• Marty Weil writes for print and the Web. He has more than two decades of experience writing about the use of technology in numerous fields including education, manufacturing, and food processing.

    This blog provides tips, guides, and commentary on subject matter related to journalism, copy writing, and social networking.

    • Are you fascinated by the unlimited potential of social networking?
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    If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, you will find value in this blog.

    In addition to this blog, Marty also edits ephemera, an award-winning blog that enjoys a wide following among artists, authors, researchers, and collectors.

    Marty's My Year in Asheville blog project spawned a hardcover book by the same name.

    Marty has also served as a consultant and managing editor for several Fortune 500 microsite blog projects.

    He is interested reading, music, and entrepreneurship.

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« May 2009 | Main

June 2009

06/23/2009

Federal Stimulus Feature in Technology & Learning

My article (What to do with it) surveying innovative schools' leaders on their plans for putting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to good use appears in the June issue of Technology & Learning. The article is part of a series of stories about the ARRA of 2009.

I've been delving ever more deeply into how school districts are deploying technology in the wake of the ARRA. A feature I wrote on school data reporting under the new federal guidelines is scheduled to appear in the July issue of the magazine.

 

06/18/2009

Safety Automation Review Online Content

I've been entrusted with writing the content of Automation World's Safety Automation Review, sponsored by Rockwell Automation. Each quarter, I produce two features (and a number of product reviews) for the site, which is meant as a resources for safety automation professionals.

The content is sufficiently weighty, yet bite-sized enough for a Web-based format. See, for example, my article entitled, Integrating Saftey: Using a Safety Portfolio to Improve Bottom Line Performance. The right balance is struck between journalistic integrity and the sponsor's objectives, which makes this an ideal model for similar online endeavors in the B2B publishing space.

This Automation World site an excellent example of a corporate-sponsored microsite that strives to provide high-quality, timely information to a technical audience. I'm proud to be associated with the site and serve as its lead technology writer.

More of my work on the Safety Automation Review can be found at the following links:

06/15/2009

Akgmag.com Freelance Writer Interview

Akgmag.com recently interviewed me about my career as a freelance writer.

During the Q&A, Akgmag's interviewer, Marita, asked if I had a favorite type of project. I replied, "I mainly focus on the use of technology in a number of industries including education, manufacturing, renewable energy, and food/beverage. I enjoy writing corporate case studies. I’ve written more than 250 of them over the years. I actively seek out those opportunities. I find writing about how companies use products and services to improve their businesses to be very fascinating and enjoyable work. However, I’m always open to exploring new territory. A good writer can take any topic and make it come to life."

You can find the entire interview here

Thank you to Marita and everyone at Akgmag.com for their interest in my work.

06/11/2009

Are Case Studies Still Relevant?

The quest to gain a marketing foothold too often leads corporation down one or another Yellow Brick Road. In today's hyper-competitive marketplace, the impulse to rise like a towering Emerald City is understandable; but what Dorothy eventually came to understand--and what market leaders are leveraging today with remarkable success--is that the key to sustaining the most interest is typically much closer to home.

You want the world to beat a path to your door? Then show it the faces who have crossed your threshold.

Even today customer case histories provide strong, independent evidence of how a company's products and services are working in the marketplace. Companies use this tool in many diverse ways--Web content, media placement, white paper support, for example.

When a company effectively tells prospects about its most effective sories--why your product works, what they mean to those who use them, and how it's good business to be doing business with you--the marketing advantages are clear. This was true 20 years ago when I first began writing corporate case studies, and it is still true today.

06/08/2009

Social Media Connects PR Pros to Journalists

As a follow up to my recent guest column on DailyBlogTips about how journalist stay connected to PR people, I asked the LinkedIn audience for their professional take on my column—as a means to extend the conversation.

I was somewhat startled by the replies of many of my fellow journalists. For instance, one journalist replied, “As a journalist, I would ask, ‘Why would a journalist want to stay connected to PR professionals?’"

Are PR People Annoying?

He went on to say that most PR professionals pitch/annoy…bringing a black eye to the field.

Others followed suit suggesting that it is not the job of a journalist to reach out to PR folks, but, rather, for PR people to stay in touch with journalists. As a follow on, someone added:

“I agree... It's the public relations professional's responsibility to keep in touch with journalists, and not in an annoying way. If a PR pro is representing his or her client correctly, there should be a regular (one or twice a month) flow of information that journalists can use to a targeted group of journalists that cover your client.”

There were others that agreed with my premise that a more balanced, two-way street attitude toward the relationship was rewarding for everyone involved. 

“Journalists and PR professionals should keep in touch with each other -- it's a two-way street. An occasional email, phone call, or even -- imagine --a face-to-face chat over coffee or lunch will do the trick. Another option is for journalists to attend the programs offered by local chapters of PRSA.”

Another concurred, “I agree. Communication is a two way street and as professionals, we have an equal responsibility to keep open channels.  As a PR professional I have been contacted by journalists on multiple occasions about a potential story.  I would say the best way to keep in touch would be with Twitter, Facebook, and of course, LinkedIn.”

Social Media Two-Way Street

"Nowadays," someone else chimed in, "social media plays a major part in providing necessary piece of information. So, one of the ways for PR practitioners to stay in touch with their journalists could be done by constantly updating online information, make it more searchable online…and try to make it appealing and readable. Naturally, it should be two-way communications. Therefore, all contact details of the PR practitioner should be available on the web site. Blogging and social network groups are getting very popular as a communication tool, so RSS and links like ‘follow me’ would connect the reader to your information.

This is the direction I’d recommended in my DailyBlogTips guest column.

In it, I’d pointed out that one of the purposes of this blog was to be a window into my world as a journalist—to keep up with the stories I was pursuing, and, taking it further, to decode the types of stories I might like to be pitched (based on the bread crumb trial of stories I’d written in the recent months.)

So far, however, I haven’t heard from any PR pros in my areas of concentration (i.e., technology use in manufacturing, k12 education, food processing, energy, and other fields). My hope is that this blog will pioneer the type of two-way communications that many in both fields believe is the key to success in this new era of social media.

Where are the PR people? Is the seat at the table what they've always craved, or is this a case of "careful what you wish for?"

06/04/2009

Social Product Development - Facebook Meets CAD

In a post titled, Social Work, Stephanie Neil, Managing Automation’s Senior Editor, examined the role of Social Networking as it relates to the B2B sector.

As a freelance contributor to Managing Automation, I was keen to read Stephanie’s take on the subject. She wrote, “…at what point does this social networking stuff become destructive rather than productive?"

There's been a lot written lately on social networking and much of it boils down to that question. And I agree with Neil that it's important to think about. She suggests there be a business plan for line of business managers that outlines "process workflows that include the use of these tools."

For example, where along a product development cycle would it make sense to have a link to a wiki for swapping ideas about a project? How about instant messaging? Shouldn’t that be a must-have (not a nice-to-have) when it comes to coordinating multiple constituents in real time? 

Social Product Development

In her post, Neil unveils a possible answer in the form of "social product development," a term coined by PTC, a PLM provider. Sort of Facebook meets CAD, but not exactly. The company describes it like this:

Social product development will allow teams to better collaborate across borders and time zones, and will enable innovation of endless possibilities.

Within the next week or two, Neil reports, PTC will unveil some very cool social computing capabilities that take product development to a new level.

And I'll be monitoring the results here.

06/03/2009

Welcome DailyBlogTips Readers

Thanks for visiting my site after reading my guest column on DailyBlogTips. If this is your first time visiting martyweil.net, you should know that I've been a freelance writer/journalist for nearly 20 years.

For anyone who has more questions about building a network among media relations professionals, please leave a comment. I'll try to answer as many questions as I can in upcoming posts. Please subscribe to my free feed to stay connected.

And thank you Daniel for allowing me to write a post on your wonderful blog.