Archive for the 'media' Category


@FoodDayMA Media Group Recipe for Collaboration

The Mass Innovation Nights annual “Foodie” Product Launch Party is a wildly popular event and I attended a “Food Day MA” planning meeting in May with the intention to offer them free exposure at the event for Food Day on October 24th in the spirit of communal support in the food circles. 

Inspired by the anecdotes of communities’ success in the 2011 inaugural year I raised my hand and started dispensing advice on how the momentum could be captured statewide if someone would only orchestrate the efforts, realizing in the same breath that I was volunteering my services to captain the Food Day MA Media Group.  Here are the steps you might take to glean from the way we cobbled together our efforts with no budget and lots of enthusiasm from many.

  1. Pull together a core team who volunteer to manage a social media tool that they are good at and let them be the lead to post, Tweet, Pin, etc.  We were Twitter-centric, used facebook and dabbled in Pinterest.  I wish we had Pinned more considering that platform’s growth at the time.  New social media channels will crop up in the future, embrace the ones with momentum and critical mass.
  2. Create a gmail account with your group’s affinity name as a master email account that you will use to build a WordPress site and enroll in social media platforms.  If a facebook or Twitter account already exists don’t worry about it – as long as the owner of that account is on your core team.
  3. Create a Dropbox account using your new gmail account where you will keep a Master Schedule of guest bloggers, store logos, photos/images, a contact list and other necessary assets.  You can invite members to join the Dropbox and that’s where they can claim their date to post on the Master Schedule.  I stored the text of a an email that I sent to every new guest blogger with instructions on claiming a date to post along with a heads-up that they’d be receiving two following emails inviting them to the Dropbox and the WordPress site.  This made the recruitment of guest bloggers pretty easy once I set up the system.
  4. Build your social media tools using the gmail account you created – Twitter, facebook, Pinterest.
  5. Build a WordPress site using the gmail account you created.  Add widgets for the social media accounts you created.  When I built the Food Day MA website there was no easy widget to plug in a Pinterest button.  Many thanks to, I found a VERY good post that taught me how to add a Pinterest button.
  6. Write your first post and publish it.  Double check that your post automatically cross-promoted on your social media channels.
  7. Send an email to your core group that explains the guest blogging process. 
  8. [this is what I sent]    First THANK YOU.    You should have received an invitation to with Author status and an invitation to the FoodDayMA Dropbox folder.  If you’re not a current Dropbox user and install it on your desktop we earn more storage space.  You can always uninstall it.  There’s a word document in the Dropbox named “FDMA blogging schedule”.   Add the information on the date you plan to post the blog and the other information and SAVE your changes.  Write and post your blog or schedule it to publish on the date you chose.  Promote your blog on the social media platforms you frequent.  If you Tweet about it please include @FoodDayMA in the Tweet to notify us to call out the birds!  Post it on facebook, pin it on your Pinterest account, etc.  We’re here to help you with anything you need.  If you’re not comfortable with WordPress and can at least provide text and images we can tee it up for you.  Tim Stansky
  9. Use your Dropbox account to build and store your Press/Media Contact list, Media Advisories and Press Releases.  Sending your releases from the gmail account you created allows you to manage your efforts.
  10. Now you have become your organization’s “Tom Sawyer” and it’s time to recruit guest bloggers, showing them how easy it is to be part of your bigger effort and that many hands make for light work.
  11. We’re still tallying the collective tide of exposure that we created through the blogging site and social media.  It’s clear that the WordPress site was a powerful anchor point.
  12. Our highest traffic day for the site was the day The Boston Globe wrote about Food Day.

We had a fantastic team and props to everyone involved.

Good luck and pay it forward.


Crowdfunding Innovation – @MassInno event

Mass Innovation Nights is producing two educational events about crowdfunding to help the local innovation and entrepreneur communities make sense of what’s happening.  Crowdfunding is a big movement and lawmakers are in the midst of creating guidelines and rules that will create opportunities and confusion.  MassInno is acting as a connector for our community to host a panel conversation with entrepreneurs who launched products at Mass Innovation Nights and have crowdfunded projects.  Our growing list panelists include Mass Inno alumni LifeCycle, Memory On Hand, and Ministry of Supply.

“Crowdfunding Innovation” is a sponsored, ticketed event separate from @MassInno’s free monthly Launch Parties.  The September 19th event is designed to give a current snapshot of the state of crowdfunding.  Everyone who attends will receive a 4GB MoH Band™  USB Flash Drive Wristband loaded with crowdfunding content, an e-book and digital resources.

The follow up January 23rd 2013 event will offer valuable insights on developments from the anticipated Q4 2012 passage of government rules.  Both events will take place at the Microsoft NERD (New England Research and Development) Center in Cambridge, MA.

Mass Innovation Nights is actively looking for sponsors and possibilities start with:

  • On-site event integration
  • Content marketing  as a guest blogger in the @MassInno weekly newsletter to 5,000+ readers
  • @MassInno website advertising in July, August and September
  • Consideration for panel participation
  • Content inclusion on “Crowdfunding Innovation” Memory On Hand 4GB wristbands.
  • Feature at an upcoming Mass Innovation Nights Launch Party

Tickets are on sale now


Yelp Town Hall and How One Star Increase = 5% to 9% Increase in Revenue

I attended Yelp Boston Town Hall, billed as a forum for the fourth in a series of cities hosted by Yelp offering businesses best practices in how to engage online critics and exchange ideas with other local businesses trying to harness the best in Yelp.  Yelp Boston Community Manager, Damien Smith quarterbacked a panel conversation with two avid local Yelpers, Darnell Holloway, Yelp’s Manager of Local Business Outreach, and two local businesses who are faring quite well with Yelp – Renee Eliah of Saus, a Belgian waffle and pommes frites place near Government Center and Brian Poe, chef of Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake and Beacon Hill newcomer Tip Tap Room.  And though the event was held in a restaurant with two restaurants as the businesses on the panel the folks from Yelp noted that restaurants account for only 23% of the reviews on Yelp.  Note to anyone holding a social media event in a downstairs section of a venue – make sure there’s working wifi to use an event hashtag such as #yelptownhall on social media or to check in on Yelp.  Does that belong in a Yelp review of hosting an event at the Back Bay Social Club?…

Renee shared anecdotes that Yelp worked as a marketing tool for Saus to channel pre-opening anticipation of pommes frites-philes and curiosity to build buzz when the doors finally opened.  Renee also believes that the majority of their business in the beginning was attributable to Yelp and that helped keep the business going.  Yelpers actually came to Saus’ defense from online harsh reviews of growing pains common to lots of new restaurants.

Brian talked about a real-time turnaround when a guest shared the status of a bad experience on social media while it was happening and from afar he and his team were able to figure out who the patron was and made things right for that patron before he left the restaurant.

The Yelping Yentas had earnest intentions in offering frank reviews to business but it’s hard not to feel for the business owner who spoke from the crowd equating bad reviews as graffiti on one’s home or the tattoo studio entrepreneur contending that competitors might be the source of staged reviews or inflating their own reviews manufactured by friends and family.

The event did not offer a magic elixir to remove the digital stains of bad reviews on Yelp, but it did offer some key takeaways:

  • Bad reviews are nothing new.  Attention and resolution of reasonable customer complaints can turn things around.
  • Consistently good customer service and attention will pay off in the long-term.
  • Yelp reviews can be considered focus groups for feedback on your products and services.
  • Higher ratings and great reviews grow organically.  Pushing non-Yelping customers to write a review leads to less-than-raving reviews and fewer stars because people feel obliged and may not even be familiar in how to write a great review in Yelp-ese.

    Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of
    Michael Luca, HBS
    Working Paper

The most delicious part of the night was a serendipitous conversation with Chantelle Karl, Yelp Senior Public Relations Manager when I asked about how much, in dollars, a good Yelp rating is worth when Michael Luca just happened to join us.

Michael is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School and author of  “Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of”.  Mike studied the impact of Yelp reviews on Seattle area restaurants through Washington State Department of Revenue data.  His Working Paper demonstrates that a one star Yelp rating increase can lead to a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue.  Pretty cool to meet someone who can put it into dollars and sense.

Yelp did a good job taking their own advice listening to business owners’ side of their model for feedback.  And for those business owners who obsess over tough criticism, there are many bigger priorities in running a business and plenty of customer marketing options if Yelp is not one’s choice.


WTOP #1 and Pandora #1? – radio content and technology

Two trends that continue to attract my attention are the spoken-word radio formats’ move to FM and the competition for online listening between traditional broadcasters and the likes of Pandora, Sirius, etc.  In conversations about my days of selling radio advertising and marketing solutions I point out that online and device listening of (particularly younger) adults is doing to their parents’ FM band just what those boomers did in abandoning their parents’ AM stations for FM.  It sounds better, plays what they want, interacts and travels with them on their favorite device.  Remember FM converters?

Radio Ink recently listed the top-billing stations in America and some industry voices tried to attribute the strong presence of AM stations on that list as an assertion of the AM band’s vitality.  One of my favorite bloggers in this space, Mark Ramsey asserts that it’s the brand, not the band – CONTENT rules despite the delivery platform.  Here’s his take on the AM bandwagon.

Couple Mark’s assertion with another “who’d have thought” incident, this headline in the Los Angeles Times  “Pandora: The No. 1 radio station in Los Angeles?” and I would suggest that a winning formula to watch is CONTENT that keeps up with consumers through technology widely adapted by the masses.


One could argue that the source of the ratings article is The Media Audit, not Arbitron or Neilsen and it’s  from last year.  It could be a sign of things to come despite Pandora’s $8.2MM Q4 loss.  But since it is all about who brings in the most revenue, WTOP‘s $57M is quite a feat to take to the bank.


Boston Wine Expo Farmers’ Market recap

The purpose of this post is to share how the first year Farmers’ Market pavilion at the 21st annual Boston Wine Expo went and to plant seeds for more collaboration throughout the year among local farms, local businesses, events, sponsors and media.

Farmers' MarketThe Farmers’ Market pavilion recipe might be called “wine, women and farm”, but the integrated marketing had three key ingredients:

+ a high-profile event with great demographics attracting thousands of people each day

+ a strong advertising campaign in print, online and social media targeting women

+ participation of five key farmers’ market vendors and a fantastic state resource

As mentioned in a previous post, the inspiration for the Farmers’ Market was a conversation I had with some of the BWE team members who attended Exhale Magazine’s “Top Dish Boston” sustainable food event in October.

Here’s how it worked:

The Boston Wine Expo added Exhale Lifestyle Magazine for Women to its advertising mix in print, online and through social media.  Women represent the majority of wine purchases on-premise and at retail.  (I’m still looking to source this truism and need to find a verifiable source to note – please comment if you have one, I’d really appreciate it).

Exhale solicited participation from key Farmers’ Market vendors including Wilson Farm, Mama Micki’s All Natural, Piantedosi Baking Company, Boston Organics and Gabbie’s Goodies Bon Bons.

Exhale involved the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) as a promotion partner to distribute information, maps, collateral pieces and website resources about farmers’ markets, apple picking, culinary tours from Boston to the Berkshires, wineries and food producers across the state.

My takeaways from the Farmers’ Market at the Boston Wine Expo:

  • the Farmers’ Market pavilion attracted lots of attention and added an interesting extension to the BWE’s week-long celebration of food and wine
  • there’s a lot of interest from the general market, particularly women, in finding their own local farmer’s market and buying Massachusetts-made products from cookies to bon bons  to wine and cheese.
  • even though this winter event took place in root vegetable season and coincided with a Patriots’ playoff game to become Super Bowl-bound, the Farmers’ Market recipe worked well for all and set the stage for planting, growing and harvest seasons.

I’d really appreciate your thoughts on how this recipe can be improved and adapted.  Please comment.


Boston Wine Expo Farmer’s Market with Exhale Magazine

Boston Wine Expo

Thanks to everyone who sent this around through social media.  The food and wine crowds are wired, that’s for sure.

Building upon “Top Dish Boston”, our successful sustainable food event to promote local farms and producers Exhale Magazine is teaming up with the Boston Wine Expo to create a Farmer’s Market right in the middle of the two day event January 21st and 22nd at the Seaport World Trade Center.
On Saturday and Sunday, The Boston Wine Expo welcomes 3,000 consumers a day to a spectacular showcase of food and wine.  Strolling through the beautifully decorated hall, guests will experience the wine, food and culture of four regions of the world—Western Europe, the Mediterranean, the Southern Hemisphere and North America.  Our vision is to create an authentic indoor Farmers’ Market where local farms, producers and purveyors can display, sample 2 oz. servings and sell pre-packaged foods on site.  The Farmer’s Market will be situated for lots of traffic at the front of the Consumer Entrance in the North American region.
The Boston Wine Expo attracts an impressive crowd.  They appreciate great food – at home and dining out.  This is a great demographic to engage, attract as new customers to your property, add as Friends and Followers to your mailing lists, and to invite through social media to your participation at markets, festivals and events.
Farmer’s Market participants receive:

  • Table display at the Farmer’s Market pavilion.
  • Inclusion in the Boston Wine Expo Show Program

Please share this opportunity with everyone you think would enhance the Farmer’s Market and could benefit.  @exhalelifestyle will be promoting this on Twitter, so please follow along.
Tim Stansky 617 261-4600 ext 123


QR Codes for events

Mass Innovation Nights is a monthly Launch gathering where ten new products display to a couple hundred people at various locations around Boston.  The locations rotate including the IBM Innovation Center in Waltham, Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge and last month at SCVNGR‘s headquarters during Boston’s FutureM.

These Launch gatherings are the culmination of a common ballot on which companies, friends, family, fans and customers vote over four weeks for the participating Launch Innovators to win one of four 5 minute presentation slots to the crowd.  There’s a lot of collective social media in the form of Tweets, blogs, emails, newsletters, video and posts in the voting process leading up to the event and a big blast of it on-site.

In early 2011 I cobbled together two products to create a unique QR code for each participating Innovator to have at their display.  The scanned QR code launched unique pre-loaded Tweet with a shout out for that Innovator.  We named it a QR Click To Tweet, QRCTT.  When you do this at your event remind your guests to sign into Twitter on their smartphones before they QRCTT. 

After a couple of beta tests at Launch gatherings I enlisted the help of Nirmal Parikh of Digital Wavefront, Dag Holmboe of Klurig Analytics, Jim Henderson of VizConnect and Bobbie Carlton of Mass Innovation Nights.  In one short conference call we figured a simple refinement of my cobbled project to generate QR codes to produce better analytics.  Few of us knew that was possible.  Props to Nirmal!

Click here to view slides.

The use of QR codes will allow us to analyze the Tweets, measure collective social media and give us a baseline to figure out how else we can optimize social media exposure for all the participating Innovators who launch products at Mass Innovation Nights.

Here are the steps to create your own QRCTT, a one click Tweet through a QR code scan that allows for analytics.

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