Archive for November, 2009

Stop Trying to Kill Press Releases

November 30, 2009 2 comments

I just finished reading Reich Communications’ Press Release – Dead or Alive in which the point is well made that the press release isn’t dying, but how it is used is evolving.

This leads to a recent poll by Ragan Communications and PollStream in which only 49% of ‘today’s professional communicators’ say they think press releases are “as useful as ever.”

Well, I have a few issues with the wording of the survey. First of all, who the hell are ‘today’s professional communicators?” There are a lot of folks that make a living in ‘communications’ that don’t know a press release from a 10-K.

And, asking if a press release is “as useful as ever,” honestly, 99% should have said NO to a question phrased that way. No one that was practicing PR in 1999 could honestly say that in 2009 the press release is “as useful as ever.” But, don’t cry for the press release just yet.

The press release by itself isn’t as ‘useful’ as it once was, but it also shouldn’t be used by itself anymore. I’d even argue that the press release of old CAN be more useful if it – and the resulting coverage – are leveraged properly.

No before you say I’m taking the poll too literal, lets be clear – I understand the idea behind the survey and I even found it interesting, – but, the press release is now and will remain for years a key communications vehicle for PR professionals. I’m 100% sure.


Thanks for Public Relations

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I recently realized why I’m so thankful for public relations.

The other day I went for a (slow) 5 mile run with my friend and neighbor – the engineer – and as we ran and talked about work I made some very interesting – and long overlooked observations about my job.

My neighbor, we’ll call him David – because that is his name – is about my age and has (like me) had a number of different jobs over the last ten years or, so our professional journeys have been similar, but our jobs are very different. In discussing these differences I realized why PR is such a great occupation.

Variety: Unlike many other professions PR provides the opportunity to work in a number of different settings: agency, independent consultant, corporate. Not to mention the ability to specialize in a variety of industries: high tech, consumer, entertainment, sports etc. Read more…

Another Vote Against Voter Fraud (and Astroturfing)

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

I written many times that the PR industry needs to take a stand against astroturfing and voting for client’s products in online polls. It is stupid and immature when anyone engages in this type of behavior, but it is unethical when PR folks do so on behalf of a client.

Here is another example of how such actions (while maybe not by PR folks) has impacted one of our own. In his recent post Voter Fraud Taints Social Media Tools Poll Steve (still TheRealPRMan to me) Farnsworth discusses the experience from his own online poll.

Now let me use this forum to confess that as an 8-year-old Red Sox fan, I may have voted for Fred Lynn 29 (or so) times for the 1976 All Star game, but I was a kid and not the Red Sox general manager or publicist, so it was stupid, but not unethical. Read more…

Most PR Books Are Useless

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Most PR and marketing books are useless – to me. There I said it. I’m a 15+ year PR professional that has worked on both the agency and the corporate side yet most of these books don’t understand what I do for a living.

Now let me make this post much less interesting by explaining what I mean.

I’ve read a bunch of good marketing and public relations’ books. Some of my recent favorites are The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, Guerrilla PR and The Origins of Brands. Now these (and many others that I’ve never read) are fine books written by smart talented people, BUT for me as a high technology B2B PR pro, most of these books are too consumer oriented.

Social media is a good example. For the past few years PR and MKT books have all been about social media. There is no doubt that social media has become too important and powerful to ignore, but in MY job it is a cute little activity, but doesn’t help most of my clients.

Pitching bloggers is another example. Yes, PR folks should pitch relevant bloggers, BUT, 99% of relevant bloggers in many high tech industries are journalist and industry analysts. Also known as folks already being targeted by old-school PR.

The truth of the matter is that some (very valuable) PR campaigns are about regular press releases, proactive pitches, and old school media relations. Companies trying to sell routers, switches, servers or network security products don’t need to be on Facebook. Oh the horror.

All that being said, the next book on my reading list is Putting the Public Back in Public Relations. Truth be told, I bought the book over six months ago, but lost it while traveling, so I just purchased a new copy. It is one that I’m very much looking forward to reading. Even if the book isn’t about me or my job. I won’t hold that against the authors.

This Blog = Epic fail

November 15, 2009 1 comment

It has been too long since my last blog. And that is my fault. What can I say; I’ve been busy, work has been nuts, I’ve had a few personal issues, I was sick for a few days, I had writer’s block, the locus…

The excuses are limitless and inaction is easy. Blogging is very similar to practicing public relations. There are three rules that you need to follow.
– Stay active. If you don’t have a continuous program you loose momentum and quickly loose your voice in the market.
– Stay active. Sometimes you need to issue news – even if you don’t really have anything new to say.
And finally, Stay active. When you don’t have news take the opportunity to share your ‘industry leading’ thoughts regarding the news of others.
Starting today I’m going to treat this blog like a job – a job that I love, but a job none the less. Starting immediately I’m going to make my opinions known. Mostly I want to set the record straight regarding the hype around social media and the prematurely reported death of PR.
For those that have enjoyed this blog – sorry for the inactivity, I’ll try not to let it happen again. For those that think I’m a blow hard – sorry, but deal with it or ignore me if you must, but I’m not going away again. I’ve even redesigned the blog to make it look new. I know, that is just one step short of rebranding myself of relaunching my blog, but it made me feel better.