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THROWBACK THURSDAY: The UNIVAC Computer

UNIVAc 2univacphotoOn this day in 1951, the Remington Rand Corporation signed a contract to deliver the first UNIVAC computer to the U.S. Census Bureau. UNIVAC I (which stands for Universal Automatic Computer) took up 350 square feet of floor space – about the size of a one-car garage – and was the first American commercial computer. It was designed for the rapid and relatively simple arithmetic calculation of numbers needed by businesses, rather than the complex calculations required of the sciences.

The computer first came to the notice of the general public in 1952, when CBS used one to predict the result of the presidential election. UNIVAC correctly picked Eisenhower and predicted his electoral count within 1 percent, but the network didn’t release the results until after the election was called, so as not to affect the outcome.univac 1

Wednesday Workfact: How the Average American Worker Spends the Day

 

average-american-worktime

P. S. The average American worker spends a total of 99,117 hours of work in his or her lifetime.

TIP TUESDAY: How to Get Your Press Releases Noticed

When fighting for placement for your press release gets brutal, it’s imperative that your content stand out among 1,750 press releases published daily. How will media professionals choose yours over the others? These 4 tips can help you elevate your press release to a higher standard and ensure that you deliver quality content. For instance, consider your target. You know you want your release to get into the hands of top media outlets, but sometimes a little push from influencers may be just what you need. Also, tighten up your language. Straightforward, concise writing is attractive to those who don’t want to decipher your brand’s message.

1. Reconsider your target.

In his book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” David Meerman Scott tells how authors Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg successfully marketed a book by sending out digital press releases every day for months. Though this sort of “outside the box” thinking isn’t something that every business can (or even should) do, it does illustrate why they published so many press releases: They were targeting “influencers,” not mainstream journalists.

Along those lines, a friend who’s a history buff recently read in The Wall Street Journal about a book of letters written by a German soldier during World War II. When my friend looked for the book, he found it had a limited printing and would cost hundreds of dollars.

Despite its promotion in The Wall Street Journal, it never generated enough buzz to be published for the mass market. The takeaway is this: Niche influencers are better for target audiences, and mainstream media placement isn’t always hugely beneficial.

2. Tighten your language.

  • Be Straightforward. This approach offers the bottom line up front. It’s not verbose, instead succinctly explaining who, what, when, where and why (or some variation of these).
  • Be Jargon-free. These press releases have an external voice. They are edited to describe your point of view or messaging to external targets.
  • Be Subject-matter appropriate. These target journalists or influencers who create content about a particular subject.

3. Improve your ancillary resources.

Most every PR pro understands that attachments aren’t advisable. Still, ancillary resources are important. Try these tactics to create interesting, pertinent, unattached ancillary resources:

  • Use a cloud-based storage app such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Evernote . You can share links to files using the services in your press release without attaching anything to an email or from a distribution list. An alternative to this would be to link to your the media page on your website.
  • Use data visualization tools to create relevant, interesting visuals. There are tools that nonprogrammers can use to create strong visualizations with little technical know-how.
  • Hire a third party to create visualizations. Depending on the subject, a graphic designer or programmer may be able to create interesting visuals that substantially enhance your press release.

Journalists and influencers love exclusivity. Offering exclusive visuals with your press release gives you a greater likelihood of securing placement.

4. Don’t send a press release at all.

Journalists and influencers who have established relationships with you (and are pertinent to your subject matter) and much more amenable to pitches. Never use a press release when you can send a targeted pitch.

Excerpted from an article posted at Ragan Communications.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Elvis Joins the Army

When Elvis Presley turned 18 on January 8, 1953, he registered his name with the Selective Service System, making himself eligible for the draft, but as a student in good standing at L.C. Humes High School in Memphis, he received a student deferment that kept him from facing conscription during the final months of the Korean War.

elvisElvis would receive another deferment four years later when his draft number finally came up, but this time for a very different reason: to complete the filming of his third Hollywood movie, King Creole. With that obligation fulfilled, March 24, 1958, Elvis Presley was inducted into the Army on March 24, 1958.

Elvis’s manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker, made sure to have a photographer on hand to document every moment of the big day, which began at Graceland before six that morning. The photos show Elvis in dark slacks, an opened-collar shirt and a tasteful plaid sports coat, preparing to depart the house with his similarly well-dressed mom and dad for the short ride to the induction center in downtown Memphis. He shipped out to Germany in September 1958.

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: Commute Time

How long does it take you to get to work? The typical commute now averages 38 minutes one way. That’s a lot of time every day and adds up to over 300 hours a year. It feels like such a waste of time. But, it doesn’t have to be. commuting

Use your commute to your advantage. On the way to work, mentally organize your day. Hit the ground running once you get to the office by mentally structuring your day and identifying pressing tasks. Workers who do this show less stress and more job satisfaction. On your way home, that’s when you can pull out your Sudoku or audio book. Take that time to disconnect and create a stronger boundary between home and work. Since you know you’ll have the morning to figure out work-related problems, you’re less likely to have job spill into off-hours.

Read more in the Money magazine online article at http://ti.me/1MkyPeH