Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category
Last Tuesday, my colleague Katherine and I attended the PRSA Boston Social Media Summit at Bentley University. We returned to the office with pages of notes (and we did plenty of live-tweeting) – here are a few takeaways that stood out to us.
From Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications Officer @DunkinDonuts
The rules of traditional conversation apply to social media. Great conversationalists are authentic, engaging, entertaining and funny, but not inappropriate. Instead of monopolizing the conversation, they listen and they encourage other voices. If you consider this conversational common sense, why should your brand behave any differently online?
Two months ago, my career did a 180-degree turn.
I left my job as a business reporter and joined a PR firm. While I was excited by the opportunity of digging into a new profession and all the challenges that come with it, I dreaded the inevitable jabs about going to the other side of the broadsheet.
Before I started, I had a feeling that one of the toughest parts of my job transition would be pitching my former friends and colleagues. I was right. Initially, pitching reporters has been a bit surreal. Suddenly, my new reality is that rather than screening dozens of pitches a day for the occasional newsworthy gem, I’m on the other side, trying to catch the attention of reporters, hoping that they’ll bite on one of my ideas.
In the horrifying moments after the Boston Marathon bombings, after ensuring that everyone we knew was safe, we told all clients who might have scheduled tweets to shut them off. Some of them already had and some were shocked that it took almost 20 minutes to finally stop the process.
Thankfully, having a business Twitter blackout has become standard procedure during any crisis because a brand’s social chatter – even if it’s not self-promotional – seems wrong when people are trawling for vital information about breaking news. Going silent is the digital equivalent of giving a fire truck the necessary 500-foot perimeter to do its job. Get out of the way of the #disaster hashtag.
I’ve been working in PR for over two decades and, even to this day, nothing makes me happier than when I land a great piece of media coverage for a client. To me, this joyful moment happens when three elements come together in unison: a great pitch, a solid relationship with a reporter, and the right timing.
Once upon a time, great media relationships were built over lunches, press conferences, phone calls and in-person media tours. But times have changed and so has PR. Today, while phone calls still matter a great deal, in-person meetings are rare. The good news is that we now have Twitter and it’s a huge and, I think, untapped, asset for building relationships with reporters.
It’s 2013, and you might be thinking about how you are (or should be) using the latest social channels to engage with audiences. I’ve had some clients ask me, “Isn’t blogging over? Shouldn’t we be concentrating on other channels like Google Hangouts, Pinterest, etc., etc., etc.”? Don’t misunderstand me — there are lots of channels worthy of your consideration, but those social networks should be considered spokes to your content hub, which takes its best form as a blog. Quite simply, people like reading blogs—in fact, 46 percent read blogs multiple times per day. And company websites that have blogs get 55 percent more traffic than those that don’t.
According to The Pew State of News Media 2013 Report, there was a 3.6 to 1 ratio of PR people to journalists in 2008 (up from 1.2 to 1 in 1980). I am not surprised. InkHouse grew 45 percent last year, and we’re on course to do the same or more in 2013. Why this growing gap? In short, the news media’s business model is in painful flux. As the Pew notes, “newsroom cutbacks in 2012 put the industry down 30 percent since its peak in 2000 and below 40,000 full-time professional employees for the first time since 1978.”
The opportunity for PR is growing as we see new ways to engage with audiences directly and plentiful opportunities for content. Is the news business going away? Absolutely not. It’s changing.
Outwit, outplay, outlast – that’s the mantra of “Survivor,” CBS’s long-running reality show pitting everyday people against one another on a tropical island. Even if you haven’t seen an episode in more than a decade, you know how the game is played – contestants vote each other off one by one until there is a lone Survivor. These players, from season to season, invariably possess a blend of intelligence, physical ability and social skills.
As someone who works in public relations by day and watches “Survivor” by Wednesday at 8 p.m., I’ve been thinking about how contestants would fare in the PR world. As my colleague and fellow “Survivor” fan Mike Parker pointed out, PR and “Survivor” both require more than sheer force or brute strength to succeed; it takes wit, wisdom, and strategy to be successful. You could be the smartest person in the office, but if you lack the requisite social graces, your career could be slowed – and your torch snuffed out.
In a random act of Googling last night, I was searching on PR firms and I stumbled on a bunch of Quora and Google+ discussions where entrepreneurs were asking a simple question: how do I choose a PR firm? The answers to these questions were many, all with the same common theme largely from journalists — you can do PR yourself. Forget the agency. Just get to know the press you need and reach out yourself. This argument is not new to me or to the PR community. But we often just sit back and let journalists air their grievances with PR firms — after all, journalists are our clients too. It will come as no surprise that I am on the other side of this argument in most cases (although not always). But for good reasons.