Author Archives: Malcolm Atherton

Content We Love: Some Advice on Advisories


Click to view the entire advisory on

Click to view the entire advisory on

From time to time I send my clients examples of content advisories I’ve stumbled upon that are of exceptional quality and built to drive results. The “advisory” of which I speak is merely a release written with a customer-first angle and falls into the content PR/” helpful expert” methodology that I advocate. Customer-first content is engaging, and a stark contrast from the monotone press releases that were once the norm, which I’ve written about on my own blog here.

I saw this release by Cyren titled, “Report Warns of Increasing Android Ransomware Attacks” and shared the link and why I liked it with several clients. To me, this is a great release…ahem… advisory because it is formatted with the customer benefit in mind.

Here’s what I like the most:

  1. Visuals including the company logo and a simple graphic grabs and retains attention, because clicking on a link to find a page with text-only is a just a bummer.
  2. The headline is concise and leaves no doubt about what the reader can expect. In this case, there was no reason to include the brand in the headline… the brand will come up later.
  3. The first graph introduces the brand and leaves out the boiler plate jargon (“the leader in blah blah blah”), and gets right to the key findings in their internet report that were noted in the header.
  4.  A call to action to download the full report is provided right at the end of the first paragraph. For the 50% of readers who leave a web page within 15 seconds this is concise and gets them to a targeted location ASAP. The 20% who click on a headline to take the leap of faith that is press release text won’t be disappointed.
  5. Bullet points summarizing additional key findings of the report add another visual component that makes this release easier to read, especially for those who are just scanning the page.

So, is the press release dead? Nope. Should a majority of them be rethought? Yep. Would I love to see more releases like this where the content was written for the consumer/media pro/blogger/prospective customer? Heck yeah.

Kudos to Cyren.

Want to see more advisory breakdowns? Find me on Twitter or LinkedIn and let me know.

Malcolm AthertonAuthor Malcolm Atherton is a PR Newswire Account Manager in AZ & NV with a love for content marketing.

Mobile Marketing – Size Matters!

In the last 12-months, there has been a 179% growth in video consumption on mobile devices.

1/3 of time on the Web in the United States is spent on mobile devices.

Nearly $1 out of every $10 discretionary dollars are being spent online via mobile devices, according to Comscore & The US Department of Commerce, which equates to a 4x increase in the last 2-years (coincides with a spike of tablet ownership).

The secret is out, marketing communications folks… people love their mobile devices and they’ll use them to watch stuff, spend time online, and buy things. But how they use their different types of mobile devices is set to play havoc with mobile marketing campaigns.

According to a very insightful discussion that I attended by Comscore’s Mark Donovan (@joygantic) at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), it is not enough for marketing communications pros to merely know that B2C/B consumers are tethered to their mobile devices and that a huge engagement opportunity exists.  Marketing communications pros must also understand the type of mobile device their consumers are using to devour information.

With today’s evolving consumption habits, marketing communications pros cannot just think “mobile”. They must understand the differences in how their targeted audience(s) use tablets (and even different sizes of tablet) vs. smart phones and adjust their campaigns appropriately.

Consider the following…

  • According to Flurry Analytics, smartphone users use more apps each week than tablet users but tablet users spend more time per app engagement.
  • Search is the top category for tablet usage. The bigger screen is the big difference here.
  • Smartphone usage is evenly distributed throughout the day. Table usage spikes during key “down time hours” in the evening when consumers are home and are likely using their tablet as a diversion during commercial breaks, according to beta data from Comscore multi-platform metrics and information from Flurry Analytics.

A comprehensive mobile campaign must take search, apps, and device category usage into consideration.

Companies like Google are now selling marketers and advertisers ads that will be displayed on smartphones during some points of the days and on tablets during other times. Content and site optimization remains very important due to 33% of time spent on the Web occurring via mobile devices. And a mix of apps and mobile-optimized Web content is key, thanks to differing smartphone and tablet usage habits.

With more and more metrics available about tablet (and soon, 7″ vs. 10″ tablets) vs. smartphone usage, there cannot be a one-size–fits all approach to mobile marketing.

4″, 7″, 10″ screens…. size matters when it comes to mobile marketing campaigns!

Call Me Maybe | Mobile-to-Mobile (M2M) Means More for Marketers



Jim Kohlenberger, President of JK Strategies, and most recently served as Chief of Staff for the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP), was my favorite panelist during an International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) session on The Future of Mobile-to-Mobile (M2M).

During the course of the discussion, Jim and the panel discussed how M2M can easily be defined as “connecting or communicating with anything that is wirelessly enabled in a variety of ways ” – in other words, we aren’t just talking phone calls – or even phones – here. Wireless traffic lights, proximity sensors, vehicle tracking services, infotainment systems, thermostats, in-store payment systems, etc. qualify in the M2M world. Mobile devices connected to mobile devices.

To help illustrate this, and to help show how marketers and communicators I turn to Carly Rae Jepsen for an assist.

I threw a wish in the well. Don’t ask me, I’ll never tell. I looked to you as it fell. And now you’re in my way.

One of Jim’s projects for the White House OSTP was working on advanced policies to spur a broadband revolution through spectrum reform. The biggest obstacle in path of continued advancement of M2M communications, benefits, marketing, and advertising is spectrum bandwidth.

According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, “Moving forward, we won’t just be talking into our devices, they will increasingly be talking to each other. This isn’t science fiction. This is here and now.”

A lack of bandwidth could be in the way of appropriate application of M2M. This is being addressed.

Your stare was holdin’. Ripped jeans, skin was showin’. Hot night, wind was blowin’. Where you think you’re going, baby?

Two applications of M2M technology that were most interesting to me were in the retail and transportation sectors.

Imagine walking into a mall. A savvy marketing department for Jeans-R-Us (2nd Floor near the food court…) knows that you complained on Facebook about a hole in your jeans and you’re in the market for a new pair.Because of your location near Jeans-R-Us, an email, an ad on your Facebook page, a FourSquare alert, a text message, an ad played via your in-car entertainment system, and/or a Tweet can be crafted which promotes 25% off of a new pair of jeans. Right when you approach or enter the mall.

I’m glorifying this a bit of course but based on proximity sensors, social networks, always-on Smart Devices, and sophisticated options for markcomm and advertising professionals this could very well be one application of M2M.

Also, consider today’s roadways, particularly with rapidly growing urban environments. Intersection sensors, scattered wireless sensors & transmitters, and cameras can be used to communicate alternate routes to driver infotainment systems or mobile devices or emergency response professionals in case of congestion, accidents, or events. Such systems may decrease transportation times (saving companies time and money), improve emergency response, provide advertisers and marketers target people based on where they are and what their myriad of social networks say they like, and help our example from before sort out how to find that Jeans-R-Us.

Before you came into my life I missed you so bad. I missed you so bad. I missed you so, so bad.

Marcomm and advertising has never been a pinpoint practice. Sure, media can be bought around potential audiences, online consumers can be retargeted, e-mails can be sent, and so forth but all of these things are peanuts compared to the ability to engage with targeted audiences based on where they are, their current activities, intent based on online discussions and statements, and other creepy 1/2 stalking|1/2 targeting opportunities that haven’t been dreamed up yet.

5, 10, 15 years down the road marcomm/advertising pros will wonder how they managed to deliver their respective results before M2M technologies came into their lives and unlocked the mysteries of customer behavior and intent and location.

M2M technologies will be a constant for the rest of our lives. How we manage the technology, support it through bandwidth availability and investment, and understand how to apply it towards all facets of life is yet to be seen. I am excited to see what’s next.

Want to provide your input? Call me.


Your Smart Phone Can’t Taste*

*…but it can see, hear, and touch.

When Steve Jobs and Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007 it was not a phone. It was a collection of sensors with potential.

It could see through a camera. It could hear. And it responded to touch.

Check out this statement introduced during a session at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show:

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.  We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance.  Not only this, but through telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone.  A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

Who is the soothsayer behind these wise words? Nikola Tesla, an engineer, inventor, and philosopher, made this statement. In 1926!!!!!

Yes. That 1926. The one from 87 years ago even though this statement could have been made in the early 2000’s.

A prevailing theme at CES this year is mobile-to-mobile connectivity. Cars, headphones, televisions, computers, tablets, phones, gaming systems, peripheral devices, apps, and more are on display. And most of them support direct connections to each other, the Web, or both.

From a marketing, advertising, and communications perspective mobile has enabled new ways for consumers to be targeted, engaged with, researched, monitored, and sold to.

Sadly, this piles on to all of the traditional and still applicable modalities for communications and marketing and advertising. Conversations that I will share over the next few days will highlight what companies at CES think about incorporating mobile into their advertising and marketing plans.  I anticipate that a majority will be trying to figure it out. And that’s ok.

Even though we were all given a clue that this was coming in 1926.

CES 2013 – Technology Everywhere & PRN is Here!

ces ma and natMy colleague, Natalie Bering (@nataliebering), and I (@malcolmatherton) are on the ground at CES 2013!

1.5 million square feet of electronics goodness.

150,000 expected attendees.

2 PR Newswire employees.

Over the next few days we will be bringing readers of Beyond PR insights into consumer electronics trends and their impact on reaching audiences, marketing communications best practices, and more.

Tweet Natalie or Malcolm with any questions, topic ideas, or requests for pens or screen cleaners….