A lot of traditional media outlets in Milwaukee have recently started Twitter accounts. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (@NewsHub) and the Business Journal Serving the Greater Milwaukee Area (@BizJournalMke) are two that I follow. And I have to say that NewsHub kicks BizJournalMke's ass. Here are five reasons why.

  1. Followers - BizJournalMke does not follow anyone! In contrast NewsHub follows two thirds of the amount of people who follow them. Can you guess who is engaging their followers?
  2. Tweeting Hours - BizJournalMke tends to tweet only during normal business hours. Twitter is all about immediacy and last time I checked news happens 24/7. In contrast NewsHub tweets at all hours. Guess who's getting scooped on stories?
  3. Community Engagement - If you don't follow anyone it's pretty hard to engage in any type of discussion. NewsHub frequently retweets, direct messages and @Replies. They also link to other Wisconsin media outlets for more coverage and stories. If I have a news question or breaking news tip you bet I'm letting NewsHub know. They provide value to me, so I will return the favor. Plus, it's clear they will receive it!
  4. Current Events - In addition to talking to followers, NewsHub also engages in larger conversations. For example, last night NewsHub used the #Obama hashtag to talk to the Twitterverse about Obama's speech in real time. Where was BizJournalMke? With all the articles about the economic stimulus package they should have been contributing.
  5. Character - Finally BizJournalMke just lacks character. Ninety nine percent of their tweets are simply their headline and link to their news story. NewsHub's tweets are catchy and playful. You can tell an actual human is behind them. For example, one tweet said, "Puff daddy, ahem, that is Michael Phelps, commits to making comeback meet May 14." The actual headline was "Olympic hero Michael Phelps to return from 3-month suspension at swim meet in Charlotte." Which one would get you to click the link?

It's time for this week's Twitter links. This week the UK bans kissing in train stations, a Snuggie pub crawl is scheduled in Chicago and we learn what the uber rich waste their money on.

Remember, to get the links in real time follow me on Twitter @ladyhero.

Have a good week!

I have been an ATT* customer for the last five years, and rarely received mail that was not a bill, so it surprised me to see a magazine from them in my mailbox. The magazine had articles like "Texting & Dating: the New Rules" and "New Offers that won't Break the Bank!"

I was confused. First, I had never received a magazine like this before and second because I am signed up for paperless billing. Wouldn't an e-newsletter be a better choice? Clearly, they don't know their audience. With all the crap ATT has gotten for their 300 plus pages of iPhone phone bills you would think they would be a little more conscientious about printing materials.

I know some people would still rather get a hard copy, but for those who clearly do not want to waste the paper wouldn't you distribute the information electronically? That really got me thinking.

Sending a newsletter is a pretty old tactic. To be honest, I don't think many people read them. Sure, you might scan the headlines but a newsletter from my cell phone provider is pretty low on my priority list. Isn't there a better way to reach me? Creating a Twitter account might be a good start. What about creating cool apps that only work on the ATT network? ATT has started to use Facebook, but in my quick search I couldn't find an official fan page.

Here's an idea. One of the things ATT is known for are their rollover minutes. In fact, I have hundreds of rollover minutes that expire each month because I never use them. (Many Gen-Yers would rather text than talk. Most of the time it's faster, and there's no need to "make nice" with mindless banter about the weather.) My point?

What if ATT really started to embrace social media and create a Facebook app where ATT users could donate their rollover minutes to other ATT users? What a great story that would be! Can you feel the potential? People could start connecting with other ATT users all over the globe. Surely that would be a better way to spend time and money than writing cutesy articles and printing what I can only imagine is thousands of magazines.

So after all this I have only one thing to say. ATT, please stop sending me pointless magazines and start engaging me in ways that matter. To ME. Thanks.

*For some reason blogger won't let me use the "and" symbol so bear with me.

Twitter Links Feb. 8 - 14

It's time for another round of Twitter links. Read, learn, enjoy!

This article on AgencySpy got me thinking today. With the invention of mobile phones with video cameras, YouTube and recording and editing software it has become increasingly easy for the average person to document their experiences with their favorite brands. We've seen this recently with the Dutch Heineken walk in freezer ad. (To view the original ad click here.) I'm still waiting to hear if this is for real.

And now we have this lovely ad for Trader Joe's or arguably the Palm Treo.

Not all consumer material is positive of course. The below Comcast video is enough to make any PR person cringe.

Even though some user-generated content is a cause for crisis communications I urge PR and advertising professionals to not take positive user-generated videos for granted. When a brand has consumers championing their product or service they should think of ways to leverage the attention. Maybe they would make good spokespeople? Heck, maybe they'd even do well in an ad? Perhaps you could use them to write a blog post on the company web site or become a regular contributor. There are lots of different ways to involve and embrace your brand ambassadors. Don't let them slip through your fingers!

Twitter links Feb. 1-7

Every Sunday I will post links from my previous weeks Twitter posts. My hope is that you will find these links helpful and interesting. Let me know what you think! Right now each post will show up just as it did on Twitter. I'll do my best not to post links that are no longer relevant. To get them in real time follow me on Twitter @ladyhero.

My Favorite Superbowl Ads

Between Jennifer Hudson's national anthem and the winning 78 yard drive by Pittsburgh, NBC Sunday night viewers saw $206 million dollars in advertising. Rather than bash all the awful ads I'll tell you my favorites and briefly mention the ones that didn't make the cut.

My Top Four
Hulu's ad featuring Alec Baldwin was one of the best ads of the night. It worked because A) Alec Baldwin is hilarious, and B) it gave viewers an immediate reason to visit the site -- to watch your favorite Superbowl ads! I also liked the ad because it educated viewers who aren't as Internet savvy about another "free" source to view high quality TV. Take heed, there is no longer a need for fancy DVR or expensive cable and satellite! Hulu provides high quality entertainment for the price of a high speed Internet connection.

Doritos Crystal Ball ad was hilarious. Some will argue that it contained unnecessary violence. To them I say get over yourself. While I have seen ads where the college humor goes too far this one had everyone in the house laughing. Maybe those who were offended have just been kicked in the balls too many times?

Not all the Miller High Life one second ads made it to game time, but they were great. The Milwaukee market saw the "High Life" ad. These ads work because they stick to Miller's brand. In a time where $3 million seems a bit excessive for a Superbowl ad, Miller went the cheaper route and bought ad time in local markets. The media buy complimented the brand message perfectly. Miller High Life clearly gives you the best bang for your buck.

Finally, I have to give up for PETA. Creating an ad that you know will be banned isn't exactly a new trick, but PETA was successful in creating a ton of buzz. Most major news sources and several blogs ran stories on the ad.

I'm not sure if it will convince anyone to go "veggie," but it's a nice spot. Does anyone know if the women in the ad are actually vegetarians? If they are, that might give people something to think about.

'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad

Other ads that deserve honorable mentions are: Cash4Gold, E*Trade (I can't help, it I love the baby) and the NBC: LMAO ad.

What Should Have Stayed on the Cutting Room Floor
While there were many disappointments this year the Budweiser ads were the worst. The Clydesdale's did not make me want to drink beer much less Budweiser. I was also put off by all the 3D ads. No one I was with had brought special 3D glasses to watch the ads and without them they fell short. Maybe I would have felt differently if I'd had the glasses?

To see what the Twitterverse thought of the ads go to Search.Twitter.com and type in #superads09. What were your favorite Superbowl ads?

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