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Goggle writing

PRSA's PR Tactics recently reminded us that Google has changed both purpose and methodology for headline writing.

"What happens when writers optimize Web headlines for Google," PRSA writes, is that "we move proper nouns, keywords and full names to the front of the headline, crowding out wit and whimsy."

Here are four tactics that they suggest for writing effectively for both Google SEO rankings and real people. Full PRSA suggestions here.

1. Remember that "your title tag and URL get more emphasis from Google than your headline."

2. "Put the literal, search- and click-friendly headline on the content page. Place a feature headline on your own home page or sub-indexes."

3. "Use the headline for the literal story and the deck for the creative or benefits-focused one."

4. Be clever and clear.

Print savings

Everyone wants to be frugal without losing quality; here’s a way to achieve both: Change fonts.

Printer.com tested 10 fonts with 11 point Arial as the baseline. The frugal quality winner was 10 point Century Gothic, saving a whopping 31% over the benchmark Arial.

That's about $20 a year for individuals printing 25 pages a week — sounds like about one ink cartridge a year.

Wisebread.com lists 10 other ways to save on printing costs.

Role reversal among the media

The “nastiness index” for the media keeps rising as they “now seem to be both the purveyors and often the targets of ugly attacks,” writes Howard Kurtz in The Washington Post. His citations:

> Salon calls Fox News racist.
> Fox says mainstream organs Obama lap dogs.
> E-mails wish death to Limbaugh.
> Others say Fred Barnes is racist.
> Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone accused a lapse in journalistic ethics in McChrystal story.
> Defenders accused of being military lackeys.

“It's journalism as blood sport, performed for the masses,” Kurtz wrote.

Makes one yearn for the good ole days of the Spanish American War, when New York Journal publisher William Randolph Hearst told his artist Frederick Remington, "You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war!"

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Tiger: The silence & collateral damage

Act quickly, accurately, fully. Those are the fundamental principles of crisis communications, and they should have been applied at the very outset of the Tiger Woods debacle. However, that has not been the case, even a full 14 days after Woods’ fateful run-in with a tree outside his Orlando home. (See our earlier post on CC and Woods.)

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12-12-09 — “Tiger Woods is to take an “indefinite” leave from golf following a week of damaging personal revelations that have tarnished the reputation of the sport’s greatest star,” The Financal Times reported today from Los Angeles.

_______________________________________

As time passes, rumors and speculation grow, and the ability to control them erodes to the point where any such hope is impossible. Two people who know from top tier, real world experience offered their assessments to USA Today, both former White House image and press advisers.

“‘One of the first things I learned when I got to the White House is that if you’re going to have to eat crow, you need to eat it right away,’ said Dana Perino, a former press secretary for George W. Bush. ‘The longer it sits on the plate, the worse it’s going to taste.’”

Chris Lehane handled image issues for President Bill Clinton and was the chief spokesman for Vice President Al Gore; He told USA Today that Woods needs full disclosure of his problems soon.

“Americans are forgiving, and they also forget,” said Lehane, a partner in the California public relations firm Fabiani and Lehane. “There’s nothing you can do about the past. People judge you on how you go forward.”

However, the longer the brew of speculation is fueled by the likes of torrid tabloids — and not dampened by a full disclosure from the accused — the more likely is the whole brew to explode and yield collateral damage.

And that’s where The Tiger mess is right now, exploding and splattering the broader sports endorsement business, according to Forbes’ SportsMoney columnist Mike Ozanian, who writes:

“Sponsors like Gillette and Electronic Arts are going to drop Tiger Woods regardless of what they are saying now. Near term, Tiger is done as a corporate pitchman.

“Fallout: companies that throw big money at athletes are going to do a lot of research on them to make sure they are not phony (or make risk-adverse decisions based on information they do have) and funnel their endorsement dough at popular athletes whose image will not blow up.

“Some of these athletes may not even be among the best in their field, but they will typically be in global sports and not be ticking time bombs. But forget about any golfers picking up the sponsorship slack.”

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