Friday, May 30, 2008

Can a business have a linked in profile?

I am working with Village Parkway Baptist Church to rework their web site and viral marketing. The church has just added its own "Linked In" profile. My firm is now working with the church to add linked in bios for their pastor and key staff.

Larry the Cable Guy and Hubspot

David Meerman Scott, one of the leading advocates of simplicity in language and writing press releases, recently blogged about a new product, hubspot. Like all curious types, I submitted a news release and got some interesting results.

However, the news release was an announcement for a meeting. It was all of 64 words, and the hubspot software noted that it wasn't long enough. Having written a few news releases, I know that the release was right for those who put out business calendars and other community forums.

I am hoping that the folks at Hubspot will synthensize a "Larry the Cable Guy" feature into their software. When I write things for publication, I try to envision Larry as I write them. If a news release passes the "Larry" simplicity test, then it's a workable release.

Or, as Larry would say if I did use long words and trite phrases found in some news releases: "That just ain't right!"

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hooking up with a buddy in the media

I am working on a media campaign with HBMG and their wireless security capability. One of their clients has helped a construction firm complete a construction project without loss of materials or vandalism. As I was calling KUSA in Denver, I learned that my friend, Jack Maher was still working as a producer. Jack and I go back to 1989 when the U.S. military was capturing Manuel Noriega. He called me at 2 a.m. on a weekday night, waking my wife and my baby, Peter. Somehow, we became good friends through the rest of my six year tour at Lowry.

So, it was great to get ahold of Jack and discuss business as well as his family. His oldest son is flying Tomcats in the U.S. Navy.

Construction security and wireless tools

My clients at HBMG have created a new process that helps construction firms protect onsite property from vandalism and material theft. The following is a press advisory to my friends in the Denver media. Note: I spent nearly six years at Lowry AFB.

Story idea: Saunders Construction Company is turning over Prairie View Middle School to Brighton's School District 27J, June 4 after a 13-month construction project. While the addition of a new school is not newsworthy, the fact that the school construction was completed without the loss of materials or heavy equipment is significant considering the rising cost of construction materials and the increased amount of theft on major construction sites.

Background: When Saunders Construction Company completed construction of another Denver area high school, vandalism and on-site theft cost the firm over $100,000 in materials and created a two-month delay. Yet, thanks to the folks at Silent Solutions, a Jefferson County based security firm, Saunders recently completed this construction project without any theft of valuable construction materials such as copper or steel. When some teen vandals tried to sneak into the school, the Silent Solutions’ security infrastructure caught them as they entered the construction site late at night.

What keeps Prairie View free from theft or vandalism? Silent Solutions deployed armidaware, a video wireless security system that allowed the staff at Silent Solutions to constantly monitor the school at all hours. William Phillips, Director of Operations at Silent Solutions, configured the security network to alert him at anytime the security cameras detected an after hours intruder. As armidaware uses a wireless solution to transmit video security signals from cameras, Silent Solutions was able to move their video detection units within each phase of the project from the initial construction to the final stages of interior finish.

How bad is the problem with construction materials? The National Equipment Register estimates that the loss of stolen heavy construction equipment hovers annually at $1 billion per year. So far, there hasn't been a study that reports the loss of materials, but Phillips said that he expects that American construction sites lose more than $1 billion per year. "With the rising cost of copper, thieves target unsecured construction sites to steal these materials," he said. "In most states, you can drive to a recycling lot and easily resell the material to them," he said.

Visuals: Saunders Construction and Silent Solutions will tear down the last part of their security package on June 4. As well, Silent Solutions has some video tape of the two teens trying to sneak into the building.

Contact: Matt Scherer, Scherer Communications, 210-325-4130 or Athena Villarreal, 210-215-0882 if you wish to arrange an interview with the staff at Saunders Construction or Silent Solutions.

GTA to hold its first forum next week

As the public relations guy for the Green Technology Alliance, I am working with the organization to get the word out through traditional and not so traditional media methods. If you are a media type who wants to know more, email me at matt (at)mindtalent dot com

Overview: The Green Technology Alliance of Austin (GTA) will holds its first information forum, Tuesday, June 3, 8:30 am until 12:45 pm at the Microsoft Technology Center, 9606 North MoPac Expressway, Suite 200. Industry leaders in green technology from Microsoft, Hitachi, IBM, Sychron and other central Texas technology firms will speak at the event.
About the GTA: "Green technology is an imperative today not only because of the challenges facing our planet but because of the challenges facing the people on our planet," Michelle Naquin, the GTA's chief executive officer said. "We not only need to conserve and protect our resources but we must also find better ways to build economies in disadvantaged areas and sustain and grow the economy in first world countries. The reality is known what isn't understood is how to do it." Michelle Naquin adds that building better economies and addressing better usage of our available resources can only happen when individuals and individual organizations understand what needs to be done to conserve resources.
Seeding the alliance one contact at a time: The GTA is dedicated to helping individual organizations gain the knowledge to understand the products, tools, methodologies and services that can help their organization better conserve its resources, save on costs, improve efficiencies and ultimately improve its bottom line. This focus on the dual requirements of individual and organizational needs to conserve resources while improving the bottom line is what will deliver on the mission of the GTA—building sustainable economies.
Interview opportunities: Media who wish to interview someone about the growth and viability of green technology in Austin can contact our press officer, listed below. Media members are also welcome and encouraged to come to this forum on June 3.
Media contact: Matt Scherer, 210-325-4130 or email: mattscherer (at) gmail dot com.

Home improvements that are eco friendly

I never thought that paint trays made a major impact until my friend and client Jack Terrazas introduced me to the Bio Tray. The Bio Tray is made of the same paper pulp uses in egg cartons. So when a painter or home improvement type throws the tray away, it will decompose within four to six months. Its solvent resistant laminated surface also protect the environment by keeping the toxic paints and other solvents from entering a landfill. Info:

Working to help the world go green

My company is working with the Green Technology Alliance to publicize the organization's upcoming activities. Next week, the GTA will hold its first forum at the Microsoft Technology Center June 3 at 8:30 a.m. Green business industry leaders from Microsoft, Hitachi, Dell, Sychron and other technology firms will present a half-day symposium on processes that can help Austin-based businesses conserve energy and save money. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

When press releases don't work

As someone who has spent some time editing military newspapers and then worked in the newsroom at a major newspaper, I am amazed at how some public relations departments send news releases that don't even match up with the needs of the publication.

David Meerman Scott, one of the wizards of viral public relations, has written some interesting stuff on news releases sent to him. Somehow, a PR person thinks that Scott is interested in a new dog food because he wrote a book on viral marketing.

I remembered once calling a non-profit agency that sent me a four-page news release every week for an agency that didn't even help the military audience that read my paper. One day, the PR person called and asked if I got her news release. I told her that we did, but that we couldn't use the information because we had limited editorial space.

Now, as someone who has made this call a couple of times, when an editor or reporter tells me they don't use it, I would ask what kind of information that interests them. And, if I had something like that, I would contact them then and only then.

This woman berated my editorial judgement and continued to waste money on news releases. I began to use the envelopes to scribble notes on and the releases to write down phone numbers. At least the paper had some worth to me.

Taking time to thank the U.S. veterans for their service

For most of us, Memorial Day is an extended weekend that allows us to travel somewhere, shop some more and see movies like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Yet, we often forget to remember the service of our military, especially those who have died either in combat or natural causes.

Yes, I served in the military for 20 years. During five of those years, I coordianted Memorial Day parades for the City and County of Denver. I was often touched by the stories of the men and women who served in uniform.

Now, we are in the middle of a major conflict in Iraq, and we forget about those men and women serving there and in Afghanistan. So the question is: "How can we forget?"

As a veteran, I am going to reach out to everyone I know who has served and tell them thanks. And, if the crazy schedule permits, I am going to take my son with me to Fort Sam for their Memorial Day ceremonies. He needs to understand the signficance of those who served in the military.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Continuing the mission of this ACTS retreat

One of the unique aspects of the Ministry of the Third Cross program is to set up a program that helps the Texas Youth Commission retreat participants have mentors after they complete their program at the halfway house.    Many of these teens will be 16 or 17 years old, and their family environment is very volatile.   It's the hope of Jorge Cuellar, the Third Cross "el jefe" to create a network of Christian men who will work with these kids as they leave the TYC especially for those kids who will have an "independent living" environment.    If you have the time to help these kids, please contact Jorge at:  drcuellar2000 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Ministry of the Third Cross Part II

For several years, I have had the "hat" bet with my brother, Chris, and my best man, Rick Hotard.  When the Cubs beat the Cardinals (which has happened too often for my liking), I have had to wear their ugly blue hat in public for a week.  At this retreat, there are several passionate Astro fans, and I was trying to get one of them into a similar bet.  No way, they said.  So, to tease them I asked one of the Ministry of the Third Cross Texas Youth Commission retreatants if he would do a similar bet with his Cowboy and the Eagles.  His response was that he wouldn't do that, but he would cut off an eyebrow.  Ouch!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

A great idea for the homeless folks

One of the greatest things I've picked up during this Ministry of Third Cross TYC weekend is the subject of homeless people and donations.  My team member, Rodney, suggested that when a homeless person approaches that I give them a dollar and a holy card.   

What a great concept!!!

The unofficial theme song of our ACTS retreat

After sitting through some more of today's Ministry of the Third Cross retreat for the TYC, I think the Jimmy Buffet Coastal Confessions song is an appropriate song for this retreat.   For most of us, it takes a long time to confess our wrong doings and issues.  As Jimmy noted:  "It's been 42 years sincce my last confession, father, do you have the rest of the week?"

On a mission from God

My friend and colleague Kevin Koym likes to say that his business and life is like being on a "mission from God," but today I truly feel like I am focusing on the Lord's work.   Today, I am sitting in a room of men from San Antonio for a Ministry of the Third Cross ACTS retreat with the Texas Youth Commission.  Because of the unique qualities of this program, I can't really describe in great detail what's happening this weekend, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts in this and follow in this blog.

Typically, ACTS retreats that I have served on focus on adult men.   At the end of the retreat, there's usually been a growth of spirituality and a chance to connect with others who share the same beliefs.  However, this is a slightly different retreat because we're working with 16 to 19-year-old teens who have been incarcerated.   

It's my hope that I can reach these boys.   I have the help of 25 other guys who have been through the ACTS program, and after just a couple of hours, I am seeing some changes in the retreat participants.