Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Former PR blogger admits: I can’t quit you

September 28, 2012 16 comments

Okay, okay, for all of you that looked at my retirement as a temporary situation, you were right. I just can’t quit you.

Truth be told, actually, it isn’t about you…it was time to pay for my domain (hey, we are talking about almost $20 here) so I had to decide if I was going to keep up a blog or let it die. While I’m happy that I stopped forcing myself to blog regularly, I just wasn’t ready to let this site die.

After almost 10 full minutes of soul searching, I decided that what I’ve really missed over the last few months (since I stopped blogging) was interaction with other PR professionals, so I’m going to move to the next phase in my personal development and embrace being a has been / never was and relaunch the site as a Q&A site about public relations / communication / social media / whatever I want.

Many of the people I’ve been fortunate enough to create relationships with over the last couple of years are people that I find very interesting, but have had little opportunity to actually spend any real time with, so over the course of the next few, insert random time frame here, I’m going to unleash my inner Arsenio Hall and interview some of the more interesting people I know in the industry.

These interviews will be focused on PR, marketing, communications, social media etc., but will also (best I can) include some insight into what makes these people unique.

I’ve already started contacting people to be included in this ongoing series, but please do let me know if you would be interested in sharing your story and participating. You can comment below or email me directly at


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.


PR’s Blogging Lessons Learned

June 13, 2012 13 comments

In February, I posted that this blog would be coming to an end by summer (Sun Setting on Paul Roberts on PR). The delayed ending was planned in order to give myself some time away (to reflect) before posting my final few entries.

First, a reminder of where I started and why I created this blog (The First Day of the Rest of My Blog). The short version is that realizing that public relations and communications as a whole was changing, I decided to start a blog and join Twitter in order to gain the hands on experience necessary to properly counsel companies.

So, after a couple of years of blogging, I’ve decided that (for now) I will walk away from this blog. Not because I think I’ve learned everything there is to learn, but because the entire idea of this blog was to serve as an experiment, and as such it has as shelf life.

To be honest, the last couple of months in which I haven’t blogged, have been fantastic. It is sort of like when you get to a point in your career where you finally make enough money that you can quit your part time job. It has been very freeing. Don’t get me wrong, there is much that I’ve missed about blogging, but personally, my life has never been better. I’m spending more time with my wife and kids on weekends, no longer writing late at night or early morning, my health is the best it’s been in years. Maybe this isn’t all because I’ve stopped blogging, but you get the point.

Blogging is work and takes time. Every communications person advising a client starts with the usual guidance. Blogging is a commitment. Blogging requires consistency. Blogging is more than just write and release, it takes some marketing etc. Now, did my years of blogging provide me with the insight to provide any alternative advice? Maybe, but maybe not. Does this mean that I would have been better off just parroting the usual advice without having ‘wasted my time’ blogging. No, because the hands-on experience has been invaluable – even if is doesn’t change the bullet points on my next Blogging 101 PowerPoint slide.

Blogging is rewarding. For some people, rewarding can mean business or career benefits and personal satisfaction etc.  The point is that most things worth doing require effort and I believe more than ever before that blogging is worth doing for many reasons. While truth be told, the most interesting interaction I’ve had with other bloggers has been via email, in person and via DM on Twitter, here is the page on my blog that I never expected. I’m humbled when someone takes the time to read my posts, so you can imagine how it makes me feel when a fellow blogger takes the time to reference this blog in their own post. Each entry on this page is an honor – one that I never expected.

Blogging is powerful. This may be the place where this blogger has had his eyes opened the most. Again, any Blogging 101 PowerPoint deck is going to espouse the power of creating a blog, but this is one place where I’ve been educated in a way that only first-hand knowledge can provide. Over the course of the last couple of years, I’ve been amazed with the interaction this blog as provided to me. The experiences and lessons from the last couple of years have impacted my opinion and changed me from a guy who thinks a good corporate blog is a luxury, to a communications professional that knows it is a required element of a communications program.

Blogging is subjective. Yet again, this is a piece of knowledge that I probably had going into this experiment, but still a worthy lesson to experience first hand. Going back to that PowerPoint deck, we all know what in theory makes a good blog, but there is no accounting for taste. There are a number of bloggers that I read regularly that are smart, funny, post regularly, include interesting blog elements such as video and graphics and are accomplished well respected industry experts, but are not as popular as some other often less interesting and less informative bloggers. There is a science to creating a good blog. But creating a great (or popular) blog is an art.

And finally, blogging like any other communications tool should be reevaluated from time to time. From time to time it is necessary to reevaluate the benefits, challenges, goals and rewards of a blog and adjust accordingly. Even if that means moving on.

While I reserve the right to change my mind, currently, there are two final posts planned for this blog. The next entry will focus on how this blog has impacted my view of the right way to run a PR program.

As always, a huge and sincere THANKS to those who have taken even a second of their valuable time to read what I have to say.

Photo by

PR Lesson from Tim Thomas

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Much has been made of Bruins’ star goalie Tim Thomas’ recent social media based controversy. For the actual details of the story, see a couple of good blog posts here. (Note: the linked posts are an exception to the industry opinions discussed below.)

The very short version of the story is that Thomas, who declined to attend the White House as part of the traditional photo shoot event awarded the Stanley Cup champion, posted some thoughts and personal opinions on Facebook.

What ensued over the next few weeks was that lots of communications professionals offered advice to Thomas that could usually be summed up as ‘shut up and play hockey.’ The lesson was that an iconic athlete shouldn’t speak his mind regarding politics or religion.

If that really is the lesson, does that mean that these same people would have also told boxing champion Cassius Clay not to speak out against the Vietnam War and not to change his name to Muhammad Ali in support of Islam?

Of course, Thomas and Ali are very different people at different times in history, but the point is that PR/SM people need to remember that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all industry. Ali was a tremendously gifted fighter, but in many ways it was his over-the-top personality that elevated him from a great fighter to “The Greatest.”

All the people that immediately concluded that Thomas needed to be more diligent and protective of his public image may be missing the point. Of course, I don’t know the truth either, but maybe just maybe this controversy is just what Thomas wants. The larger point here is a reminder that not all clients are created equal and that social media isn’t the only measurement of a person’s character.

Ali photo

Thomas photo

PR WIRL February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012 8 comments

Okay, it’s still not a very catchy title, but this is still a work in progress.

As mentioned when publishing the 2012 PR33 list, a new recurring feature on this blog will be PR WIRLWhat I’m Reading Lately – which will highlight some of the best blogs, articles, books etc.

The general idea here is simple. I appreciate when someone recommends something for me to read. And, I’ve found that there are lots of things out there that deserved to be shared. Enough said.

While these posts certainly don’t need any additional commentary from me, it is worth noting that these six blogs highlight some of the best thoughts regarding Bruins goalie Tim Thomas’ recent media firestorm and the ongoing debate regarding the PR industry’s failed attempt to find leadership capable of serving itself. So much for no commentary from me. Anyway, read these six blogs and you’ll be smarter.

————– Tim Thomas
Four Communications Keys for Bruins Goalie Tim Thomas by @Jimbarbagallo

If I were Tim Thomas’ PR counsel, I would advise him of these four communication keys:

▪ as a public figure, your personal and professional lives are inextricably connected.  People read your Facebook page for only one reason:  you are a public figure;

▪ you can’t be provocative and controversial and then expect to be allowed to run and hide.  Stand up to your convictions;

▪ you’re a hero to Bostonians because you’re a winner.  You’re enjoying the halo affect of a career season. But like most things, halo affects have a shelf life. And they are typically shorter in Boston than in other towns, and

▪ be proactive instead of defensive (not a hockey pun).  Let your fans see who you really are — the man behind the mask and the Wall.  How about a “town meeting” for your fans (and the media) after the season, where you can explain your important positions on politics and religion because you clearly have a lot to say. The rest of the story.


Social Media Policy: The Blurry Line Between Personal and Professional by @TedWeismann

For anyone advising companies on social media policy, the Tim Thomas situation is a fascinating case study in action.

Thomas is the starting goaltender for the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. He set records in last year for making the most saves during the Stanley Cup Finals and having the highest save percentage in history during the regular season. He capped his historic year by being the first goalie to earn a shut out on the road during game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, and winning awards for playoff MVP and best goalie in the league.

 Now there is the distinct possibility the Bruins will trade him this year. Crazy thought. Here’s why. The rest of the story.

————–  Defining Public Relations (Note: comment sections worth a read too)

Redefining Public Relations by @Ginidietrich

Right before the holidays, PRSA embarked on a new initiative: Redefining public relations.

An admirable undertaking and one that surely was not to please everyone, they made an impressive decision to have the definition crowdsourced.

 There were, of course, some flaws in how you could submit your definition. In an effort, I would guess, to make everything uniform and make it easier for them to get through all of the responses (nearly 1,000 of them). The rest of the story.


We Cannot Define PR by @Soulati

I am pretty much over this topic of redefining public relations, my core profession. Last year on this blog, we set out to do that very thing and engaged the globe in the best crowd-sourcing activity I’ve ever facilitated. It was high energy, awesome to have people on board, it was heady, and it was the coolest spur-of-the-moment thing I’ve ever done on my blog.

The outcome was a definition that came to be from a variety of sources, words, disciplines, expertise, practitioners seasoned and newbie, and those not in public relations. The rest of the story.


PRSA’s #PRdefined: Please Don’t Redefine Failure by @Frank_Strong

I contend PRSA’s method for soliciting input — its crowd source methodology — was biased.  The PR community was asked to fill in the blanks on a sentence that was already three-quarters complete. That’s a leading question and suggests to me the committee started with a prejudicial definition. It’s not research yet PRSA’s defense is that we’ll hey, everyone else is doing it. 

So much for differentiation.  It reminds me of the famous psychology experiment with monkeys, bananas and a sprinkler system. The monkeys end up avoiding something new, but do not understand why.

 That is not research and I find it absolutely mind-numbing that PRSA publicly agrees the new definitions “suck,” yet has resolved to stay the course. The rest of the story.


The Fight to Redefine Public Relations by @cnahil

So, here’s Nahil’s first take on public relations defined:

Public relations is the function within any organization that drives the creation and execution of communications programs that project the organization’s key messaging and positioning to specific audiences. These programs are most often delivered through earned media or owned media channels and, when taken together, serve to build a credible and compelling public image for the organization.

And your thoughts? The rest of the story.


Photo by my wife or daughter.

Sun Setting on Paul Roberts on PR

February 21, 2012 12 comments

For a variety of personal and professional reasons, I decided that I will end this blog in June of this year. There is still lots of unfinished business and there are lots of interesting conversations still to be had, but I’ll be signing off of this forum by summer.

Blogging has been a fascinating experience and I’ve made lots of new friends and learned much in the process. These friendships and lessons I’ll take with me long beyond my final post.

I never wanted to have one of those blogs that just faded away without any notice or reason, which is why I’ve put an expiration date on this endeavor.

Before the sun sets on this blog, I’ll continue to speak up about what is right and wrong in our industry. If you wanted to comment on any of my posts about how out of my mind I am, you better do it soon. June will be here all too soon.

Photo by my beautiful wife

PR WIRL February 2012

February 12, 2012 4 comments

Okay, not a very catchy title, but this is a work in progress.

As mentioned when publishing the 2012 PR33 list, a new recurring feature on this blog will be PR WIRLWhat I’m Reading Lately – which will highlight some of the best blogs, articles, books etc.

The general idea here is simple. I appreciate when someone recommends something for me to read. And, I’ve found that there are lots of things out there that deserved to be shared. Enough said.

While this feature will usually present new recently published (communications-focused) works, this first issue features a couple of posts that are a little dated, but have recently been republished and have proven to be timeless.

P.S. If any graphic designer wants to contribute a cool PR WIRL logo, I’m more than willing to accept it.

Read more…