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How To Write and Pitch a Bylined Article That WILL Get You Published

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By Sonia Blumstein, Account Supervisor at Intermark Group

Is the traditional newspaper op-ed dead? We ask the question because according to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), newspapers are dying, and so is their circulation. The NAA’s most recent report shows that the total circulation of newspapers is now just over 1,300 daily and 900 on Sundays. Total daily circulation has bottomed out at roughly 44 million. Sunday circulation, however, is up, just slightly, to approximately 49.5 million readers.

Yet even today, an opinion-editorial (sometimes called a guest opinion or bylined article) published on The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page can be worth tens of thousands of dollars in FREE, earned media.

And who doesn’t want that?

Fortunately, today’s newspaper op-ed shelf life is longer than the life of a sheet of black-and-white typed ink. A published piece lives on past its publication date on the Internet, through repostings on blogs and on social media. Cumulatively, that equals a gazillion eyeballs that still care about the opinion-editorial page: thought leaders, lawmakers, concerned citizens.

But please - pretty please - learn to write them right.

Here are some tips to write an effective opinion-editorial that will land you in your local newspaper, and with the right wordsmithing, could land you in a top-tier publication.

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Tech on Tap: The Future of Mobile Recap

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Birmingham’s Tech on Tap hosted their latest event at WorkPlay earlier this week. Intermark was well represented by Brian Cauble, director of product and mobile digital strategist, who moderated a panel that included several panelists including our own Jim Crapia, senior technical strategist.

Between the panelists, HUNDREDS of mobile apps have been created. These experts started way back to the beginning of the modern mobile industry (which is mid 2008 – we know, not all that long ago but “ancient” history for mobile app developers).

Here’s the low down on the discussion highlights. (We know some of this techno-speak, but if you’re in the industry, the takeaways are worth checking out.)

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Why Sharing At The “Right” Time Could Be The Wrong Time

By: Kate Matthews, Account Coordinator at Intermark Group

We have noticed this chart popping up all over social media. And yes, it’s helpful to have a quick cheat sheet to know when to post to social media, but like you, everyone is different. And so is every brand. Good social media requires great analytics. Brands need to dive into their own analytics and learn who their audience is and what habits they have obtained. What is best for one brand isn’t the same for another.

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Avoid These Two Text Message Marketing Mistakes To Win More SMS Customers

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By: Neal FondrenSenior Vice President of Interactive Strategy at Intermark Group

Text messaging (or Simple Messaging Service, SMS) is hot. And why shouldn’t it be? Consider the following statistics:

  1. 70 percent of people say they would like to receive offers on their phones.
  2. Text messages are typically read within 5 seconds of receipt.
  3. Engagement rates are 6 to 8 times higher than email.

However, overuse and misuse can result in counter-productive outcomes. Be sure to avoid these common text messaging marketing mistakes in order to win more SMS customers. 

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Employee Spotlight: Brian Cauble, Top Mobile Strategist, Adoptive Dad

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Brian’s pretty famous around our town when it comes to mobile apps, and well frankly, around much of the Southeast.

As one of the top mobile minds, Intermark Group is pretty fired up about snagging him as our director of product and mobile digital strategist in our interactive division.

The move was written up by the Birmingham Business Journal, but as you can imagine, we were excited for the chance to conduct our own interview.

Here’s the skinny.

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Is Your Business Ready for E-commerce?

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By Brandon Holderfield, Account Director at Intermark Group

Consumers are increasingly looking to the Internet to purchase the products they love. Check out this recent statistic reported by Business Insider:

“E-commerce revenue was up 10% in February [2014] over the same month last year, and transaction volume increased 12%. The data was released by e-commerce analytics firm Custora, which looked at e-commerce transactions from more than 100 U.S.-based retailers and 70 million consumers. For comparison, overall U.S. retail sales were up only 1.5% over last year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Retailers that have an effective online sales strategy will benefit by riding the e-commerce trend.”

But a word of caution: Not all businesses are ready for e-commerce.  Before you jump into online sales, remember that the number one reason why e-commerce fails is lack of strategic direction.

You need more than a good idea. You need a plan.

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Is it Okay for Brands to Poke Fun at Themselves?

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By: Brett Williams

How much value is there in honesty and transparency? How much can be gained by being more self-aware, by being willing to not take yourself too seriously?

If you’re Dissolve, a company that deals in stock video footage, then quite a bit.

Earlier this week, the Dissolve team put together a tongue-in-cheek video called “This Is a Generic Brand Video” using nothing but their own film footage. (Dissolve’s video was inspired by a written piece for McSweeney’s entitled “This Is a Generic Brand Video” authored by Kendra Eash.)

Dissolve’s decision to have a little fun at its own expense, and at the larger expense of the advertising industry as a whole, might come across as an indictment of what we do. But if you dig down a little below the surface, I believe that the message of the Dissolve piece is one of both honesty and transparency.

Transparency is a word you hear pretty often these days: Transparent governments.Transparent corporations. You get the picture.

In fact, consumers expect more honesty and transparency from the brands they consume. And brands that respond accordingly are gaining success.

For example, Cheerios, Dove and HTC are currently running honest campaigns and seeing positive reactions from consumers and the press.

In an industry as pervasive and persuasive as advertising, could it be that honesty and transparency are actually the best policy?

Why Creative Crowdsourcing or “Speculative Work” Is Bad for Both Designers and Companies

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By Matt Perrault, Designer at Intermark Group

You’ve likely been a witness to the following scenario.

A certain company wants (and possibly even needs) a new logo or brand mark. But (here’s the kicker) the company doesn’t want to pay much, if anything, for it.

So the company decides to host a “contest” to get a new logo or design. The company possibly gets a lot of free press, but for the designers participating, only a small to moderate prize is awarded to one winner.

Ideally, the company receives hundreds to thousands of design entries. Once the winner is selected, the rest of the designers have nothing to show but long and hard hours put toward designing an entry.

Those long and hard hours put in by all of the other designers are free to that company – or what industry professionals deem “speculative work.”

You might think this is appealing for young designers who get to design logo options for an established company.

You might even think this is good business practice for companies wishing to “save money.”

But in the end, it’s not the best practice for either the designer or the company.

What’s the catch?

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