Are your political news releases from the radio era?

franklin-d-roosevelt-makes political news releaseWe have a message to get out to our voters.

Eighty year ago we would have written a news release then sent it out by teletype for two daily newspaper editions and lots of radio stations.

Thirty years ago we would have written a news release then sent it out by fax for morning newspapers, a local TV channels and some radio stations.

Fifteen years ago we would have written a news release then sent it out by email to the weekly paper, a regional TV station and few radio stations.

Today we write a news release then send it out by email to a couple of regional chain papers and local radio stations.  Then we take that news release and post it to the website. Then we share the news release on Facebook and Twitter, often without even changing the title. Sometimes we might even email it out to our supporters.

The future is amazing.

Technology has enabled us to spend more time duplicating the work of publishing a news release in a format that hasn’t changed much since the Radio Era.

This strikes me as backwards.

Maybe we should stop writing a news release first. Maybe we should write out our message first, and then let technology do the formatting for us.

Or maybe I have gone crazy following to many politicians on Twitter.

If you think that’s the case, that news releases rock and I’m crazy, then don’t visit politicalcontent.mphost.ca.

Don’t use the Political Content Creator. It’s still in beta, so it won’t even save you that much time. Yes, it will auto crop your picture for the best sizes to share on Facebook, Twitter, and email, but really, who needs that.

But, if you are curious and want to see a really bad infographic, check out politicalcontent.mphost.ca

Excel At Work

Excel sheets can drive you crazyDo you share this pet peeve?

I go a little nuts when I have to prepare a large mailing list and a bunch of the names all start in lower case.

With the increase in online petitions and surveys the problem is only getting worse.

Nothing says form letter like “Dear brendan”, but can you think of anything more tedious than scrolling down an excel sheet fixing names?

So here is a short cut.

You can use the text formulas in Excel to find and replace the first letters of a name field with a capital letter, then recombine them into the proper names.

(Hit the picture to enlarge)

Save Those Names

You can grab a copy of the excel sheet I made here and use the formulas to clean your next mailing list.

Common Conservative Hash Tags

The-Hash-TagThe recent news that Facebook is adopting the hash tag from twitter to act as a search filter finally prompted me to write this post.

This first came up in the post on YouTube Productivity, but it is a simple idea. Conservative MP’s and staff should adopt a set of common tags to help each other’s content be discovered.

Each of the sites has a set of tagging conventions, and each has a different use. YouTube and Flickr’s tags are more akin to the use you would find in WordPress, as a means of grouping items across categories. With Twitter, the hash tag is the only means of categorizing your tweets, but they can also play a contextual role, meaning it can form part of a sentence in your tweet.

Facebook still hasn’t released their hash tag function yet but because most people use complete sentences and punctuation, I suspect the tag will be reserved for more of a categorization tool rather then for context.

Below is a very short chart I have started to keep track of the commons tags used across social media.

Key Word(s) Twitter Facebook YouTube Flickr
Conservative Party of Canada #cpc #CPC Conservative Party of Canada (Political Parties) conservativepartyofcanada
Question Period #qp #QP Question Period questionperiod
House of Commons #hoc #HoC House of Commons (Canada) houseofcommons
Parliament #parl #Parliament Parliament Hill parliamenthill
Conservative MP #cpcmp Member of Parliament (Canada) memberofparliament
Conservative EDAs #cpceda #CPC-EDA NAME Conservative Association conservativeEDA

This list is by no means complete, nor is it the final authority on these being the tags that should be widely adopted. If you have any suggestions please, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Google Placing Your Constituency Office

Have you google’d your Constituency Office address? If you haven’t go try it right now.

If you tried it you might have seen it already has some additional information by clicking on the place marker. On the bottom right hand side of the pop up info box is a More menu. Click on Edit details and Google will let you add additional details to the pop up box, including hours of operations, additional pictures and even videos.

But, before Google posts your changes they require verification, otherwise anybody could vandalize your map marker. Google will phone the constituency office number they have listed and provide a pin. You can also opt to have a letter mailed with your verification code, if you are not in the office at the time.

Once you have the code, navigate back to the page you added the details or click here. That’s it. The next time somebody clicks on that marker, your enriched profile will show up.