Tag Archives: public relations

History’s First Press Release Defines Role of PR

Pennsylvania railroad

After a Penn Railroad train ran off the rails, PR pioneer Ivy Lee gained the upper hand over reporters covering the story with a subtle account of the accident that minimized the reputational damage to his client.

Public Relations Born When A Train Derails

The modern era of managed information began with a succinct press release written by a former newsman on behalf of his industrial client, a northeastern railroad that had just suffered a derailment resulting in multiple deaths. To be sure, ten eyewitnesses if asked to describe the accident would have ten different accounts of the exact same facts. But the one that made it into the New York Times that day is the only one that counts.

The first press release of the modern era was crafted in 1906 by Ivy Lee, one of public relation’s original founders, for his client the Pennsylvania Railroad. Following a derailment that resulted in multiple deaths, Lee arranged for reporters to be transported to the accident scene – under his watchful eye – and at the same time released an account of what happened, complete with asides, misinformation, and human interest.

The Power of The Press Release Is Established

What ran in the paper that day wasn’t Fake News, but it wasn’t a totally objective, unbiased account of what actually happened either. It was a subjective report presented as an objective story on behalf of a client in exchange for income.

#FakeNews isn’t a new concept. Public relations is, among other things, an extension of the psychology of people, and towards that end is best known as a communications tool that can shift public opinion from Point A to Point B while operating beneath the radar.

How You Interpret News Isn’t Always Transparent

Like any profession its goals aren’t always in everyone’s best interest. Lowlights include the extensive campaigns, often presented as news, that promoted smoking, especially when the marketing goal was to convert women’s attitudes towards the habit.

All news is not created equally, and the modern concept of so-called Fake News is somewhat of an oxymoron. News that’s fake by definition isn’t news at all — it’s propaganda.

In a consumer culture we seldom come to a conclusion strictly on merit, as opposed to being nudged in ways subtle enough as to escape detection as a motivating factor for any particular decision that is made. Ford? Or Chevy? What’s your choice?

online newsroom publicity perks

typewriter-72px.jpg

Small businesses can benefit from creating a unique online newsroom.

Invest In Online Assets For Longterm Dividends

As whats left of print media transitions into a hybrid that blends traditional content with digital distribution, private industry is likewise developing answers for inventing new channels of promotion and publicity. Read about how Coca-Cola is a leader in setting up and stocking unique content for both consumer and b2b consumption.

The need for effective strategies is best seen in the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) as essential marketing disciplines. Both focus on the power of search to direct audiences inbound to content, and those same procedures are being successfully refined and funneled in the establishment of online newsrooms.

Online News: Not The Same As Google News

Online newsrooms are a physical location unrelated to Google News’ rich snippet metatag aimed at specific categories and reserved for branded publications. Yet the preparation of materials for the online newsroom should include some of the same workflow that’s utilized in a Google News approach to pull marketing.

Online newsrooms are also a total departure from the commonly used and outdated drop down menu method of accessing company news and resources, which requires multiple steps before even reaching a starting point and focuses solely on archiving content, not repurposing.

Biggest Difference? An Adventure, Not An Archive

The contemporary onliine newsroom is designed as a visual destination separate from the main website. It’s a unique container offering an assortment of video, audio, text, visuals, and ready-to-wear social content – all delivered in an easy to use User Experience (UX) layout that puts a premium on interesting and engaging presentation to serve various forms of content that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Online Newsroom – Think Investment, Not Expense

Today’s news resource – and that includes all that PR brings to the mix – must deliver solid content quickly and easily to a wide audience with unique needs. Design, creative, IT, and marketing all have a part to play in the successful implentation of a modern online newsroom.

Design your online newsroom to make maximum use of visual breadcrumbs and cues to guide editors, researchers, writers, and curators in finding not just what they’re looking for, but what they need to accurately inform their audience about XYZ Company. Need help? Lets explore a solution custom tailered to fit your needs.

powersports pays price for poor pr

 

the slippery slope to silliness

Several years ago I put together an easy to follow guide that offers solutions for three of the most common errors made by DIY publicists. Since then I’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of powersports announcements distributed under the hi-jacked heading of FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE! So poorly constructed they’re cause to wonder if a Kazakhstan goat herder isn’t ghost writing for the crowd source marketplace, they neither inform nor promote. No offense to my herder friends.

There’s a phrase common enough to pr practitioners (hack) that’s either a label of shame or badge of some distinction, if only among peers. Without naming names – and, sadly, you probably don’t know who you are – I’m gobsmacked at what the aftermarket seems willing to accept under the guise of published, presumed to be positive, information about products, services, and events by the former.

This isn’t about the errant comma, occasional misplaced modifier, or missing apostrophe. I’m raising the alarm over the wholesale abandonment of fundamental principles of grammar, any notion of style, and the essentials of literacy. Who needs complete sentences when an odd lot assortment of disjointed words strung randomly together into incoherent phrases passes as sense.

“air quotes” run amok amid out of control malaprops

I’m usually not a hard-core stickler for AP style, but. The increasingly sloppy gibberish masquerading as product praise not only offends my professional eye, but to the point does serious damage to a manufacturer’s online reputation and in-store brand. Unless, that is, the brands footing the bill think LOL ridicule is a desirable goal.

And it’s permanent. Once published to the web, these unintentional examples of no-talent hilarity circle the internet forever, ghost ships of puff piece silliness showing up on Google search “doh!” in perpetuity.

If you can’t hire a pro – and by that I mean someone possessed of a) basic writing skills and, b) a fundamental understanding that English, not Farsi, is North America’s marketing lingua franca – please take advantage of my basic tips for improving reputation and readership.

top cannes PR prize goes to ad agency

But overall, judges panned the lack of results oriented campaigns that can show behavior change as opposed to awareness as the main metric.

Just two years ago the tables were turned when an Aussie PR shop picked up top ad honors for their “dream job” campaign in what many forecasters thought at the time was the resurgence of the Golden Age for PR practitioners in an age of social media dominated communications.

This year’s Cannes results are another important reminder that above all, the core definition of public relations is to physically shift public behavior: bacon with breakfast, a/c not d/c as an energy source, etc., in a look back at what made Ivy Lee and Eddie Bernays pioneers in opinion.

Ad Agency Wins Top PR Prize at Cannes | Special: Cannes – Advertising Age.

social strategies: tech talk in tampa

social media strategies matter

(TAMPA) The Tampa Bay chapters of Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) co-sponsored a half-day professional development social communications meeting that spotlighted the intersection of mobile, social and point-of-purchase (POP) media. Read more about how POP can deliver a targeted message here.

Presenters included Pinstripe Marketing’s Ginger Reichl, Bryan Marks from Irvin Steel, Mad Mobile’s Greg Schmitzer, and newly named Public Relations and Marketing VP for Moffitt Cancer Center Joe Hice. Continue reading

prsa tampa holds first skype meeting

prsa first local professional organization to skype

The March, 2011 meeting of the Public Relations Society of America Tampa Bay chapter was the first local professional organization to feature live, over distance technology using Skype VoIP to bring in talent from afar and marked my debut as a producer and moderator of streaming social media content.

Skype allowed for a remarkably comfortable exchange of see you-see me conversation between the presenters beaming in from Baton Rouge, LA and Seattle, WA respectively. In addition the cloud presentation software Prezi was utilized for the first time as an alternative to the ubiquitous and to many banal Powerpoint bullet lists. Both techniques were employed after first being experienced at the Poynter Institute’s first Social Media Day in November, 2010.

The historic event featured two dynamic presenters from two different time zones: Monica Guzman (above, onscreen), Director of Editorial Outreach at Seattle’s intersect.com, and Louisianian Whitney Breaux, fellow PRSA and PRAL member, founder and exec director at Baton Rouge Social Media Club.

Whitney’s one of the first Baton Rouge practitioners I met as a new PRAL member, while my (virtual) introduction to Monica was at Poynter’s Social Media Day, which was also my first exposure to intersect’s remarkable social site. (Read more about the powerful features available at intersect in the PRSA December chapter newsletter here.)

Business Social Media uses Prezi cloud technology

With the explosion of social media niche channels circling the linchpin giants facebook, YouTube and twitter, tending the content garden is becoming a real exercise in time management and it’s become increasingly clear that the need to prioritize – triage might not be too strong a term – is becoming critical, as is the insight to quickly adapt to new channels as they become available.

Whitney (above, in monitor) spoke first about the evolving interest in her favorite project, the Baton Rouge Social Media Club, from startup to a fresh new design makeover just recently launched. Evidence of the buzz social media gets in Baton Rouge, state capital and home to Louisiana State University, is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that Tampa Bay – defined by St. Petersburg, Tampa and several professional sports teams – hasn’t yet caught up. She also talked about how her new position as director of social media at Wright-Fiegley Communications is already showing measureable results for the firm’s client roster, which includes several projects for the State of Louisiana.

Monica’s focus was on the remarkable flexibility offered by intersect that enables users to tag content in a linear fashion using both time and place locators. For example, looking for the intersection of Washington, DC and January 2009 returns a set of events remarkably different from the community view on the same day in Tampa, Baton Rouge or Seattle. For pr practitioners, there’s a very clear advantage to deploy intersect in the social media toolbox. I call it Google.

For business social, a term that seems to successfully encapsulate the real differences that exist between casual and professional internet chit chat, how that challenge is met could mean the difference between a well built out communications strategy and one that shortly after facebook falls off the radar.

bp names disaster insider to deflect critics

bp’s above ground blunders rival undersea disaster

What are they thinking? Every single time BP head Tony Hayward opens his mouth it’s only to change feet! Now comes news that the geniuses behind what’s shaping up to be the most inept crisis management since the birth of the genre have hired one of the key architects of an industrial disaster that’s quickly approaching the incalculable damage stage.

During the Bush-Cheney administration – and given the way this is turning out “administration” may well have to be reconsidered – Anne Womack-Kolton hauled water as Cheney’s campaign press secretary before graduating to the Department of Energy where she led the office of Public Affairs. Continue reading

marketing + pr: twin sons, different moms

Shun Or Hug? What Is Marketing’s Role In A Public Relations Practice?

Looks like there’s an opening for using marketing techniques in the message driven landscape of public relations. I’ve always felt comfortable with both and think integration is 1) a good thing and 2) entirely appropriate – assuming proficiency – for maximum audience reach.

Personal experience? PR skills tend to be a developable talent, while marketing instincts depend on process and can, to a much greater extent, be absorbed.

Can PR and Marketing Live Under the Same Roof?

If so, it would be like having two… two… two… mints in one. Given the light speed evolution of mass communications from primarily print delivered by primarily the U.S.P.S., it’s inevitable that public relations dialogue mashes up with marketers advertising message, creating a hybrid format that better fits the digital medium’s need for visuals.

To me, that’s what it looks like is happening, as print only media has blown up and broadcast only media is drying up. Put another way, for PR to rely solely on past best practices renders the message old before its time in a 24/7, app-driven, always on e-reader world.

Check this out at PRBreakfastClub for a first hand account of crossing over.

online networking makes life easier for pr pros

Web-Based Social Networks

This article is in response to my local PRSA Tampa Bay chapter’s Independent Practitioners Group; specifically, how to leverage popular social network sites like LinkedIn to enhance and streamline intra-membership communications.

Once, not so long ago, business communications were handled by A) analog telephone and B) bipedal mail delivery. But like the ad said, this ain’t your Daddy’s Oldsmobile. And those days – like Olds – are gone.

In today’s web-based environment most businesses and organizations require internet strategy and digital familiarity; essentials for maintaining online visibility and communications. There’s basic e-mail, then comes a blog and/or a web site, usually running some flavor of C(ontent) M(anagement) S(ystem) software.

Horizontal expansion’s next and might include a professional LinkedIn (individuals and groups) account and/or a social Facebook page or fan page. Social networking sites are media heavy; MySpace was the dominant destination for years before being overtaken by Facebook. Professional sites seek to emulate an electronic Dayrunner. Continue reading

brands head for sxswi – chevy’s out front

chevy's social media blockbuster broke through at sxswBrilliant, Watson!

The sticker on the hood of this back from the grave Chevy isn’t a wasabi Rorschach test. It’s a QR code, which, when you snap a shot of same with your ever-present smart phone, will transport you to a mini-site where you can see the exact same vehicle you’re looking at in 3D, only a lot smaller and in 2D.

Not a good trade you say? Ha! Start swapping out options and accessories to get a brain bolt as to just how you’d set up profiling down the boulevard in a ride of your own. That’s what Chevy cooked up for their social media experiment March 12-15th at SXSWi in Austin, TX. Continue reading