Seth Godin on PR vs. Publicity

10 03 2009

mb-headshot3I just want to celebrate Seth Godin and the wisdom he demonstrates in his post “The Difference Between PR and Publicity.” I can’t really write what he wrote any better than how he wrote it. But I think it’s important for all clients to understand the difference between PR strategies/counsel and getting ink, and to demand that their agency delivers both.

 I also feel that an agency that delivers great press coverage without great strategy is performing some kind of miracle. For great press coverage is the result of great PR strategy — the two are not mutually exclusive. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how an agency can deliver results without strategy, or strategy without results. I seriously doubt that it’s possible.


Direct-to-Consumer PR: Are you speaking directly to potential customers?

19 09 2008

As online tools like search engines and social media have become more mainstream, a growing number of consumers look beyond traditional media when it comes to learning about products and services. This trend has created a big opportunity for companies to speak directly with consumers instead of having to rely solely on media gatekeepers to share their messages.

Search Engines are a PR Pro’s Best Friend
No offense to dog lovers, but search engines have become a PR pro’s best friend. Why?

  • 88 percent of internet users said search engine results are a factor that drive them to visit a web site. (Deloitte and Harrison Group, Jan. 2008)
  • 78 percent of consumers with internet access said they now use the internet to find a local business more than they did two years ago. (WebVisible and Nielsen/NetRatings report, Oct. 2007)
  • 74 percent of internet users turn to search engines to find local business information – the #1 source used. Print Yellow pages come in second at 65 percent. (WebVisible and Nielsen/NetRatings Report, Oct. 2007)
  • 48 percent of consumers are prompted to conduct online searches because of news articles they’ve read. (BIGresearch’s Simultaneous Media Survey 10, August 2007)

Press releases can be search-engine optimized using keywords that consumers are using to search for solutions to a particular need on Google or Google News – such as “high-speed internet providers” and “discount name brand fashion.” Drafting news releases with important keywords in mind can help raise your release’s ranking with Google searches, which makes it more likely to get clicked on and read directly by consumers.

Corporate Newsroom as a Hub, Not a Destination
The social aspect of social media gives brands the opportunity to increase their visibility by creating easy ways for its advocates to share its news and messages with their own connections. To do that, you have to think about creating content for journalists AND consumers.

One way brands can take advantage of the sharing nature of consumers is to think about its online newsroom as a hub instead of a destination. Ford, for example, has done an amazing job of creating a newsroom that enables its advocates to help spread news for each of its major vehicle launches.

Some of the features companies can include in a consumer-friendly newsroom are downloadable high-resolution photos and embeddable videos for bloggers, quotes from executives, social bookmarking buttons, links to additional online conversations about the brand, fleshed out story/blog post angles, the option for visitors to subscribe to future news by RSS and more. This creates a place for consumers and advocates – in addition to journalists – to gather information and pass it on to others.

Traditional Media Relations Isn’t Dead. It’s Evolved.
Traditional media is as important as it has ever been in the past. But to continue growing our clients’ businesses in today’s marketplace, PR pros will need to understand how they can also reach out directly to consumers and show up where and when they need our clients’ products and services.

What other ways can we build relationships with consumers that add value to their lives and to our brands? How else can we empower advocates to help tell their friends about the product of service they just have to try?

More Than 35 Examples

9 09 2008

In late July, Aaron Uhrmacher, posted 35+ Examples of Corporate Social Media in Action at Mashable Social Networking News. I’ve been meaning to write about this post for awhile now.

This is an extremely valuable collection of stories you may find very helpful in sharing with clients and prospects. Most of us have few examples, if any that we can share, of how companies have used social media to their benefit. What’s more, this post offers a wonderful range of ways companies used it to underscore their particular brand.

If you have clients who are hesitant about engaging in social media, send them the link. No pressure, just send it as an FYI and see how they respond. For the PR agency pros out there, read the examples, commit your favorites to memory, and use them to illustrate your point the next time you’re speaking to a prospect or client about social media. Finally, and arguably most important of all, send this link to your colleagues and schedule a brown bag lunch to discuss the content, identify your favorites, and shape your own point of view.

What are your favorites?

Cross-posted from Client Serivce Insights…(CSI/Season 2)

OK, Now You’re Ready for Advanced Creativity

26 08 2008

As you toyed with Crayola, I hope you reached back into your childhood and tapped into the creative fearlessness so endearing of that age.   Assuming you were able to do so, now may be the time to step it up.

The Jackson Pollock-a-scetch will offer you a formidible creative outlet.  Just start dragging your mouse and change colors with a simple click.  Enjoy!


Creativity Begins At Home

24 08 2008

Creativity isn’t just something we turn off and on when we come to work; we have to live it all the time. It’s about seeking solutions beyond the obvious, showing you care beyond the expected, and finding simplicity in the complex.

Rather than just talk about being creative though, let’s do it. To facilitate this exercise, I’ll offer a link to the modern day way to create your own card/art project at home. When I was a little kid, we just grabbed a handful of Crayolas. It was the way we “competed” against Hallmark back in the day. Today, you can reach out to Crayola online.

Visit the Card Creator or Arts & Crafts . As opposed to stating: “Do not try this at home,” I might suggest that’s exactly where you should try it. We don’t need anyone to get fired over playing Crayola in the office.

You’re welcome to submit project entries. We’d be happy to assemble a set of judges and carefully evaluate all submissions. What does the winner receive? I guess we’ll just have to get creative!

Social Media’s Three Rs

19 08 2008

What are they? Reading, Writing, and Relationships.

I’ve spent several posts on writing blogs and reading content from others online, but the most important R of all is relationships. It’s what makes social media social. From the comfort of your own home or office, you can build real relationships with customers and countless other stakeholders anywhere in the world. You can share ideas with the terrifically smart individuals you’ll discover and build lasting friendships with people whom you may never meet face-to-face.

It’s actually amazing how well you can get to know someone online. To illustrate the point, one of my former learning team members in Seton Hall’s MASCL program is a dentist. He told me that he got to know his online classmates better than he did the students he sat next to everyday in dental school. It’s kind of like the difference between staying in a hotel and taking a cruise; there’s something about everyone being in the same boat that promotes an entirely different level of interaction and sharing.

Social media provides a plethora of reading, writing, and relationship resources. Let’s face it, the three Rs of social media and the three Rs of PR are two sides of the same coin. Now you just have to convince the rest of your colleagues.

*Crosspost from Client Service Insights…(CSI/Season 2)

Uncle Rico’s Client Service Lessons

12 08 2008

Here’s a post that I thought I’d bring back because of its timeless relevance to client service excellence. Several years ago, I was practically forced to watch the movie Napolean Dynamite. Most people know the film for its popular, cult-like following. I see it as much more. Client service professional development film perhaps? I’ll let you decide as I review what Uncle Rico (John Gries) teaches us about client service. Here are just a few quotes from Uncle Rico:

On building a relationships:
UR: “My friends and clients, they call me Uncle Rico.”
On managing expectations:
UR: “How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?”
On the importance of understanding our clients’ business:
UR: “Do you know it backwards and front?”
On time management:
UR: “Might as well do somethin’ while you’re doing nothin’.”
On budget stewardship:
UR: “Napoleon, you know we can’t afford the fun pack. What, do you think money grows on trees in this family? Take it back! And get some Pampers for you and your brother while you’re at it.”
On asking good questions:
UR: “Kip, I reckon… you know a lot about… cyberspace? You ever come across anything… like time travel?”
On fighting for your client:
UR: “Oh, I wrote him an e-mail sayin’ I’m gonna contact the authorities if I don’t get a refund in full.”

Of course, I could go on and on, but I’ve probably given away too much already. Now for those of you who saw the film, you’re probably thinking that Uncle Rico may have faultered a time or two – like the time he fell victim to Rex Kwan Do. But in the end, Uncle Rico was the big winner.

Listen to Uncle Rico. You and your clients could be the big winners too!