December 2012: Issue 1
CyberAlert hasn't issued a weekly media monitoring newsletter during November.
Sandy hit CyberAlert hard.
Our offices are located on the water in Connecticut. Our co-hosting facility is located on the 30th floor at 33 Whitehall St. at the tip of Manhattan. I live at the beach on Long Island Sound.
On Monday evening (October 29th), my home lost power at 7:00 p.m. From our porch, I watched the salt water roll up the street at 7:30 (high tide was midnight) - and evacuated. I told my wife and 15-year-old grandson that we'd be leaving in 2 ½ minutes. I instructed them to take their suitcases and their most important stuff.
When we arrived at our destination, we discovered that our grandson's most important possessions consisted of cell phone, computer and two bags of Halloween candy! (Hey, he had communications, entertainment and food.) During the brunt of the storm, we were on high ground with electricity. Everyone was safe.
Power would stay out in our home for eight days. Our basement, with 20 years of accumulated "treasures," had five feet of water that submerged the electrical panel, furnace and water heaters. Our entire yard had two feet of water, covering the A/C compressors and ruining all plantings. Our property was just outside the floodplain until this year when the new maps included it within the floodplain. We had no flood insurance. Thankfully, water just missed entering the living area by about 6 inches. We got back into our house on November 10 after pumping out the water, replacing the damaged equipment and filling a 32' dumpster with the contents of our basement. My wife called it a welcomed clean-out. (We did receive a visit from FEMa. More about that later.)
At our office location on the Housatonic River, the water level normally rises about 6 feet at high tide; during Sandy, it rose over 14 feet. Water and debris flooded the parking lot and came up to the building entry, but did not enter the offices. The building was inaccessible because of the debris. (The number of plastic drink containers in the debris was astounding.) Power was out for four days.
Our co-hosting facility which houses all our servers in New York City sustained the greatest damage. The water from the harbor filled the 30-foot basement and 2 feet of the lobby, flooding the electrical panels and the pumps to move diesel fuel to the roof-top power generators. As a result, the back-up generators did not work and our entire media monitoring system, including our corporate email, went down on the night of the storm. Power from the grid was not restored to lower Manhattan for eight days. Even when grid power was restored, 33 Whitehall could not accept the power because water had compromised the electrical panels. With no elevators and or emergency lighting, entry to the building was restricted. As a result, we were unable to get to our equipment to move it to another location. Believing our system was fully backed up in our co-hosting facility, we did not have another full system in a second location.
Our co-hosting facility procured a mobile generator and got it working on Wednesday, November 7. Our technicians went to New York to reboot our servers - and we were up and running again - for three hours. The mobile generator failed. It took another day to procure and install a replacement generator. Our technicians again went to New York to reboot our systems - this time during the second storm, a Nor'easter that deposited four to six inches of snow. (Sidelight: the technicians were prohibited by guards from parking in an underground garage. Reason given: "You are not a boat.")
Our news aggregation system came back on line on Thursday, November 8. The system gathered virtually all the missed news over a two-day period - and our clients received their missed clips on Friday, November 9.
But that wasn't the end of the problems. After working well for a few days, the roof-top generator and the back-up street-level generator both failed almost simultaneously. Reason: contaminated diesel fuel was delivered to both generators from the same truck. (Aside: that's the reason the pilot and co-pilot on the same plane never eat the same food.)
Throughout the co-hosting facility failures, our first priority was getting the service back up and running. The best way to accomplish that was to patiently wait for the co-hosting facilities and Caterpillar to get the back-up generators to work. During the entire outage, we were identifying and negotiating with other co-hosting facilities. Upon seeing the system disappear from our screens on November 15, our technical staff immediately went to New York to remove and relocate our equipment, even as I continued to negotiate with other facilities.
Our staff had removed the equipment even before I had decided where they should take it. That evening, our technicians reinstalled our servers in a facility owned and run by CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) in New Jersey. The facility is on the grid with multiple back-up generators, and never lost power during the storm. The removal, transport, reinstall and return home took about 13 hours. Our staff got home at 4:30 a.m. and returned to work at 7:30 a.m. to make all the changes in settings required by a change in location and resulting change in IP addresses.
It took another two days for the system to fully recover and aggregate the missed articles.
The system has worked normally since then.
During the entire outage, we kept our clients informed of the current status with twice-daily email notices.
Our clients were absolutely amazing! Their understanding, patience and support were astonishing. Only one client cancelled CyberAlert service as a result of the storm. Clients expressed only sympathy for the problems we were encountering. One major client sent early payment for November (no bill was sent), explaining that maybe we might need some extra cash to deal with our crisis.
It is impossible to express how grateful we are to our clients and their loyalty to us. Thank you all so much!
I would also like to give praise and give thanks to our employees for their diligence during our outage — even while they too were without power at home. Our staff didn't have a single day off during the period and on many days worked nearly round the clock to restore service.
We are now in the process of selecting a second co-hosting facility or cloud-based system which will duplicate all our servers and software - and provide additional computing capability. The dual systems will be designed to assure that both cannot be down simultaneously. Our commitment: no natural catastrophe will put CyberAlert down again.
It's been a very long few weeks for both us and our clients. We apologize to our clients and appreciate their support.
Ironically, coming off our worst possible two weeks, PR Week profiled the CyberAlert All-in-One Media Monitoring Service. You can see the article featuring one of our clients at http://www.prweekus.com/cyberalert-offers-all-in-one-media-monitoring-solution/article/267858/
CyberAlert is back.
We hope you'll give our media monitoring services a try. Our f.r.e.e. trial for online news, TV news and social media monitoring is available from our home page at http://www.cyberalert.com/
Finally, about FEMa: Urged by many friends, neighbors and colleagues to register with FEMA, I reluctantly filled out a registration form online on Saturday, November 3 - expecting nothing. The next day, Sunday, FEMA called to say an inspector would be at our house on Monday to assess the damage. The inspector arrived and made a thorough evaluation. On Saturday, November 10, five days later, a U.S. Treasury check arrived in our mailbox to defray costs of alternate housing and flood damage. The check didn't cover the entire repair cost by any means, but it was substantial. The president promised no red tape and quick action. FEMA fulfilled that promise in Connecticut.
Many thanks to all who supported us during our service outage.
Why Public Relations Gets No Respect
You don't believe that PR gets no respect? Well, companies spend 30 times more on advertising than public relations. Advertising professionals make up to 75% more than PR counterparts. Yet, most everyone acknowledges that PR is important, maybe even critical. The article lists four key reasons Why Public Relations Gets No Respect
including lack of ability to track results, negative perception among journalists, and lack of scale. It points out, however, that those limitations are being overcome and PR has the opportunity to move center stage (see Edelman article below).
Our Time to Lead
6 a.m. (Richard Edelman)
"Our" is PR. Our Time to Lead
makes the case that the new paradigm of public engagement and its increasing complexity elevates PR above advertising in the communications hierarchy. Edelman explains the five operational principles of public engagement under which PR will lead the communications of most organizations.
Why PR Should Take Social Media Seriously
Social media has reach and influence. That's Why PR Should Take Social Media Seriously
. Social media is also replacing traditional news media. Bullas includes data to prove it if you don't believe it - and offers a list of key PR values in social media.
Embargoes, NDAs, and Tech Journalism's Way of Doing Business
A leading website on journalism examines the strange media relations methods in Silicon Valley. Calling an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) an embargo with legal consequences - and decrying the use of both, Embargoes, NDAs, and Tech Journalism's Way of Doing Business
tracks the trajectory of one tech story that required both an NDA and an embargo and examines the limitations of both.
Social Media Crisis Plans for Global Organizations
Managing a global social media crisis is orders of magnitude more complex than a local or national crisis. In Social Media Crisis Plans for Global Organizations
, Melissa Agnes first lays out the questions crisis managers need to ask in advance about organizing for a crisis response - and then offers guidance on how best to answer each question.
The Third Phase of Social Marketing
Phase 1 was social listening. Phase 2 was social management. The Third Phase of Social Marketing
is collaborative marketing in which companies and brands leverage and monetize the enormous amounts of data gathered through social media. The article offers five steps to position your company and its brands for success during Phase 3 of social marketing.
Understanding the New Roles in Marketing
It's said here that the size of marketing departments has more than doubled since August 2011. Most of the new folks are filling positions that didn't exist a few years ago including evangelist, customer experience analyst, in-bounding marketing specialist, SEO specialist and more. Understanding the New Roles in Marketing
offers abbreviated job descriptions of new marketing positions and looks at changes in traditional marketing positions.
10 Talks about the Beauty - and Difficulty - of Being Creative
Presentations at the TED conference are highly-regarded for special insights from high-level speakers. 10 Talks about the Beauty - and Difficulty - of Being Creative
assembles video presentations made over the years on the subject of "creativity." As explained in the introduction, the lead presentation by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Spark: How Creativity Works
identifies four lessons that creative people should embrace: 1) Pay attention to the world around you, and open yourself to experiences that might change you. 2) Recognize that the great work often results from the most difficult life experiences. 3) Understand that pushing up against a limitation can actually help you find your voice. 4) Be willing to explore loss such as rejection, heartbreak or death — because making beauty out of these things is so powerful. The article includes nine other high-profile presenters including David Kelley, CEO of Ideo; Izaac Mizrahi, fashion designer; writer Amy Tan; and Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols. The series is likely the best lifetime learning curriculum you'll find on the subject of creativity - taught by masters.
10 Tips to Manage Criticism
If it seems you are standing with a target on your head in the middle of a circle of critics, you may want to consult the 10 Tips to Manage Criticism
. One overriding rule: chill out. Next steps: listen, consider, accept or reject graciously.
Build Your Reputation the Rachel Ray Way
Harvard Business Review
Becoming a recognized leader in any field depends in large measure on building a "personal brand" as an expert.
Build Your Reputation the Rachel Ray Way
uses the Food Network star as a prototype for developing a world class reputation as an expert - a process any professional can learn.
Step One: develop world-class skills and be prepared to capitalize on your big break.
Burn Off That Thanksgiving Feast - 17 Infographics to Inspire You to Exercise
Look Back Article
Five Tips for Telling Better Stories
New York Times
Being a good storyteller can be a very handy skill both personally and professionally. As storytelling has gained credence in corporate communications, it's worth understanding the routines of a good story - in both fiction and PR. (Hopefully, they don't co-exist.) Five Tips for Telling Better Stories
looks at five key techniques used by great storytellers. For more on the subject, Emma Coats, former storyboard artist at Pixar Studios tweeted 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling
, a series of insights about storytelling in the form of epigrams, transformed here into an Infographic. Still waiting for the Narrator in Chief
in the New York Times
analyzes the failings of President Obama as a storyteller, even though he is almost universally recognized as a great orator. To be successful, leaders need effective storytelling - and for a successful second term, Mr. Obama must tell the story of the economy and his solutions more effectively.
During the outage, we actually prepared issues of the newsletter, expecting that our service would be restored. Because of the power failures, we could not distribute those issues. Here are some of the selected articles from those issues.
Lessons from the Election
6 a.m. (Richard Edelman)
10 Global Megatrends Affecting Public Relations
At the Global PR Summit, Grayling CEO Michael Murphy pointed out that major global trends including austerity in the developed world, the economic shift to emerging markets, global urbanization and demographic shifts are impacting the practice of public relations. 10 Global Megatrends Affecting Public Relations
includes 24 very informative slides from the presentation.
Public Relations & Wikipedia: It's Complicated
A crowd-sourced online encyclopedia reviewed and approved by subject matter experts, Wikipedia is an enormously influential information source. Very often, the Wikipedia entry is the #1 result in a Google search. Have you ever tried to modify a Wikipedia entry about your company — or to include your company's slant on an industry subject? It's not easy. All entries are governed by strict policies including conflict of interest. The editors can be, ummmm, difficult. Public Relations & Wikipedia: It's Complicated
examines the issues and the "right way" for PR to use Wikipedia. Hint: there are freelance writers who now specialize in writing and modifying Wikipedia entries.
Bad PR: 78 Irresistible Stories & 20 Lessons
The PR Coach
Sometimes what seems to be a good marketing or PR program backfires. More than guffawing over the blunders, we should learn from the mistakes of others. The PR Coach gives us that learning opportunity with multiple case examples in Bad PR: 78 Irresistible Stories & 20 Lessons
How Social Intelligence Can Guide Decisions
Monitoring social media can produce market insights that, aggregated, engender a new level of "social intelligence" to shape corporate decision-making. Here's a key paragraph from the article: "Many people who have expert knowledge and shape perceptions about markets are freely exchanging data and viewpoints through social platforms. By identifying and engaging these players, employing potent Web-focused analytics to draw strategic meaning from social-media data, and channeling this information to people within the organization who need and want
it, companies can develop a "social intelligence" that is forward looking, global in scope, and capable of playing out in real time." You have to register on the site to see the entirety of How Social Intelligence Can Guide Decisions
. It's worth it - and McKinsey Quarterly has many interesting articles.
3 Examples Show How Online Monitoring Boosts Media Relations
Most organizations use media monitoring to document PR success. There are many other productive uses of media monitoring as explained in 3 Examples Show How Online Monitoring Boosts Media Relations
. Example #1: crowd-sourcing product development. Example #2: Identifying time-sensitive media relations opportunities. Example #3: Improve content marketing approaches.
North American AMEC Chapter Measurement Summit 2012
11 Reasons Why Social Business Is Like Dating
Metaphors can help us understand. Often, metaphors stretch too far, but the "dating dance" is a particularly adept metaphor for the process of engagement in social media, as explained by Susanna Gebauer in 11 Reasons Why Social Business Is Like Dating
. Mind well: it's not all about scoring.
The Psychology of Storytelling: 10 Proven Ways to Create Stories (and Why Stories Sell)
Explaining the Benefits of Online vs. Print Media: Show Me the Value
Most publicity seekers still consider print publications to be their prime placements. Explaining the Benefits of Online vs. Print Media
describes how digital media are eclipsing print publications and, in many cases, can be more valuable media placements.
122 Must-See Guerilla Marketing Examples
Creative Guerilla Marketing
Without so much as a definition of the term "guerilla marketing" or any introduction to the topic, 122 Must-See Guerilla Marketing Examples
simply compiles photographs of guerilla marketing campaigns, mostly from major companies and brands. Though many of the photos may take you some time to understand, the plethora of examples will increase your understanding of the genre and kick start your idea generating.
The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering Linked-In
Most all business professionals know about Linked-In, the most popular social network for professionals as well as one of the top social networks overall. Few however know how to use it well. The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering Linked-In
explains how to optimize your LinkedIn presence, use LinkedIn for professional networking, and exploit LinkedIn for business and marketing.
Social Crisis Management Infographics Worth Your Attention
The specialist in crisis management has assembled quite an interesting set of infographics. Social Crisis Management Infographics Worth Your Attention
includes a "Social Media Crisis Management" flowchart specifically for universities; "The Epicenters of Social Media Crises", which identifies where crises originate; "How to Avoid a Social Media Crisis;" and "Does Your Company Need a Social Media Crisis Plan", another flowchart.
Social Media Measurement Comes of Age
Salience - K. D. Paine & Partners
This compilation of slides from Katie Paine's presentation entitled Social Media Comes of Age
at the PRSA International Conference in San Francisco provides a "deep-dive" into the development and current status of social media measurement. It is a superb guidepost for client companies looking to start or improve their social media measurement programs.
Richard Branson's 5 Elements of a Perfect Pitch
The "pitch" in this case is for a new business, product idea or project. A master marketer and communicator, Branson shares the methods he uses in proposing new ventures. Richard Branson's 5 Elements of a Perfect Pitch
outlines the key attributes for success: concrete, disruptive, sustainable, bench strength. The most important requirement, he says, is to explain what's in it for the person you're trying to convince.
PR Meetings, Seminars, White Papers
— PR Measurement Workshop
, sponsored by PR News, will be held December 13 in New York, NY. The cost to attend is $795.
— PR Measurement Summit
, sponsored by Ragan Communications, will be held March 19-20 in Washington, DC. The cost to attend is $495 for members and $645 for non-members.
PR & Marketing Job Openings
The listing for this issue includes PR job openings and marketing positions — with detailed job descriptions for each. Readers are invited to submit job postings to firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of Previous Issues
Determining Your Media Monitoring Needs
Print News Monitoring Vs. Online News Monitoring
Broadcast Monitoring for TV & Radio News
Selecting a Social Media Monitoring Service
F.r.e.e & Low-Cost News Release Distribution Services
|CyberAlert 5.0 - local, national, and worldwide news monitoring and press clipping service monitors 55,000+ online news sources in 250+ languages each day.
||CyberAlert TV - broadcast news tracking service monitors closed caption text of news broadcasts on all national news networks & channels plus all local TV stations in Top 100 U.S. markets.
ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING
|BlogSquirrel - blog monitoring service monitors 7+ million new postings each day in 75+ million blogs worldwide.
||CyberAlert VDO - monitoring of consumer-generated video clips in 200+ online video sharing and news sites.
|Netpinions - consumer discussion / word-of-mouth / buzz monitoring service monitors 100,000+ online message boards, forums, and Usenet news groups.
||Twitter & Facebook - Monitor your key words in all Twitter tweets and all Facebook public posts.
Today's Best Media Monitoring Value
No per clip fees. No annual contract required.
Get Better Results Than Doing It Yourself —
And Rid Yourself of a Tiresome Chore.
No credit card required or requested.