News and thoughts from CS Odessa, maker of the ConceptDraw product line: ConceptDraw PRO, ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw MINDMAP.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Website Creation Rule #1: Think First

I have to admit: I've used mind mapping software for years. And yet, when I decided to create a website for my freelance writing business, the first thing I did was try to come up with a good home page headline.

Strong words are vital to a home page--any home page. But what makes a site work is the overall design and navigation, and the content you provide to visitors.

So the second thing I did was to open up a ConceptDraw MINDMAP and start figuring out what I wanted on my site. Here are the general areas I broke my site into:

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wasn't presenting myself the way I wanted to be seen by potential customers. The two main things I specialize in are developing strategies that help companies get noticed, and creating content--all kinds of content. Very often, the strategy involves content creation. But not always. So I keep them separate:

So now I have the basic skeleton of what I want my website to communicate. I'll post again soon (I'm not going to commit to tomorrow just in case...) on how to use MINDMAP to capture and organize in one place all the content and links you're going to need for your site.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Better Way to Manage PR Campaigns Part 2

In the first post on this issue, I was discussing how to use MINDMAP to organize your media targets. The nice thing about the map is that you can have all of the ways to contact or follow them on one screen. You may have other places, such as Hootsuite, to follow people in social media.

But sometimes you want to just jump right in and see what a reporter is tweeting about right that instant. The map format makes that easy to do:

You'll notice on that you can also add the pitch you're going to use for each reporter, the subsequent email correspondence you have with them, and the ultimate outcome--either a link to the published article, or the dreaded "thumbs down."

And when the campaign is finished, you can copy and paste each reporter's branches to your main Media Contact map to continue building a history of your relationship with that particular person. More on this later.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Better Way to Manage PR Campaigns

I suppose that many of you, like me, wear more than one hat in the course of a working week. One of my hats is doing public relations. I love to find companies that are doing something great, but that don't know how to get out there and tell their stories. It is the writer in me that helps communicate what a company is all about--without it sounding like some kind of cheesy brochure.

But PR isn't a one-off thing: It's a process. It's about creating a plan, then executing the plan. And PR plans, like most plans are complex. There are a lot of dependencies. Mind mapping helps me merge my creative, writerly brain with my organizational brain.

There are a lot of moving pieces to the typical pr plan, so I thought I'd make a few short blogs about it so you can see how ConceptDraw MINDMAP helps me work quickly and creatively on behalf of my clients.

PR success is all building strong relationships with influencers, and in having clear, compelling stories to tell. To build strong relationships, you have to understand the reporter--and keep track of your communications with them. Here's how I do it.

I have a set of maps where I keep my media contacts (I pull them from a media database I subscribe to). Every time I start a new campaign, I pull from that the names and info of the reporters I hope to work with on the campaign. The map looks something like this (though this map is very simplified):

I'm trying to keep these posts short, so I'll end it here. Tomorrow I'll talk about capturing your pr brainstorming.