In an article about PR from a website on the internet that's also about PR, "People check Facebook to see pictures of their friends and family, laugh at the latest memes and learn about breaking news."
This is intriguing and novel. Apparently people don't want to see wretched bald-faced self promotion. Turns out Engagement is key on Social media. When content is too "promoty" they tend to just scroll on by.
Brands should think about what kind of news feeds a customer would like to see. "Consider an exotic tourist destination such as Australia. Its Facebook page attracts attention effortlessly through quality images of white sand beaches, cuddly koala bears and colourful larakeets. At present, the page has more than 6 million “likes,” and it’s not uncommon for hundreds of thousands of people to engage with individual posts."
By Aaron Stares
For this week I did a little something different and set out to write something that celebrates the worst-handled PR in 2014. November is an odd month, past halloween, there's some turkey in there, but way before presents and trees. Late December is a time for reflection and considering all the horrible mistakes we made in the last year. It's a time for us to consider all those times we stuffed our feet, toes first, into our slobbery maws and make a shortlist of actions we will resolve not to take in the coming year to try and avoid that.
That said, I know it's a little pre-imptive, but here are some of the things orginizations have said that I'm sure they wish they could take back. Borrowing from a list by Michelle Nati I've gathered a couple of the doozies.
The NYPD asked its followers for photos posted with the hashtag #mynypd and was flooded with police brutality pics.
J.P. Morgan to have an open Twitter Q & A session, but decides it's a bad call after receiving a 6 hour tirade.
How To Be Awful At PR
Diane Schwartz wrote an article titled The Epic List of Useless PR Tactics. I broke a personal edict and read something with the term "epic" in the title. There's a disturbing trend toward the use of the term epic in the last few years. There's an awful hive-think mentality that latches on to shiny new words. Words like awesome and epic and outrageous are fantastic adjectives that have had their bite dulled, like the circus lion that's had its teeth pulled and just angrily flaps an impotent maw, by over use. Maybe over use isn't accurate. Misuse would be more appropriate.
If something is epic it's enormous, it's transcendent. To be epic something must be so good that literally everyone in the world needs to hear about it, and it will be so good that it will stick around for centuries so they can. The best cup of coffee is not epic. It can be delicious or hot or even hot as Hell. The term epic has been over applied, and that's really all I'm getting at.
The list compiled by Diane Schwartz is a guide for what not to do as a PR professional. I thought we should re-imagine it as a guide for those who wish to fail miserably in the field. So, without further ado, let's get it on.
Creating a viral campaign as goal #1: This should be the primary and essential goal of every PR every time. It's a measure of success, and if you don't achieve it you're a failure. Clients deserve this, stop sniveling and making excuses and just deliver viral success.
Using ad value equivalencies as a metric: This should be the ONLY value you measure results by. The internet is single faceted digital-organism and Ad Value determines how close you are to winning the World Wide Web.
Spraying and praying: What works with automatic weapons, works with your ad campaign. Put it everywhere. Meditate "willy-nilly."
Baiting and switching: Clients literally never notice when you do this. You can save money and other valued resources with this time honored technique.
Forgetting you have a voice: Sometimes you have to shriek into the phone so you don't forget.
Forgetting you have ears: Think of the money you'll save now that you don't have to buy headphones.
Working in a silo: You can gain serious cred. with farmers and rural folk with this technique. Empty the grain, move in your desk and hook up a land-line.
by Aaron Starnes
Happy Halloween. This week's spooky installment is sure to send chills down the steeliest of spines. It's not actually scary but instead it's heinously boring! Cue the evil laughter and lets get it on!
Nine things PR pros need to know Friday morning, 10.31.2014 is an article that appeared today on PRWeek.com. It was written by Frank Washkuch who is not likely to be very eerie, but that beside the point.
9. Apparently Chevrolet was embarrassed somehow and there's some sort of sports analogy that I don't understand attached to it. Frank includes a link to help you understand. I looked at it and still don't really get it.On a somewhat related note I think that the new "mid-sized" pickup, which is a misnomer because it's as big as a fullsized truck from half a decade ago, is out. It's garish relative to the older, more compact, model.
8. Twitter has demoted Daniel Graf, Before very recentlyhe was the new Vice President. Are there terrified tweeters thumbing their technology anxiously? Not to me, but perhaps some PR pro somewhere is chewing his nails back to their bloody quicks.
7. Sen. Mary Landrieu a Democrat from Louisiana is in hot water for what she said to Chuck Todd about President Barack Obama’s popularity, Apparently you can't say "the South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans."
6. The Washington post said something about the Secret Service which is hounded by rumors about ladies onf the night. I hope no one has contracted something that will haunt them for the foreseeable future.
5. The Detroit Free Press the book by Jason Vines, "What Did Jesus Drive? Which is about zombies packing themselves into a Toyata Prius as tightly as possible.
4. Canada manages to make some more news as Jian Ghomeshi gets fired over reports that he sexually assaulted a number of women.
3. Perhaps the most frightening news is that December 18th will see the final episode of the Colbert Report. "At some point next year, Colbert will inherit David Letterman’s role as host of the Late Show on CBS."
2. Speaking of creepy, Big Brother er, um, Facebook is now scanning user's posts for political commentary. They're gathering information regarding age and whether the commentary is positive, negative, or neutral. The saddest most tragic thing is that we voluteer our privacy.
1. "WPP’s third-quarter PR and public affairs revenue numbers" that were underwhelming, which sure is scary.
By Aaron Starnes
On July 19, 2012 Regan's PR Daily posted an article discussing 10 quotes from a personal hero of mine, Hunter S. Thompson.
A movie made about his book "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" earned him a new wave of recognition in the late '90s. This movie celebrated the book in one of the best book-to-film adaptations I know of. It also created a new fan base for Thompson, one attracted to the over-the-top scenarios and wild drug use portrayed in the film. Beneath all this hype there was a man who was, at the end of the day a writer, and a damn good one.
“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I'm not sure that I'm going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says 'you are nothing', I will be a writer.”
I have read that to gain to become the exceptional wordsmith Thompson set out to be he would rewrite books from his favorite authors. He would sit at a typewriter with a novels by Hemingway or Fitzgerald and hammer out the stories verbatim. This put him inside the book. He familiarized himself with grammar and vocabulary this way. I think I will pick a favorite author of mine and try this exercise.
“I think the trick is that you have to use words well enough so that these nickel-and-dimers who come around bitching about being objective or the advertisers don't like it are rendered helpless by the fact that it's good. That's the way people have triumphed over conventional wisdom in journalism.”
When you think of established professional writers you think they maybe have learned tricks or developed callouses to the pain of writing. I always love reading the quotes by famous authors that discuss how the pain never really goes away, writers must simply persevere.
“The only other important thing to be said about “Fear & Loathing” at this time is that it was fun to write, and that's rare—for me, at least, because I've always considered writing the most hateful kind of work... Nothing is fun when you have to do it—over and over, again and again—or else you'll be evicted, and that gets old.”
Another favorite from this article is Thompson's attitude toward deadlines. If there is a better articulated description of the extra motivation provided by imminent doom feelings of a deadline crushing down on a writer, I haven't read it.
“Every deadline was a crisis … No doubt it has something to do with a deep-seated personality defect, or maybe a kink in whatever blood vessel leads into the pineal gland … On the other hand, it might easily be something as simple and basically perverse as whatever instinct it is that causes a jackrabbit to wait until the last possible second to dart across the road in front of a speeding car.”
When I say he's a hero I don't mean I want to drop loads of acid and stay bent on scotch, cocaine and Chartreuse. No, I only hope that I can gain the mastery over words he had, and see beyond the established way of doing things within my life and my profession. I want the foresight to break rules and break ground to communicate in a novel way as Thompson did. If things get a little weird along the way I'm prepared for that.
Lauren Gray, author of the article Five Visual Tools for Artistically Challenged PR Pros about what programs PR folks can use to make their content more visually appealing writes for prsa.org. In this article she recommends 5 free tools available online to enhance visual interest in PR.
It isn't always an option to have a talented graphic designer come up with interesting visuals for a PR pro's content.These free graphic tools allow PR folks to "become visually adept at telling an engaging, enticing brand story."
1. Canva Is a design platform that lets you create visuals to fit specific social media specifications.
2. Piktochart Is an online infographic creator. Using templates and pictures users can create custom infographics to match their content which can embed videos.
3. Unsplash Is a free source for stock photography. It sends customers 10 free pictures every ten days.
4. Pixlr This is a free online photo editing tool.
5. Hyperlapse This mobile app helps users create timelapse videos and it even offers built-in stabilization. Here's the video Gray chose in here article
All of these tools seem interesting. The Hyperlapse and Piktochart seem espesially exciting to me. Here's an Infographic I created with the free software from this article.
by: Aaron Starnes
The SEMA Show is “the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world.” That’s a huge claim but it’s hard to overstate the size of this show and its meaning to the automotive community.
The show is closed to the public but that doesn't stop people from all walks of life with an interest in cars, motor-sports and the automotive industry from coming out and perusing the parking lots outside and sticking around to catch a glimpse of all the latest offerings from automotive vendors at the spill out at the end of the show. Due to this popularity this year will be the first year for SEMA Ignited an after show dedicated to the vehicles of SEMA and open to the public
The SEMA public relations release offers these guidelines for distributing online press releases.They suggest submitting up to 60 days early. I have notice that hashtags are already in use on twitter and have been for some time. The public relations opportunities release goes on to detail how and where writers and editors can pick up copies of Exhibitor’s press releases and media kits. The form also details ways of promoting products like celebrity endorsements, demonstrations, and new/featured product demonstrations. There are also details on how to get involved with Press Conferences and scheduling an after-hours party.
What Are PR Agencies Good For?
Robert Wynne, Forbes contributor, defines what Public Relations Agencies do in his article "What Does A Public Relations Agency Do?" He starts by outlining what what PR firms don't do.
They don't buy ads, or write stories for reporters. They don't sell ad space or come up with ad campaigns to sell products to consumers.
He goes on to describe what PR firms actually do. A PR firm is something distinct and separate from an ad agency. PR firms "promote companies or individuals via editorial coverage. This is known as “earned” or “free” media — stories appearing on websites, newspapers, magazines and TV programs — as compared to “paid media” or advertisements."
The goals of Ad agencies and PR agencies are the same. They're both attempting to paint the best possible light. They're attempting to create an image of trustworthiness and credibility to whomever has retained their services.
So, what's the difference? Well, advertising is generally looked at as a sort of self-promotion. The client pays an ad company to create a campaign that promotes them. PR on the other hand is less about delivering a message to the audience, and more about maintaining a dialog between a client and their audience. It's about understanding the client, whether it's a company or an individual, well enough to see how to best represent them in the media. It's helping clients put their best foot forward so to speak.
The role of the PR agency or professional can be thought of as that of a mediator between the client and their audience. Can be a helpful partner in implementing ways for a company or indivual to "talk" to their audience. They promote the positive image of clients through media stories, and because they are not direct employees of their clients they are supposed to be able to give an outsiders perspective with regards to what's working with their client's image and what isn't. This seems like it would really come down to how scrupulous the company really is.
According to Wynne many PR professionals are former journalists who know how to pitch stories to editors. If the story sounds good then the editor may put a journalist on it to investigate and report back in as unbiased way as they can. This removes the money trail. At this point it's on the journalist to report whether or not the company is on the up-and-up no matter how good the hors d'oeuvres are at the PR event.
PR professionals also write speeches to make sure the CEOs of client companies are delivering a message the is in line with the image they are trying to promote. They are paid to be aware of topics that may be of a sensitive nature to an audience and avoid them. In short they are paid to know who to talk to and how to talk to them on behalf of a client. Many times this involves knowing which medium to best reach an audience through.
Wynne describes PR firms as an investment for companies. PR firms promote an active relationship between clients and their audiences. A client describes what image they want to portray and where they want it seen and it's up to PR firms to make that happen.
Wynne, Robert. "What Does A Public Relations Agency Do?" Forbes. N.p., 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2014.
For this week's entry I chose to do a close reading of an article I found while searching for something related to PR. 5 Tools Modern PR Pros Can Use to Maximize ROI discusses the question which Shakespeare asked ages ago, what's in a name.
"In a world where office managers have become “Campus Innovation Advocates” and HR reps have metamorphosed into “Company Culture Experts”, it’s no doubt that the act of reinventing traditional roles has benefits beyond morale."
Apparently, a good deal of depth. What I initially thought was hair splitting semantics may actually play a role in how an employee feels about the work they're doing.
"the titles of today push employees to redefine their place and purpose within an organization. Case in point: diet ice cream is far less inspiring than sorbet. Which makes you want an extra scoop?"
This is a compelling analogy and some decent writing. It also smacks a bit of spin and Orwellian doublespeak. Do these fancy titles actually mean anything special? Do they actually motivate workers or define roles? I don't know, but I'm sure it feels better to write something like that on a resume.
"Sure — there’s the fun-factor, but reinvention also raises expectations for roles altogether, and if you want your company to be cutting edge, you’ll want to consider some role revamps during your next round of organizational restructuring."
I don't know how "fun" these titles are. Funny perhaps, but not really fun. I do like the concept that with a big fancy title comes further responsibility. There's a troubling term in this quotation and that's "organizational restructuring."
To find out what it meant I did a quick search and found a website with a workable definition. However, even the definition is business jargon and boils down to entire departments of people being let go. Fired.
Later in the article the author references another post which makes a case for why every company needs an English major. Companies need more wordsmiths.
The author discusses how the most effective PR professionals have, in recent years, expanded their skill set to include a better grasp on data literacy, strategy, community, measurement and more. Thus these folks get an interesting, "fun-factor" packed new title as well. It's PR Engineer.
The author explains that the real difference between the two is that a PR Engineer has to have more data literacy to make more informed decisions. Does there actually need to be a difference in terms here?
The list of tools to maximize return on investment are as follows
1. HubSpot is a tool to which covers search engine optimization and social media tracking, content creation, e-books and conversion.
2. Flurry is a number of analytics products that measures consumer behavior, advertises to your A-list audience, and monetizes apps. Their blog is a good resource for information about mobile behavior..
3. Quora is a content platform that lets users get their message out on news sites.
4. PR.co is a tool that can create an all-inclusive, online pressrooms for clients. Users create a page that allows journalists or clients easy access to all the PR info they might need.
5. Marketo covers any marketing requirements you may have.
For this first blog feel free to talk about what you don't know about social media or your early impressions of social media
My intention with this entry is to talk freely about my reflections on my impressions of this class and my early impressions of Social Media.
I'm taking both the strategic social media and PR classes. The courses seem to run parallel and that could be confusing.
I wonder how involved with these programs I'm supposed to be. I think that the decision to take part in social media is really a decision about how much free time you want to dedicate to sitting in front of a computer of tapping away at a phone inches in front of your face. So far, I have engaged in social media in a rather limited way and on my own terms.
I have a Facebook which I use primarily for staying in touch with my friends and promoting my website. I'm a member of a number of automotive groups and if I write anything that pertains to them I post it on their wall. I write articles on the restoration of my old Ford and I cover car shows. Occasionally I get something front paged on Jalopnik.com. I use Facebook to stay in touch with my contact at Jalopnik.
I see Twitter as another avenue for me to expose people to my writing. With each new blog entry I send out tweet. On my site I encourage people to follow me on Twitter. I get emails from Ford enthusiasts from all over. I respond to each of them. My philosophy is that this time is being well spent. They took the time to read my work and contact me so the least I can do is send them a quick thank you and try to answer any question they may have.
I don't know the first thing about this.
I joined but it is not immediately apparent how this is better than my personal site.