QR Codes

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com.

As I have said in class so many times: “The future is now.” create your own QR code…

Scan this with your iPhone or BlackBerry…

Google QR codes and read up on the Quick Response — its visual and how it works.Try this one. Let me know your thoughts. No ad should be designed without a QR code. 

Remember:      To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com


Types of Advertising of “Special Interest” to Public Relations Counselors

With Rowan University’s graduate comprehensive exams coming up this week, here is information vital to pubic relations practitioners when it comes to political and advocacy advertising. [To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

IssueAdvocacyAds – These ads try to influence public perceptions of proposals being debated in Congress or state legislatures, often by putting public pressure on lawmakers. Like political ads that aim to defeat or elect a candidate, for the most part, issue ads are not regulated. Sponsors are neither subject to spending limits, nor must they disclose sources of funding.

Political Advertising – The purpose of political ads is to persuade people to vote for a candidate, or in some cases, an issue. While the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission and Federal Election Commission view political ads liberally when it comes to “truth in advertising” and “deceptive” practices, there are certain guidelines that must be followed:

•  Political advertising does not have to adhere to truth in advertising as other types of ads do. They may use deception and misleading information (PR Play 11-21) in “The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook.”

•  If a printed piece is mailed, the name and address of the candidate or representative must be on the ad.

•  All printed pieces, brochures, fliers, and newspaper and magazine ads must indicate who is paying for them.

•  Radio commercials must contain the candidate’s voice and television commercials must show the candidate’s face (even a still shot). They must also state who is paying for the commercial.

•  Candidates for federal office must disclaim their radio and television ad – either at the beginning or end – stating their name and saying “I approve this message.” On TV, they must be shown saying it.

•  Generally, both print and electronic media charge the lowest rate on a rate card for a section or page in the newspaper or magazine, or “day part” in radio or TV. (Congress is considering legislation related to political pricing charged by TV stations.)

•  As a safety precaution, most media outlets require that payment is made at the time ads are placed.

One word appeared in press releases 776 times—in a 24-hour period

Taken from: Ragan’s “PR Daily” By Michael Sebastian | Posted: March 23, 2011

If you have time…and want the full article — plus comments: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/7660.aspx


To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com

I hope you’re sitting down. 

Last month, PR strategist Adam Sherk took 25 of the most overused buzzwords in marketing and PR—he compiled a list of the top 100 in June—and ran them through PRFilter, a website from RealWire that aggregates press releases.

The results: “Solution” led the pack with 243 appearances.

Shortly after he published the post, PRFilter set the record straight: “Solution” did not appear in press releases 243 times; it appeared 622 times—and it was the second most common buzzword.

The most common word is “leading,” which showed its face 776 times—in one 24-hour stretch.

Here’s the full list—compliments of Adam Sherk and PRFilter:

1. leading (776)
2. solution (622)
3. best (473)
4. innovate / innovative / innovator (452)
5. leader (410)
6. top (370)
7. unique (282)
8. great (245)
9. extensive (215)
10. leading provider (153)
11. exclusive (143)
12. premier (136)
13. flexible (119)
14. award winning / winner (106)
15. dynamic (95)
16. fastest (70)
17. smart (69)
18. state of the art (65)
19. cutting edge (54)
20. biggest (54)
21. easy to use (51)
22. largest (34)
23. real time (8)

UPDATE: As RealWire CEO Adam Parker noted in the comments, there are 23 (instead of 25) buzzwords because PRFilter treats some words (innovate, innovator, innovative) as single words.

A few comments…including one from that Litwin guy:


Comments (27)

donmorberg · 2 days ago

Most interesting. Not sure how 25 of 23 words were run through PRFilter, but nonetheless it’s interesting. Where did synergy go?
Hi Don 

The difference in number is because Adam had innovate, innovator and innovation as separate words on his list but in actual fact PRFilter treats them all the same within its relevance processes as it sees them as all relating to innovation – hence why they are grouped together above.

Synergy wasn’t on Adam’s original list but having looked at our data I can confirm it appeared 19 times on the day in question.

Thanks for your interest.
Adam Parker, Chief exec, RealWire


Larry Litwin
Don’t kn ock synergy. I’ve been using it effectively in strategic sommunication for 25 years. (Even wrote a book about it.) When your output achieves your planned outcome and you achieve your goal by assuring the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, you have achieved synergy and more. Do not knock synergy. Each of us functions daily thanks to the unique physiological makeup of our bodies.

Robert Cole



Apologies for the comment being longer than the post – bad habit of mine…

Love the analysis, but I am not really surprised. Fundamentally, what you are seeing is what I have frequently called “Synonym Syndrome” or “Thesaurus Theory” in action.

In essence, in an effort to differentiate their product and break through the clutter, marketers are using seven basic pillars to justify product superiority or noteworthiness:

– Bigger
– Faster
– Simpler
– Smarter
– Different
– Popular

To sum up, they all are actually applying one unifying construct as an umbrella,

– Better

Some concepts, like Bigger, Faster, Simpler, Smarter are product related and traditionally dominated the landscape in an effort to describe HOW a product is better.

The other two, Different & Popular are a bit more socially oriented, referencing aspects that relate to other competitive products or an earlier version. These tend to address the WHY a product deserves attention.

Finally, if the product features/benefits & differentiation present a challenge, one can always fall back on those good ‘ole non-specific superlatives like Better. Does it really matter who gave you that award (thanks Mom) as long as you are now award-winning? Didn’t think so.

What I find most interesting is how these specific terms stack up when aggregated into groupings of similar terms –

1. leading (776)
5. leader (410)
10. leading provider (153)

3. best (473)
6. top (370)
8. great (245)
12. premier (136)
14. award winning / winner (106)

2. solution (622)
13. flexible (119)
21. easy to use (51)
15. dynamic (95)

7. unique (282)
11. exclusive (143)

9. extensive (215)
20. biggest (54)
22. largest (34)

4. innovate / innovative / innovator (452)
17. smart (69)
18. state of the art (65)
19. cutting edge (54)

16. fastest (70)
23. real time (8)

Now that we live in more complex times where branding often trumps product feature sets, popularity and simplicity has apparently become the dominant theme, with the impact of social media perhaps tilting the scales, as you note, from Solution (Simpler) to Leading (Popular) within the last year.

Of course, it could be worse. We can be thankful that we are not suffering the product marketing malaise of the 1960’s & ’70’s when the generic and typically unsubstantiated “New & Improved” were undoubtedly the most popular terms.

Great stuff – would love to see you semantically categorize the concepts as the context is what really makes the usage of these terms most intriguing.

Associated Press Removes Hyphen From ‘Email’ In Style Guide

From “Huffington Post” [huffingtonpost.com] comes the following: [To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

The Associated Press decided to remove the hyphen from “e-mail” in its Stylebook–the bible for many media outlets–on Friday.

The AP announced the changes at the annual conference of the American Copy Editors Society in Phoenix. The use of “e-mail” was seen as a relic of an earlier age, when the Internet was new to most people and the idea of “electronic mail” was confusing.

The change mimicked a similar one that the AP put in place in 2010, when it decided that “Web site” could now be called “website.”

The AP also announced that it is changing “cell phone” and “smart phone” to “cellphone” and “smartphone.”

The organization also announced the move on Twitter, writing, “language evolves.”

The changes go into effect on Saturday. Copy editors, take note.

Read More:Ap, AP Stylebook, Associated Press, Associated Press e-Mail, Associated Press Email, Media News

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Weaning Yourself Off Plastic

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Recently, Rodale’s editors blogged, and received many comments and tips, at rodale.com/plastic-free. One way to begin the wean is to start amassing all the plastic you can in a week. Analyze it. There’s probably a lot of packaging you could eliminate.

Some tips:

  • Carry your own cutlery.
  • Skip single-use items.
  • Use metal or glass food storage containers.
  • Wrap lunch sandwiches in waxed paper.
  • Try laundry detergent powders that come in a box.
  • Carry reusable shopping bags.
  • Carry a reusable bottle or buy drinks ina glass or aluminum.

Send your suggestions to larry@larrylitwin.com. We’ll post a follow up blog.

Tips for the Job Hunter

This appeared in “Courier-Post” on Sunday, March 6, 2011. Read Eileen Smith’s full story at http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20110306/NEWS01/103060347/How-job-seekers-got-hear-yes-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]


Get the word out and tell people you are looking. Include former colleagues at every place you have ever worked, fellow members in clubs and business groups, former classmates, friends, neighbors and people at your house of worship.

Help others. Reach out if you learn of a job that might be a good match for someone else.

Press the flesh. Find ways to interact with other people at least five times a week. Attend meetings of professional groups. Go to parties. Hit the gym. Volunteer.

Print business cards with your name and contact information and hand them out to people you meet.

Set up a designated job search area in your home. You must have a phone with voice mail or an answering machine, a computer with Internet access and a good filing system.

Keep your energy up through exercise, healthy eating and meditation.

Ask other people for advice, even if they cannot offer you a job. Most folks genuinely want to help.

Set yourself apart from the pack. You might stop by to visit former clients and deliver a copy of your resume in person. Do not rely solely on the Internet to apply for jobs.

Use social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook to keep in touch. Show discretion, as prospective employers may be watching.

Follow up. Send thank you notes. If you do not get the job, ask what qualifications were the deciding factor for the person who was hired.

For more on Thank You Notes, check out Chapter 15 in “The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook (See, www.larrylitwin.com. It is available in hard copy and for the Kindle, iPad and iPhone.)

[To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Keep resume clutter free – Part 2

Kaitlin Madden is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. This piece ran on Sunday Feb. 13. [To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com.] Last week: what NOT to put on your resume.

Appropriate resumé length is a pretty consistent subject of debate among human resources professionals. Some will tell you that your resumé should be one page, max; others will say no longer than two pages — or that it doesn’t matter either way. But there’s one thing that most resumé experts can agree on. No matter the length, resumé real estate is valuable, and only the most important and relevant information should be privy to this prime locale.

While only you can decide what is important enough for your resumé, there are a few things that definitely don’t belong there.

1. Your interests: Your resumé is a professional document, bottom line. “While I always find it amusing that you like rollerblading and good red wine, please don’t tell me this (on your resumé),” says Elizabeth Lions, author of “Recession Proof Yourself.” “I want work-related experience only.” In addition to being off-topic, a long list of outside interests and hobbies may cause a potential employer to worry that you’re over-committed — a definite red flag.

2. An objective statement: Objective statements that outline what you’re looking for in a job or employer are a waste of space. “As a career coach I’m constantly counseling clients to remove this paragraph because it takes up critical real estate on your resumé and (this information is) better discussed in your cover letter,” says Lisa quays, president of Seattle-based career coaching firm Career Woman Inc. “Don’t waste valuable space on your resumé with what I call a ‘fluff’ paragraph.”

3. Salary history: Including a salary history on your resumé will turn any employer off, since you’ll give off the impression that money is your main concern. Plus, if the employer sees that you’re “too expensive” they may disqualify you, and if your salary is on the low side, you may end up with a lowball offer should you get the job.

“(It’s best to) discuss your salary history and expectations during your interview process,” says Sharon Abboud, author of “All Moms Work — Short-Term Career Strategies for Long-Range Success.”

4. Dates of anything you did more than 15 years ago: “You may be giving your resumé to someone who wasn’t even born when you had your first job. If you date yourself so far back, you may set yourself up for age discrimination,” says Kristen Fischer, a certified professional resumé writer from New Jersey.

Agrees abound, “Don’t include the dates of your college graduation if you graduated more than 15 years ago. Just list the name of the college and the degree that you received.”

5. A GPA below 3.25: Anything under that is considered to be average, so why waste space by including something that classifies you as such? Focus on the things that give you a leg up on the competition instead. Have you been out of college for more than 10 years? Take the GPA off altogether. “GPA after a certain level of experience and years in the work force is so unnecessary,” says Tiffani Murray, owner of career consulting firm PersonalityOnAPage.com. “If you have been working for 10-plus years and are now in middle management it is safe to assume that you either had a good GPA or have made up for it through hands-on work.”

6. An unprofessional e-mail address: “Don’t include an overly personalized e-mail address such as ‘atlhousewife2@gmail.com‘ or ‘ilovecats24@yahoo.com,’ ” Murray advises. “This can make recruiters take your resumé less seriously.”

7. Marital or family status: Besides being irrelevant, including this information on your resumé can actually make an employer uncomfortable, because it is illegal for them to take such information into account. “It is none of the employer’s business and it is illegal for an interviewer to ask you about your marital status or the number of or ages of your children during your interview (so why include it on your resumé?)” Abboud says.

8. Your references: “These are personal to you and you should control when an employer calls them,” Lions says. “Don’t give me your power.” There is also no need to specify that “references are available upon request.”

9. Activities with religious or political affiliations: These topics are polarizing, and while recruiters shouldn’t take them into account, it’s better to be on the safe side.

10. Your picture: This isn’t the Miss America pageant. Employers aren’t going to be more inclined to hire you because you included a glamour shot. In fact, they may even be more prone to not contact you. “Please don’t include a picture,” Lions says. “If I want to see what you look like, I can find it on LinkedIn.”

Kaitlin Madden is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz.

Keep resume clutter free – Part 1

Kaitlin Madden is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. This piece runs on Sunday Feb. 13. [To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com.] Next week: what NOT to put on your resume.

Appropriate resumé length is a pretty consistent subject of debate among human resources professionals. Some will tell you that your resumé should be one page, max; others will say no longer than two pages — or that it doesn’t matter either way. But there’s one thing that most resumé experts can agree on. No matter the length, resumé real estate is valuable, and only the most important and relevant information should be privy to this prime locale.

Don’t put these items on resumé

• Your interests
• Objective statement
• Salary history
• Anything older than 15 years
• GPA below 3.25
• Unprofessional e-mail address
• Marital or family status
• Your references
• Religious or political activities
• Your picture

Next week: In detail — What NOT to put on your resume. [To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

Kaitlin Madden is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz.

Phillies fan panel identifies areas of concern

A few weeks ago, philly.com asked my and others’ opinions on the upcoming Phillies’ season. Below is the piece posted on Feb. 11. [To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com]

The fan panel responds to the following question: What are your biggest concerns?

Larry Litwin, Berlin, N.J.: My biggest concern is right- and leftfield offense. Defensively – not a problem. We will know soon enough whether Raul is up to the task. As for rightfield, even with Werth’s sting, he lacked the consistency I look for. That hole can be plugged, but the offensive production calls for a .270 average and a total of 25 home runs and 75 RBI out of that position. All that said: Ryan Howard has to put last year behind him – especially that last at-bat – and practice discipline as he approaches the plate. At this stage, I’d be surprised not to see the Phillies in the World Series. But I’ve been a Phillies fan all of my life, so I am a realist. That’s why I say surprised and not shocked.

Robert Finafrock, Orrtanna: Righthanded batting success. We need to get a righthanded power man.

Rob Pino, South Philly: My biggest concern is Chase Utley. His batting average and OPS have slipped for 3 consecutive years. We need him to produce like a No. 3 hitter again if this team is going to put up big offensive numbers.

John Burgo, Eagleville: My biggest concern is an aging team, which will result in an offensive dropoff from the lineup, further depleted by the loss of Jayson Werth.

Kevin S. Prosser, Philadelphia: My biggest concern is the bench. Our team is getting older and they need to be rested every now and then. If there is an injury, we need someone to step in and give us professional baseball. A big pinch-hit wouldn’t hurt, either.

Fred Harris, Sewell, N.J.: The Phillies do not become complacent with an outstanding pitching rotation.

Bill Avington, Bensalem: My biggest concern is offense, believe it or not. Yes, their track record seems to indicate that last year was a fluke, but I worry that it may not be. I hope that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley can bounce back from years below their own expectations and that Jimmy Rollins comes back from injuries to be one of the top shortstops in the game.

Bud Shaffer, Hatboro: My biggest concern is the production of the corner outfielders. Who will be out there? How will they hit? Will they be able to protect Howard? Can they play adequate defense? Should be an interesting spring to see how that sets up for the regular season.

Jim Lyons, Northeast Philly: My biggest concern is our hitting. I don’t see our guys having enough patience at the plate. I know injuries played a big part in last year’s lack of hitting and I hope that doesn’t happen this coming year.

Ray Kelly, Yardley: Replacing Werth’s bat is a big concern for the new season. I’m also concerned about Jimmy Rollins. I’m hoping he recaptures his swing of 2 years ago. The Phillies must return to the hitters they were 2 years ago. Chase Utley has me worried. His hitting and fielding were off last year. I’m hoping a healthy Chase returns to form.

Bill Moore, Deptford, N.J.: My biggest concern is really twofold: Are these guys getting old too fast? And is getting old the reason for the prolonged offensive slumps and injuries? Last season was unbelievable with the injuries and the lack of offense for long periods of time. I am really hoping that if Jimmy Rollins can stay healthy all year this team can be the best Phillies team ever because he seems to be the spark that sets the team off.

Rob Kilby, Bordentown, N.J.: My biggest concern has to be who the five-hole hitter will be. I’m guessing that there will probably be a platoon situation at both corner outfield positions. Out of those four guys, they need to have a righty and a lefty step up to show some consistency and power to protect Howard. And speaking of the big guy, see the ball, hit the ball.

Mike Breggar, Cherry Hill: Can this team be relatively injury-free this year? Can the offense revive to its spectacular 2008 grandeur?

Jack Martin, Ambler: I am most concerned that the Phillies have a reasonably healthy year. They need to avoid big injuries to the starting rotation and key team leaders, Utely, Howard and Rollins.

David Chalecki, Sellersville: Offensive constancy is my biggest concern. With the exception of a few blowouts, I never thought the Phillies’ bats got hot last season.

Ed Gallagher III, Philadelphia: Bottom Line – INNINGS!!! Our “dream-team rotation” has thrown a lot of innings the last 2-3 years, and I’m just hoping they will stay healthy, and that Charlie will have the wherewithal/gusto to take these guys out an inning or two early to preserve those “million dollar” cannons for October, when the real battles begin . . .

Mike Hart, Ridley Park: The starting pitching has to stay healthy and the bats need to be consistent. Last year we would go 2 weeks blowing teams out and then the next 2 weeks we would struggle to get more than two runs. If we can be consistent and score four to six runs a game, this will be a fun-filled season. Staying healthy will be key to the team’s success.

Jonathan Finafrock, Downingtown: Offensive productivity – Will the bats provide the runs? Or will they go cold as they did in the 2010 NLCS? We can’t win all the games 2-1!! If the Phils can score four to five runs, then every game is winnable . . . the closer role is also suspect.

David B. Jones, Skippack: My biggest concern is the hitting. If the team’s offense does not produce about three runs a night, the pitching will need to be near perfect, and that may be a bit difficult on the pitching staff. If the aces go out there and have a three-or-more run lead early in the game, they will be able to pitch from ahead. That is always easier on them.

Paul Groffie, Marlton, N.J.: My biggest fear is that the team continues to struggle at the plate, thus putting more pressure on the starters to be perfect instead of relaxed.

Jeff Berman, Lower Southampton: I am most concerned that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard’s postseason hitting slump follows them into the regular season. They came up very small in the playoffs.

Kate Campbell, Exton: Will Ryan Howard rebound? Will Jimmy Rollins rebound – at least back to great defense and strategic hitting, if not blazing speed on the basepaths?
Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/homepage/20110211_Phillies_fan_panel_identifies_areas_of_concern.html#ixzz1DqpJ6VQ2
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else

Arthur Page’s Seven Principles of Public Relations Management

From time to time, I include excerpts from “The Public Relations Practitioner’s Playbook.” To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com. Check out www.larrylitwin.com

This week, Larry’s Blog remembers Arthur Page – known as the first corporate public relations practitioner @ AT&T:

1. Tell the truth

2. Prove with action

3. Listen to the customer

4. Manage for tomorrow

5. Conduct public relations as if the whole company depends on it

6. Realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people

7. Remain calm, patient and good humored

To comment: larry@larrylitwin.com