Sampson Media, LLC

The right word, in the right place.

The Right Word

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What Sampson Media can do for you

Posted on January 22, 2015 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (1)

You will never have a more difficult customer than your own mother.

During Christmastide, Mom and I were visiting and said to me, “I guess I just don’t understand what you do.”

Mom is a retired teacher and one of the smartest women I know. She is a mathematician with an analytical mind who taught middle school for 20 years. Her question, though, surprised me and got me thinking, If Mom doesn’t understand what I do as Sampson Media, how can my clients understand what Sampson Media can do for their businesses and organizations?

So what is it that Sampson Media can do for you?

You have information to share. You have an audience you want to reach. And you need to be relevant to your audience or they aren’t going to see your information.

  • Do you send a press release to local or national media?
  • Post it to your social media and hope it gets seen?
  • Put it on your webpage?

Yes, you do. The key is to see all of these and all of the related steps as part of one media campaign. You have a message, you need it articulated and delivered to your audience. You listen to their responses and you reply, elaborate and engage.

Sampson Media is your guide. We will take your message and your information and discuss with you who your audience is, where they are and how to best reach them. We will create a package of information that you can host on your website, distribute that information through local and national media channels, use social media to alert your audience members who are already engaged with you, we’ll then use social media to attract new audience members, and invite all of them to respond – through action, comment and website visits for deeper and more developed content. We will bring your message to your audience.

Our philosophy is simple: We will get your message through the crowd to your target audience. To that end, we will help you engage with your audience and build a relationship that benefits your company or organization. We will use your website, social media, press, media distribution networks and direct email to get your word in the right place: in front of your audience members.

What we do:

Press relations – We will craft your press release for print or broadcast and distribute it for you. We will act as contact for your event with media and help to arrange interviews with media. We will provide media with your images and package your multimedia resources.

Community relations – You have a community. They are your customers, your members and your neighbors. They have questions and your have answers to share. You have announcements and events to promote to your community. Let us help you with getting the word out to your community and take an active role in listening to their responses. We’ll bring that back to you and help your craft the information to keep the conversation productive.

Website content – Your website is your home base online. But if you let it get stale, you’ll see a sharp decrease in hits. Let us work with you and create fresh, engaging content that optimizes search engine crawls. Then we’ll use social media to draw your customers and community back to your website time again.
Social media – Social media isn’t just about announcing your message. It’s about engagement, listening and refining your message. Let us guide you into increasing your followers and help you create posts and tweets that will make it through the algorithms to your audience.

Newsletters & Direct Email – Sometimes there is nothing that beats an old-fashioned newsletter. Unless it’s a newsletter sent by direct email! The newsletter and direct email are opportunities to speak intimately with your customers and community members. They are also opportunities to draw them back to your website and invite them into conversation through social media. We will help you promote yourself to your audience and increase engagement through this time-honored approach.

Media Articles – Are you looking for articles, news, media content? Our professional news writer has experience in newspapers, online hyperlocals, national magazines and radio broadcast. Want an article for your organizational managing? Looking for an engaging column or page for your online publications? We’ve got you covered. How about a feature article highlighting your newest achievement? Let us share your good news with your audience.

What Sampson Media does is to get the right word in the right place – your message to your audience though traditional media, online media, website content and social media. You have a story share and we’d like to help you tell it.

Using social media to drive audience members to your website

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Your website is your public presence, your business card and your audition, all combined in one neat “www” package. But getting people to your website is the ongoing challenge – you need new eyes on your website and you need returning eyes to continue to grow your audience and your business.

There are several social media platforms that you can use effectively to draw in new eyes and to keep bringing back your current audience. But even on those platforms you must consistently maintain a conversation and an interesting presence – George Takei is the current reigning king of Facebook when it comes to creating an interesting presence to drive people to his website. But you don’t have to be a Starfleet officer to effectively steer your audience back to your home port.

Recently, I posted a news item about a locale near-and-dear to the hearts of a social club whose Facebook page I administrate. In five hours, there 784 people saw the post! To give you some idea of this accomplishment, there are 253 people who have ‘Liked’ the page. That means, 531 potential new sets of eyes saw the name and link to the club’s Facebook page.

How did this happen? The beauty of the ‘Share’ button. A club member was impressed enough by the news item to share it on his page. One of his friends shared it to another social page and one of the members of that page shared it to her friends.

In a day, I will have the results of new “hits” to the club’s webpage but what I expect, as I have seen in the past, is a spike in both the number of people liking the club’s Facebook and the number of people coming to visit the club’s website for more information on who they club members are and what sort of activities they sponsor.

This approach works also for Twitter, where you can use a shortened web address to link your quick statement or message to your website or a specific page on the site. The more engaging your message, the more people both clicking on the address and sending it along to their friends, followers and fans.

Facebook and Twitter, along with Google+ and Instagram, may be fun ways to tell those near and dear to you what you had for lunch but they are crucial avenues for business and professionals to drive audience members to their websites and directly deliver their messages. Social media is not a diversion any longer but a vitally important tool for increasing website traffic which leads to an increase in business.

 The key is to select words, pictures and new items that both support your message and capture the interest of your audience. The goal is not to advertise just to the individual viewing your status update or tweet. It is to amuse, intrigue or even enrage the viewer enough that he will then share your message with his friends and followers. Like McLuhan wrote, it is to take an old message and insert it in the new medium – viral marketing or work of mouth though social media. Each one of your friends or followers who shares what you have posted or tweeted becomes a salesperson for your product when she share your cute little someecard or kitten picture or news item on flooding in Key West.

To groom these salespeople, you must invest in your social media and your website. Win them over. Offer them some levity during the day or a new perspective on a current topic. The goal is to interest them enough to keep coming back to you and then to your website.  When they like what you have to say, your salespeople will happily sell you to their friends via social media, the electronic word-of-mouth today.

As they click away at your amusing picture or message, they will come to your website. You want to make sure you have your website listed in the information for your Facebook or Twitter profile. Including it on the image or as part of the status makes it easier to find and increases the impulse to find out more about it. And example is a popular page focusing on a young cat with a genetic deformity. The “kitty mama” posts I Can Has Cheezeburger photos regularly – and she adds her Facebook page link right on the photo. As her pictures get shared and reshared, the membership of this page has grown, helping her to raise awareness for shelter pets and the medical needs of pets and people.

The goal is always to get your message to your audience. Your website is the depositor of that message. Old-fashioned word-of-mouth still reigns in marketing but it has moved to the new medium of social networking. Effectively using that medium will increase your websites audience and the reach of your message.

How to Lose your Message

Posted on June 18, 2013 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)


What is your message?

You have a brand. And you have something important you want to convey to others or you want to persuade others to buy, be it a product or a service. So, you have a message: Ours is the best because we meet your need or your perception. Buy ours and we will reinforce your self-image and we will reward you for it.

Holding onto that message – why your product or service is the best and worthy of your customer’s money – becomes difficult in a media-saturated world. What companies are finding the most difficult is holding onto their message when faced with social media because every media user is also an editor.

The other problem is holding onto your message when you aren’t even clear about the message or the effect it has on your customer base.

Recently, the chairman and CEO of Ambercrombie & Fitch Michael S. Jeffries put himself and the popular brand in some hot water:

As far as Jeffries is concerned, America’s unattractive, overweight or otherwise undesirable teens can shop elsewhere. “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he says. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

“[W]e want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”  [The man behind Abercrombie & Fitch. Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2006]

Mr. Jeffries message was: We are brand of the hot, popular, cool kids. Buy our clothes and you show the world you’re hot, popular and cool.

Wow, did he lose control of his message.

Even though the article was seven-years-old, a forceful counter message took over:


Mr. Jefferies’ message was no longer “we’ve got the cool, skinny kids.” It had become “we’re the snotty bullies that made your life miserable in high school.” In one fell swoop, with a an awesome photo shoot mimiking Amercrombie & Fitch’s own promotion, he lost control of his company’s message.

“The juxtaposition of uncommonly paired bodies is visually jarring, and, even though I wish it didn’t, it causes viewers to feel uncomfortable,” Jes Baker of wrote to Mr. Jefferies in an open letter on her blog site. “This is largely attributed to companies like yours that perpetuate the thought that fat women are not beautiful. This is inaccurate, but if someone were to look through your infamous catalog, they wouldn't believe me.

“I'm sure you didn't intend for this to be the outcome, but in many ways you're kind of brilliant. Not only are you a marketing genius (brand exclusivity really is a profitable move) but you also accidentally created an opportunity to challenge our current social construct.” (emphasis added)

This wasn’t the opportunity Mr. Jefferies was looking for. But it was an opportunity for Ms. Baker to take his message and turn it around and make it something else: Let’s talk about what is “cool” and “hot” and how bodies that are bigger are also “cool” and “hot.” Let’s be people who see beauty in shapes other than “skinny.” Let’s not be what Ambercombie & Fitch have to offer. Popular kids come in all shapes, and you know what else? The cute boy does fall for the heavy girl.

Ms. Baker’s message was pretty clear: You’re wrong and I have the pictures to prove it.

Where does this example take us now? Think through your message and your audience first. You can alienate with one sentence the very people who would drive your message the furthest. And you can have your message pulled out from you in one photograph.

Speak boldly and clearly. But also, listen to what you are saying. Your audience is listening and their perspective will change the message before you’re done talking.

The Need for a Federal Shield Law

Posted on May 19, 2013 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)


As the editor of the Albion Advertiser, I can remember one occasion in which I placed my notes and source information in our safe in a sealed envelope with a date that was exactly one year and one day in the future. I remember one other time in which I willfully destroyed my own notes for an article.

Both actions were taken in the possible event of a libel suit. The notes in the safe would show that I had not willfully or with malice made an error in my reporting or editorial judgment. No one can subpoena notes that simply do not exist (please keep in mind, no one had suggested they might sue when I decided to destroy the notes – it would be illegal to destroy something asked for by a court).

Each time, I made these decisions based on either my understanding of media law or at the advice of a more experienced journalist.

I’m sharing this because the Department of Justice has recently informed The Associated Press that it obtained two months of phone records of reporters and editors who worked at New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., AP offices and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. Information from more than 20 separate phones lines was seized, representing information collected by more than 100 journalists and their sources.  The Justice Department has not given justification for its actions but The AP suspects it may be related to a “CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.”

Why is this important? This has a chilling effect on a reporter’s ability to gather and report the news and is likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Additionally, this falls terribly in line with behavior during the past several years in which reporters and editors have been sued or found in contempt of court because they refused to divulge their sources or notes.

The solution is a strong federal shield law, such as the one that has been promoted by the Society of Professional Journalists. Most states already have shield laws, with varying levels of protection for reporters and sources. But federally, even with the power of the First Amendment in place, journalists lack protection in doing their jobs: acting as the watch dogs of government and informing the electorate to whom that government is responsible.

Sadly, the general public is disinterested in this, even with the Justice Department is collecting information that it does not have a right to obtain. But the reporter who chooses jail over handing away her notes and sources is protecting the First Amendment, even from her own government. A federal shield law offers her the protection needed to inform the electorate, without chilling out and driving away the sources needed to effectively do her job.