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HC+T Update: January 2000

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  • Jim Rink
    ... Regards, Jim Rink Senior Contributing Editor //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /////////////////////// AAA
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2000
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      >From: Holtz Communication + Technology
      >Subject: HC+T Update
      >January 3, 2000
      >In This Issue:
      >o Welcome -- And A Confession
      >o What's Special About Your Department
      > Intranet Page?
      >o Be Careful Reprinting Press Releases
      >o Is Your Organization A Protest Target?
      >o Direct Responses As Measurement
      >o Tracking Services Take Off
      >o HC+T update
      >o Boilerplate And Subscription Information
      >Welcome to the semi-new Holtz Communication
      >+ Technology Update, a monthly email bulletin
      >that will cover the application of online
      >technology to strategic organizational
      >You are getting this bulletin because you had
      >originally subscribed to one (or more) of four
      >email bulletins I offered through my Website.
      >Hence, the confession. While offering four
      >targeted bulletins was a good idea, it also
      >turned out to be less than reasonable for a
      >one-person communication shop -- particularly as
      >my client engagements continued to expand.
      >I recently decided that it would be better to
      >be timely in the production of a single monthly
      >update than to fail to deliver on the promise of
      >four separate newsletters. Thus, I consolidated
      >the mailing lists of all four updates into a
      >single list.
      >HC+T Update will include monthly updates on
      >intranet strategy, public relations innovations
      >on the Net, ideas for measuring the effectiveness
      >of your online efforts, and a look at some
      >of the more compelling online communication
      >If you don't want to receive this new,
      >consolidated newsletter, unsubsribing is
      >easy. Just send email to:
      >and you'll be taken off the distribution
      >Thanks to all of you for your patience.
      >I hope you'll find as much value in this
      >new mailing as you hoped you would find in
      >the update to which you initially subscribed.
      >If you have any questions, just send them to
      >me at shel@....
      >If the Employee Communications department is
      >responsible for the home-page delivery of news
      >and information on the company intranet, then
      >what does the department put on its own
      >departmental intranet site? After all, the
      >company news is on the home page -- why
      >would anybody click to the Employee
      >Communications page if everything they need
      >to know shows up whenever they launch the
      >For too many internal communication departments,
      >the answer is to load in a bunch of institutional
      >information: a staff directory, bios, a list
      >of projects, another list of capabilities,
      >deadline information for various publications,
      >and the usual stuff that already exists in other
      >media repurposed for Web consumption.
      >I heard an idea a while back that knocked my
      >socks off. The Communications department for a
      >major retailer was considering a site employees
      >could use to assess their communication needs.
      >How many times have you had to listen to an
      >internal client -- somebody from another
      >department who has come to you seeking help --
      >explain that they need a brochure? And how
      >much time and energy have you expended convincing
      >that individual that a brochure was not the
      >In the proposed site, visitors would use a Web-
      >based wizard to answer a series of questions about
      >the nature of the communication challenge, the
      >audience, the timing, geographic and language
      >considerations, etc. A program would parse the
      >information and return a preliminary finding:
      >"Based on information you have provided, a media
      >kit and a public service announcement may be
      >the most appropriate approach. You will be contacted
      >within 24 hours by the most appropriate
      >Communications Department representative to
      >review your requirements and initiate the project."
      >The site would eliminate that first uncomfortable
      >exchange, enter all relevant information into a
      >database, and establish the internal client's
      >expectations. That's a much more effective use
      >of the intranet than an online brochure.
      >Computer phenomena cut-and-paste and hyperlinking
      >can make life easy, but not if they result in a
      >lawsuit accusing your organization of libel.
      >That's what happened to Ziff-Davis and CMP Media.
      >These online publishing powerhouses are among
      >many that get ahold of press releases from a
      >variety of organizations and reproduce them
      >online, leaving them to sit in neglected
      >One such release was distributed by a company
      >called Cyveillance. The release listed
      >companies that, it claimed, were selling
      >counterfeit designer items. Among the
      >companies listed was an outfit called Off
      >the Runway. Off the Runway took exception,
      >claiming it did not, in fact, sell anything
      >counterfeit. Cyveillance ultimately agreed,
      >and issued a retraction.
      >Yet the initial press release, already
      >archived in the Ziff-Davis and CMP sites,
      >simply sat. Anybody perusing those releases
      >may have stumbled on the original, inaccurate
      >Cyveillance release and formed an impression
      >that Off the Runway sold counterfeit goods.
      >That was enough for Off the Runway to file
      >a $10 million libel suit against Ziff-Davis,
      >CMP, and five other companies that let the
      >original press release languish in their
      >One of the unrecognized dangers of maintaining
      >a Web site is the potential to let such
      >material linger without review. It may
      >strike some as an unreasonable amount of work
      >to check everything posted on a site --
      >especially if you archive material obtained
      >from other sources (such as news items,
      >material from wire services, and the like).
      >But I've always maintained that the notion that
      >the Web is a time- and money-saver is a myth --
      >if you use them correctly, that is. Besides,
      >how much money will really be saved by a company
      >if a $10 million judgement is assessed?
      >I wonder if the City of San Francisco is prepared
      >to deal with a major protest on February 28 on the
      >steps of the U.S. Court of Appeals? I know this
      >protest is looming; I found out about it at
      >http://www.protest.net, an activist-oriented site
      >that lists upcoming protests by geographic
      >region. The San Francisco protest, coinciding
      >with a Washington, D.C. protest, is aimed at
      >securing the freedom Mumia Abu-Jamal, jailed
      >for the murder of a Philadelphia policeman.
      >It's not just cities that can benefit from
      >checking this site. A New Year's Eve anti-fur
      >demonstration was listed on the site, set for
      >the Houston Neiman-Marcus store, for example.
      >It only takes a minute to determine whether your
      >organization is a target.
      >Measuring the effectiveness of an online effort
      >should always be associated with the objective
      >you have set. Not many companies spend time
      >and money on Web sites and email campaigns
      >in order to generate hits!
      >The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has
      >clearly set objectives for its online content
      >-- to support its position on the variety of
      >causes it embraces. Love or hate the ACLU,
      >there is no denying how effectively the
      >organization has been at creating content
      >the effectiveness of which it can measure.
      >One means of measurement is the result of the
      >organization's opt-in mailing lists. Pick your
      >cause and you can receive updates whenever the
      >ACLU has anything to report. When you receive
      >one of these email messages, it includes a link
      >to a "take action" page where you can complete
      >a simple form that will result in sending a fax
      >under your name to your government representatives.
      >>From there, it's easy for the ACLU to count
      >how many faxes each congressman and senator has
      >received from the ACLU system.
      >Ultimately, I'm sure the ACLU could not care
      >less how many people actually visit its site, or
      >even its "take action" pages. The real measurement
      >is based on how many people registered their
      >opinions in support of the ACLU position with
      >their representatives.
      >The ACLU understands that the use of the Net is
      >not about the Net itself, but about how the Net
      >can streamline the achievement of real-world
      >Try it yourself at http://www.aclu.org; click on
      >"Join Our Alert List." When you receive an alert,
      >just follow the link that allows you to send
      >a letter to Congress. You don't have to support
      >the position -- just see how it works, then
      >give some thought to whether employing such
      >an action component to your organization's Website
      >may make measurement a more meaningful exercise.
      >Database connectivity to Web sites is fundamental
      >among marketing and sales organizations. Why isn't
      >there more of it among corporate and institutional
      >When FedEx unveiled its online package tracking service
      >a few years back, it was lauded as a revolutionary
      >advance. Today, I can check in at the Good Guys Website
      >(http://www.goodguys.com) to see if the VCR I dropped
      >off for service is ready for pickup. Such database-
      >driven tracking is almonga prerequisite for service-
      >focused sites.
      >I don't see any comparable feature on, say, media
      >relations sites. Why can't a reporter verify that
      >a scheduled interview with the CEO is still on track,
      >that a requested photo was mailed?
      >What do you keep in your database (or what =could= you
      >start to keep in a database) that your audience can
      >track by entering an assigned tracking number?
      >Using this approach, you would allow members of your
      >audience to request what they want online (my
      >pharmacy allows me to enter a prescription number
      >on a Web form, which means I can order a refill while
      >I'm on the road without incurring a long-distance
      >phone charge). Assign the tracking number, and then
      >make it easy for the individual to check the status.
      >It's just one more way to personalize your site and
      >makeit more relevant to your audience.
      >HC+T Update
      >>>>Shel Holtz has inked a major consulting
      >agreement to become IABC's general communication
      >counsel. Shel will function in that position as
      >an outside consultant rather than as a member
      >of staff.
      >>>>Shel is at work on his first major revision
      >of "The Intranet Advantage." Initially published
      >by Ziff-Davis Press in 1996, the book recently
      >went out-of-print. IABC has picked up the rights,
      >and will release the updated version as a manual
      >sometime in 2000.
      >>>>As part of NetGain, Shel is working on the
      >development of NextWave eCommunication, a conference
      >IABC is offering on March 9-10, 2000. Aimed at
      >communicators who already "get" technology, the
      >conference will help point the way to next-
      >generation intranet and Web communication
      >opportunities. Shel developed the conference
      >Website, which you can find at
      >>>>Speaking of NetGain, if you don't get the
      >NetGain Update, you should. Authored monthly by
      >four of NetGain's six consultants, the brief
      >email update offers useful insight into using
      >online media to communicate. Subscribe at the
      >NetGain Web site, http://www.netgain.org.
      >>>>Shel is serving as a consultant to Rockwell
      >Automation on the development of the company's
      >Boilerplate and Subscription Information
      >You received this newsletter either because you asked
      >for it or somebody who likes you forwarded it to you.
      >Please feel free to forward it to someone =you= like!
      >HC+T Update is published monthly by Holtz Communication
      >+ Technology. You can subscribe by visiting the HC+T
      >site on the World Wide Web at http://www.holtz.com
      >and selecting the FREE E-MAIL NEWSLETTER page. Or,
      >send e-mail to subscribe-HoltzUpdate@....
      >Holtz Communication + Technology helps organizations
      >apply online technology to strategic communication
      >(C) 2000, Holtz Communication + Technology.
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      Jim Rink
      Senior Contributing Editor


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