Will This Photo Work?

In the advertising and PR realm, that’s a question that gets tossed around quite a bit. Sometimes, the answer is no.

There’s a scene in an episode of Eastbound & Down that’s a little too bold for me to link to here, but it cracks me up every time. In the scene, Kenny Powers is looking at a banner that has his pixelated face on it. He says it looks like the designer used a JPEG file, when he should have used a TIFF. As Kenny knows, different file types and resolutions are suited for certain uses.

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / italianestro

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / italianestro

Here are some basic guidelines:

Photos for print: Whether you are developing a brochure or sending a photo to a magazine editor to place with an article, you should send a high-res file. Typically, this means a photo that is at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) at 4-by-6 inches. A TIFF file is ideal, but a JPEG can work.

Photos for web: For a website, social media page, or an e-newsletter, a 72 dpi photo is adequate for multiple reasons. First, computer monitors can’t display images at 300 dpi. Second, a low-res photo—or one that has been optimized for the web—has a smaller file size, meaning it can load faster. The files that work best for the web are JPEG, PNG, or GIFs.

Save the original: Remember that you can always lower a photo’s resolution (which deletes some of data/dots per inch), but you can’t increase it (restore deleted data).

When in doubt, ask: If you are unsure if a photo is suitable, ask for specific requirements.

There are many other topics to discuss regarding photos and images—such as the differences between raster and vector; JPEG, TIFF, GIF, and PNG; RGB and CMYK; and dpi and ppi—but those are topics for another day.

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Mt. Washington

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things will be a regular series devoted to the places, things, and people in and around the city of Pittsburgh that all of us here at Yearick-Millea love.

While there are so many places to visit in the City of Pittsburgh and its surrounding area, Mt. Washington is definitely the place to be if you want a spectacular view.

View of Pittsburgh during a fireworks night.

View of Pittsburgh during a fireworks night.

Mt. Washington is located on a steep hill south of the city, and there are many ways to enjoy the area all year:

  • Take a stroll along Grandview Avenue, which runs the length of Mt. Washington. Stop at one of the many overlooks to take in views of the city’s stunning skyline, the Golden Triangle, numerous bridges, Heinz Field, PNC Park, the Gateway Clipper, and the Rivers Casino.
  • Watch the fireworks after a Pittsburgh Pirates game.
  • Ride the incline. The Duquesne and Monongahela inclines offer simple, yet unique, transportation between Station Square/East Carson Street and Mt. Washington. The incline stations have gift shops and historical information for curious visitors.
  • Dress up for a night of fine dining at one of the many restaurants along “Restaurant Row.” Two of my favorites are the Le Mont and the Grandview Saloon & Coal Hill Steakhouse.
  • If you prefer to keep it casual, visit the restaurants, bars and bakeries along Shiloh Street.
  • Enjoy a day of hiking at Emerald View Park or catch a Saturday night movie during the summer Cinema in the Park program.

What’s your favorite thing to do on Mt. Washington? Let us know in the comments!

3 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

From proposals and backgrounders to media pitches and news releases, there are many different writing styles and techniques in the world of public relations. Here at Yearick-Millea, we work on multiple writing assignments for a variety of clients and their unique businesses. In our industry, it’s important to strengthen writing skills to consistently improve our work.

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / bradcalkins

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / bradcalkins

Whether writing is a part of your daily job or you enjoy writing for fun, keep these three things in mind to develop your writing skills:

1. Read. It’s a simple start. Reading books (fiction or non-fiction), magazines, blogs and newspapers will expand your everyday knowledge and expose you to a lot of different writing styles. It’s also a natural way to acquire and sharpen your own writing skills. This should boost your creativity as well!

2. Proofread and edit. A good exercise is to write for a short designated amount of time — say 15 minutes — and then come back to the piece you are writing later in the day. In the meantime, perform more research so that your writing is well-rounded; create an outline or structure so that your writing is focused and concise; and read what you have aloud. Reading aloud is the best way to ensure that your writing flows naturally and it will allow you to recognize any areas in need of grammar edits.

3. Share your work. Feedback is essential, no matter the type of writing involved. For example, when blogging, you may want to elicit feedback on your topics. When writing a feature story, someone else may be able to give you a fresh angle to include with the piece. By allowing others to review your writing, you will have a better perspective on your own work.

Improving your writing skills is much like improving any other life skill. The more time you dedicate to it, the simpler it will seem.

Marketing 101: Radio

Marketing 101 is a series of blog posts in which we will explore a variety of different mediums, methods and strategies along with some basic ideas for making them work for you. We hope you’ll continue to check in with this series as we go and share your ideas and insights with us.

Radio

Owning and operating a radio station with competition from CDs, iPods, DVRs and other devices that deliver similar programming are a true challenge.  I know, because for 20 years, I had the good fortune to be the program director and/or on-air talent at several radio stations within the Pittsburgh market.

Radio stations operate not as jukeboxes or newsrooms, but as businesses. They are profit centers for the companies that own them. Radio stations have multiple means of generating revenue, which out of necessity may take precedence over your favorite song or a juicy talk show spat! The largest of these means are commercials. Stations sell airtime to advertisers as a way of increasing the merchant’s bottom line.

As the commercial repetition heard on most stations indicates, radio works really well. At Yearick-Millea, we purchase radio air-time for some of our clients, and we retain media buyers whose specialty is the proper use and budgeting of radio advertising. It really works!

But if you want music rather than commercials from your station, know that the music is actually sponsored by the advertisements.  How’s that for some cruel irony?

If too many listeners tune to an alternate radio station, the remaining audience may influence lower ratings for the station, which over time, translates to a loss of revenue. So, how does a radio station build a strategy for battling today’s fierce competition for attracting and holding an audience?  Many times, the station will change its format — rock to country, or oldies to news/talk — to take-on a new brand/identity.

It may lure new on-air talent or reporters to expand local news coverage.  If the dollars are available, a radio station may even stage events where listening to the station is required — a guaranteed method of boosting both ratings and revenue. Even multimedia ad campaigns are often utilized in promoting a station’s awareness.

Unfortunately, all of these actions do not automatically result in more people listening and continuing to listen to a particular radio station. But a loyal audience is best maintained through a consistent format, coupled with personalities who nurture the on-air product.

A radio station‘s success (high ratings/revenue) will only be realized if it learns to “listen” to its audience – and not just the other-way-round.

Finding a Tone on Social Media for Your Company

Finding the correct tone to use for your communications on social media can affect how customers perceive your brand. For some brands the correct tone may be humorous, but for others, it may be buttoned-up and serious.

There are a variety of factors that you should consider when choosing the appropriate tone for your social media networks:

  •  Who is your company? What is your company’s image like? Formal, business suits or casual, jeans-wearing start-up? Your tone on social media should align with the image you present to consumers.
  • Who is your audience? What demographic are you trying to reach on social media? If your customer base skews younger, consider a more informal, humor-laced style. If your demographic is professionals, you would still want to be friendly and personable, but use more serious language and tone.
  • What are you trying to achieve? Why are you using social media? Are you trying to expand awareness of your brand by positioning yourself as an expert in your field? If so, you should use more formal language and tone. If, for example, you are trying expand your audience through contests, you should consider a more light-hearted fun tone.

If you are still having trouble finding the correct tone on social media, take a look at what others in your industry are doing — your customers will probably expect a similar tone from you. That doesn’t mean you can’t do something different, but it needs to be well thought out and have an informed strategy behind it.

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: The St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things will be a regular series devoted to the places, things, and people in and around the city of Pittsburgh that all of us here at Yearick-Millea love.

Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day parade has been around for 144 years, and the excitement for the event continues to grow! The Pittsburgh parade is believed to be the second largest in the country—just behind New York City’s—and to me, that’s a testament to how great our city really is.

This year’s parade will be held Saturday, March 15, in downtown. What I love about this event is that thousands of Pittsburghers come together year after year to celebrate the city and the Irish heritage. Before the parade even begins, it’s easy to spot those from the suburbs who are heading downtown—just look for festive outfits and a lot of green.

Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade

I love that the event offers fun for people of all ages, so there’s something for everyone.  Local bands, emergency services officials, and groups from Pittsburgh’s Irish and ethnic communities never fail to entertain parade spectators. Market Square also hosts family-friendly activities including face painting, street performances and Irish music/dancing.

Even if you’re not Irish, there’s nothing wrong with pretending for a day! So, who will be donning green to enjoy the weekend festivities? What’s your favorite thing about the St. Patrick’s Day parade? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re going:

The Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Liberty Avenue/11th Street intersection. It will follow Grant Street, turn right at Boulevard of the Allies and end at Stanwix Street.

The 10 Criteria of Successful B2B Advertising

A “Copy Chasers” Critique 17 Years Later

I was going through old files the other day when I came across a B2B ad our firm submitted to Copy Chasers in 1997. In the pre-blogging days of the Internet, Copy Chasers was a regular feature in Business Marketing magazine that critiqued B2B ads submitted by agencies based on the “Copy Chaser’s 10 Criteria of Successful Advertising,” which were as follows:

  1. Successful ads have a high degree of visual interest.
  2. Successful ads select the right audience.
  3. Successful ads invite the reader into the scene.
  4. Successful ads promise a reward.
  5. Successful ads back up the promise.
  6. Successful ads present the selling proposition in logical sequence.
  7. Successful ads talk person to person.
  8. Successful ads are easy to read.
  9. Successful ads emphasize service, not the source.
  10. Successful ads reflect the company’s character.

I don’t know about you, but I think those rules are still tried and true.  Does our vintage ad hold up?  Tell us what you think.

"Taking Teamwork to a Higher Degree": Yearick-Millea created this ad for Harbison-Walker.

“Taking Teamwork to a Higher Degree”: Yearick-Millea created this ad for Harbison-Walker.

Here’s what the Copy Chaser guru had to say 17 years ago:  

“This is one in a series of ads for Harbison-Walker by Yearick-Millea.  What I want to see is a stronger headline that invites the reader into the ad. Perhaps a bigger, black type in place of the red ‘We Speak Your Language.’ Otherwise, the ad is good. The visuals hit directly at the target audience, and the red bar with the white type offers up the ad’s theme – in this case, ‘Taking Teamwork to a Higher Degree.’ This ‘higher degree’ line runs through all the ads and each has a fiery image. The body copy is clear and friendly, and the small picture adds a subtle element that enhances the overall ad. Overall, this is a good effort – all it needs is to take it invitation to a higher degree.”

Do you have an old or new B2B ad that successfully “chases copy”?  If so, please share it here.

Clickbait: What Is It and Should You Use It?

Clickbait, the use of eye-catching internet headlines to obtain clicks, has become increasingly popular, and you can thank websites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy.

Both websites use clickbait in slightly different ways:

Upworthy uses headlines with phrases such as “you’ll never believe what happens next” or “check out what happens when…” The link usually takes visitors to a video that actually is interesting, thus creating a piece of shareable content, which can then go viral on Facebook.

BuzzFeed, on the other hand, relies on lists and GIFs to get a point across. These “listicles,” usually are about silly or mundane things, but they are funny or relatable, so guess what?  People share the articles on Facebook.

Should you emulate the BuzzFeed/Upworthy model for your own content?

Not entirely, but there are some lessons to be learned from the use of clickbait that you can, and should, use for your own content:

  • Headlines matter. If your headline doesn’t pique one’s interest, no one is going to click to read your article, no matter how great the piece may be.
  • Use numbers in headlines. It might not follow AP Style, but people can’t resist reading “7 ways that…” or “9 times that…” style headlines.
  • Shareable content is important.  For your content to go “viral,” it must be worthy of sharing with readers, friends and followers.

The key difference is that you still need to craft quality content for people to read once they click through. Otherwise, they won’t continue to read your material, regardless of the headline. Lastly – please, no cat GIFs on your company blog.

“Right Now, My Man, I’m Gone!”

Yearick-Millea’s Business Development Manager, Jay Mitchell, spent nearly two decades in broadcasting, including stops in Washington, PA, Wheeling, WV, and two stations in Pittsburgh.

For most of his 96 years, it would be safe to say that Craig “Porky” Chedwick was either planning a radio show or doing a radio show. Now it’s Heaven’s turn to “move and groove” to The Boss Man after his final trademark sign-off.

Personally, and in tribute to Pork the Tork, I will never forget his soulful doo-wop melodies pouring out of the monophonic AM radio in my beloved Chrysler as I drove around the South Hills after high school classes in the early 60s.

Porky Chedwick in 2008 (Source: Brookline Connection).

Porky Chedwick in 2008 (Source: Brookline Connection).

Though not a unique goal at the time, it was probably about then that I decided to become a DJ. And wouldn’t ya know it? Less than five years later, with Porky as my inspiration, there I was behind a microphone. Oh, sure. I was on the radio fulfilling my dream, and would go on to have memorable careers at 3WS and WTAE, but I wasn’t Porky Chedwick. I didn’t want to be – and there was no way that I could be “The Daddio of the Raddio.” He was, and rightfully so, one of a kind—one for The Ages.

His love of music (primarily rhythm-and-blues), his love of people (primarily everyone), and his unique “from the heart” WAMO radio shows are legendary—if not historical.

My encounters with Porky were usually at an event or a concert where we shared MC duties. One March evening in 1983, I was on-stage with The Boss Man at The Stanley Theatre (now known as The Benedum) hosting a classic oldies show – and Porky defers the spotlight to me on nearly every artist introduction! He was humble, he was sincere – he was pure Porky. It’s one of many reasons why he’s in The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Countless Pittsburghers with a deep love of vintage rock ‘n’ roll owe “The Platter Pushin’ Papa” a large “thank you” for his foresight and dedication to the music—and I am so very proud to be counted among them. God bless you, Porky. And I know he will.