Monthly Archives: January 2011

Tour of Target Field–Home of the Minnesota Twins

View from the press box at Target Field

View from the press box at Target Field.

I had the privilege of taking a guided tour of Target Field yesterday in Minneapolis. This was my second visit to the new home of the Minnesota Twins and I could not be any more impressed with everything the stadium and the Twins organization has to offer. The tour was organized by members of PRSSA-St. Cloud State Chapter and was given by Chris Isles, corporate communications manager for the Twins.

The tour was amazing. Chris showed us around the entire stadium — telling plenty of interesting team facts and notes on the construction of the stadium along the way. Seeing some of the suites and season ticket holder areas was definitely impressive. The highlight of the tour was walking through the team clubhouse and stepping outside to view the snow-covered stadium at field level. We even took a look at the dugout before heading to the media room to learn about Chris and his role with the Twins. Kevin Smith, executive director of public affairs for the Twins, also joined us to share his stories and career highlights.

As much as I enjoyed the tour of America’s greatest modern ballpark, the Q&A session with Chris and Kevin was the main feature of our trip to Target Field. As with most PR professionals, Kevin and Chris both had very interesting stories on how they ended up getting to where they are today. The amount of work put in while working for a Major League Baseball team is unsurmountable — Chris mentioned writing about 10 news releases a year while working in health care compared to writing over 100 with the Twins. Chris also manages all social media efforts for the Twins as well as the many other odds and ends communications pros are known to handle.

I am not really much of a sports buff, but I have always wanted to work for a Major League Baseball team. I’ve been to home games for eight teams in 10 different stadiums now and every time go I get excited about the thought of what it would be like to work in that type of atmosphere and actually being a part of a team. Kevin had several stories about the little things he does as a public affairs executive that really showcased why he loves his job.

One example of going above the call of duty was when he was alerted of a little girl in attendance at a game who had just lost her father to cancer a few days prior. Sitting there with her uncle and mother, the family was looking rather solemn. Without hesitation, Kevin got a gift bag and a ball signed by Michael Cuddyer and headed to their seats. He presented them with the gift bag and told the girl that Michael Cuddyer wanted her to have the ball and let them know they were in good hands. He could see their solemn faces turn to tears joy and he quickly got out of there before he broke down too. Listening to Kevin tell this story, I could really feel how much he cares about and enjoys his job. I can only hope to find a place in the world that will give me the opportunity to touch someone’s life as Kevin has.

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The Interactive Journalist: Facebook Edition (via Duffy’s Drivel)

My first guest blogger is none other than KVSC News Director Chris Duffy. I’m proud to report Chris has me to thank for him having to write a new blog entry each week and creating a new chore in his life. Chris is a fine news director at KVSC and has good grasp on reporting the world’s headlines and communication trends. Read on for a comical yet all-so-true blog post on how to appropriately use Facebook as a news reporter. Subscribe to Duffy’s Drivel for his take on the evolving world of communication.

The Interactive Journalist: Facebook Edition Let’s be honest. Most people use Facebook to procrastinate, stalk their exes and socialize. People don’t deliberately use Facebook to get their news. But more than 500 million people have active Facebook accounts, and it is now the most popular website in the United States. This presents an obvious avenue for news organizations and journalists to connect with their audience. However, Facebook is a social network, and this can present problems, li … Read More

via Duffy's Drivel


Then I saw my Life in Pummelvision!

I believe I came across this gem of an idea a few weeks ago via TechCrunch. I immediately fell in love with the concept: Pummelvision flashes your life before your eyes using photos from around the web. What Pummelvision does is it collects photos you already have posted to Facebook, Flickr, DailyBooth or Dropbox and puts them into a short, high quality video, which automatically uploads to Vimeo or YouTube. What really draws me in is the intense music and high-quality photos that flash by at a perfectly fast rate.

After reading the article on TechCrunch and watching their video, I went straight to the site and uploaded my own Pummelvision (above). It turned out to be a great way to showcase some of my photography over the past couple years. The only negative I found is the site takes a day or two to process your video, but that beats me trying to do it myself. Another downside is there is only one soundtrack. However, I can appreciate that decision–the site is trying to maintain simplicity, and since they went with such a unique and fun score, I’ll deal.

It will be fun to see creative Pummelvisions by photographers and people who lead interesting lives. Photo apps for mobile devices and social photo sites are all the rage these days and I could definitely see Pummelvision teaming up with Instagram and some other leading mobile photo apps in the future. I would definitely like to see NPR’s Instagram photo stream in Pummelvision.

The site has some of the better videos featured in gallery form, and YouTube is already gathering quite the quantity of Pummelvisions as well. My favorite so far? A collection of photos of cups of coffee. Now I don’t even like coffee, but with the music, speed and variety of coffee mugs and surroundings, this video is pretty sweet.


Tutorial: The Social Media Contest

How would you do a social media dance contest? I would use YouTube of course!

Feel free to consider this part three of my Twitter tutorial. In this entry however, I will walk you through the steps of a social media contest at KVSC 88.1FM where we incorporate both Facebook and Twitter. So far at KVSC, we have only done concert ticket giveaways as a social media contest. We are planning to do a costume contest during Trivia Weekend to coincide with the theme Superheroes of Trivia. That contest will be on Facebook only and participants will post photos of themselves in their superhero costume on our wall and winners will be chosen by number of likes and comments. That should be fun.

The process is really pretty simple and it gets even easier when you limit the contest to just Twitter (Mashable has a great “how to” on Twitter contests). First, decide what your marketing goals are–create brand awareness, find out more about your customers, increase engagement, etc. Once you decide why you are doing a social media contest, figure out how you want to achieve your goals. At KVSC, our main focus is to increase engagement with our listeners and hopefully drive traffic to our website and to increase overall listenership.

Second, you need a game plan. Now that you know your marketing goals, it’s time to lay down some rules. This is almost too simple for something such as a concert ticket giveaway. For Facebook, just state the rules in a status update. That’s basically it. Remember to tag appropriate pages (in this case KVSC and First Avenue) and provide any additional links. Here’s an example:

KVSC – 88.1FM is giving away ONE pass to ALL CONCERTS at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry for the remainder of 2010! Simply hit the “Like” button at the bottom of this message to win! For and additional entry, visit http://twitter.com/kvsc881fm and retweet the contest message. Visit http://www.kvsc.org/ for full details.

Then do the same on Twitter, only now, you are restricted to 140 characters or less. Also, you may want to add a unique hashtag to monitor and help in promoting some aspect of the contest (or your company, cause, etc). Remember to use @mentions where appropriate:

@kvsc881fm – giving away ONE 40th Anniv. Pass to ALL concerts @Firstavenue for ALL OF 2010! Retweet to win! http://kvsc.org/ #KVSC1st_ave

Be sure to have information on your website with full details and promote in anyway possible. For KVSC, we usually make an on-air push and promote in our monthly e-newsletter. Once you have made your posts and promoted the contest a little bit, sit back and watch. When the deadline comes, compile all the valid entries and draw a winner (or winners) from a hat. Notify the winners and do a simple follow-up to everyone else via another post, and you’re done!

The best thing about social media contests is it’s very easy to measure your success. For Facebook, look at the number of likes, comments and any increase in new people who like your page. For Twitter, count the number of retweets and any other interactions.


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