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Exclusive Zpd.TIPS from Z promotion & design
Volume 6 - 2005

The Zpd.TIPS archives has been divided into 5 10-week periods. As you click on the links below, you will be taken to that section of the tips.

Volume 6 Number 1

Happy New Year from Z promotion & design!  To enjoy our 2005 New Years Greeting Card, click on the link below.

Happy New Year - the card is no longer available.

Volume 6 Number 2

Continuing with our discussion of email-based newsletters.

Disseminate on a regular schedule. I couldn’t tell you how many of you reading this today would miss Zpt.TIPs if I neglected to send it out for a week or so – (feel free to reply to tell me), but when someone signs up to receive these, I feel an obligation to fulfill. I find that weekly works best, every other week might be fine, but less often than that is just not often enough – especially with email.

Volume 6 Number 3

Are Zpd.TIPs spam? You tell me… Spam filters likely keep many of these from being delivered. So as the author, you can only hope that your recipients keep an eye out for your tips. Another reason for a regular delivery schedule. Give your recipients a way out too. Let them know they can stop receiving the tips. Over the years, many people have signed up and a few have later dropped off.

Volume 6 Number 4

When you send your tips, use the BCC feature of your email. In case you are unfamiliar, this is a blind copy. In other words, your recipients will remain anonymous to one another, and none of the recipients will be able to “reply all” – maintaining the confidentiality of the program.

Volume 6 Number 5

So, how do you get recipients for your newsletter? There are a number of ways to build your list. You can begin with your current clients and prospects. As you get new clients, you should add them to the recipient list. In addition, you should add a sign up page to you web site, allowing web visitors to receive them too. This list has grown from a few dozen clients to a couple of hundred primarily through web sign-ups.

Volume 6 Number 6

The benefits to developing an email Tips list include:

  • Maintaining top of mind awareness

  • Educating your recipients – about your business and about your area of expertise

  • Help with search engine placement

  • Creating a potential client list

  • Establishing yourself as an expert

Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at each.

Volume 6 Number 7

Using tips to Maintaining top of mind awareness…

This is a no-brainer; if you, your name and your company are in front of existing and potential clients week after week, month after month and year after year, you will make an impression and your will maintain top of mind awareness.

Volume 6 Number 8

As we continue our look at online newsletters or tips…

Educate your recipients – about your business and about your area of expertise. As you begin to discuss different topics, you will find that recipients – even good clients – will respond from time to time saying “I didn’t know you could do that”. Zpd.TIPs has gotten me a number of jobs from clients who were not aware of the full scope of Z promotion & design’s services.

Volume 6 Number 9

Assuming that you chronicle your tips online; as a part of your web site, the words you use will assist Google and other search engines that query words in web pages, find your site. If you use your tips as a platform to discuss national brands, personalities or famous concepts, their mere mention in your (web site) tips will bring you visitors. For example, a number of years ago I mentioned the Nike Commercial “Bracketville” – and each year during March Madness my site is inundated with visitors who have Googled Bracketville. The same is true for “The Beatles” – my site get over 100 hits a month from people who have Googled “The Beatles” – now, these two examples will help me get even more hits!

Volume 6 Number 10

While looking at the benefits of your online newsletter… If you ever intend to do email marketing; that is truly market your services via email messages (some people call it SPAM), your tips list will make a great place to start. In addition to selling, you can use this list as a focus group or advisors. When I launched a new web site a few years ago, I emailed my Tips list to “test the site”… I got some great comments, and made some changes as a result.

Volume 6 Number 11

Establishing yourself as an expert is the last benefit of online newsletters we will discuss.

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, if your tips are posted on your web site, Google will tend to find your site more easily. If your tips are informative, factual and user-friendly visitors will spend more time on your site – reading. If they are reading, they are learning (in theory) and attributing that to the author, as the expert. You can exploit your expertise by offering ancillary services, such as booklets or pamphlets for sale, speaking engagements for a fee or other money-making ideas you may have.

Volume 6 Number 12

We are going to take the next few weeks to look at some statistics that are gathered about internet usage.  Although these figures, like all statistics, are ever moving, they should give you great indications about ways to optimize your online presence.  

We will look at the percentages of how many people use which browser, what operating system, how they are set up to handle display resolution, color depth and javascript.  Each of these variables has a bearing on your web site design.  Remember, in many cases the way your potential clients see your web site is as dependant upon how their computer is set up as your web designer’s capabilities.

Volume 6 Number 13

As we continue our look at web statistics, this week we are going to look at browsers.
There are four families or brands of web browsers:

  • Internet Explorer from Microsoft; version 6 is the latest and it is the most commonly used browser

  • Netscape; 7.2 is the latest version (August 2004) – their older versions and their Communicator (version 4.x) does not support the latest technologies.

  • Firefox is in version 1.0.2 for Windows and is the fastest growing browser as it has built-in pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, and other popular features.

  • Opera is at version 7.5 for Windows, Mac and Linux (released in May 2004)

  • Mozilla, which is a complete set of web applications upon which Netscape was founded (browser, email client, news client, chat client and more). The browser in the suite is actually Firefox.

Each of the newest versions of these browsers support international web standards (yes there actually are standards)

Next week we will look at the universe of users…who uses what and the changing trends.

Volume 6 Number 14

So, as we continue our look at web statistics, this week we are looking at browser statistics. The popularity of one browser over another. This is important as not all web technology shows up the same on all browsers.

The latest numbers are from March 2005 and are published by the W3Schools, an online educational site for web developers.

  • Internet Explorer (versions 5 and 6) 67.9%

  • Opera (versions 7 and 8) 1.8%

  • Mozilla 3.7%

  • Firefox 21.5%

  • Netscape (version 4.x and 7) 1.2%

There is a missing 3.9% that is unaccounted for in the report I found.

Next week we will look at the meaning behind the numbers…

Next week we will look at what this means....

Volume 6 Number 15

As we continue our look at browser statistics, this week we are looking at what it all means.

Last week we saw that Internet Explorer is the number one browser by a large margin at 67.9% with the next closest being Firefox at 21.5% (Mozilla at 3.7% to equal 25.2%). This should mean you can customize your site for the Internet Explorer and be fairly safe – not necessarily true.

1) Not all code that is read by IE, is also read by Firefox, meaning your site may not look like you anticipated on both browsers.

2) Last year at this time, Firefox (as a part of Mozilla) only accounted for 9.6% - that’s a 162.5% increase in a matter of a year.

Make sure your web site is compliant to all, or at least the top browsers.

Next week operating systems...

Volume 6 Number 16

As we continue our look at browser statistics, this week we are looking at operating systems.

  • Windows XP accounts for 63.1% of the operating systems
  • The rest of Windows (2000, 98, NT and .NET) account for 27.2%
  • Linux is another 3.2% and Mac… 3%

The operating system is one of the variables that define what your web site looks like to the viewer, especially where fonts and colors are concerned.

Next week more stats that define what the viewer sees; screen size and color depth.

Volume 6 Number 17

The most common concern I hear from my web clients has to do with placement of text and graphics on the screen. The expectation is that a web site, like print has a fixed layout. Text wraps around images in a certain way, and the content of your site fills the screen.

The visual representation of your web site is a series of compromise and decisions. There are a number of factors to consider, including the end users Screen Resolution and Color Depth. We will look at those statistics next week.

If you don’t know your screen resolution (and are on a windows operating system), right click on your desktop, click on properties, then on the settings tab at the top. There are (should be) two places you can make changes “Screen Resolution” and “Color Quality (Depth)”. The sliding scale should range from 640 x 480 (the smallest screen) or 800 x 600 to 1280 x 1024. You should be able to change from one to another to see the difference… if you do, look at some web sites to how different they look.

Next week, who is using what screen resolution…

Volume 6 Number 18

As we continue our look at web site statistics, today we are looking at screen resolution stats.
As of January 2005,

  • 0% are still using a screen resolution of 640 x 480

  • 29% are using a screen resolution of 800 x 600

  • 53% are using a screen resolution of 1024 x 768

  • 13% are higher and 5% are unknown.

The trend over the last two years shows the population going to higher resolution displays.

Next week colors…

Volume 6 Number 19

This week we are looking at color depth (how many colors your computer can see).

The current trend is that more and more computers use 24 or 32 bits hardware to display all 16,777,216 different colors.

As of January 2005

  • 72% are seeing 16,777,216 different colors

  • 25% 65,536 different colors

  • 3% are still using a lower color depth

Older computers and laptops often use 16 bits display hardware. This gives a maximum of 65,536 different colors.

Handheld computers (and very old computers) often use 8 bits color hardware. This gives a maximum of 256 colors.

Volume 6 Number 20

Continuing our look at web statistics, one of the most popular features used to bring web sites to life is Java and Java Script… But what is it and can everyone see the results?

Java and Java Scripts? They have nothing to do with coffee. This week a definition, next week who’s able to see it?

Java is an object-oriented programming language that is platform independent (the same Java program runs on all hardware platforms without modification). It was developed by Sun Computers.

Java script is popular scripting language that is widely supported in Web browsers and other Web tools. It adds interactive functions to HTML pages, which are otherwise static, since HTML is a display language, not a programming language.

JavaScript is easier to use than Java, but not as powerful and deals mainly with the elements on the Web page.

Volume 6 Number 21

In order to view java scripts on a web page, you need to be sure your visitors’ browser supports it.

As of January 2005, 89% are able to view java script, while 11% cannot.

Over the last couple of months, we have looked at web statistics that should help you determine how to create a web site that the majority of your visitors will see as you envision it. But, remember statistical averages may not always be relevant to your web site. Different sites attract different audiences. Some web sites attract professional developers using professional hardware; other sites attract hobbyists using older low spec computers. And, in the words of Benjamin Disraeli, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

Volume 6 Number 22

This week we are going to begin a look at Public Relations and Press Releases. While most people tend to think of Public Relations as Free Advertising – it is not. It is more than that. For example… when you advertise, you have control over the content; with PR the editorial staff has ultimate control over the content. They may, or may not grasp your point and publish your information in the correct, or even in a favorable light.

So, during the upcoming weeks (and beyond) we will examine the ins and outs of public relations. We will look at the difference between advertising and public relations, the release itself, dissemination, follow up, as well as other elements.

Next week… what is PR.

Volume 6 Number 23

In our ongoing look at Public Relations, what is PR?

After some exhaustive web research and dozens of definitions, I found that each definition varies with its author.

So for our purposes, let’s look at in this light – Public Relations is the process of developing and promoting a favorable relationship with the public by communicating your firm’s accomplishments in a favorable manner through media (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, Internet, etc.) outlets.
Although this forum will likely not move much beyond this definition (at this time), bear in mind that Public Relations is not just about press releases, it may also include sponsorships, collateral materials, networking, word of mouth, signage, displays, in short; your entire image marketing is all about your relationship with the public – Public Relations.

(FYI… if you have other concepts/definitions about PR, I am open to sharing then with the recipients of the Zpd.TIPS list – just send them my way and I’ll get them out next week).

Now, how we actually accomplish this feat will be the subject of our next few weeks.

Volume 6 Number 24

First, from my invitation last week to provide your own definition of PR I received this:

I've adopted the definition taught in Public Relations classes taken when getting my marketing degree as non-paid advertising. It includes literally everything not space or time paid for but the PR person or firm is paid.

This week…
Think of Public Relations as an integral part of your overall marketing plan. It is yr attempt to supplement advertising with stories in the media to enhance your position within the market.
Consider your objectives, as they relate to your marketing and sales plans.

  • Are you looking to generate sales or leads

  • Introduce a new product to the market

  • Establish yourself/firm as an “expert” in the market

  • Increase awareness of your brand

  • Improve relations

  • Mitigate a problem

With your objectives in mind, you can proceed in developing your PR plan.

Volume 6 Number 25

The next step in developing your PR program is to define your goals.

Your goals should be specific, measurable to your objective(s) and on a timetable (PR Calendar). And, remember to keep them congruent with your overall marketing and sales goals.

Volume 6 Number 26

We have defined our objectives and set our goals, so this week we look at our target audience and by extension our recipients of our press releases. Who do you ultimately want to reach? Go back and look at your objectives, if you are creating industry expertise within a given industry, develop your list from industry publications and media. If you are attempting to reach the entire public, your dissemination of information will be more universal.

Next week we will look a bit more closely at the list…

Volume 6 Number 27

Last week we looked at defining your target audience, which leads to developing your recipient list. Your research can be done online, either through some of the media portal sites (,,, Google searches, Yahoo! Directory, etc. As you find your contacts, create a database in Excel or Access (or one of your choosing) with your contacts. Be sure to create separate fields for each element (salutation, first name, last name, email, etc.) to give you the most flexibility. Some recipients like email, others prefer written letters or faxes, the more flexible your list, the more automated you can become.

Next week, back on track with developing your schedule.

Volume 6 Number 28

It’s time to look at developing a schedule for disseminating your PR.

Put yourself in the place of your recipients, if you received a press release from a given firm each week – you’d begin to consider the news worthiness of information. You definitely want to send your releases as “news happens”- a new product, new contracts, new employees, etc. But you may also look at your accomplishments, upcoming events, anticipated debuts and create a calendar. Remember that based on the publishing frequency of your targets, it may take months for your release to see the light of day (if in fact it ever does). Coordinate your press releases with other elements of your marketing/media efforts.

Next week, communication vehicles.

Volume 6 Number 29

How are you going to get your message out to the public?
There are a number of communication vehicles including:

  • Write and disseminate Press Releases

  • Customer Success Stories

  • Hold press conferences or invite media for an interview

  • Develop seminars

  • Create speaking opportunities

  • Sponsorships – events, schools, concerts, etc.

  • Write articles for local or national publications

  • Write letters to the editor, if applicable

Volume 6 Number 30

Track your PR… you have set objectives, review them, did you get your desired results? If so, how might you improve them and move to the next level? If not, can you pinpoint what went wrong? How would you do things differently with your next release?

Your plan should be a living, breathing plan… be flexible and be ready to modify.

Next week, we will begin to take the list of communication vehicles and explore each in greater depth, beginning with writing press releases.

Volume 6 Number 31

We are beginning a closer look at the communication vehicles for your Public Relations campaigns. To review; a couple of weeks ago we “defined” these vehicles as:

1. Press Releases
2. Customer Success Stories
3. Press Conferences
4. Seminars
5. Speaking opportunities
6. Sponsorships – events, schools, concerts, etc.
7. Articles
8. Letters to the editor

Next week – Formatting your press release…

Volume 6 Number 32

This week we are delving into press releases…
Here are a few formatting issues and things to include as part of your press releases.

  1. the first line should read: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

  2. contact information in case additional information or interview is desired

  3. a brief summary/description/history of your business at the end of the release

  4. a release date, and location

  5. a headline, a possibly a subhead

  6. the basic information

  7. a quote from an company official

  8. end your release with ### or -30- typed across the center of the page a few lines below the end of your text

Next week the copy…

Volume 6 Number 33

In some cases the recipient of your press release will print your content verbatim, in other cases the recipient will glance at the headline, if it is an attention-getter – you may find yourself published.

Be sure your headline and first paragraph make your point – and keep it brief. Why is your news newsworthy to the readers/viewers/listeners of the recipient? Remember, yours is one of hundreds (or more) crossing the editors’ desks – make it count. Keep the hype to a minimum – consider you are writing a news story – who, what, when, where and why!

Next week… how should I send it…

Volume 6 Number 34

So how should I send my press release? First of all, send it to an individual. Today many editors will accept email releases; however, it is always wise to contact your recipient to find out the best way to send releases to them. Many publication web sites provide this information. But, as a general rule of thumb, never send your release as an email attachment. Include the information in the body of your email. You can always provide a link to a web page or pdf file of the release.

Some publications still like “snail mail”, and some prefer photography. Talk to your recipient and get the details… for example lifestyle and home décor magazines tend to prefer a photo be sent with the release, but it needn’t be a high resolution photograph, as they will likely send their own photographer. Business magazines and newspapers may want headshots, which can be sent. Consider a “press section” to your web site to allow publications to download high-resolution images.

Next week… follow up…

Volume 6 Number 35

Following up on your press release… it is not inappropriate to follow up with a phone call or email, especially if you have a relationship with the editor. If you catch them by phone, be sure to ask if you have reached them at a good time… if so, you have an opportunity to accomplish two important tasks: 1) restate your case for publishing the information and 2) begin to develop a relationship with the editor.

You may also choose to follow up with a second release (sent along with the first) that shows a relationship or outcome from the first announcement. This shows the editor the added value… and may provide a secondary benefit.

Next week… developing relationships…

Volume 6 Number 36

Assuming that you have developed a list of who should get your press releases and why, get to know these people. This is a mutually beneficial relationship – they want your stories and you want the exposure they can provide. Invite each to lunch (where appropriate) to talk about their publication, their focus and discuss how your business relates. Ask if how exclusivity on a given story might increase your chances of getting published (if you are willing to honor that).




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