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PR Tips | To Communicate Effectively, Care

As regular readers know, I moonlight as a wine blogger. When not cranking away at Keybridge, I’m running the wine blog Terroirist.com. Last month, I visited Rioja, Spain to speak at the Digital Wine Communications Conference. My panel explored the communication challenges faced by global wine brands. I shared the stage with Ben Smith, who heads up communications for Concha y Toro in the United Kingdom, and Pia Mara Finkell, who directs media relations and social media for Rioja Wines. The event was moderated by Robert McIntosh, co-founder of the conference. You can check out my prepared remarks on Terroirist.com. To put it briefly, I argued that generic brands -- think Rioja, Champagne, or Napa Valley – have an easier job than huge wine companies like Concha y Toro and Kendall Jackson. This makes sense. Just as the clothing you wear and the politicians you vote for say something about who you are, so does what you drink. Journalists are no different. San Francisco Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonné enjoys being an ambassador for “new” California wine – the producers who are exploring California’s vast and varied climate to protect old vineyards and produce wine from unusual grapes.

PR Tips | Arial or Times New Roman?

Back in the 15th century, type foundries didn't offer much in the way of font choices. But we've come a long way since then. With so many available fonts to choose from nowadays, how do you know which is right for you? The first part of your decision will be determined by the two main classifications: Serif and Sans Serif. Serifs are small strokes on the edges of letters. Sans serif fonts (sans meaning without) do not have these decorative features.image-1   Common wisdom holds that long paragraphs are easier to read with serifs, as they make it easier for eyes to scan letters, words, and sentences. Generally, books and newspapers use serif typefaces. In contrast, many believe that sans serif fonts are preferable on digital displays like computer or cell-phone screens. Once you've chosen whether to go with serif or sans serif, the next step is choosing a style. Serif typefaces have three main styles: Modern, Old Style and Transitional. Modern fonts tend to have the biggest difference between the thickness of the strokes. images-300x126So the left leg of the letter M might be really thin, while the right leg is thick. Old style typefaces are more balanced and modeled after early lettering design. Transitional serif typefaces fall between these previous two. Examples would be Garamond or Didot.

PR Tips | Campaign for a Cause This Holiday Season

This December, increasing numbers of companies are mixing social good into their holiday advertising and PR campaigns. It’s smart. Well executed cause marketing can generate big rewards. Studies show that consumers are interested in making purchases that improve our world. In a recent survey, 87 percent of consumers said they would switch brands based on association with a good cause. Last holiday season, two-thirds of shoppers considered environmental and sustainability factors when buying gifts. Tapping into this market of socially aware consumers requires engagement using traditional and new media. According to the Adobe Digital Index 2013 Online Shopping Forecast, an estimated 36 percent of consumers say they will use social media in their Christmas buying decisions. As with any media effort, holiday marketing requires a clear, high-quality message. It's important to target the proper audience with an easy-to-digest mission statement. Potential customers want to know exactly what their purchase is benefiting.

PR Tips | Writing Quality Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor are a great way to make an appearance in your favorite daily newspaper. The letters-to-the-editor page is among every newspaper's most-read sections. Further, several letters on various topics are published each day. A newspaper's editorial page, by contrast, may feature just one guest op-ed -- or even none, if it opts for popular syndicated content instead. Letters follow some simple rules. Letters should respond to the news -- usually to an article or opinion piece previously published by the newspaper. However, letters must also stand on their own. A reader should be able to understand a letter without having read the article to which it refers. They should always be less than 150 words -- and in the neighborhood of 100 is even better. Some of the most effective letters are short and pithy -- just one or two sentences. And they should always feature a strong thesis, usually in the first or second sentence.

Keybridge Senior Writer Rob Montz just produced a fascinating short called -- "The Uber Wars" -- for ReasonTV. Although it's only 11 minutes long, this mini-documentary gives deep -- and hilarious -- insight...