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PR Interview with Bob Geller

March 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Episode 009 of this Q&A project features Bob Geller President of Fusion Public Relations & Social Fluency, an agency that specializes in tech PR and social media, and Flack’s Revenge blogger. I’ve been a big fan of Bob’s blogging for a long time and appreciate his perspective. Now let’s take a look at the guy behind the insightful PR blogger.

Bob, you studied engineering, and have spent twenty five years in many different areas of high tech sales, consulting, marketing and PR, so how did you get into public relations?

My love of tech led me to study engineering, and my first couple of jobs were in the field.  However I quickly realized that I was more interested in marketing and communications.  After wearing a range of marketing and sales-related hats for tech startups, and leading a consulting team for IBM, I made the jump – first to PR freelancing, and then the agency side – I helped launch Fusion PR around 2000.

How do you explain your job to friends and family? 

I simply tell them I help tech clients get in the news (of course there is much more to it than that).

GellerheadshotHow has PR/Comms industry changed in the last 5 years? 

Pretty dramatically – the most obvious changes have been driven by the growth of social media and fragmentation / decline of traditional media.

What does PR/Comms industry look like in 5 years? 

I think it will continue to grow, and change too.  Social will continue to grow in importance, but so will mobile – my post on Windmill Networking discusses changes in content consumption trends.  It is targeted towards content marketers, but of course these trends have relevance for PR too.

How has social media changed PR? And what do agencies need to do to adapt? 

It has elevated the role of tech and content, and in general made it more challenging to rise above the noise – it has also taken many of us out from behind the curtains.  To be successful, the PR field needs to grow beyond its traditional role and comfort zones.  This means getting better at graphics, writing and content generation in general, and includes things like monitoring, metrics and SEO.

Do you think the changes in PR will be a good thing for PR agencies in the long run? 

For ones that recognize the changes, and are willing to try new things and adapt it can be an exciting time.  See my Bulldog Report post about innovation and PR.

What social media platform do you use (most) professionally? And is it different from what you use for personal? 

For professional networking I use Twitter, and blogging (WordPress and Typepad) and LinkedIn. For personal, I use Facebook

What is the last PR / Comms book you’ve read and would you recommend it?

Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath was a great read – as the title implies, it is about creating sticky ideas, which is one of the keys to effective communications and campaigns.  Here is a post that I wrote about this.

What are your top three industry related blogs / resources? 

I like PR Conversations, CommProBiz and Ragan’s.

What advice would you give young professionals just starting out in this industry?

Have an open mind about what PR is, and can be, because it is changing; find out what you are good at, and do a lot of that;  but also, don’t be afraid to master new skills. One other thing, I think there will be a strong demand for people who can master the numbers side – i.e. metrics.

What is the most rewarding part of working for clients? 

Helping them achieve success – moving the needle on brand and market traction.

What is the most challenging part of working for clients? 

It is sometimes difficult when the client doesn’t understand PR, or does not do their part in supporting a successful program.

If you could create a standard RFP process what would it look like? 

Do away with them!  I think I said in a post once, RFPs are where great ideas go to die.

People that know you would describe you as: 

bobgeller_biggerFunny, soft spoken, somewhat of a goof ball but hope they would say that I am good at what I do too.

 Have you ever deleted a Tweet / post? If so, why? 

No, have not had to, luckily.

If you were interviewing yourself, what would you ask and how would you answer? 

Well, I would try not to argue; I don’t know, I like to think that I am already pretty self aware so it would likely be a short conversation

Immediate reaction to the follow:
Twitter: Indispensable
Facebook:- Fun
Google+: Potential
Klout: Sometimes useful
LinkedIn: Useful
Pinterest: Picture power
Instagram: Ditto
Vine: Don’t know
Press releases: A staple
Social media: Amorphous, important
Public relations: Love it!

If you like this interview, please also check out recent interviews with Jeff Beauregard,  Jules ZunichFrank StrongKrista GiuffiJeff DomanskyLisa Zone and Jason Mollica.

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