Online Tools – Are They User-Friendly? Not so much.

We are experts at using Survey MonkeyWordPress and Constant Contact and making them work for you.

Facebook and YouTube should be an integral part of your marketing-communications plan.

By Jonathan Lehrer

It’s easy to set up free accounts with the popular template-based online tools. But it takes seasoned pros to integrate them into a well-planned public relations program. We can help.

Constant Contact

You can’t tune in to your local all-news radio station without hearing an ad for Constant
Contact. According to its Web site, 185,000 small businesses use Constant Contact to connect with their customers. Setting up an account is free and dozens of templates are offered at no extra charge; you can have your first email newsletter out on the Internet in a few minutes.

Or can you?

The fact is, to use Constant Contact effectively for email marketing, you need to know your way around a sophisticated content management system. What’s more, only the most basic approaches can get by without modifying the supplied templates.

You need a Constant Contact expert with a public relations background to design an effective Constant Contact experience.

Contact Jonathan Lehrer Communications / The Message Engineers for advice and help with email newsletters and tools like Constant Contact.

Survey Monkey

Let the computer do the math. That’s the basic idea behind Survey Monkey, the online survey tool. Survey Monkey can be indispensable for the public relations practitioner who needs to know what the clients’ constituents or customers think.

Type your questions into Survey Monkey’s online interface, upload your email addresses and click SEND. A few minutes later, responses will magically appear on the screen in front of you, fully tabulated and ready to be reported to your client. Easy.

Well, not so much.

It takes a seasoned public relations pro to plan the survey, write the questions and understand how to use the survey results in a comprehensive PR program. Jonathan Lehrer Communications / The Message Engineers has the technical knowledge and the public relations expertise to have your survey online and collecting data in just a few hours.

WordPress

In the “old days” (a year ago!), to update the content of your Web site required zipping an email to your paid Web consultant to make the change.

Not anymore.

Originally designed for blogs, such tools as WordPress and Typepad are being used to create Web sites that don’t look anything like a blog. These tools are free and you don’t need to be a Web designer to make them work.

But you do need a message expert to be sure the Web site says what you really want it to say. Jonathan Lehrer Communications / The Message Engineers can customize a WordPress site to deliver the right message to the right audience. Plus, after years of having clients ask how to edit their own site, we finally have an answer. We’ll show you how to use WordPress or another online content management system to keep your site fresh at virtually no cost.

YouTube

More than a hundred gazillion videos are uploaded to YouTube every nanosecond. But the vast majority of those videos aren’t properly described or tagged. Why is it sometimes impossible to find the video you want?

It’s because the person uploading the video didn’t write a keyword-rich description.

Your organization may have video footage hidden in the bottom drawer of someone’s desk. Put it to work for you on YouTube.

You could do it yourself, of course, or you could have Jonathan Lehrer Communications / The Message Engineers sort through video content that you’ve already created and post it to YouTube for maximum effect. Who knows? Maybe your CEO will become as famous as the blender guy in the labcoat.

YouTube may simply be the best and cheapest online PR tool you’ve discovered lately.

Facebook

Facebook isn’t just another Web application. It’s a completely new way to communicate.

The under-25 audience spends more time on Facebook than your parents spend watching TV. Jonathan Lehrer Communications / The Message Engineers will come to your office with a portable Internet connection and an LCD projector to demonstrate Facebook, MySpace (and why not add Wikipedia, too?). We’ll brainstorm with you about how to best use these sites in your marketing program.

For an expert approach to Constant Contact, WordPress, Survey Monkey and other online tools, contactJonathan Lehrer Communications / The Message Engineers.


The author co-founded The Message Engineers, which provides public relations and crisis communications planning to government agencies, non-profit organizations and business.

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