, who have an average of over ten years of experience, who work together and service clients virtually, rather than working together under one roof.

At a Traditional Agency, you pay high retainer fees  to help pay for their big, fancy offices.

At a Virtual Agency, we don’t have expensive office overhead, so we pass that savings on to you by keeping our rates much lower than the traditional, office-based agency.

Traditional Agencies are struggling to hold onto clients who are seeking lower-cost methods of developing marketing ideas and creating content.

Virtual Agency business model provides clients with an experienced team of consultants that can flexibly expand or contract, depending on your needs.

Traditional Agencies are limited to using the people that they have for projects, even if they are not the right match.

At a Virtual Agency, account teams are matched based on the associates’ skill set, niche or industry experience.

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Equipment Needed to Start a Podcast

Podcasts are a great way to build an audience and create opportunity for individuals as well as businesses. Podcasts let you interact with audiences in a way that blogs can’t. Setting up a podcast is easy, but there’s a few things you need to get started.   For starters, you’ll need a microphone for each guest you plan to have on your podcast.  If you are going to have two or more people talking, you probably want a USB mixer.  You’ll also need recording software such as GarageBand (found on most Mac computers), Cool Edit for the PC user, or you can get fancier software like Abobe Soundbooth or ProTools.  There is also the option of doing a mobile podcast, in which you can eliminate the mixer and use a recording device such as the Zoom H4n.

Below are our recommendations for audio equipment that were given to us by producers of some of the biggest podcasts around:

For the Mobile Studio…

Zoom H4n Portable Recorder (has a built in microphone that works great!)

If you are looking to take your podcast on the road, this little device, which fits in the palm of your hand, is a mobile recording dynamo with features that outperform devices that cost twice as much.   It is an outstanding value for podcasters who demand professional sounding results and eliminates the need for having to record into your computer.   It’s easy to use and offers multi-track recording, onboard X/Y stereo microphones, 2 XLR inputs for additional microphones, hi-speed USB 2.0 for transferring files to your computer at the highest rate available, 1 GB SD card (upgradeable to 32 GB), and much more..  The built-in tuner is ideal for musicians as it allows for quickly checking the pitch of a vocalist or for tuning an instrument.

Check out this video review of the Zoom H4n from The Art of Podcasting on YouTube.

XLR Microphone for use with the Zoom H4n (for multiple guests)

This is a high-end microphone that works great with the Zoom H4n.  This isn’t a USB microphone, so you won’t be able to use it with your computer.  However, if you plan on setting up a mobile podcast, this is the way to go.  The Shure Dynamic Vocal Microphone handles extreme volume levels without distortion, an integral “pop” filter to reduce explosive breath sounds and wind noise, and is less susceptible to feedback in high volume settings.

For the Home Studio…

Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone


Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser USB Microphone

Both are high quality microphones that offer a crystal-clear, natural sound for podcasting, home studio recording, and voiceovers.   They are both USB plug n play Mac and PC compatible and offer studio-quality articulation and intelligibility.   The Yeti features four different pattern settings so you can record vocals, instrumental music, podcasts, or interviews in ways that would normally require multiple microphones.  They also feature simple controls for headphone volume, pattern selection, instant mute, and microphone gain.

Alesis MultiMix USB Mixer

As mentioned, if you are going to have two or more people talking, it’s a good idea to have a USB mixer.  The MultiMix 8 USB 2.0 is a compact tabletop mixer providing USB technology for ultra-fast, low-latency audio recording straight to your computer. Designed with low-noise analog electronics, it lets users take advantage of 100 studio-grade 28-bit digital effects. It also comes bundled with Cubase LE software and features is compatible with Mac and PC computers.

We’d love to hear your comments if you’ve used any of this equipment or have experience using other equipment.

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ExpertSourcing… A Better Way To Crowdsource

Crowdsourcing has become the philosophy behind SPPR Consultants, utilizing a model of ExpertSourcing, where we take the job of a traditionally retained agency and outsource it to an expert group of creative service professionals.

ExpertSourcing gives brands the chance to create global or local campaigns with more creative options that disrupts the traditional agency model. We limit our community to only the best of the best.  We only accept professionals who have a minimum of five years of experience and are top-notch, vetted experts who are highly skilled in their specialty.

Our clients benefit because they have access to a network of senior level creative professionals who are best suited to perform their needed tasks, solve complex problems and to contribute with the most relevant and fresh ideas.

By bringing creative professionals together in a social community, they benefit from being exposed to new business opportunities as well as from being part of a community.  They are able to share ideas and resources, participate in discussions, team up with people on projects and to network with talented people all over the world.

How Does Expert Sourcing Work?

1. Company has a problem.

2. Company submits a brief with the details of the problem.

3. The Experts pitch their solutions and bid to the company.

4.  The company awards winning problem solver(s).

5.  The Company and Experts profit.

Do you think ExpertSourcing can help your brand?  Try it out - submit a brief.

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Why Brands Should Ditch The Big Agencies

The idea that major brands can now source equal quality creative work without paying huge retainer fees to the big agencies, is reason enough to sit up and take notice.  After all, many of the players in the Creative Services Network are from the big agencies.

For the past 50 or 60 years, the method for most agencies has been to bill by the hour or to charge flat retainer fees, regardless of how much value they actually provide.  Agencies have high overhead and clients aren’t just paying for the time and talents of creative people, they’re also paying for the overhead as well as unproductive time and inefficiencies.  Agencies typically charge 300% of each employee’s actual hourly labor cost, in order to account for downtime, trendy office space, administrative costs, and profit margins.  Additionally, when you hire an agency, the client has limited awareness and control over who is on the creative team and what they’re actually doing.  The high-profile, experienced talent who attend the pitch meeting to win the client’s business might not actually be involved in the day-to-day work once the client has hired the agency.

The Creative Services Network is challenging the traditional agency model as being inefficient and over-priced.  It is now possible to hire creative talent on a project-by-project basis.  By using an ExpertSourcing model, which posts briefs to a vetted community of creative professionals who have joined as “experts,” brands gain access to top talent who collaborate with each other online and band together for different projects.   By using the internet as a key communication tool, there are no formal headquarters and therefore no costly overhead and those savings can be passed on to the client.  Additionally, there are no restrictions on geographic location and the diversity of skills and expertise in the network makes it possible to create global or local campaigns.

Why not ditch your agency and submit a brief to the Creative Services Network today?

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Most Searched Terms of 2011

In case you haven’t heard by now, Facebook topped the list of most-searched terms by American Internet users in 2011, according to a report from Experian Hitwise.

This is the third year in a row that Facebook topped the list and this year they showed up in four different iterations: “Facebook,” “Facebook login,” “Facebook.com,” and “www.Facebook.com.”  The company’s name accounted for 3.1% of all searches, a 46% jump over last year.  YouTube accounted for 1.36% of searches, a 21% increase over last year.  Yahoo was also up 15%.

Here is the full list:

1.  Facebook

2.  YouTube

3.  Facebook Login

4.  Craigslist

5.  Facebook.com

6.  Yahoo

7.  eBay

8.  www.facebook.com

9.  Mapquest

10.  Yahoo.com

Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian ranked at the top of the most popular public figure and top personality search.   Justin Bieber was the 92nd most popular overall search term in the United States in 2011.

Here is the list of top figure searches:

1. Justin Bieber (92)Justin Bieber

2. Casey Anthony (178)

3. Kim Kardashian (193)

4. Nicki Minaj (210)

5. Selena Gomez (244)

6. Charlie Sheen (292)

Here is the list of the top five searches from within the Personalities category (sites focused on celebrities and stars):

1. Kim KardashianKim Kardashian

2. Glenn Beck

3.Rush Limbaugh

4. Robert Pattinson

5. Khloe Kardashian

In the movies category, the top five searches were:

1. Star WarsStar Wars

2. Transformers 3

3. (Twilight) Breaking Dawn

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

5. Fast Five

Music:Lady Gaga

1. Lady Gaga

2. Justin Beiber

3. Beyonce

4. Taylor Swift

5. Chris Brown

Branded Destinations:

1. Disney WorldDisneyworld

2. Disneyland

3. Great Wolf Lodge

4. Walt Disney World

5. Universal Studios Orlando

Top TV Show Searches:

1. American IdolAmerican Idol

2. Young and the Restless

3. Dora the Explorer

4. Dancing with the Stars

5. Days of our Lives

To find out more about this list and about Experian Hitwise, please visit http://www.hitwise.com.

Why not start 2012 off with a bang and submit a brief to get pitched by our network of experts for your company’s marketing campaign.