What’s a Widget?

A widget is a small utility working in the background, looking for specific information for you on the Internet and aggregating it in a specific location. For example, the weather forecast for the next week in your city, currency exchange, digital clock, your favorite stocks ticker, TV broadcasting and so on. Almost everything that you need to have current. In technical language, widgets are small JavaScripts applications running a widget engine on a user computer under MS Windows or Mac operating systems. Originally called Konfabulator, they were recently acquired by Yahoo! and now widgets are commonly known as Yahoo! Widgets.

How Do You Use It?

First of all, you need to download a widget engine from Yahoo and install it on your computer. This will allow you to access more than 3,000 different widgets created for this engine. There are several designed specifically for photographers, and particularly for those who are actively selling photos to stock and microstock agencies.

There are several widgets for iStockPhoto such us iStockWatcher, iStockDash and iStockphoto-PC Widget. All of them are free. iStockWatcher works under the Yahoo! Widget engine only and has an iStockwatch Lite version with some limitations. This watcher gathers information such as last selling, statistics, personal message notifications, new forum and blog topics, news and so on.

iStockDash is Dashboard Widget for the Mac operating system only. There are no big differences in functionalities from the one mentioned above.

In contrast, iStockphoto-PC Widget is an MS Windows version that contains everything you need to work autonomously. In other words, you do not need to install the Yahoo! Widget engine first, but rather everything is inside this widget package, so you just download and install it, and it is ready to work.

There is another one that covers all of the above and more. I’m talking about MicroStock Watcher. This widget keeps you up to date on iStockPhoto, Dreamstime, Fotolia, Shutterstock, Stockxpert, and LuckyOliver. And the list of microstocks is growing. But, this widget is shareware with a trial period.

For those who are only interesting in photos themselves, there are several widgets working with photo sharing Web-sites like Flickr. They’ll show you recent photos in selected categories, travelers’ stories and so on. To find out more try to make a search both in the Internet and Yahoo widgets page.

How to Develop a Public Relations Campaign for A Small Business

A St. Louis Public Relations professional, I am often asked if public relations can work for a small business.

The answer is “yes”.

Even on a lesser scale, the basics of creating a PR campaign for a small business are virtually the same as creating one for a large corporation.

It involves analyzing your business goals and determining what type of objective you would like to achieve.

Is your goal to increase hits on your web site, build greater trust with your customers and prospects, develop community awareness, or to simply let the marketplace know what products and services you are selling?

Once your goal is established then identify which audiences you need to reach. These should be in line with your objective.

Are your trying to reach other small business owners, presidents of larger corporations, a very select business to business audience, selected consumers, or the public at large?

After you identify these target markets the next step is to develop a strategy and the tactics necessary to reach them.

This is accomplished by creating a mini-campaign for each audience within the overall PR plan.

For example, let’s say your overall PR goal is to influence 30 new prospective customers to engage with you and your sales staff with the hope of turning them into clients.

One of your target audiences could be widget makers. Your objective with widget makers is to create 10 of those 30 prospective engagements.

Your tactics would then include developing a myriad of activities to build relationships with 10 widget makers.

Those activities could include hosting seminars for widget makers, manning a booth at widget trade shows, speaking at widget conferences, securing articles about your firm in widget publications, emailing newsletters to widget makers, developing a blog about widgets, connecting with widget makers through LinkedIn, etc.

Once the campaign is launched it needs to be analyzed and adjusted.

Focus on those tactics that work the best and provide the greatest return on investment. This is especially important for small companies who are usually on a limited budget.

Remember to keep it measurable. This is where a number of small business PR campaigns run out of steam.

If you plan to hit the 10 widget maker mark in six months, you will need to create 5 engagements within the first 90 days. Should you hit or exceed the 5 mark after 90 days you will feel confident that your campaign is on track.

Connect only with one or two widget makers in the first three months and you might have to adjust your strategy.

Whether your PR budget is $5,000 or $5 million the basic strategies of a public relations campaign remain the same.

It works for small companies as well as large ones. The first step is to create a goal and get started.

Google Gadgets, Yahoo Widgets & Myspace Widgets – Social Media Marketing On Demand

Remember the film “Field Of Dreams” and the tagline “If you build it, they will come?” Well, the same goes true for a Google Gadget, MySpace Widget or Yahoo Widget. Social Media Marketing and Viral Marketing are the crux of the online industry. Create a great looking website, fill it with informative content and useful information and viola – you have something that people will want. Something people will even be willing to pay for.

The trick is to get them to see your website. This is where viral marketing and social marketing come in. It is amazing what a few simple tricks that you can learn on the internet can do for your business. Creating a Google Gadget or a Yahoo Widget is not difficult at all. These are little bits of code that can be implanted in text. Because they are attractive little photo codes, they are appealing in text and can be put just about anywhere. Many people use these as their signatures on forums and blog posts to draw attention to their websites. They are very, very effective marketing tools and not difficult to create.

There are several tutorials online about how to create a widget or gadget. The first thing you need to understand is that this will connect to a website. Every time the website updates, the text that you use can update. A widget or gadget can be used in many different ways. For the most part, however, they should be used as a way to update information.

If, for example, you connect your widget to the weather channel, and you incorporate it into text into your website, your website will be updated every time the weather changes, which is often. This can continue to keep your website updated and at the top of RSS feeds.

If you change your website frequently, you will want to build a gadget or widget connecting it to your website. Again, with every change, the widget will automatically reflect that a change is being made. If you have subscribers to your website, even if it is a social page on MySpace, anywhere you post the widget online will continually update each time you change your MySpace page.

Think of what you use in your business that repeats often. Instead of constantly notifying people that you have a new shipment of a certain product, for example, you can incorporate a Google gadget into something like a subscriber link and have it automatically update each time you change your website. You can spread the links all over the internet, on bookmarking sites as well as social networking sites and the sky is the limit.

Building a Yahoo Widget, MySpace Widget or Google Gadget is simple and fun. There are fun tutorials that teach you how to complete this task. Just think about what you want to do with the gadget or widget and how you want to use it. Then log onto the Google, Yahoo or Myspace and follow the prompts. Then you can start building it.