Grace Lavigne

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    • Member Type(s): Content Publisher
      Communications Professional
      Media - Print Journalist
      Media - Web-only/Blogger
      Media - Other
    • Title:Associate Web Editor
    • Organization:The Journal of Commerce
    • Area of Expertise:Writing, Editing, Social Media
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    Dear Gracie: Ten Ways to Beat Writer's Block

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 12:08 PM [Dear Gracie]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Each week, Dear Gracie answers questions from ProfNet Connect readers with advice from our network of more than 44,000 ProfNet experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you've been wondering that none of your friends can answer? Please send it to grace.lavigne@prnewswire.com

     

    Dear Gracie,

    I'm a professional writer, and I know a few tricks to get over writer's block, but I'm wondering what other writers' tricks are. Any ideas?

    Blockhead

    ********

    Dear Blockhead,

    Here are nine seasoned writers from the ProfNet Connect community who suggest 10 tricks to get over writer's block:

     

    "Think of writer's block as a fight you're having with yourself," says Tina Tessina, Ph.D., aka "Dr. Romance," psychotherapist and author of "Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage."

    Either you put so much pressure on yourself (like saying "Write it perfect the first time," or "It's never good enough" or "You can't do this") or you have overloaded yourself in some way (too many things on the calendar, getting upset about something other than writing, feeling guilty about neglecting something else) that you end up stumped, says Tessina.

    "Sometimes features, especially, jam me up, as there are just so many ways to write about them," says Amy Cloud, senior PR and marketing coordinator for PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, and editor of Health Today magazine. "Or a topic might be so complex, like a wall-sized tapestry, I'm stymied trying to figure out which thread is the right one to pull," she says.

    "Your creativity and enthusiasm won't come out to play because you've made the process into hard work, instead of mental play," explains Tessina.

    Here are 10 tips to solve that:

     

    Read Related Material

    "The harder I try to move around the block, the more stubborn it becomes," says Donna Maurillo, longtime writer, editor and communicator; weekly food columnist for a local California newspaper; and director of communications for the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University. She says the best way to get past writer's block is to simply read something else.

    So, for example, when Maurillo is writing for her food column and gets stuck, she reads food-related blogs and magazines to "loosen the clog," which is especially effective if the reading material is well-crafted, fun or enthusiastic. "It just excites me all over again, getting all that new prose floating around in my head."

    She uses this trick to also write tag lines, news releases, Web pages and blogs.

    Moshe Lewis, M.D., an integrative medicine expert who deals with writer's block issues himself, adds that researching a topic can help you understand more about the subject, and the more you understand, the easier it will be to write about it. Research can take many forms, including interviews, informal surveys, opinion polls, reading and documentaries -- just to name a few.

    Researching your topic shouldn't be viewed as a chore, but rather an opportunity to gain inspiration that will take your writing to the next level, says Lewis.

    Colleen McCarty, co-owner of Expert Message Group and author of the blog post "Writer's Blah," also suggests rereading your favorite books or the classics: "We all have those tried-and-true life-changing books that we read and reread because they give us comfort and inspiration." Going back to them with a writer's eye can help reveal what made them so genius, and you can try implementing those qualities in your own work, she says.

    If you're looking for highly visual adjectives, try Virginia Woolf or Chuck Palahniuk, McCarty suggests. Gloriously lean paragraph structure? Try Hemingway. Emotional connection? John Fowles or Ranier Maria Rilke. Humor? Turn to the master, David Sedaris.

    "You get the point," she says, but look at the devices these writers use to make their writing effective. You might not be the next master, but this could help you out of a slump and at least get you on your way to master status, says McCarty.

     

    Take Small Bites

    When Tessina is feeling overwhelmed, she'll simply open or look at the piece she's working on (whether it's a book, article, PR campaign, radio show, etc.) with the intention of only working on spell checking, formatting or editing it. "Once I get close to the writing with no pressure, it usually takes over, and I have things to 'say' or write," she says.

    Tessina also sets mini-deadlines for herself, with the final deadline earlier than the actual deadline (so that if she's procrastinated, she's still not late for the real deadline). She breaks her work down by how much she wants to accomplish in a week or month, but she also mentions you could make deadlines like "pages per day" -- whatever fits your style and schedule.

    Drew Stevens, Ph.D., president of Stevens Consulting Group, suggests scheduling 60-90 minutes every day to write. "Turn off phones and other distractions so you can concentrate," he says. If you're not in the mood one day -- just leave it. "No one places the pressure on you but you."

    Stevens adds that breaking down your work into "chapters" and subheadings can be helpful. Think of your work like a nonfiction book, he says, where each chapter is different and has a different theme. Then divide each chapter into smaller increments, and concentrate on one part at a time.

    Another way to break down your work into parts is to create a working outline or table of contents, says Stevens. It saves time by allowing you to work on different parts simultaneously, he says.

     

    Find Your Muse

    Creative expressions can take myriad forms, says Lewis. Find your muse in music, art or dance. "Step away from the pen to free your mind and the rest will follow," he says.

    Get out and see something new. Take a walk in a botanical garden, watch a local community-theater play or local dance troupe to allow your senses to be stimulated, Lewis says. It can be liberating and give you newfound feelings and ideas.

    For example, famed poet Henry David Thoreau found his greatest source of inspiration at Walden Pond, Mass., known for its vibrant New England foliage, and wrote some of his best-known works during the time he lived there.

     

    Focus the Message

    The most constant and rational reason given for writer's block is "plot or character gone wrong," says Antoinette Kuritz, founder of La Jolla Writers Conference and host of Writer's Roundtable radio show. "See if the plot, your character or your message has lost its focus. Once you diagnose that, you should be able to get back to writing."

     

    Write Yourself a Letter

    If something from your personal life is bothering you, like a fight with your spouse, and you don't have the luxury of a therapist or the ability to resolve the issue immediately, then open up a blank document and write a letter, says McCarty. "You can write the letter to yourself, or to the person you want to talk to," she says.

    Start the letter out by saying something like, "The reason I am having trouble expressing myself creatively is…"

    You might surprise yourself, especially if you find out that the person you are most upset with is yourself, says McCarty. "What often comes of this letter if you voicing your self doubts and inner voices."

    Another touchy-feely approach is to write out the worst that could happen if all of your fears came true. "You will realize how irrational a lot of those feelings are when they are staring back at you on the page," she says.

     

    Give Yourself a Pep Talk

    "This may sound crazy, but it works," says Tessina. Learn to encourage yourself.

    When she does this, she tells herself: OK. You've done this before. You know the topic. What you have to say is valuable. Remember, you're writing this because your clients need to hear it, and you've told it to three people in sessions this week, so you can put it down here. Don't worry about getting it perfect, just get something on the page and we'll fix it later.

     

    Explain the Topic to Yourself or Your Imaginary Friend

    Explain your topic to an imaginary client or reader, says Tessina. If someone is interested in the topic, what would they want to know about it?

    Cloud uses a similar approach, by asking herself these questions: "What is the most interesting thing about this? What would I want to know, if this was new to me?"

    "It sounds simplistic, but the combination of asking those basic questions -- and hearing myself ask them -- usually gets me uncorked," she says.

     

    Write Down Examples

    Write down examples from the world around you on what you want say, says Alan Weiss, author of "Breaking Through Writer's Block" and 45 other books, and president of Summit Consulting Group. Describing the examples will free up your writing.

    Also, write down past, present and future examples of your issue, even if you have to make it up, explains Weiss.

    Take notes throughout your day, and if useful, put them in your work later, says Stevens. With today's technology, you can digitally record important information or examples too. "There is no need to physically write each day," he says. So don't force it.

     

    Get Going

    "Write something -- anything," says Kaayla Daniel, aka "The Naughty Nutritionist" and author "The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food."

    It doesn't matter how bad it is, just get moving! Trying to get each word perfect from the get-go is a prescription for writer's block, and it's paralyzing to work that way, she says. Rewrites and edits can fix everything later.

     

    Let It Go

    If you're stuck, sometimes letting it go for a few hours or even a day might help, says Daniel. Work on something else for awhile to keep moving and boost your confidence.

    Tessina also suggests walking away from work entirely to pamper yourself. Don't clean the garage in avoidance behavior, but really take the time off, she says. Spend the day with a friend or reading.

     

    Go Wild

    Do something totally out of character, suggests Lewis, like Tai Chi, mini golf or the arcade. "Getting up and getting out gets the circulation in other parts of your body going, including your brain. Becoming actively engaged in physical activity may give you something new to write about, or enlighten your perspective."

     

    Bribe Yourself

    Make a deal with yourself, says Tessina. Tell yourself that "if you write these pages, then you can go take a bubble bath" -- or call a friend, eat lunch, whatever.

     

    Good luck!

    Gracie

    Expert Alert: Branding / Exports / Data Centers

    Monday, November 14, 2011, 2:56 PM [Expert Alerts]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    EDITOR'S NOTE:

    We are working on a tips piece for journalists on best practices for using ProfNet to find expert sources. If you’ve successfully used ProfNet to find experts, we would love to hear your tips for other journalists who have not yet used our service or have not been as successful in finding sources. You may remain anonymous, if you prefer. Please email maria.perez@profnet.com with any tips. See bit.ly/sdIC30 for more info.

     

    EXPERT ALERTS

    1. Business: Does Your Brand Say 'Thank You'? Three Ways to Give Thanks From Your Biz

    2. International: Growing U.S. Exports and Jobs

    3. Technology: Green Data Centers

     

    OTHER NEWS & RESOURCES

    1. Rethinking Press Release Tactics to Meet Evolving Audience Preferences

    2. Dear Gracie: Branding vs. Advertising vs. Marketing vs. PR

    3. #ConnectChat Recap: Curating Content for Thought Leadership

     

    ***************************

    EXPERT ALERTS:

    Via Expert Alerts, ProfNet members can alert reporters to experts who are available to discuss timely news topics. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please see the contact info at the end of the alert. You can also find Expert Alerts online on ProfNet Connect at bit.ly/pncalerts

    **1. BUSINESS: DOES YOUR BUSINESS SAY ‘THANK YOU’? THREE WAYS TO GIVE THANKS FROM YOUR BUSINESS. Dr. Joey Faucette, best-selling author of "Work Positive in a Negative World": "It’s challenging enough for most of us to do more with less at work, but your profits grow when your business says ‘thank you.’ How do you say ‘thank you’ in the most effective way to your customers, employees and vendors? Add a more personal touch to your relationships by: 1) thanking your customers with a hand-written thank-you note; 2) making a donation to a cause or charity that your employees appreciate; and 3) acknowledging the personal relationship you have with vendors and suppliers, as well as the business one (for example, if you know your vendor just became a grandparent, send them a copy of 'Goodnight Moon' to read to their new grandchild)." Faucette can share more effective ways to deepen your relationships and increase your profits by giving thanks from your business. News Contact: Jillian McTigue, jmctigue@entrepreneur.com Phone: +1-949-622-5274

    **2. INTERNATIONAL: GROWING U.S. EXPORTS AND JOBS. Daniel L. Gardner, CEO of Ocean World Lines, can discuss data released on Nov. 10 by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Commerce Department, which showed the United States exported $180.4 billion in goods and services in September, an all-time high: "Anybody involved with trade should take to heart the NEI and President Obama’s talk about job creation and doubling exports by the end of 2014. A lot of work has been done by the Small Business Administration, Department of Commerce and Ex-Im Bank, but the government cannot go it alone. Helping to grow international trade is the right thing to do and it offers an exit from the financial crisis. It is incumbent upon U.S. third-party logistics providers to not just move the goods that are being sold today, but to provide pro bono services that make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to find new customers in overseas markets." Gardner is an author, professor and international business executive whose goal is to help U.S. exporters be more competitive overseas. Gardner is available to discuss specific ideas on how the U.S. can increase exports and drive job creation, starting today. Profile: www.profnetconnect.com/gardner  News Contact: Melissa Bradley, bradleycomm@earthlink.net Phone: +1-928-208-9300

    **3. TECHNOLOGY: GREEN DATA CENTERS. Richard Dolan, director of marketing at Datapipe, a leading provider of managed services and infrastructure for mission-critical IT: "Gartner estimates that data centers account for around 0.5 percent of all global carbon emissions. As demand for cloud solutions continues to grow, so will the amount of energy required to power data centers. More and more, organizations will be forced to re-evaluate not only their costs, but also their carbon footprints." Dolan can discuss Datapipe’s plans to deliver carbon-neutral managed IT solutions, including a green cloud and disaster recovery, upon completion of Verne Global’s purpose-built Icelandic data center facility. He can also talk about new trends in environmental IT responsibility and best practices for companies looking to reduce the total power draw and utility spend for these sites in the future. News Contact: Kristin Davie, kdavie@peppercom.com Phone: +1-212-931-6176

     

    OTHER NEWS & RESOURCES:

    Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line at profnetalerts@prnewswire.com

    1. RETHINKING PRESS RELEASE TACTICS TO MEET EVOLVING AUDIENCE PREFERENCES: PR Newswire's Sarah Skerik analyzes and interprets data on PR Newswire's press releases, and share relevant tips: bit.ly/uPSQs4

    2. DEAR GRACIE: BRANDING VS. ADVERTISING VS. MARKETING VS. PR: ProfNet Editor Grace Lavigne showcases the differences and similarities between these industries: bit.ly/vXyI5T

    3. #CONNECTCHAT RECAP: CURATING CONTENT FOR THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: ProfNet Director Maria Perez showcases content strategist Angela Dunn: bit.ly/ru9tSq

    Holidays, Lawn Decorations, Emoticons: My Favorite Queries of the Week

    Friday, November 11, 2011, 12:09 PM [Favorite Queries]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    What do the holidays, lawn decorations and emoticons have in common? They all made my list of favorite queries this week:

    Surviving the Holidays. Really hard eggnog.

    Combating Indoor Air Pollution. Open a window.

    Holiday Shopping Safety. Wear a helmet.

    How to Squeeze in Fitness Over the Holidays. Eat cookies really fast.

    Foods Named After Places. Next week: Places Named After Foods.

    Worst Career Advice That Sounds Like Good Advice. "Just do it."

    Best Questions Asked by Interviewees During the Job Interview. "Are we done here?"

    Workflow and Printers. Why does it say "paper jam" when there is no paper jam?!

    Are You an Extreme/Outrageous Holiday Lawn Decorator? I have a 12-foot gnome in the front yard.

    Emoticons in Business Emails. Guilty ;-)

     

    *Publication names have been omitted to protect the innocent.

    What were some of your favorite queries this week? Did they make this list?

    Grammar Hammer: They're There! Heterographs in the Matrix

    Thursday, November 10, 2011, 4:02 PM [Grammar Hammer]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Via this column, we'll explore one grammar rule each week. If you have a grammar question you'd like me to address, please drop me a line at grace.lavigne@prnewswire.com and I'll do my best to answer it.

    Homophonic heterographs are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and mean different things, like "piece" and "peace," for example.

    Just as the meaning of our existence can be deceiving, so can the meaning of heterographs. This is why we need Neo to help us see through the grammar matrix and explain the reality of word usage!

     

    They're vs. their vs. there

    "There" describes the location of something. It's always used with variations of the verb "to be," as in are, is, was, were or has/have been.

    • There is no spoon.
    • The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you.

    "Their" is a form of "they" and is a possessive adjective, so it indicates the ownership of a noun. Replace it with "our" to test if it's correct.

    • Yet, their strength and their speed are still based in a world that is built on rules.

    "They're" is the contraction of "they are." If substituting it with "they are" doesn't work, then you've made a mistake. It can only be used as a subject and verb.

    • They're coming for you, Neo, and I don't know what they're going to do.

    Your vs. you're

    "Your" is a form of ownership.

    • To your left there is a window: open it.

    "You're" is the contraction of "you are." If substituting it with "you are" doesn't work, then there's no other choice but to use "your."

    • I know why you're here, Neo.

     

    It's vs. Its

    "Its" is a pronoun that shows ownership or possession.

    • A triumph only equaled by its monumental failure.

    "It's" is the contraction of "it is." If substituting it with "it is" doesn't work, then there's no other choice but to use "its."

    • It's the question that drives us, Neo. It's the question that brought you here.

     

    Also, check out Grammar Hammer: Avoiding Apostrophe Abominations for more info on contractions, including "it's."

    Dear Gracie: Branding vs. Advertising vs. Marketing vs. PR

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 3:00 PM [Dear Gracie]
    4.1 (3 Ratings)

    Each week, Dear Gracie answers questions from ProfNet Connect readers with advice from our network of more than 44,000 ProfNet experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you've been wondering that none of your friends can answer? Please send it to grace.lavigne@prnewswire.com

    Dear Gracie,

    I recently started small business. What I want to know is: What's the difference between branding, advertising, marketing and PR? What's the same? Do I need one department in charge of all of those functions, or should each have its own department?

    Hype Hopeful

    ***********

    Dear Hype Hopeful,

    Here is the advice from eight ProfNet experts on the convergence and divergence of branding, advertising, PR and marketing:

    "Branding creates the strategy. Marketing maps out the plan for disseminating the brand. Advertising buys the opportunities to raise awareness. PR relies on relationships for media mentions," says Rob Frankel, branding expert, author and speaker, and founder of i-legions and PeerMailing.com:


    Branding

    Branding is the overall goal of advertising, marketing and PR, says Mark Scott, seasoned PR, advertising and marketing professional and founder of Mark Scott PR. It's about getting consumers to understand what your brand offers, what it stands for, how to interact with it, how to consume it, etc.

    The point of branding is to create an image for a product, service, community, etc., and then work in tandem with marketing, advertising and PR to bring those elements to fruition, agrees Zlata Faerman, founder of ZlataPR. "This is where it all starts," she says.

    It's used to shape the customer or prospect's perception of your business, explains Shel Horowitz, author of several award-winning books on marketing, including the recent Amazon best-seller "Guerilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet." Not only through logo, slogan, colors, etc., but also the perception of experience with your business. For instance, customer service is an attribute that plays very strongly in the branding mix.

    Linda Pophal, owner and CEO of Strategic Communications, explains branding as a way to establish a "personality" for a company, product or service in the minds of a target group.

    But brand strategy defines what the company is as well, as what it is not, says Frankel. He recommends developing a company's brand strategy just once, and preferably by an outsider, since internal departments can be too focused on their own agendas or too influenced by corporate politics.

    "Once the branding strategy is defined, it is handed off to advertising and PR to raise its awareness," Frankel continues. "Allowing advertising and PR to create or develop brand strategy is a key error that many companies commit. The fact is that advertising and PR skills sets are devoted to raising the awareness of a brand strategy -- not creating it."

     

    Advertising

    Advertising is simply the visual aspect of the branding plan, says Faerman.

    Its objective is to communicate offers to target audiences, says Gerard Corbett, chair-elect of the Public Relations Society of America.

    Horowitz notes that advertising is about paying to reach a customer by buying ad space. "You have total control of the content, for which you pay to exhibit," he explains.

    And Scott agrees: Advertising is paid media exposure.

     

    Public Relations

    In contrast to paid media exposure, public relations is earned media exposure, Scott continues.

    The goal of PR is to introduce an organization, and then secure awareness, recognition and adoption, says Rob Gelphman, chair of Marketing Work Group at Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA).

    PR is the creative and strategic campaigns created to support the branding of a product, service or community, explains Faerman. "It deals primarily with media relations and its main point is to bring said products to the media and in turn to consumers via a plethora of available media outlets."

    It's about advocacy, relationship-building and trust, says Corbett.

    By using direct outreach, via traditional or social media, PR influences the public's perception of an organization, product or service, says Horowitz.

     

    Marketing

    "Advertising communicates what you offer; marketing communicates what clients get," says Vicki Rackner, executive director at The Pain Stompers Foundation, founder of The Caregiver Club and owner of Medical Bridges. "The difference is where the spotlight shines."

    Marketing is about the process and strategy of solving a customer's need and delivering on that need through various channels, says Corbett.

    The goal of marketing is to increase awareness and influence people to take action, says Horowitz. Marketing might influence someone to buy something, change an opinion or change a lifestyle pattern, he says.

    Marketing includes functions of PR and advertising, says Scott, but it also includes other things like events, sponsorships, trade shows, product promotions, search engine marketing or search engine optimization and more.

    If branding is the objective, then marketing is the strategy, says Gelphman. And therefore, advertising and PR are the tactics.

    To sum it all up, marketing is strategy, advertising and PR are tactics, and branding is the objective, says Gelphman.

     

    Convergence/Divergence

    "While there are many differences between advertising, marketing, branding and public relations -- they very often go hand-in-hand," says Faerman. For example, an advertising agency works in tandem with a public relations agency to make sure specific campaigns are aligned and support one another.

    Scott agrees: The convergence of the disciplines is coming together more and more, he says. The best marketers, advertisers, public relations professionals and branders are going to be the people who understand this and work to leverage that convergence.

    There's lots and lots of overlap, concurs Horowitz. Companies run into problems when they allow these function to become siloed.

    For example, many TV shows require some kind of sponsorship or audience giveaway to get a company spokesperson booked or to get a brand mentioned on air, says Scott. "It's not just about having a very interesting guest or a great news pitch," he says. "If you're not a celebrity, a little girl who fell down a well or the star of some viral video, these shows are harder and harder to get on. Marketers who don't understand this miss out on opportunities. The power here is when you have advertising, product marketing and PR people working together with the shows to craft the best opportunity."

    In the social media space, there's even more convergence, says Scott. A marketing department might control the budget for creating a branded Facebook page, providing product giveaways, but it is usually the PR pros that engage in authentic conversations with reporters and editors at media outlets or potential customers on the trade show floor. "If you miss this convergence opportunity and have advertising people sharing advertising-speak in the social media realm, you may quickly lose followers and reduce the value of this channel," he says.

    News distribution services, like PR Newswire, used to be primarily aimed at traditional media, says Scott. "Now, press releases distributed via these channels are searchable online and are automatically picked up by hundreds of websites." Not only must your press release convey key information to the media, it must also be considered a branding tool, since it will be seen by members of the general public.

    Scott also notes that press releases can add value to the company's overall SEM/SEO strategy. "A well-written, SEO-optimized press release offers tremendous value to a company's overall branding and marketing efforts," he says.

    So the functions of branding, advertising, PR and marketing must be coordinated and used in combination to achieve overall goals and objectives, says Pophal. She recommends keeping all functions under one overall "leader."

    "There might be separate departments to handle PR and advertising, but both of those departments should report up through a single structure so that all of the communication activities are coordinated and aligned in support of the desired brand identity or image," she says.

    There's no reason to distinguish functions from each other, aside from the different skills individuals need to perform those functions, she continues.

    However, Corbett disagrees and says there is not much overlap between these departments, assuming all departments agree on strategy and messaging: "Implementation of each is through different channels," he says. The core message and mission are consistent and must be consistent, but whether each department should operate separately really depends on the size and scope of an organization.

     

    Who's in Charge?

    In terms of hierarchy, PR leads the charge and uniform messaging for an enterprise, asserts Corbett. Advertising, branding and marketing departments take their cues from the PR function in terms of how to go to market, in what form and fashion, and with what messaging, he says. It sets the strategy, and leads the other disciplines in the methods and processes to sustain consistency with audiences.

    But Horowitz believes that these functions should all be part of the marketing department, where people can cross-feed and cross-pollinate, to bring all of the pieces together in a coherent and self-reinforcing program. "Advertising, branding and PR are all subsets (and not the only subsets) of marketing," says Horowitz. "Advertising and PR are also partial subsets of branding."

    What do you think?

    Gracie

    Expert Alert: Medicine Shortages / Occupy Wall Street / Flat Tax

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011, 2:51 PM [Expert Alerts]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    EDITOR'S NOTE:

    We are working on a tips piece for journalists on best practices for using ProfNet to find expert sources. If you’ve successfully used ProfNet to find experts, we would love to hear your tips for other journalists who have not yet used our service or have not been as successful in finding sources. You may remain anonymous, if you prefer. Please email maria.perez@profnet.com with any tips. See bit.ly/sdIC30 for more info.

     

    EXPERT ALERTS

    1. Law: Court Rulings Take Heavy Toll on Copyright Plaintiff

    2. Law: Medicine Shortages Loom Large

    3. Law: Payoffs Common in Employee Harassment Complaints

    4. Law: Tips for the First Post-Divorce Holiday Season

    5. Politics: GOP Candidates Need to Tell Voters What They'll Do on National Security Issues

    6. Politics: Occupy Wall Street: Movement Will Be Co-opted

    7. Taxation: Why a Flat Tax Is Not All It's Cracked up to Be

     

    OTHER NEWS & RESOURCES

    1. Immigration Terminology: What's Right? What's Wrong?

    2. Interesting Expert of the Week, Election Day Edition

    3. Will Health Care Reform Survive Debt-Ceiling Legislation?

    4. Should Journalists Be Penalized for Having an Opinion?

     

    *********************

    EXPERT ALERTS:

    Via Expert Alerts, ProfNet members can alert reporters to experts who are available to discuss timely news topics. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please see the contact info at the end of the alert. You can also find Expert Alerts online on ProfNet Connect at bit.ly/pncalerts

    **1. LAW: COURT RULINGS TAKE HEAVY TOLL ON COPYRIGHT PLAINTIFF. Dyan House, intellectual-property attorney of Dallas’ Munck Carter: “Since early 2010, copyright-holding company Righthaven has filed 275 newspaper copyright-infringement suits, but activity finally appears to be grinding to a halt. The company’s recent court defeats include last week’s court order requiring the company to pay former federal prosecutor Thomas DiBiase almost $120,000 in attorneys’ fees, and earlier orders in other cases to pay legal fees ranging from $5,000 to $34,000. Adding to the pressure, U.S. marshals are helping collect some of the judgments. The flaw in Righthaven’s business model is that the company doesn’t hold any exclusive rights under the copyrights for which it is attempting to sue. Section 501 of the Copyright Act says that only the legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under copyright law may sue for infringement. Righthaven simply lacks standing.” News Contact: Dave Moore, dave@androvett.com Phone: +1-800-559-4534

    **2. LAW: MEDICINE SHORTAGES LOOM LARGE. Mark Lanier, Houston attorney and founder of The Lanier Law Firm who has handled many of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical cases: “Aiming to solve the growing problem of vital drug shortages, President Obama recently signed an executive order that requires the FDA to broaden reporting of potential shortages, speed up drug-production reviews and report more information on possible collusion or price gouging. For more than 120 years, federal law has prevented large companies from fixing supplies, prices or market shares, and most states have similar laws forbidding unfair business practices. Reporting possible price gouging and collusion certainly should help reveal to the American public the true cause of medicine shortages. If collusion causes a shortage of life-saving medicines, patients likely can bring federal antitrust and state unfair-business-practices lawsuits against the offending businesses.” News Contact: Alan Bentrup, alan@androvett.com Phone: +1-800-559-4534

    **3. LAW: PAYOFFS COMMON IN EMPLOYEE HARASSMENT COMPLAINTS. Joe Ahmad, executive employment lawyer at Houston’s Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C.: “As has happened with presidential candidate Herman Cain in his prior role as head of the National Restaurant Association, businesses often provide confidential settlements to resolve employee complaints of sexual harassment. Frequently, these settlements are reached even when the claim likely never could be proven in court, but company leaders are targets because of their power and the likelihood of harm to the company if these kinds of accusations become public, regardless of whether they’re true. Most often, confidential settlements come about not because an executive did something truly illegal, but because there is an element of unflattering truth behind the complaint. Other times, real harassment occurred. Sometimes it’s simply extortion.” News Contact: Mary Flood, mary@androvett.com Phone: +1-800-559-4534

    **4. LAW: TIPS FOR THE FIRST POST-DIVORCE HOLIDAY SEASON. Carmen Eiker, a partner in the Dallas office of the family-law firm McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, LLP.: “Newly divorced parents may be anxious about their family’s first post-divorce holiday season, so they should rely on the three C’s. First, cooperate with the other parent as much as possible to make the children’s holiday time with that parent as good as it can be. Second, communicate with the other parent, particularly if bad weather or delayed flights happen. With email and texting, it’s easy for parents to work out the logistics of the hectic holidays. Third, stay calm. Avoid the tendency to overreact if things don’t live up to what you think the holidays should be. No one’s holiday lives up to that.” News Contact: Rhonda Reddick, rhonda@androvett.com Phone: +1-800-559-4534

    **5. POLITICS: GOP CANDIDATES NEED TO TELL VOTERS WHAT THEY'LL DO ON NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUES. Kiron K. Skinner of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is an expert on U.S. foreign policy and political strategy. In light of Nov. 15, the first time the GOP candidates will debate issues of national security and foreign policy, she feels that every American voter needs to know what the presidential hopefuls will do on major national security issues: “Since the U.S. is currently in wartime, presidential candidates need to tell voters how they will manage the continuing conflicts, insurgencies and terrorist activities, and how they will ensure that the U.S. safely exits conflicts. We don’t know, in detail, the Republican candidates’ plans for major international issues.” Skinner is an associate professor of social and decision sciences at CMU and director of its Center for International Relations and Politics. She currently serves on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2001-2007, she was a member of the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board as an adviser on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. News Contact: Shilo Rea, shilo@cmu.edu Phone: +1-412-268-6094

    **6. POLITICS: OCCUPY WALL STREET: MOVEMENT WILL BE CO-OPTED. Christopher Malone, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the political science department on Pace University’s downtown Manhattan campus, five blocks from Zuccotti Park: "The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement will be co-opted and achieve victories, just like the civil rights movement, the women’s movement and the environmental movement. Political movements and the political 'system' eye each other warily, but need each other to bring about the change both those in the streets and inside the halls of power want. We have yet to see a full-blown co-optation of OWS by Democrats. OWS is much less willing to be co-opted by them than the tea party was by the Republicans. But the outlines are there, from calls to have Gov. Cuomo extend the personal income tax surcharge (the 'millionaire's tax') to proposals at the national level to pay for programs by levying a tax on America's millionaires. To make the most progress, the left-wing populism of OWS protestors will have to connect with the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that government should solve big problems." Malone is a regular source for local and national media, and was identified by The Washington Post as one of the nation's most innovative professors. News Contact: Cara Cea, ccea@pace.edu Phone: +1-914-773-3312 Website: www.christophermalonephd.com

    **7. TAXATION: WHY A FLAT TAX IS NOT ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE. Mark J. Kohler, author of "What Your CPA Isn’t Telling You" and "Lawyers Are Liars": "A flat tax sounds simple, refreshing and maybe even exciting, but it’s not how America operates and how it has flourished. We as citizens over the history of our country have motivated others to engage in certain transactions and invest in certain ways. This started even with cotton and tobacco. Do we really want to give up on the home interest, charitable, hybrid or energy-efficient appliance deductions -- just to name a few of the thousands of deductions specifically designed to motivate us in certain ways? A flat tax would change the entire character of our economy and not for the better." Kohler can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a flat tax. News Contact: Jillian McTigue, jmctigue@entrepreneur.com Phone: +1-949-622-5274

     

    OTHER NEWS & RESOURCES:

    Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line at profnetalerts@prnewswire.com

    **1. IMMIGRATION TERMINOLOGY: WHAT'S RIGHT? WHAT'S WRONG? ProfNet Editor Evelyn Tipacti presents an article by Mallary Jean Tenore on the appropriate words and phrases journalists should use regarding this sensitive issue: bit.ly/vud5vI

    **2. INTERESTING EXPERT OF THE WEEK, ELECTION DAY EDITION: ProfNet Director Maria Perez interviews political expert Bruce Altschuler on presidents, approval ratings, voting, polls and more: bit.ly/s3ioUJ

    **3. WILL HEALTH CARE REFORM SURVIVE DEBT-CEILING LEGISLATION? Craig B. Garner, Esq., discusses the viability of the health care reform during economic downturn: bit.ly/t89Tvc

    **4. SHOULD JOURNALISTS BE PENALIZED FOR HAVING AN OPINION? ProfNet Editor Evelyn Tipacti discusses the ethics of journalists participating in political activism: bit.ly/u9S55k

    Prison, Prohibition, Foreign Films: My Favorite Queries of the Week

    Friday, November 4, 2011, 11:16 AM [Favorite Queries]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    What do prison, Prohibition and foreign films have in common? They all made my list of favorite queries this week:

     

    Prohibition-Themed Cocktails. The Alc Capone.

    Shop-Til-You-Drop Travel Packages. It beats burning money for warmth.

    California's Solution to Prison Overcrowding. A catapult pointed towards the Pacific Ocean.

    Ten Things to Be Thankful for When It Comes to Your Insurance. All of your fingers.

    How to Explain Occupy Wall Street to Kids. Money *can* buy happiness.

    Women Who Lie. And the men who don't notice.

    Netflix's Public Image. Elmo getting stoned.

    U.S. Remakes of Foreign Films. Michael Bay presents: "The Bicycle Thief."

    13 Oddest Phobias. Arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

    When Did the Hipster Trend Start? I thought hipsters were hipsters before they were hipsters?

     

    *Publication names have been omitted to protect the innocent.

    What were some of your favorite queries this week? Did they make this list?

    Grammar Hammer: Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Semicolon

    Thursday, November 3, 2011, 12:21 PM [Grammar Hammer]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Via this column, we'll explore one grammar rule each week. If you have a grammar question you'd like me to address, please drop me a line at grace.lavigne@prnewswire.com and I'll do my best to answer it.

     

    This week, Sherlock Holmes and I will use step-by-step logic and deductive reasoning to get to the bottom of the infernal case of the semicolon. Grammar is afoot!

    If a comma represents a brief pause, and a period represents a complete stop, then semicolons represent a moderate pause.

    Semicolons are used in two main environments:

     

    1. Semicolons can act as "super commas," which are used to separate units of a list when one or more of the units contain commas:

    • Holmes found three clues: footprints, which were outside the door; a pistol, which was still loaded; and papers, which smelled of cyanide.
    • The murderer visited three cities: Liverpool, England; Paisley, Scotland; and Lusaka, Zambia.

     

    2. Semicolons can also be used to connect clauses:


    Use a semicolon in place of a period to connect or form a bond between two statements (typically related or contrasting thoughts) where the conjunction has been left out:

    • Professor Moriarty is a criminal mastermind; he is the "Napoleon of Crime."
    • Watson received his medical degree in 1878; he is a surgeon.

    Use a semicolon before transitional phrases or conjunctive adverbs that connect two clauses (like however, therefore, that is, namely, of course, for example, thus):

    • The copper-haired girl was hired as a governess; however, she was unknowingly posing as her employer's daughter.
    • One sister died with a shout of "It was the speckled band"; of course, Holmes knew she was referring to a swamp adder.

    But don't use semicolons before simple conjunctions (words like but, and, or, nor, for, so, yet):

    • Watson led from behind, but never gets the credit he deserves.
    • Holmes had a brother named Mycroft and he was more brilliant than Holmes himself.

    Optional: You may use a semicolon between two clauses when one has internal punctuation, or in other words, if one or more commas appear in the first or second clause:

    • If Holmes can, he will give up cocaine; and if Watson can see it through, they will solve mysteries again.
    • When Arthur Conan Doyle started writing the Sherlock Holmes short stories, he created the field of criminology; however, at the time, he never thought he was changing the world.

     

    Semicolons are *always* placed outside of quotation marks. But check out Dear Gracie: Commas/Periods Inside or Outside of Quotation Marks? on the rules for periods and commas.

    Dear Gracie: How Social Media Changed Branding

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011, 12:44 PM [Dear Gracie]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Each week, Dear Gracie answers questions from ProfNet Connect readers with advice from our network of more than 44,000 ProfNet experts. Has there been a question burning in your mind lately, something you've been wondering that none of your friends can answer? Please send it to grace.lavigne@prnewswire.com

    Dear Gracie,

    I'm interested in tips for branders/advertisers/marketers on how social media is different from traditional media. Are there any tactics we should use specifically for social media vs. traditional media? How do brands become memorable through social media? What makes a brand successful on social media?

    Media Minded

     

    ******

    Dear Media Minded,

    Here is advice from eight social media experts from the ProfNet Connect network:


    People-to-People Recommendations

    "Digital and social media have changed how consumers think about brands and advertising," says William J. Ward, social media professor at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. "Previously, brands used advertising to entertain or inform the consumers in a one-way effort to persuade. Today, brands use social media with advertising to create two-way engagement and interaction for positive word of mouth and functionality."

    For example, social media allows consumers to have access to the ratings and reviews of fellow shoppers, says Melih Oztalay, CEO of SmartFinds Internet Marketing. A study by the e-tailing group and PowerReviews (found on MarketCharts.com) in September showed 6 out of 10 consumers base shopping decisions on the ratings and reviews of others, through social media sites and user-generated content.

    So consumers are the brand, says Drew Stevens, president of Stevens Consulting Group. "Social media helps diminish the noise and allows brands to proliferate so that current clients becoming marketing avatars."

    "Consumers are empowered," says Lorrie Thomas, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy. "The elitism of marketing is gone, thanks to social media." Instead of B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer), we are in era of P2P (people to people), she says.

    When an individual shares their life on Facebook, and talks about what products they like and how they use them, it's far more powerful than someone running a standard TV ad touting products, says Billie Blair, president of Change Strategists Inc. These changes have been dramatic for advertisers, because now so much depends on good reports from customers.

    "Our ability to remember brands has, indeed, been enhanced by social media -- but then again, many other types of advertising do the same thing, like prominent, impressive billboards along freeways and in large cities, or advertisements during the SuperBowl," says Blair. "It's just that social media is far more pervasive, and thus offers more opportunity."

    Jennifer Izzo, senior account executive at Costa DeVault, agrees that traditional media is still relevant. As long as traditional and nontraditional media play off of each other, they'll both be important, she says. For example, it used to be difficult to share a TV commercial with a friend, but nowadays, you can find it on YouTube and email it to them in seconds. "When done right, advertisers have an opportunity to get more bang for their buck, by making traditional advertisements social media-friendly," she says.

     

    Individual Attention From Brands

    "What consumers today desire is the customer experience, and the closer they are with vendors, the more apt they are to repeat purchases and directly affect referrals," says Stevens.

    Social media allows consumers to receive individual attention from a brand, says Oztalay.

    "Pre-social media, consumers shared complaints by dialing a 1-800 number to speak to a brand representative (and often times, hardly expected a returned call), or they left a note in a suggestion box at a restaurant, or they simply called a friend to vent about bad service. All of these actions were very one-sided and consumers didn't necessarily expect anything in return," says Izzo. "Today, an angry diner can pull out their cellphone and start sending negative tweets faster than you can say, 'Can I please speak with your manager?'"

    The biggest change from social media is the ease with which ordinary people can make their opinions known, says Shel Horowitz, author of several award-winning books on marketing, including the recent Amazon best-seller "Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet."

    "Customers who encounter less-than-satisfactory customer service can now trash a brand to the world," he says.

    Horowitz provides the example of the YouTube video "United Breaks Guitars," which is a song written by a musician about his guitar being broken while in the airline's custody. Some of the lyrics include, "I should have flown with someone else, or gone by car, 'cause United breaks guitars." The video has currently been viewed more than 11 million times, and according to The New York Times, United Airline's stock price fell 10 percent within four days of the video being posted (costing stockholders about $180 million).

    "By failing to head off this disaster with proper handling of the customer, United Airlines created a PR disaster for itself," says Horowitz.

    On the other hand, Comcast dug itself out of a hole by creating the "remarkably responsive" Twitter account @ComcastCares after a YouTube video was posted about a Comcast technician falling asleep on a customer's couch, says Horowitz.

    "The most memorable brands and advertising campaigns today are the ones that are best at encouraging and rewarding user generated content and facilitating social interaction between fans," says Ward. "The best brand advertising today is also helping to solve consumer problems."

     

    Dynamic Capabilities of a Brand

    Social media advertising is not based on direct and monotonous advertising, but rather the interaction and continuous modification of campaigns, says Oztalay. Successful social media ads have variety and novelty.

    For example, Skittles has more than 19 million "likes" on Facebook, says Anna Daugherty, "The Bugler" at Motion Marketing & Media. Everyone knows their outlandish commercials and weird "Taste the Rainbow" campaign, but they take it one step further on social media, often posting outrageous things that frequently don't relate to their product at all, she says. For example, one status was "It's not fantasy football unless your quarterback has a magic sword." They get a lot of interaction because of these posts.

    Consumers now expect this kind of content from Skittles, says Daugherty. "Skittles' traditional media advertising is so memorable, that they really don't need social media to sell their products," she says. Instead, they use social media to inject a little fun into their campaign.

    Izzo recommends finding a brand niche, just like with traditional media. The niche doesn't have to be a product or service, it could be something the brand is known for, she says.

    For instance, the clothing store @DKNY tweets along with the TV show "Gossip Girl," each Monday, says Izzo. The brand's clothes aren't necessarily on the show regularly, but @DKNY has made the weekly conversation a tradition. "Loyal DKNY consumers and regular 'Gossip Girl' fanatics aren't synonymous -- but that's the genius part," says Izzo. "Instead of just focusing efforts solely on the brand's target demographic, this approach opens them up to a larger pool of potential buyers."

    "Brands become memorable through social media by sharing valuable content, being authentic with values and having a human voice on the Web," says Thomas. "Audiences love authenticity from brands."



    Possible Disadvantages of Social Media Branding

    With all forms of traditional advertising, there is somewhat of a science behind picking the demographic that will ultimately see it, says Izzo. For example, if you're booking a commercial during Monday Night Football, you can have a pretty good guess who will see it. "But with social media, there's less of a guarantee, so brands need to pay more attention to all different segments."

    Direct marketing is not as effective with social media, agrees Oztalay. Social media allows the message of your brand to be carried over multiple sources, and allows those messages to be received by your connections, links and friends or family -- so the reach of your brand can't be measured as immediately or clearly compared to advertising in traditional media.

    "Human response is more effective when information is repeated," Oztalay continues. In the case of social media, repetition occurs from the voluminous sharing of brand information in social communities between friends and connections, which is otherwise known as "creating buzz," he says. Therefore, social media tends to be more labor intensive, as it gets us closer to the one-to-one relationship, rather than traditional media, which is a one-to-many process.

    Ward agrees: "Brand advertising today requires continuous monitoring and measuring of consumer social engagement, while simultaneously and seamlessly integrating across multiple social, mobile and digital platforms."

     

    What's Still Relevant?

    "If there is anything we learned from YouTube, it is that humans are still visual," says Oztalay. And if we go back to 1996, only when Windows 95 and Netscape made the Internet visual did consumers start engaging in the Internet directly, and away from private networks like AOL, Compuserve and Prodigy, he says.

    So visuals like videos, photos and other creative designs are as relevant in social media as they are in traditional media, he says.

    Gracie

    Expert Alert: Flat Tax / Marketing / E-Commerce

    Monday, October 31, 2011, 3:39 PM [Expert Alerts]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    EXPERT ALERTS

    1. Finance: Tax Industry Under Scrutiny

    2. Finance: Why a Flat Tax Is Not All It's Cracked up to Be

    3. Marketing: Make Sure Your Marketing Campaigns Are Producing Positive Results

    4. Real Estate: Downsizing the Right Way

    5. Technology: E-Commerce Tools to Jump-Start Retail Sales

    6. Technology: How a Cloud-Based Model Is Freeing Businesses

    7. Finance: Congressional 'Super Committee'

     

    OTHER NEWS & RESOURCES

    1. Interesting Expert of the Week, Halloween Edition

    2. Ideas for Creative (and Efficient) Content Generation

    3. #ConnectChat Recap: Promoting Brand Visibility

     

    ***************************

    EXPERT ALERTS

    Via Expert Alerts, ProfNet members can alert reporters to experts who are available to discuss timely news topics. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please see the contact info at the end of the alert. You can also find Expert Alerts online on ProfNet Connect at bit.ly/pncalerts

    **1. FINANCE: CONGRESSIONAL 'SUPER COMMITTEE.' John Nyaradi, publisher of "Wall Street Sector Selector: Your Home for ETF Investing!," a financial media site focused on news, analysis and information about exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and global financial and economic developments: "The congressional 'super committee' has been meeting largely behind closed doors, and with its Nov. 23 deadline rapidly approaching, the outcome of its deliberations will reach the front pages soon. Uncertainty or gridlock will make markets nervous, but any reduction in the deficit -- voluntary or not -- will add headwinds to the already fragile economic recovery. Investors need to be nimble today as we head for the end of the year. Seasonality and slowly improving fundamentals would point to the potential for a year-end rally, but a surprise out of Europe is a factor that needs to be carefully monitored." Nyaradi is a regular contributor to Investor's Alley, and he is the author of "Super Sectors: How to Outsmart the Market Using Sector Rotation and ETFs" (2011, John Wiley and Sons), which was included in the Year's Top Investment Books in the 2011 Stock Trader's Almanac. Nyaradi: janyaradi@gmail.com

    **2. FINANCE: TAX INDUSTRY UNDER SCRUTINY. Michael Rozbruch, founder and CEO of Tax Resolution Services, Co., one of the nation's leading tax negotiation and mediation firms: "There has been a lot of negative media buzz about unscrupulous tax resolution firms. Tax resolution firms are not created equal -- the unethical players have given the ethical firms a bad name, tarnishing the reputation of the entire industry, which good firms work to offset everyday. Consumers need to know that reputable tax resolution professionals are out there. If we paint the entire industry with a broad brush, everybody’s out of business, and the ones that will suffer the most are the consumers." Rozbruch also founded Tax Problem Resolution Services Coalition (TPRSC), an industry trade group created to set high professional standards and business practices after the FTC proposed its rule for debt relief providers. Profile: www.profnetconnect.com/michael_rozbruch News Contact: Debbie Edwards, debbie@taxresolution.com Phone: +1-866-477-7762, ext. 326 Website: www.taxresolution.com and www.taxproblemresolutionservicescoalition.com

    **3. FINANCE: WHY A FLAT TAX IS NOT ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE. Mark J. Kohler, author of "What Your CPA Isn’t Telling You" and "Lawyers Are Liars": "A flat tax sounds simple, refreshing and maybe even exciting, but it’s not how America operates and how it has flourished. We as citizens over the history of our country have motivated others to engage in certain transactions and invest in certain ways. This started even with cotton and tobacco. Do we really want to give up on the home interest, charitable, hybrid or energy-efficient appliance deductions -- just to name a few of the thousands of deductions specifically designed to motivate us in certain ways? A flat tax would change the entire character of our economy and not for the better." Kohler can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a flat tax. News Contact: Jillian McTigue, jmctigue@entrepreneur.com Phone: +1-949-622-5274

    **4. MARKETING: DON’T FEAR A RECESSION: MAKE SURE YOUR MARKETING CAMPAIGNS ARE PRODUCING POSITIVE RESULTS. John D. Leavy, author of "Outcome-Based Marketing: New Rules for Marketing on the Web": “During the mid-1920s, Ford was selling 10 vehicles for every one sold by Chevrolet. In spite of the Depression, Chevrolet continued to expand its advertising budget, and within six years Chevrolet not only caught up with Ford but took the lead in sales. Fearing another downturn is not the time to stop marketing. Just adding more advertising dollars won’t make the difference, but a more sound marketing strategy will produce better results.” Leavy offers six elements to add measurement to any online marketing campaign, allowing Web marketers to accurately reap and replicate their positive results. News Contact: Jillian McTigue, jmctigue@entrepreneur.com Phone: +1-949-622-5274

    **5. REAL ESTATE: DOWNSIZING THE RIGHT WAY. Peggy Patenaude, Realtor at Prudential Howe & Doheraty in Andover, Mass.: "It's important when you are organizing and downsizing to try to keep your emotions out of the process. Try not to focus on the entire house at once. Break things down room by room. Take on one project at a time, and don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed. If the room itself seems to be too much to take on, just focus on one area at a time, like a closet. Accomplish something before moving on to another area. Small steps yield big rewards. Set realistic goals about the amount of time you need, and create a timeline that works for you. Evaluate what you have. Everyone has extra stuff. Ask yourself: Do I use this? Need it? Love it? Is it in good condition?" News Contact: Lucia Scott, Lucia@exposeyourselfpr.com

    **6. TECHNOLOGY: E-COMMERCE TOOLS TO JUMP-START RETAIL SALES. Shirish Nadkarni, founder of Zoomingo, a new mobile-shopping-discovery application: “Retailers who’ve seen Black Friday shoppers and sales dollars plummet at the hands of Cyber Monday will welcome the arrival of innovative e-commerce tools designed to increase foot traffic in local retail stores. Shoppers have always preferred the in-person shopping experience and the instant gratification of getting the items they want. Now, new mobile applications give shoppers a convenient tool to help them find great sales in retail stores, saving time and money.” Nadkarni is available to speak about this exciting new intersection of mobile technology and retail commerce. News Contact: Catherine Greenlaw, Catherine.greenlaw@porternovelli.com Phone: +1-512-241-2235

    **7. TECHNOLOGY: HOW A CLOUD-BASED MODEL IS FREEING BUSINESSES. Bryn Heimbeck, CEO of Trade Tech: "Cloud computing is allowing, for the first time, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to purchase on-demand resources and spare them from the large capital outlays their competitors have been making. At the same time, cloud computing is providing international trading partners and logistics providers with the opportunity to collaborate with other SMEs overseas. This enhances the capabilities of both companies, bringing them to a level where they can compete, and often outperform, their larger competitors (who are mired in less effective server-based models because of their financial commitment). Electing to participate in a cloud means companies of all sizes, especially SMEs, do not have to build all of these connections on their own to compete internationally." Heimbeck can discuss cloud computing and its applications in international logistics. Profile: www.profnetconnect.com/brynheimbeck ... News Contact: Melissa Bradley, bradleycomm@earthlink.net Phone: +1-928-208-9300

     

     

    OTHER NEWS & RESOURCES:

    Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line at profnetalerts@prnewswire.com

    **1. INTERESTING EXPERT OF THE WEEK, HALLOWEEN EDITION: ProfNet Director Maria Perez interviews paranormal expert Joshua Gunn on Halloween and the supernatural: bit.ly/rGcluy

    **2. IDEAS FOR CREATIVE (AND EFFICIENT) CONTENT GENERATION: PR Newswire's Sarah Skerik discusses how polls, surveys and other tools can be used as content: bit.ly/sZT9CP

    **3. #CONNECTCHAT RECAP: PROMOTING BRAND VISIBILITY: ProfNet Editor Evelyn Tipacti interviews branding expert Shaunice Hawkins via Twitter: bit.ly/vOdu1y


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