George W. Bush

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

No one likes to be called "middle-aged," but sometimes it's just a fact. Email is 44. For marketers who also happen to be of a certain age, looking over this infographic from ReachMail might bring back some fun memories. "Email Is Officially Middle-Aged" is published on the Chicago-based email marketing software and services provider's website and starts with 1971, when computer engineer Ray Tomlinson sent the first email, then called an "electronic mail message."

When was the last time you checked your copy's grade level reading scores? American's reading ability is declining. And you could be writing over your prospective customer's ability to understand your message. In the U.S., average reading levels are at about the eighth grade level. But 1-in-5 U.S. adults read below a fifth grade level. And surprisingly, 14 percent of U.S. adults can't read

[Editor's Note: Verizon put out a "no comment" statement.] The Guardian revealed on Thursday that the National Security Agency is collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of a division of Verizon, one of America's largest telecom providers, under a top-secret court order issued in April. Here, we round-up some of the reaction to the story from Twitter. From Al Gore, former U.S. vice president: "In [the] digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?" Colorado senator Mark Udall, who has long been vocal about the scope of

Voters who click on President Barack Obama's campaign website are likely to start seeing display ads promoting his re-election bid on their Facebook pages and other sites they visit. Voters searching Google for information about Mitt Romney may notice a 15-second ad promoting the Republican presidential hopeful the next time they watch a video online. The 2012 election could be decided by which campaign is best at exploiting voters' Internet data. ... strategists say the most important breakthrough this year is the campaigns' use of online data to raise money, share information and persuade supporters to vote.

This is not about politics or policy. It’s about process—an exercise in public relations and communication that directly applies to every organization—a one-person entrepreneurship, CEOs of a small business or a giant corporation all the way up to the President of the United States.

Over the past year, the Obama administration has botched myriad PR opportunities and come up the big loser in the court of public opinion.

Quite simply, it is imperative to have a system in place to recognize a public relations crisis and deal with it—a plan that can be implemented immediately. Not tomorrow. Not after the weekend. Now! In his seminal book, “Guerrilla P.R. 2.0,” Michael Levine writes:

One of the single most important points to keep in mind when facing a negative situation of your own is to follow the old dictum: The best defense is a good offence. You must never go on the defensive. By anticipating negative questions you can stand ready with positives.

Levine adds, “There are two speeds in modern P.R.—fast and dead.”

Too many CEOs—Barack Obama included—do not understand the art and science of public relations. PR is too important to be handled by well-meaning amateurs.

It’s not good when the face of your organization has egg on it.

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