Deep into Dunkies

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My roommate is in love with Dunkin’ Donuts. And when I say in love, I really mean obsessed. And truth be told, she’s got me hooked too.

When we had to analyze a corporate newsletter for my PR writing class, where did I turn? Dunkies.

Dunkies’ newsletter falls into the special interest category and focuses on both Dunkin’ Donuts’ news and the “quick-serve industry” news. As you can see below, the articles center around Dunkin’ Donuts business openings and how the fast food industry is changing:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts Makes Plans for 46 New Units in Sacramento (2)
  • Dunkin’ Lays Plans for 22 New Stores (1)
  • Build the Buzz (broadcasting and fast food) (2)
  • A Whole New Game (fast food at sporting events) (1)
  • The Growth 40 (basketball players eat fast food) (2)
  • Breaking with Tradition (breakfast sandwiches) (3)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Unveils Valentine’s Day Offerings (3)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Plans Opening at Northwestern University (1)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Loyalty App Ready for Take Off (3)

The key publics of this newsletter are Dunkies’ or fast food industry employees and business owners. I think some of these articles would be interesting and some would flop in regards to this audience. I’ve rated the articles for interest above: 3 for very interesting, 2 for mas o menos, 1 for not that interesting. It basically comes down to new information or new events. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts’ Valentine’s Day sounds has a novel aspect to it; Fast food at sporting events, not so much.

I have several ideas for photo ideas that will address a major weakness I see in the newslettermultimedia. In today’s day and age, it’s not enough to have text and a logo. It would greatly enhance the newsletter if they could add these elements:

  1. Video feature story on CEO of Dunkies.
  2. Photo gallery of employees across the nation.
  3. Interactive map showing the most productive stores across the nation.

As a whole, I think it is somewhat effective a a newsletter. The format is easy to read, however, the layout is boring. Navigation is intuitive, but there is not many photographs or multimedia elements. Overall, it serves the people it aims to but still could use some work as far as interest and excitement comes in.

As for me, I’ll be taking advantage of the “Breakfast Tradition” and go get my Dunkies on.

Are you ready for some baseball?

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We’ve been learning about PR in the online realm, most recently by looking at the online PR newsrooms. As usual, the best way to learn is through the practical, so we analyzed the news room of a real organization. And since I’m gearing up for the baseball season, I chose my home team, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Overall, the Cardinals’ site has several strengths. It is easily navigated, easily read, and easily understood. It’s both engaging and informative.

But let me just get specific:

1. The newsroom is easily accessed. First tab on the mother site, in fact. The prominence on the news tab shows that news features prominently in the Cardinals’ PR strategy.

2. The content of their site relates to current events. For example, the first story today relates to a recent incident between Matt Adams and a Reds fan, who claims that Adams pushed him intentionally. Placing that story prominently on their page does two things. First, every baseball fan that googles what happened in the incident will be sent to their page. They are increasing traffic by covering stories that are controversial. Second, the Cardinals get to communicate their message about the incident, that, if Adams did push the fan, it was accidental.

3. The Cardinals do a fantastic job of incorporating photography, video, and graphics. These elements automatically engage the reader in the content and solidify the Cardinals’ branding in their mind, keeping readers on their page and engaged in their team.

4. The site easily connects with other social media sites. In today’s media landscape, this is absolutely necessary. Sharing a story on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or through email are just one click away thanks to handy button at the bottom of each story. Fans don’t just read the story on the official website, but the Cardinals’ message is being broadcasted all over the web by the readers themselves.

5. The site is easy to navigate. The different sections, types of media, and stories are organized so that the reader understands what they are looking at and how to get to what they want to look at. When a site makes things easy, it leaves the reader more satisfied with the site’s product.

The Cardinals’ newsroom is an excellent example of how an online newsroom should be done. It is truly a multimedia oneengaging, informative, and presents a strong message for the team. The Cardinals baseball team uses their news to the best advantage, both to drive readers to their site and keep the opinion of those readers favorable.


Meaningful Words: Just as it Should Be

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Pardon my language, but I’m going to go with Mark Twain on this one:

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you are inclined to write ‘very’; your editor would delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

If only we would stop over exaggerating and write as we should.

Robin Wauters wrote an article I read recently about this very issue. It called for ten overused words to be banned from press releases, including “leading,” “innovation,” and “revolutionary.” The point is that when we overuse and misuse these words consistently, they loose their meaning—completely counteracting your purpose as a writer.

The purpose of any writer—whether PR or journalism—is to make information understood by your audience. And when our words loose their meaning, so does that information.

So how then do we write in a way that is exciting and engaging without overusing and abusing words?

Know your audience. Writing to your audience both defines your content and vocabulary, which, incidentally enough, solves both problems. If your content is applicable to your reader, then you get an engaged reader. If your write to your reader’s comprehension level, then you get an engaged reader. It’s simple—nothing your write will be successful if you don’t understand your audience.

If you think you are writing simply, write simpler. This is preaching to myself as much as anyone. As writers, let’s be honest. We can get a big head. We love words. We love big words. And we want to share those words as much as possible. This is the problem though—not very many other people care about the nuances the between facetious and frivolous. But a lot of people can find it in their heart to care about the difference between inappropriate and lighthearted.

Remember your purpose. Basically, the point is simple: you are writing to get your message across. Put aside your own agenda and awesome writing ability, and channel “the reader.”

Which, by the way, is much more difficult that writing for yourself.