no bombshells

When making a surprise announcement, don’t say this…

By Laura Bergells on

You made a surprise announcement. You didn’t drop a bombshell. I’m more than a little strung out when I hear those in the news media say something like, “Mr. Peacock dropped a major bombshell at Wince Country Club today. We’ll give you details after the break.” Instantly, my mind goes to actual bombs. Wounded people. …

spin doctors gotta spin

Spin doctors gotta spin…

By Laura Bergells on

Public relations pros don’t like the word spin. Call one a “spin doctor” and that’s a low blow. A rude insult. So how can we put a better spin on our profession? As a child, my mom gave me this piece of life advice: “Don’t call people names they don’t want to be called.” However, …

stock photo

Why sign the photo release?

By Laura Bergells on

Stock photos pretty much suck. Perhaps they had their time and place, but their moment has passed. After a few years of looking at your friend’s photos on Instagram and Facebook, your eyes have been accustomed to seeing real people doing real activities. In contrast, stock photos of people faking their emotions doesn’t quite resonate …

sound jeopardy

What can you do in 30 seconds?

By Laura Bergells on

Throwback Thursday… In 2005, Merv Griffin said he wrote the Jeopardy! theme song in under a minute. “That little 30 seconds has made me a fortune, millions,” he said. How much exactly? Somewhere between 70 and 80 million. And that was ten years ago. Let’s pretend it took you 30 seconds to click through and read this …

george carlin

Why bother with a cover-up?

By Laura Bergells on

People in Washington say it’s not the initial offense that gets you in trouble. It’s the cover-up. They say you should admit what you did, get the story out, and move on. What this overlooks is the fact that most of the time the cover-up works just fine, and nobody finds out anything. I would …

hearts are with those affected

Our hearts and thoughts are not with you at this time…

By Laura Bergells on

Enough with organizations offering generic sentiments and abstractions. Be specific. Give me something concrete, or don’t say anything at all. Let’s say I’m on a company’s email list. It sends me an email telling me to enjoy a happy and safe holiday weekend. It generously tells my family to have one, too. And then 100 other brands send me something …

Welcome

How well do you welcome?

By Laura Bergells on

Your “Welcome” mat may be a visual cliché. You may think it’s de rigueur — but is it really making your audience feel welcomed? We’ve reached a point where merely saying or writing “welcome” doesn’t even mean anything. It’s too generic to be useful or inviting. That’s why you don’t see many websites with a welcome …

Yes, But It Was Only a Quiet Two Million

By Laura Bergells on

Back in 2007, I quickly tossed up a YouTube instructional video. It took me about a half hour to make the 4:46 minute video. Today, the video will reach its 2 millionth view. But it’s not a viral video. It’s not hip or trendy. It didn’t get a big spike in viewership and then go …

word mashups

Are word mashups pathetisad or helpfunctional?

By Laura Bergells on

I came across the words smetiquette and framily for the first time in January. I didn’t need to look these words up: I knew what they meant instantly and intuitively. Smetiquette is a portmanteau: a mashup of the phrase social media (SM) and etiquette. Framily is Sprint’s marketing mashup: it means “Friends and Family”. We …

Balaclava Laura

How do you dress for success during a cold snap?

By Laura Bergells on

“We’re enduring a subzero cold snap, so pack warm clothing. Bring a coat, hat, gloves, and boots,” I advised a southern client over the phone. She was planning to fly up to deliver a series of training presentations for her northern clients. I was to make introductions and serve as her co-presenter in my home …