RLM PR http://www.rlmpr.com RLM is a smarter, hands-on alternative to big agencies. Tue, 05 Oct 2010 20:01:02 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.4 Ode to October http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/ode-to-october/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/ode-to-october/#comments Tue, 05 Oct 2010 19:35:45 +0000 Erin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1545 Here we are, in the one of two months where we are actually supposed to work. Funny, right?

No, not really. This is the true month of our discontent. We have nothing getting in the way of us accomplishing all the goals we have set.

Think about it: All the other months (except June, strangely) have something that gets in the way of getting something done. You have a holiday here (January, February, March, April, May…), a slowdown here (July, late November to January 1) an urgently “deserved” week away (August) and then the malaise of September when Labor Day seems to be an excuse to wonder whether labor makes sense at all. We used to call that daydreaming.

But October, ah the sweet smell of October. That is sweat! It’s what happens when “workers” (that means me and you) start to buckle down… Hey, who came up with that buckle down saying? What an ass! But I can’t digress because I actually have some work to do and this essay is getting in the way.

Remember to accomplish a ton during these 31 days because after all there are no reasons for us to be anything but working, all the time, every single day, with all our might and with no excuse to stop, no whining, no away days, not a single solitary day of the week that will get in our way.

While I have your attention can we talk about inherent laziness for a sec?

Laziness is not only when you don’t show up for work and hang on the couch. It’s also found in the language (“sounds good” is stupid). And after nearly 20 years of cell phone tech I am bewildered by those people who use speakerphones to have complete and information-filled conversations while standing in line at Coffee Beans, Peets or Starbucks. Is a headset that expensive? Or are these all exhibitionists?

Anyway, remember that you have six and a half glorious weeks until the next four-day weekend! Let’s get to work now. Have you noticed just how much people do little (yes, that’s bad grammar) when what looks like a vacation rears its fabulous head?

I want to take this opportunity to remind those of us who work for a living that there is no time like the present to stop volleying the emails back and forth—yes you are popular, fine—and live your life in the style of Comcast NBC Universal’s Brian Roberts.

Here’s a conversation he had with a confused friend of mine.

Friend: “How are you so successful?”

Roberts: “Ah. My secret? On those days when I am not into work, and I could just respond to emails all day, that’s when I make myself get on the phone.”


We do a lot of emailing that accomplishes nothing and a ton of IM-ing that doesn’t say anything that we really care about. Don’t start with the texting—that’s a world of crap I won’t jump into. Life is about ATD. Attention to detail is the only way to make it in the gibberish-filled marketing industries. That’s why October is so crucial! You get a whole month to actually complete a task.

Surely someone once told you what my Dad said to me as a whiny kid: “You are where the work ends. Don’t believe anyone will take the time to cover up your mistakes or make it better for you.”

Meaning, the work has to be yours and that’s why October is great. You get to spend a full month completing tasks, not depending on the beauty of grammar check or a supervisor or the guy in the next cube who is nice enough to not tell you how you are making the same mistake over and over.

This is October. So get it done.

Wait, wait. Hold on. I just realized something!

Monday is Columbus Day—and didn’t he “discover” the new world you’re sitting in?

I’m taking the day off. Maybe Friday too! I’m exhausted now; I need a rest.

So have a good time working.


Richard Laermer is the former workaholic CEO of RLM PR. You can observe his toils at @laermer.

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Twitter Civics 101: What It Is & Why You Should Care http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/twitter-civics-101/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/twitter-civics-101/#comments Tue, 05 Oct 2010 19:30:59 +0000 Erin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1536 The most common question we hear from clients these days is, “How can we maximize Twitter?” Many giant companies went the route of letting the kids (literally) handle arguably their most visible and direct public face this summer, some with disastrous results. But that’s just not the way.

The lesson is simple: Twitter is a communication vehicle. It is relatively new, but it is not a flash in the pan. It’s not just for the kids and Lady Gaga or Yoko Ono. And it isn’t just about what you had for breakfast.

Just as one would never staff engineering or sales departments with interns alone, treating social media (more on Facebook in future but same rule applies) as a quantitative proposition alone is a sure path to disaster.

To understand a communication vehicle, we need to come to grips with what it is and how it works—then figure out how to use it to support business objectives. We’ll address the first one here.

Twitter is Public
The single most important element everyone in your organization needs to know about Twitter is that almost everything on it is available to everyone in the wide world.

What your brand—and that means your management—say on Twitter therefore affects your whole company. Some folks—journalists and those working in politics are perfect examples—try to get around this by having employees put in their profiles that their posts are personal rather than professional. This can work for some, but not for the people listed on the Management page of your website.

Make no mistake: As a communications professional, it is your responsibility to understand Twitter and (take a seat for this revelation) make sure everyone in your organization does, too. If you don’t get how this works, for the love of whatever you believe in, ask for some advice!

Twitter is Mainstream
With social media, numbers are always tricky. Number of registered users? Active users? Visitors? Impressions? Twinkies?

Twitter’s numbers don’t matter. Let me repeat that: Twitter’s numbers don’t matter.

By any measure, there are a few more than millions of people on Twitter. Name a media outlet with a reach of more than a million that’s not important to your brand. (Crickets) Exactly.

Twitter is Two-Way…if you want it to be
The best way to understand the interactions on Twitter is to think of it like walking into your family doctor’s waiting room. By definition, you have something in common with everyone there and yet the specifics are likely entirely different. You might be there for a regular physical while the person next to you is suffering from acute appendicitis. But you’re both there for a reason related to health.

Just because you’re in the same waiting room, though, doesn’t mean you necessarily want to talk with anyone—or everyone. You can read that fascinating article about Bennifer from the August, 2003 issue of People or you can choose to strike up a conversation either in response to something you overhear or because you like someone’s shoes. If you do start chatting, just about everything you say will be audible to all your co-waiters. If you start that conversation and the guy across the room over-listens and wants to participate, he’ll jump right in. Just like Twitter.

Twitter has its Own Language
Sure there’s Twitter jargon—hashtag, stream, @ reply, DM, auto-DM, feed—but keep in mind that specific communities within Twitter have their own language as well, necessitated by its 140-character format. For example, I read a lot of crime fiction, and I interact with lots of others who do. We talk about our TBR pile and #fridayreads.

Twitter is All Free
This is not a duh. Its nature is such that it is tempting to put Twitter in advertising terms, but this is as problematic as reading The Communist Manifesto to comprehend democracy. Or trying to understand American government without reading the U.S. Constitution.

Have you noticed I still haven’t told you how to get more followers? Yeah, and I’m not going to—not today. I want you to keep anticipating what I say next…just like on Twitter. Oh and for the record, anyone who tells you there’s a formula for Twitter success is a fake guru and is just as misguided as those who suggest that pay-for-play is a viable model for effective media relations.

On that, I step down from my box. Questions? Email or tweet @erinfaye.

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I’m Not Voting for You So Don’t Vote for Me http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/votingforyou/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/votingforyou/#comments Tue, 05 Oct 2010 19:16:41 +0000 Erin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1533 There’s a new bad pitch that’s taken over the Interwebs. It’s called “Vote for Me.”

Whether it is Vote for My Contest or Vote for My Panel, we are getting spammed in every direction. We’re tired of it in our feeds, our emails, and our message boxes. And while it’s a part of our social networking craze, it’s become nothing more than clutter.

Since self -promotion spamming generators like Pepsi Refresh and SxSW are committed to this kind of format through at least 2011, it’s time to voice our frustration. This kind of spamming cheapens the charity and the events, and it cheapens our relationships. It’s time for the popularity-based charity/vote for me craze to evolve into a more productive form of crowdsourcing.

If people want the votes, they need to focus on the people that care about their cause instead of shotgunning their social networks. How will this make society better? What kind of results do you anticipate? Or at least give us a pitch other than Vote for Me.

Panels, tell us: why should I see your content? What’s in it for me—and the rest of the crowd? Why is this going to be any better than the thousands of others that pass before our eyes online? Better let us know in 140 characters or less.

Just because people are social, doesn’t always mean they will support every contest or panel, even if it’s for a good friend. Quid pro quo. Show some value or no votes for you!

Geoff Livingston co-hosts, with RLM’s CEO Richard Laermer, The El Show on Tuesdays at 9AM ET. Livingston co-founded Zoetica to focus on cause-related work, and released an award-winning book on new media Now is Gone in 2007.

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Katrina + BP = Need: You Can Make a Difference http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/make-a-difference/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/make-a-difference/#comments Thu, 19 Aug 2010 15:44:27 +0000 admin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1484 Reading Kari Saratovsky’s blog about social media and empathy, I knew that in reality social media enhances empathy, particular given the amount of volunteering we see. We’ve seen it time in and time out, too, from Obama’s election to Iran to Haiti and then most recently, with the public outrage towards the oil spill.

I know people are empathetic first hand. Ever since we started on the citizengulf journey together just seven weeks ago, and before that when we commiserated over the oil spill, literally hundreds of people have reach out to me to discuss this issue privately.

A vast majority don’t believe a word of BP’s promises to right the Gulf ship, nor the Obama administration’s commitments to hold BP accountable. They know the region has been hurt badly, and that given the first opportunity, BP will assume business as usual (see USA Today story).

Just five years ago–on August 28th–this region was completely ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Now you add BP’s oilspill to the mix and the Gulf is reeling on its heels again. No community has been hit harder than the fishing families of the affected Gulf region. They will be left to fend for their own once BP moves on (at the first opportunity), creating what will likely be our modern Dust Bowl.

Make A Difference

Empathy may be a result of feeling like your actions won’t mean anything. But with citizengulf, the smallest action, attending a meet-up, a small donation or even voting in a Pepsi Refresh contest impacts the families affected by the oil spill. The whole purpose of opening up citizengulf is to provide anyone who cares easy actions to take small steps towards actionable change. If people feel so inclined, they can even build their own grassroots effort.

On August 25th, I really hope you’ll take the two hours to have fun with friends and help these fishing families. No one is THAT busy. If you are in New York City, I fully expect you to attend the East Village event with me and Richard Laermer. In addition to a free Lemonade DVD, the next 25 registrants will get autographed copies of Now Is Gone and Punk Marketing.

The primary Citizen Effect beneficiary is Catholic Charities of New Orleans. They have created a means for you to help the children of fishing families with better education resources via the After School Assembly program. This is so they can find a new way of life if they choose to do so. All money sans credit card transactions goes directly to this program.

About the Author

Geoff Livingston co-founded Zoetica, a social enterprise that provides superior communication consulting, training, and strategy to help mindful organizations affect social change. He has worked as a public relations strategist in the Washington, D.C. region for more than 16 years. Dubbed a “local blogging guru” by the Washington Post, Geoff’s award-winning book on new media “Now is Gone” was released in 2007.

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National Day of Action: August 25 http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/national-day-of-action-august-25/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/national-day-of-action-august-25/#comments Thu, 19 Aug 2010 15:43:17 +0000 Erin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1498 Coinciding with the week of the fifth anniversary of Katrina, CitizenGulf’s National Day of Action — promoted by Gulf Coast Benefit — seeks to help fishing families affected by the BP oil disaster find a new, more sustainable future by providing education resources for their children.

On August 25, events are planned in cities around the country.  If you can attend one in person, please do. If not, please consider making a donation.

Thank you.

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Making Lemonade in New York http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/making-lemonade-in-ny/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/making-lemonade-in-ny/#comments Thu, 19 Aug 2010 15:34:42 +0000 Erin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1489 On August 25, 2010, RLM CEO Richard Laermer and Geoff Livingston will be co-hosting a benefit dedicated to educating the children of fishing families so they can find a new way of life (via Catholic Charities of New Orleans).

Register today.

The event also includes special guest Erik Proulx (@eproulx on Twitter), executive producer of Lemonade, an inspirational film about 16 advertising professionals who lost their jobs and found their calling, encouraging people to listen to that little voice inside their head that asks, “What if?”

If you are in New York on August 25th, please join us for an inspirational evening about, “What if?” and doing good for the Gulf. .

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Adapt or Die: RLM Goes Global http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/adapt-or-die/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/adapt-or-die/#comments Fri, 16 Jul 2010 16:46:21 +0000 Erin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1454 As RLM approaches our 20th birthday—in March, so send cards—we have gained lessons that have brought us through many hard times, but one is particularly salient in today’s business landscape:


PR changes so fast and furiously that it’s not even PR anymore. It’s content building.

Our fundamental approach to PR has always been about delivering results that impact a company’s bottom line. Whether a brand has been around 10 days or 10 years, communication for the sake of it is a luxury we no longer have. More companies—big and small—are taking a hard look at their PR spend and asking the most salient and fundamental question: What value am I getting from PR?

At the same time, it’s fascinating that companies are taking a more holistic view of audiences and influencers, understanding that as the definition of media has fundamentally changed. Effective brand builders and marketers must look at business drivers beyond the list on page 52 of “Marketing 101.”

More companies than ever are skeptical about the value of paying Bursedelfleischhillketchshand, Inc. six figures annually, and so we’ve examined how we can adjust our offerings to meet their needs. As we did this, two things became clear:

In our increasingly virtual world, the importance and value of offering services outside the U.S. has increased big time. Whether based in Brighton or Brisbane or Baton Rouge, some portion of every company’s influencer and customer base is likely global.

Also, while big brands will always be big, small businesses are grabbing an increasingly powerful role.  As our CEO Richard Laermer pointed out in his fun book Punk Marketing, big boy brands are also trying to mimic their smaller brethren to connect directly and personally with their audiences, who often hate them for their bigness. And through this, small businesses themselves have become both a crucial audience and drivers of products and services that have the potential to truly benefit from PR. After all, they have the stories to tell.

Because we’re smart enough to know what we don’t know, RLM didn’t set about opening offices in every country on the planet. We know firsthand the pitfalls of this model, from siloed communications to padded bills. Instead, we set about identifying our counterparts in different countries, agencies that share our passion for PR and our core philosophy.

And we found some amazing partners. Two of them we want to introduce you to: Voice Communications in the UK and CP Communications in Australia.

We are not announcing some big formal network like the hyphenate-firms do because we see that as a sure path to joining their ranks…and that’s not what or where we wish to be. Rather, this affiliation is a collaboration on behalf of clients will bring in real, on-the-ground expertise.

Instead of “paper” partnerships (you know the type: Hey, let’s say we work together and see what we can get), this is real.

Before you read the articles on our partners, let us promote something. (Note: RLM rarely uses this eight-year-old newsletter to talk about ourselves. So give us this day.)

What’s the topic? We are often asked how RLM is different from other agencies.

Value: To be clear, we’re not necessarily cheaper than others. We offer value. We do not waste clients’ money on inflated overheads. We don’t mark up expenses. We don’t have armies of junior folks representing client brands. We deliver measurable value. Every agency will tell you that only senior people will service your account. In most cases, that’s not true, because junior people are more profitable. But we don’t have junior people in the back room or anywhere else.  Actually, since we moved in May, we don’t have a back room anymore!

Accountability: Because we are an independent agency—one of the last in the nation—we don’t answer to a board or shareholders or a holding company with a proud history making shopping carts. We answer to our clients—and only our clients. None of our clients have iron-clad year-long contracts; instead, we have agreements that provide the flexibility to let us do what works and abandon what doesn’t.  That is our motto. See? Abandon can be a good word.

Service—and Services: As a smaller agency, RLM has a right and reason to over-service and over deliver on accounts, and we do it with pride. We provide the whole range of communication services, from Twitter feeds and blog commenting to TV spots and newspaper inches, custom designed to fit your needs.

Who are you? You’re the tinyish firm looking to grow quickly or a big one whose stakeholders need value from PR. We’ll tell you—get a bunch of us and a host of ideas—what we can do for you.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Voice Speaks Up http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/voice-speaks-up/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/voice-speaks-up/#comments Fri, 16 Jul 2010 16:44:21 +0000 Erin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1466 Handpicked by RLM to be part of their new and fantastic global network, UK-based Voice Communications is a group of expert PR practitioners who offer a no-nonsense approach to communications, stripping away the pretension from PR. The company is located just 35 minutes from the city of London and 25 minutes from London Stansted airport.

Award-winning Voice is built on combined skills and experience with genuine passion for PR, and is proud to have created a new breed of PR consultancy, consisting of a small, friendly group of hand-picked, motivated professionals who enjoy the buzz of top flight PR. Voice offers all the expertise and creativity of a big agency, but without the eye-popping fees or tear-inducing expense claims.

Voice has found that as communication vehicles have multiplied in recent years, communication itself has become far more personal in its nature. Nichola Cain, Managing Director of Voice Communications explains: “We have seen definite shifts in expectations of PR. Businesses are now looking for that personal touch, and the opportunity to build a close long-term relationship with their agency. Voice is perfectly suited to offer first class results, maximising the best of what any company has to offer.”

After over a decade of experience at some of the biggest PR agencies in London, Nichola launched Voice Communications to provide clients with a robust PR strategy and plan that prioritises business objectives, delivers measurable PR results, and ultimately provide ROI.

Since inception, Voice has gained a broad and eclectic range of B2B, B2C and public sector clients which includes Accio Group, Anser Project Managers, PepsiCo Naked Juice, Harlow Council, Shaken Udder, Ultimate Boot Camp, Amara, and Searchwells.

Voice’s client base is not limited to the UK shores, they recently won Australian client Mediband, based in Sydney. Since then, Mediband has featured in a multitude of publications including The Telegraph, and they have seen sales triple as a direct result of PR.

Voice quickly recognised the growth of social media, and set up a dedicated digital department to service existing and prospective clients. Voice also noticed the growth in company’s awareness of their environmental responsibility, and has a department dedicated to this; A Green Voice, which covers everything from producing a company’s CSR policy to working with completely ‘green’ products.

From insurance firms and beverage brands to project management companies, Voice’s list of clients showcases their vast capabilities as a PR agency. Voice appeals to companies of all shapes and sizes from one man bands through to multinationals; small enough to deliver that all important personal touch, but big enough to resource and deliver first class results.

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Some Things Are the Same All Over http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/some-things-are-the-same-all-over/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/some-things-are-the-same-all-over/#comments Fri, 16 Jul 2010 16:43:34 +0000 Erin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1472 RLM’s Australian partner, CP Communications, has a blog that is, frankly, one of the most useful we’ve ever seen—and we’ve seen a lot of them! Catriona Pollard takes a no-nonsense approach to communications that applies as much in Sarasota as it does in her home town of Sydney. Excerpts from the blog are below, but first, a brief introduction…

CP Communications offers truly strategic and creative solutions that can help you achieve your business objectives through strategic PR programs and marketing.

CP Communications was established in 2001 to drive business success by using the power of PR and marketing.

CP Communications works within a variety of industries including information technology, professional services, recruitment, aged care, digital media and media. We produce results for organisations of any size in any industry.

How to pitch to a blogger

We source information from blogs – recipes, opinions, news – but did you know you can pitch stories to bloggers just like you do to journalists?

The first thing to note when pitching an idea to a blogger is – they aren’t journalists. They have a very personalised medium where they interact with their readers through comments on their blog. So you need to make the contact with them personal.

Sending an irrelevant media release to them is obviously a big no-no but rather than pitching a general release, be sure to make your contact with the blogger a little more personal than you would with a journalist.

Read their blog first, make mention of posts that interested you and if possible make this friendly contact before sending a ‘pitch’ email. You can also start building a relationship with relevant bloggers by posting comments on their blog and engaging with them.

When a relationship has been built, a blogger will generally be more receptive to your ideas.

The pitch should be in the form of an email – which needs to be clear and to the point. Busy people do not read long emails, so in the first paragraph clearly outline your idea. Don’t email a media release. Take the time to detail the story idea and why their readers would be interested.

Obviously if you are asking them to review a product – send them the product but first ask them if they would like to receive it. Blindly sending products in the hope for a review is a waste of time.

Welcome Facebook Community Pages: What are they all about?

Just when we thought Facebook couldn’t get better to be able to connect with people, a new application has been introduced that will connect users at an even deeper level.

Enter Community Pages.

These pages allow you to connect with other people who share the same interests as you. For instance, if you have stated on your profile that you are a fan of water-skiing, this can connect you to a community page about the sport where you can learn more about it and share ideas with other interested people.

Where a Fan Page is created by a representative of an organisation or brand, a community page is created by Facebook about an idea, concept or interest.

It is not possible, at this stage, to contribute photos or content to community pages, with most information currently taken from Wikipedia. However, Facebook explained that in the near future there will be opportunities for people with passion or expertise in a specific field to contribute to these communities.

In your profile, information like your hometown, education and work can be changed from simply being words, to actual connections to different community pages. Facebook will become an intricate web of live connections.

Want to set up a Facebook page? Read our guide.

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Wikipedia 201 http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/wikipedia-201/ http://www.rlmpr.com/2010/wikipedia-201/#comments Tue, 06 Apr 2010 19:48:49 +0000 Erin http://www.rlmpr.com/?p=1439 We all know that Wikipedia is crucial to your communications efforts. It’s always on the first page of Google results and its millions of participants believe that everything on Wikipedia is true and accurate.

The most common queries we get about Wikipedia are “How do I submit a listing?” and “My page is wrong; how do I change it?”  We also get “Why does RLM do this so well when I can’t?!”

Good questions, all.

The answer to the first is straightforward: You don’t submit a listing to Wikipedia. You create a listing.

Anyone on earth can create and edit Wikipedia listings. There is no submission process. And you might have read this week about a new, much-improved Wikipedia UI dubbed Vector, which leads us to the second question. (The third question is our secret sauce, but you can call me anytime at 212-741-5106 x233 and I’ll give you a quote.)

Here are the realities of Vector, and why you should pay attention:

With Vector, editing Wikipedia pages has become much easier because they’ve removed much of the “wiki code” users see in the editing process. Now,  users edit information in tables and boxes via simple forms. It’s still not the dictionary definition of easy but it’s more user friendly.

The hope from the Wikis is that by simplifying the editing process, more users will edit listings. Up to now, just 1% of Wikipedia users have been responsible for more than 50% of edits.

And what about that 1%? Raises an interesting point: Wikipedia is the result of contributions created and edited by users. Wikipedia’s editors are mere mortals who volunteer to edit contributions; their only qualification is that they love and use Wikipedia a lot. These editors have no more power than we do; they just spend more time on Wikipedia than most of us do.

It’s important to understand that Vector is a UI change and includes functionality changes. It has nothing to do with content. Wikipedia entries still have to be written according to their own guidelines for encyclopedic content. That means NONE of your marketing copy is appropriate for Wikipedia. None of it. For more on RLM’s own “way of doing Wikipedia,” read this article.

Vector also makes no changes to the fact that anyone can edit (beginning to sense a theme?). If your brand has competitors or is involved in controversy, you need to be even more vigilant about your Wikipedia listing(s).

Now about that page content…

Smart companies are recognizing that Wikipedia is a communication vehicle that millions depend upon. Like Twitter, Facebook, your own blog and the news media, Wikipedia delivers actual measurable value to a communications program when used effectively. If you haven’t done a thorough audit of your Wikipedia presence recently, the time is nigh. If you aren’t sure what that audit involves, we can do it for you.  This is not a hard sell; we’re just telling you what we do.

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