Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
How to land media coverage for your business. Your business has an amazing story to tell, but how do you get the press interested in covering it? That's the question The Wall Street Journal posed to a handful of media-savvy young entrepreneurs to get their tips and tricks for scoring press coverage. Among the most common suggestions was rather than simply pitching the press on their latest product launch, CEOs should tout themselves as industry experts who are available to offer analysis on current news stories. As one business owner explains, "As opposed to pushing the "revolutionary" software, I'd focus on pushing myself as a trusted resource on technology for small businesses and work on landing interviews to educate, entertain, and inspire. And, yes, of course mention your product." One of our main tips here at Inc.: show that you have a deep understanding of the types of stories that the media outlet publishes or broadcasts.
Crowdsourcing your brand reps. Eavesdropping is as old as conversation itself, but for some savvy marketers, it's now just another way of doing business. According to an article in The New York Times, Vaseline, the skin care subsidiary of Unilever, recently worked with an ad agency to crawl Facebook, Twitter, and personal blogs to find women talking about "dry skin" and "lotions." The company interviewed about 75 of these women and culled that number down to three, all bloggers, who are now going on a national tour with a dermatologist and a celebrity to educate women about skin care, promote the brand, and "rescue women from dry skin." After her selection, one of the bloggers noted, "I feel like there's actually somebody listening."
The alarming story of electronics. A new video released today by the Electronics TakeBack Coalition may make you think twice before buying the newest smartphone or tablet computer. Narrated by Annie Leonard, the video presents some enlightening, shocking and altogether troubling statistics about the need for longer-lasting, less toxic electronics. The fact that employees making computer chips for IBM in Silicon Valley have reported 40 percent more miscarriages is just one bombshell the video drops. So what solutions does the Coalition propose? Promoting sustainable innovation contests; working with recyclers who don't export toxic electronics to other, poorer countries; and buying from companies that take back the products when their lifespans are up are just a few. Check out the video here in its entirety on TechCrunch.
Google rolling out "Instant Previews." Now you can take a peek at those search results without ever clicking through, according to InformationWeek. Google users the world over can expect to start seeing magnifying glass icons added just to the right of search links over the next few days. Click on it, and a snapshot of the page in question will pop up, with the highlighted search terms identified. "It allows quickly comparing the results in a way that wasn't possible before," says Google product manager Raj Krishnan. Called "Instant Previews," the new feature is Google's latest effort to speed up Web searches, following the September launch of Google Instant, which predicts a query and fetches the results before you finish typing. It's also a sign that Google's fight over search dominance with Yahoo and Bing has as much to do with the user interface as the top ten results on a page.
When a CEO goes AWOL. The ongoing legal battle between Oracle and SAP took an interesting turn yesterday when Reuters reported that former SAP chief, and weeklong Hewlett-Packard CEO, Leo Apotheker has gone missing. The disappearance marks Apotheker's refusal to accept a subpoena from Oracle claiming around $4 billion in software theft damages. Executives at SAP, however, claim it owes Oracle only tens of millions of dollars and that Apotheker shut down the unit at the fraudulent subsidiary, TomorrowNow, when he discovered wrongdoing. His hiding has now prompted Oracle to hire private eyes to find the HP CEO and obtain its alleged rightful damages. Meanwhile, experts say HP may be trying to protect its new chief from a courtroom controversy that could undercut the much questioned choice to name him CEO.
JASON DEL REY was a senior reporter covering technology, branding, and company culture for Inc. magazine. Before joining Inc., his work appeared in Newsday, The (Newark) Star-Ledger, and the Staten Island Advance, and on ESPN.com. He lives in New Jersey. @DelRey