Archive

Archive for July, 2012

Final PR Blog

July 26, 2012 8 comments

This blog was always meant to be an experiment (see where I started) and as such, it required an end (Sun Setting on Paul Roberts on PR) and today is (finally) that end.

So, why goodbye? In many ways, over the last few years, this blog accomplished more than I ever expected but in other ways, I was disappointed that I never had enough time to give to this project. That being said, don’t feel bad for this blogger. There is no drama attached to the ending of the blog. I’m not dying (that I know of). I’m not even leaving PR (that I know of). Like most things in life, this decision is based not on one single event, but on a number of factors.

Why July 26? I decided to make this final post on July 26, because that is an interesting day in my personal history. It is one of my happiest days – my wedding anniversary and one of my most somber – the day my mother passed away. As one can imagine, this day has always been one of conflicted emotions, so it was fitting to chose this date because ending this blog (while on a very different scale) also leaves me with mixed emotions.

Accidental blogger. As an introvert that has never had much interest in networking or joining industry organizations and I’ve always felt like thoughts and opinions regarding the right way and the wrong way to approach communications was for others to discuss. You know, real industry thought leaders. So, looking back, I’m still surprised that I ever launched this blog. Even at the time, I wondered – who would care about what I have to say about public relations? I’m a JAG – just a guy – with no personal branding desire, no consultancy to promote, no books to peddle and no speaking engagements to chase. Over the last few years, I learned that there is certainly a place for a PR JAG to be heard.

See you soon. I made a lot of new friends thanks to this blog and for that I’ll always be thankful. I’ve also met more good communications professionals in the past couple of years, than my prior decade plus in the industry. Many of these relationships will continue via social media and maybe even the occasional IRL meetings. So, while this certainly isn’t goodbye, it does feel like the end of something that has long been a big part of my life. I’ve learned a ton and have had lots of fun. So, from now on, if you really want to know what I think about PR, communications or anything else, we’ll have to do it the old fashion way, via email or over a beer.

Thanks! Before I sign off, I want to take a sincere moment to thank everyone from my small group of regular readers to one-timers that stopped by without saying a word. Every visitor, comment, page view, RT and even spam message was special to me. Now it is time for this PR JAG to go back underground.

Peace. Or as my mom used to say: Goodnight, God Bless You, See You in the Morning and Have Happy Dreams.

-Paul

PR’s Lessons Learned – WPRWD

July 13, 2012 7 comments

When this blog was originally launched it was created a my own (semi) private experiment, so now that it is nearing it’s end (Sun Setting on Paul Roberts on PR) here is a quick look at some blogging lessons learned.  and while I refuse to tell anyone how to run their PR program, no self-serving blog would be complete without some ‘how would I do it’ tips.

Anyone in the service industry side of communications (consultants / agency) knows that comms programs are rarely a one-size-fits-all solution, so I’m approaching the following as WPRWD – What PR Would Do – if he (yes, me) were in charge of the corporate communications program.

Don’t ditch that blog. In the last few months especially, there have been many report about the decline of blogging as part of a corporate communications strategy, but I’d encourage companies not to abandon this powerful and highly controlled communications vehicle. There are many ways to do blogging well, and unfortunately there are also even more ways to do it poorly. Acknowledge that blogging is hard and it is important and create a plan accordingly. The key here is to have a  hands-on communications professional that believes in the importance of blogging and can sell it to the necessary thought leaders and stakeholders.

Don’t be a snob about paid media. Especially if you work on the agency side of PR, it is easy to dismiss advatorials and other paid placements as ‘one of those cheesy pay-for-play things.’ But, these are not to be dismissed out of hand. Paying for speaking slots, editorial coverage, report sponsorships etc. may not be in everyone’s budget, but if done properly a little budget can go a long way. The key here is simply to be open to the idea. Experiment with different approaches.

Create content. Despite all the changes in the communications industry over the last few years, one element has and will remain constant. Words are important. Press releases, pitches, posts, tweets, videos, speeches, infographics, whitepapers, content marketing, brand journalism, these all use words. Creating content needs to an emphasis to a communications program. My approach would be to make content creation a specific element of the corporate communication plan. Not run solely by marketing, but a more holistic corporate approach.

Coordination and organization. This sounds simple, but the point being made here is that while many of these tips are about content creation, it needs to be noted that communications is not to be approached as a creative writing exercise. Even the best, most creative and well thought out PR program will fail to reach its full potential if constructed and conducted in a vacuum. The key here is to have a communications professional with insight and influence into ALL aspects of the communications program – marketing, PR, social, internal, external, branding, paid, earned, SEO, sales etc.

Lead PR from within. Just because an organization may outsource its PR, doesn’t mean that the corporate contact isn’t important. No matter how closely an organization works with a PR firm and no matter how good that PR firm is, the PR program can only be as successful as the client will allow. All too often companies believe that anyone can manage the PR function, but that is simply not true. This internal contact is especially important when the PR program includes social media, crisis communications and thought leadership.

Social starts from within. Related to the above social media too should be led from within. All things being equal (budget, time, resources etc.) my approach to social media depending on the size of the company, culture, business goals etc, would be along the lines of hiring a consultant (a good internal comms person can do this too) to provide assessment of the current social media activities, draft a indoctrination plan to recruit and train / provide guidelines to employees and then get out of the way. A corporate comms controlled Twitter feed alone isn’t social.

And finally, a couple of quick reminders.

  • It is okay to fail. Sometimes, the best lessons learned come from trying something new that doesn’t work out. Communications is changing too rapidly right now to be overly conservative. Calculated risks are okay. Experimenting is okay. Not all ROI is immediate.
  • Have some fun. Relax. Communications is serious business, but it is also about people, relationships, information exchange etc. Even the most serious companies would be well served to have communications people who are personable and dare I say, have a sense of humor.
  • When in doubt, ask What Would PR Do?
  • In the immortal words of Dwayne F. Schneider, always remember and don’t ever forget, free advice (like this blog) is often worth exactly what you paid for it, so take all free advice with a grain of salt.

Photo comes from private collection that my son dared me to use in a blog post.