Getting Your Message Out

Copper Red MegaphoneWhen clients ask me to get their message out they often want me to build them a media list. But a media list alone is not going to cut it anymore, especially because the definition of media has changed.

When it comes to business-to-business communication, your business should have a traditional media list that includes all the publications and other media outlets that cover your industry. It is worth the extra step to check out each publication’s media kit, which is built for selling advertising, to learn exactly who reads the publications.

Keep in mind that publication subscriptions cost money and in a budget-tight environment, you will find that many potential readers are not getting traditional media delivered to their offices anymore. Even if  they do, you don’t know how well these publications are circulated within a department. The same is true for paid electronic submissions, which limit the amount of people at a company who can access their material.
I am surprised by how many professionals still underestimate
the power of LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media.

To get your message to the right audience, you need to go further. To ensure a thorough list, ask your customers where they go to get information. Of course you should also research and include websites that provide quality information. Many publications offer free content through specialized electronic publications. Don’t assume that publications are so well-organized that sending your news release to them assures placement in the electronic media. Oftentimes, the editors of these newsletters are not the same contacts as those in traditional media.

Do not forget association publications. People read those too. I have successfully helped clients boost credibility by publishing articles for them in such publications.

I am surprised by how many professionals still underestimate the power of LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media. Researching LinkedIn groups that would be interested in your information is well worth the investment. Even if the subscribers are fewer than for established print and electronic publications, you will likely reach others who have not subscribed to those publications. The other advantage of LinkedIn is you will get immediate feedback on how interested people are in what you have to say.

Since I have clients in the workers’ compensation realm, I did the footwork to learn there are more than 200 LinkedIn groups on this subject. LinkedIn only allows membership in 50 groups, so you have to be choosy. Again, more research is needed to find out why the groups have been created and who is reading them.

You also need to include a list of top influencers in your industry. Doing research to find this out is also worth the investment. Many experts have their own LinkedIn groups or blogs that can also boost your “street cred” online.

And do not underestimate the power of Twitter. I am amazed by how many busy executives will make time to check Tweets from publications and influencers. I am even more amazed and flattered by how many organizations follow the Tweets from my blog.

Finally, a good list is organic. Keep records on what publications spur interest and are responsive. Pay attention to find the influencers you have missed before, such as those who comment a lot in groups. It is worth it to review the list and update it on a regular basis.

A public relations professional worth your company’s investment dollars will challenge you to go beyond a traditional media list. If they are content to just build you a media list without offering to dig deeper, look elsewhere.

Workers Compensation By The Numbers

Work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths:

Highest number of workplace fatalities (in recent years)        8,801  in 2011
Those due to 9/11 terrorism attacks          2,886
Number of workplace fatalities in 2012:     4,690
Number of private industry nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2010:      3.1 million                                                                                                                                       

Number of cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers (2010):   3.5
For 2009:   3.6

The Cost of Workers’ Compensation for Employers
In 2010:    $71.3 billion
(This is the lowest cost since 1980)

Amount covering benefit and medical costs:  $57.5 billion
 (a .7 percent decrease from 2009)

Highest cost year for workers’ compensation: 2005 @   $89.2 billion

Per $100 of payroll costs in 2010:                                                                  $1.23
This is small potatoes compared to healthcare, which is                         $7.60
(wonder how ObamaCare will change that amount)

The workers’ compensation cost is almost $1 cheaper than 1980, when it was:  $2.18

Most expensive state in 2012:     Montana @ $2.73
The least expensive:           Washington, D.C. @ $.50

Net premium for private carriers in 2011 (preliminary):  $ 32.2 billion
(This 7.9 percent increase is the first since 2004.)

2008: The year that medical benefits started to cost more than wage replacement benefit accident year combined ratio.

Annmarie’s Take: Workers’ compensation costs have diminished for many reasons. While everyone agrees there is room for improvement, the system in general is more efficient thanks to research, legislative action and regulations. Commitments to workplace safety, return to work and other initiatives once considered cutting edge are now best practices. That said, there are still too many unenlightened employers who are not making steps to improve their workers’ compensation results. Claims frequency has diminished dramatically due to workplace safety improvements but also because eligibility for workers’ compensation has been restricted.

Key ways to improve the system remain. Improving employee communication, ensuring immediate claim filing and assuring responsive claims personnel will reduce the need for attorneys and assure better medical treatment. These efforts will make noticeable differences in claims duration and severity and therefore, costs. The growing epidemic of long-term opioid use without appropriate medical monitoring needs immediate legislative and regulatory attention. Injured workers and their families are suffering too much from this problem and, of course, it makes workers’ compensation more expensive.

What do you think?

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Academy of Social Insurance and the National Council of Compensation Insurance, Inc. 

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An Open Letter to My iPad (with Retina Display)

Dearest First iPad,

Everyone said I needed you. Since you would be faster and easier on the eyes, I waited for you.

You were worth it.

For many, you are merely a toy. To me, you are my tool.

I admit it was love at first sight. You were beautiful, fresh and clean. Since I bought you on Black Friday, you have already helped me to be more organized and responsive to clients. Every thought I need to write down, you have recorded.

Before we met, I wrote on paper notepads – with each page having messy handwritten lists. You made it easier for me to prioritize. No longer do I have to re-write my notes or start new lists.

Giving me easy access to just about everything I need, you are a great companion. You will go anywhere with me without complaining. You even ask me, “What can I help you with?”

There is no having to open you and wait for programs to load. Utterly responsive, you are turned on with just a gentle slide. You are there at my beck and call. Even if I abandon you for days, you immediately pick up where I left off. When I switch to another application, you help me remember where I left off.

You are not burdensome and heavy like my laptop. Your screen is cleaner and easier to read. Unlike my cell phone, I don’t have to magnify your screen.


Utterly responsive, you are turned on with just a gentle slide.

But alas, you are not, nor do you claim to be, everything. I want to assure you that I accept you for what you are. While so easy to use, there is only so much I can accomplish with you alone. When I am away from home, you need my cell phone to connect with Al Gore’s invention.

Also, you are not my laptop. For you see, I craft words for a living. To write with you, I have to learn yet another program — and that definitely is not client billable.

Someday your descendents will reflect the union of laptops and cell phones. Know I still appreciate and embrace you all the same.

Ever Loving,


Thanks to

Thanks to