Thursday, October 23, 2008

Help for PR Rookies

    Many of us are at the threshold of employment in the PR industry.  As PR rookies, it might be helpful to start tracking information that others in the industry report as helpful.  For example, in KDPaine's blog she refers to Google Analytics.  I checked it out and it looks like a good tool to keep in mind for future reference.  As you discover cool tools, please give our classmates a head's up post in our blog.  
     I liked the style of Jim Horton's blog.  It takes on more of a news reporting tone.  It's easy to  picture him as a PR professional.  His focus is on the presidential elections right now.  It will be interesting to see what his topics are after the elections.  I discovered he authored two books.  His blogging gives you a feel as to whether or not you might be interested in reading his books.  This is a much better method of book selection than just a cursory glance through a book before its purchase.  
     It seems to me that posting comments to someone's blog opens the door to a potential mentorship.  I've noticed that many of the initial bloggers respond to the comments that are posted.  Certainly one would become familiar with a frequent commenter, assuming the comments were pertinent and thought provoking or at least humble in soliciting information.  
     The more I search the PR blogs, the more I think they are valuable to search.  New tools, discovering the styles I like and why, and the potential of mentoring by already employed professionals makes blog searches more appealing to me.  I especially like the more informative and educational blogs, as opposed to the ones that focus on ranting and complaining.  I haven't yet commented on a blog other than our own.  Soon...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

PR Basics

I found this blog site to be helpful in pointing out the basics of a PR campaign. Each of these necessary documents is helpful in creating a successful campaign. This website helps to explain what they are and how to use them.
· Press Releases
· Press Kits
· Use Your Blog
· Working with the Media
· Organizing Media Events
· Learn Crisis Management

For each point there is a description of how this would be helpful in your campaign. The Organizing Media Events point explains that even though you plan a groundbreaking event it doesn’t mean that you are going to get media coverage for it. Along with the blurb under the topic, if you click the words in blue it takes you to a more detailed explanation of the topic.

In the Organizing Media Events link it talks about how when sending out your press release there is a window of time to send it out to the media. It says to not send it out too early because it could end up at the bottom of a pile, but also not to send it out too late because other stories may have been assigned already.

**Here is the website. My computer wouldn't let me link.

Internet PR Campaign

This blog posting was designed to give tips on making a PR campaign successful on the internet. The author gives ten tips that I think are helpful for any company to use especially if they have a website or a blog site.

In the first couple of tips the author talks about having key points in your press release so that those who are searching the internet may stumble upon this document. The idea behind this is to have potential customers go to your website.

Normally, with traditional media it might take longer to create the excitement of a press release that you sent out for your company. His point here is that by using the internet you can create the excitement in advance to get the coverage that you want to make this campaign successful.

To create this excitement he says to send out the press release on the Internet seven days in advance. He said that within a about a month long period of time the clients will be able to see how many hits and page reviews that have occurred from this release. Later on during this period of time he says to then send the press release to the media of when the event is actually going to happen.

I thought that this blog is helpful in showing a different way of starting a PR campaign.

**My computer wouldn't let me link the website, so here it is

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PR hurting other countries

Katie Paine is known for her creation of the Measurement Standard, which is the international newsletter of public relations research that tracks the effectiveness of Marketing and PR programs. Paine posts an interesting blog in regards to Dubai, and how lousy PR has ruined its reputation as a safe place to visit. She further comments on the social media, and how they can be a rain cloud over society. Paine explains how certain mainstream media outlets in America portray the United States as superior to other countries, and how America is the last safe haven left in the world. I have to say that Paine is making this out to be a larger issue than it really is. I understand that America is not perfect; other countries have nice places to stay and would be considered safe by most standards. Paine needs to understand that after 911, the psychology of Americans have changed, terrorists from the middle-east murdered thousands of people on our own soil. It’s natural for an average citizen of the United States to be cautious when any other American is traveling abroad. What’s going to stop them from killing you on their own turf?

Monday, October 13, 2008

A PR Rant

It is sometimes more insightful to ask someone what they don’t like about their job, instead of what the best part of their job is. Let’s face it, the bad days come with the good, and you have to be prepared for them.

Bad Pitch Blog is all about the things that many PR agents do wrong, can’t stand about clients, or that journalists hate about the PR world. The thing that I like about this blog is that it doesn’t just complain but gives helpful pointers.

Even though the blog talks about all the bad things in the profession it usually keeps an upbeat tone and is very entertaining. They offer complaints and advice on everything from typos and bad pitches to bad clients and much more.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blogging in the workplace

I ran across an interesting Brian Solis blog about...blogging in the workplace. It seems that many new PR practitioners support being able to blog in the workplace. And both sides seem to be well represented about the pros, cons and concerns. But to look at it from my medical background perspective, there is a reason why we have HIPAA compliance laws, and why medical field employees are fired all the time for violating these compliance laws which protect the private information of patients.

While many of us would be just fine discussing our medical issues with close friends, family or even casual acquaintances, we would not be fine with just anybody having access to our medical files...let alone access that could potentially wind up on the Internet for all to see. When companies are spending thousands, perhaps even millions of dollars, on their Public Relations/Marketing/Advertising, is it really the place of the practitioner charged with working an account to blog openly and brazenly about the ins-and-outs of these accounts?

This business is highly competitive, and image and perception count for a lot. And transparency is certainly a worthy goal. But not at the expense of the companies whose business we seek and claim ourselves worthy to handle or because a few practitioners cannot keep their collective mouths shut.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Great blogging, everyone!

I've really enjoyed reading your blogs so far. I found it was easier (and more private) to print off your blog posts for comments and grading. They will be with your other papers at the front desk Friday, no later than noon.

You've all had some great comments, as well as some good advice, relating to PR and blogging. Just watch your spelling and punctuation. Remember, good writing adds credibility to your message.

For the PR Portfolio, create a new blog posting. Be sure to use any feedback that I gave you on your first posts to help you improve on your second postings. Also, please post comments on at least three of your classmates' entries. Remember, you can go back and edit your post if needed. Just finish your edits by the Portfolio deadline.

Have a great Fall Break!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Stupidest PR Tactics

5 Stupid PR Tactics

Don Crowther, a blogger on Global PR Week, writes about the 5 stupidest PR tactics. I am sure that this could create some controversy with other PR professionals, but I think he makes some valid points.

Crowther first explains that a PR campaign can cost a lot of money, so if you are looking at hiring a PR firm, make sure they bring something different to the table.

Crowther's first stupid PR tactic is big events. He thinks that, yes, they might create a big attendance, but did it create media coverage? More importantly than media coverage, does that really increase sales? He argues that most of the time it does not.

Sponsorships are the second stupid PR tactic. Yes, they might get a company name out there, and Crowther argues it could be a nice tax write-off, but again how does that increase your sales. Crowther argues that sponsorships might as well be a nice charitable activity.

The third and fourth tactics have to do with media releases. Crowther thinks that if it's not news, don’t bother. People don’t care about things that are not news worthy. Also, don’t send news releases to international outlets unless it is international news. Some people get the idea that sending a news release to as many outlets as possible is the best thing to do. Crowther argues to send them to places that have a good chance of printing it and save the money you would have spent sending them elsewhere.
The last tactic is not to bother with expensive, cool media kits. Give people what they need, and don’t waste money on other superfluous things.

Blogging in the Workplace

At a conference held in central London in early April, business men and women were encouraged to let their employees blog. Darren Strange, an employee of Microsoft, was a guest speaker who blogs regularly. He gets about 200,000 hits per month. Some people are reading because they want to be up to date on the latest tech that Microsoft is producing. Others read because they can relate to the issues that he faces with co-workers and supervisors. No matter what they go there to read about, Darren considers his blog “a conversation about something I am passionate about."
Strange spoke about letting their employees blog freely, yet within guidelines. He encouraged the assembled mass to at the very least entertain the idea of a corporate blog. Darren suggested that this blog could actually benefit the organization. By blogging, they can directly address concerns that anyone may have rather than ignore them.
However, blogging about your work life can have a detrimental effect as well. Several years ago avid blogger Heather Armstrong was fired for the blog she had at the time. She worked for a web design company and wrote about everything from the computer problems she dealt with on a daily basis, to commenting on her supervisor's looks.
When her employers found out about her blog she was immediately terminated from the company. She even wrote about that experience. Since her termination and the blog posts that followed, a term has been created for what happened to her. It is called being, “Dooced,” dooce being the name of her blog site. Since then it has circled the globe and is referenced whenever someone gets fired for what they write on their blog.
Heather still has her blog and writes almost every day. She no longer writes about her job. She writes about being a mother and wife, and everything in between.
So whatever you decide to do, blog or not blog. Just be careful what you write. You never know who is reading.

Blogging Etiquette

I am pleasantly surprised that blogging has its own rules of etiquette. I found a Web page that sets forth six rules. Upon initial inspection, I like all of them. I would suggest that the most important rule to adhere to is the protocol using strikeouts instead of just making the changes. I’ve noticed strikeouts in other blogs, and now I know how. I think the strikeouts add an aura of personal attention. You know that someone cared enough to give a post some thought after its posting.


Elementary, my dear Watson.

As a professional, having a personal code of ethics and/or conduct can be a plus. It can demonstrate your standards, transparency, and depth of character. Agencies, firms and corporations consistently do so, like the PRSA. Just beware that it can also be a measure of mediocrity and shallowness if it is done weakly.

Check out this article titled Code of Ethics or PR 101? As the article says, maybe “the ethics bar [should be raised a little] higher than the most basic rules of PR.”

In my mind…NO, DUH!

Social Media 2008

Brian Solis, co-founder of the Social Media Club, is discussing the current state of social media for 2008. Solis talks about his public speaking tours around the country and stresses the importance of the global renaissance of social media in our society. Solis says, “The world of Socialized Media is maturing and along with it, our knowledge, expertise, reach, and personal and represented brands are only flourishing. It will continue as long as we realize that these new social tools and networks require an entirely new commitment and embodiment of what we personify and how we can be a genuine resource to the people who define the communities that are important to us.”
Solis is right on this one data suggests that blogging is on the rise globally, and will soon evolve into a social norm amongst public relations practitioners.

The Importance of Personal Branding

Personal Branding

I found this blog about personal branding, and it seems like it could be very helpful. Dan Schawbel is the author of the blog. According to him, in this changing world of media, it is important to have a good personal brand image.

A post I particularly like is one about creating a consistent brand image across all social networks. He talks about the accepted types of pictures you would put on your profile if you were going to use networks like flickr and twitter. He also talks about if you wanted to create a facebook or myspace account what types of pictures are the best for posting.

Another important point he makes is that as you grow your brand your online brand should grow as well. Keep it updated and current. Do not have pictures on there that make you look like someone you are not. Pictures

There are a variety of other posts on his blog. One that specifically deals with PR is a blog on what to do if someone is posting bad things about you. Schawbel used an example of where people were blogging negative things about him. He wrote out the different steps of what to do in this situation. Negative Blogs

How does this all relate to public relations? It is important for professionals in this field to have a credible brand image themselves, as well as the brand they work for. Not only does it show your employer who you are, it shows what you are capable of.

Season of Giving

People working in PR know that when there is any type of event they need to feed the media, not just with information.

The blog that I read is the India PR blog. The main point in this blog posting asked if giving media gifts to cover a story is ethical. The writer brought up many points in talking about how a government minister died the previous night and the media was calling to see what type of gift they would receive for attending the event and writing a story. After the tragic accident of the minister the writer came to believe that gifts were more important than the situation at hand.

I understand that by providing the media with incentives to come to an event and write a story can help you overall. For anyone at anytime who receives a gift it always raises the perception of the gift giver. This writers perspective is that by giving the media gifts is unethical. The author is unsure about who to blame for the up rise in unethical gift giving, the PR person or the client.

It should go without saying...

Most PR professionals understand that ethical behavior, in general, is just common courtesy. Take responsibility for your actions. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Make sure people know your standards for work. You know, be good. That way the media world, including bloggers, won’t destroy you verbally.

If there is one thing that erks me the most, it’s some executive jerk that will go out of his way to cover up a botched PR tactic. In a rant on, the senior vice president of a PR firm called 5WPR, blamed an “unpaid intern” for fake posts he made posing as a well known Rabbi. Had he owned up to it, it may have been a slap on the wrist. Now, he looks even more incompetent because of how easily the comments were traced back to him; and, how dumb he looks for his story about the intern.

Don't just not get caught, don't make up stuff in the first place.

PR – A Fashion Statement or Faux pas

A blog that I found and really enjoyed was Pierce Mattie Public Relations New York & Los Angeles. The reason I like it is because it is a bunch of different public relations advocates and publicists from the areas of fitness, beauty, fashion and jewelry. They all come together to spotlight their own expertise, to the same audience.

They take the opportunity on the blog to talk about hot topics, but not the way most people would. For example, when talking about the presidential and VP debates, they don’t address the topics. Instead they use witty humor to talk about how the candidates looked and presented themselves. They tie in points about why this would be important from a PR stand point, but you can tell that the bloggers are having just as much fun as the readers.

They also talk about things like celebrity branding and the new inspiration for jewelry lines. This is just a way to get their clients name out in a fun way, but it’s interesting, so it works. They often have links over to a product they are talking about, as well as a link to their own specific blog on their respective topics.

If nothing else, this is a fun blog to glance at just to see another side of the PR world.

Blogging done by PR Agencies

To blog or not to blog, that is the question. Large PR agencies have been faced with the dilemma of whether or not they should blog. Blogging is beginning to transform social media as we know it. Agencies are stepping away from traditions and transforming into a group that is no longer invisible. Some, though, feel PR agencies should remain invisible. Agencies fear that blogging could have significant consequences. They fear that relationships between clients and media could be jeopardized through blogging.

Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman Worldwide, has jumped on the blogging bandwagon with his blog ‘6 AM.’ He started sharing his thoughts on PR with the world on Sept. 29, 2004. In his first post, Edelman talks about how things are changing, “New Rules of Engagement--transparency, consistency, and respect. People want privacy out of a relationship. They also want a dialogue with a company.” I was struck by how transparent he seems to be. And I’m also incredibly impressed that the CEO of such a large company seems to be doing all of his own writing. I find Edelman to be a good example of what a PR blog should look like.

Hill and Knowlton takes a different approach to blogging. They have “collective conversations” where employees in all of their branches are able to contribute to a public forum. It takes on a sense of the marketplace of ideas theory with people being able to contribute anything and everything they want. It appears to be an unregulated forum which I find very interesting. It’s adding a certain amount of vulnerability to the company by letting their employee’s blog about whatever PR topic they want.

Sam Lawrence, Chief Marketing Officer for Jive Software, worked with an unnamed PR Agency on a project for Jive. While working with that agency, he suggested they should keep a blog of their work. The agency shut down his request on account of fear that they would be stepping on toes and that it would not provide for good future relationships. This was a weird switch of roles, usually agencies are begging for clients to be interested in blogging.

As I learned though, the agency above isn’t a lone. While several agencies are eager to get blogging, and have their whole agency blogging, others are hesitant of what it could do to relationships.

A blog I could have REALLY liked...

So I've looked through about five or six different blogs, and I found my favorite--which is unfortunate since it is no longer being updated. Jennifer Mattern's has an appropriate mixture of sarcasm and saltiness for an industry that sometimes seems to exude rosiness.

Mattern certainly doesn't mince words when it comes to different PR campaigns and industry standards. Postings are well-infused with wit and honest deprecation without going beyond the bounds of honest and careful analysis. Although it may come across to some as shameless self-promotion or martyrdom, Mattern's blog seems to give the industry an collective gut-check.

I especially like her "bad pitching and bitching" section, which devotes a full page to bitching over bad PR and advertising pitches. What sets this apart from other bitch sessions is that Mattern gives a fix to the bitch as well. What's not to like?

I can respect that Mattern wants to move from PR and make writing a top priority. As a former English major turned PR major I can't blame her for wanting to write more, whatever the format. My only qualm now is that I won't be able to link to nakedpr from my BlackBerry. Sigh.

Blogs about Internships

Internships can be such a mystery to PR students, so I appreciated the insight provided by some of the student blogs. Allison from Minnesota gave some great tips to new interns about how to dress and behave on the job. Most of it is common sense, but it is good to hear that these strategies are working for her. I especially liked the tip about walking around the office and introducing yourself to everyone. Interns constantly come and go in an office or agency setting, so I thought it was a great idea for the intern to be more proactive about meeting everyone. After all, PR is all about relationships!

I found one blog with postings from an assortment of PR interns. One student talked about the frustrations she had while trying to do telephone interviews for articles she was assigned to write. She had good tips about being persistent with your interviewees and not being afraid to ask someone to repeat what they just said. It can be hard to listen and take notes while talking on the phone. That was one of the hardest jobs in my work in PR, especially if the person I was interviewing had an accent or didn't speak very clearly. Those issues are increased dramatically when you can't see the person who is talking.

I found that blogs are not only a great place to learn about interns' experiences, but also a great place to find an internship. A children's museum in Berkley posted an internship on UC Davis' internship blog. I never thought of using blogs for internship postings, but it's a great way to reach students. This would be a good project for our PRSSA chapter to try.

On a final note, I found this great blog entry for PR students in India. The poster listed the Top 10 things you should know before you finish your internship. No matter where you live, the PR skills you need to succeed are all the same: be a good writer, understand how to network, learn how to do research, and, of course, know how to write a fantastic news release, among others.

Problems with Blog

Well, class, Blogger has identified our new blog as a potential spammer. I have gone through the process to get the blogger folks to review it (which apparently requires a human) and am still waiting for them to unlock our blog. So much for using new media in our class!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Welcome to Blogging about PR Blogs!

Students in the Writing for Strategic Communication (COMM 4590) class at the University of Utah are scanning blogs about public relations for blogging inspiration. These posts will reflect what they have learned from the blogs as well as criticism and personal reflection from their academic journey.