Archive for December, 2012

December 26, 2012

Use wire services with eyes wide open…

I just read this article and have some opinions to share.

“Tuesdays Still “Best” Time to Send a Release, Your Mileage May Vary”

I agree. However, be aware that posting a release on any wire service provides limited benefits. It will: a. secure a handful (if you’re lucky) of meaningful “real” links on good online news sites; b. potentially result in your release getting picked up by vertical trade media that re-run the release, run an abbreviated version or create their own stories; and c: ensure your release is findable / pop up in searches (be sure to imbed three to five key search terms with links). Ninety percent of the links a wire service feeds back to you last a few days and are of NO benefit. They are buried in non-findable, non-searchable sections of these online news sites. BTW: I have found that PR Newswire is the worst value of all wire services. (I have a terrific, real-life example to support this opinion.) However, a good wire service can deliver a, b and c. And, using a wire service can be a good part of your PR efforts. Just don’t rely on it to deliver a huge punch unless you’re a big-name company.

December 12, 2012

The Most Effective Storylines for Marketing

Excellent advice. Read it. As relevant to media relations as investor relations. Make sure you have a good story to tell about your company, initiative, new partnership, etc. Use these seven themes as guidelines.

December 5, 2012

Latest coverage we secured for our client, Benevolent…

Crain’s Chicago Business

Megan Kashner takes Benevolent giving to the next level

By Shia Kapos December 05, 2012

Jessie is homeless and wants a laptop to help him look for work. Alisha needs car repairs so she can take her children to school. Megan Kashner is linking up Jessie and Alisha with donors who want to know the people they’re helping.

Ms. Kashner is CEO of, an online venture she started a year ago this month. It allows donors to view the personal stories of people with one-time needs and give to their causes. It’s similar to other cyber-giving efforts (Desiree Vargas Wrigley talks about Giving Tuesday here) but instead of looking for big-ticket donations, Benevolent focuses on smaller needs.

In the case of Jessie, three donors have committed $60 toward the $555 effort. Both Jessie and Alisha have a Dec. 15 deadline to raise the needed funds. If the goals aren’t met, donors want their monies pushed to another good cause. The recipients are featured in videos and have been vetted by social service and nonprofit agencies that aren’t able to meet their needs.


“It’s all about a filling the gaps of the safety net,” says Ms. Kashner, who has worked in nonprofits for many years, most recently at the Taproot Foundation, an organization that helps nonprofits market themselves.

“There are so many instances in which a low-income individual faces a challenge or hurdle that would only cost $200 or $400 to get past. But when they can’t get past that hurdle, it sets them back and ends up costing our social safety net thousands of dollars and disappointments,” Ms. Kashner says over oatmeal at Le Peep, a restaurant near her office in Evanston.

On one side, she says, “we’ve got all these low-income individuals who but for $200, $500, could be moving forward toward their goals and toward sustainability.” And on the other, “we’ve got people who have the ability to give, who are increasingly making it clear to us they want to know who they’re helping, how they’re helping and exactly what’s happening with their dollars. With today’s technology we can make that possible.”

Benevolent’s crowd-sourcing approach to philanthropy recently grabbed the attention of the White House, which invited her to be present along with seven other panelists at a forum on innovation and philanthropy.

In the next six months, Benevolent will expand to other cities across the country.

Ms. Kashner hopes one day to see the effort to zero in on individual needs become so common that you might be standing in line at the grocery store, and instead of a checker asking “Would you like to donate to prostate cancer?” they’d ask, “Would you like to give to help Joe down the street?”