Where Do You Get Your News?

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One of my favorite questions to ask almost anyone I meet is: “Where do you get your news?” As someone who is fascinated by all forms of media and communications, I love hearing about other people’s media habits, what strikes them as newsworthy and perhaps most interesting, where they are finding good info and insight these days.

Thus, The Atlantic’s fantastic “Media Diet” series is a godsend to those of us who are fascinated by media and can’t get enough of it.

But while “Media Diet” gives you the dish on what famous writers, playwrights, pundits and others read each day, I’m much more interested in what industry colleagues are reading. Part of my job at PRSA is to be keenly aware of industry and business news. Continue reading

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A Search for a Quack: Why I Think Aflac Got It Right

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“AFLAC!” “AFLAC!” “A FLACK!”

We’ve all heard that quack from the TV ads which annoying comedian Gilbert Gottfried made famous.  As a PR pro, I cringe whenever I hear it because it sounds like the duck is calling me “A FLACK!”

Personally, I didn’t really care whose voice it was behind “AFLAC!,” but when Gilbert Gottfried inappropriately tweeted offensive jokes about the tragedy in Japan, it got me fired up. Coming from New Jersey and working in New York City for many years including on 9/11, the thought of joking about a tragedy of this magnitude was disturbing. And I think I have a pretty good sense of humor.

What the Aflac PR team did to turn a crisis into a brand win is quite extraordinary. Here are five reasons why:  Continue reading

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What We’re Reading at PRBC

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Every week it seems like there is a new list coming out listing the top 20, 50, or 100 blogs in a particular industry. These are usually based on available public stats, people submitting themselves or, for some, some nepotism. I often wonder if the list creator reads any of these blogs or simply relies on the numbers and makes the list to build backlinks.

So with that in mind, I chatted with the folks round the PRBC water cooler to compile a list of blogs that we all read and would recommend you checking them out in both social media and PR. Continue reading

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New Platforms: Pinterest

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Oddly enough, only a few months ago I was lamenting the rapid influx of new social media platforms trying to supplant (or support, depending on how you looked at it) the holy trio that are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Yes, I know YouTube, Flickr, etc. all have their own history and their own niche markets, and are ready to be tapped at a moment’s notice for the right purpose.  But by and large FLT (FB, LI & Twtr) are based on communicating with other members of the community.  Sure, you’ve got soap-boxers on each of them, but success isn’t based on soapboxing on those platforms.  The other platforms don’t really require engagement from the content creator for them to be seen by the right audience or even considered successful.

And so it was, with a bit of nostalgia for the good ole’ days of cool new platforms that I began to consider the upstarts – FourSquare (though it’s somewhat in the middle of the foundations of SM and the spawn), SCVNGR, GetGlue, Empire Avenue, etc. Each of these new platforms relied heavily on your existing digital footprint.  You connected with people you knew primarily elsewhere and saw what they produced on each of those platforms.  For the record – I’ve yet to find anything worthwhile about GetGlue that I couldn’t just get from posting a normal status update to FB and Twitter.

Then along comes Pinterest. Continue reading

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The Media is Missing the Real Story on PR

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I have to admit, I can be a bit of a crank when it comes to how the mainstream media covers PR. It either verges on a near fascination with celebrity publicists — one minor faction of the broader and fast-growing public relations industry — or the belief that PR can easily be wrapped up into a report on the general advertising industry.

Quick and easy, right?

So I’m always a bit bemused when I read articles with headlines like “When Publicists Say ‘Shh!’,” which ran in the April 18 edition of the Sunday New York Times. What followed was a series of clichéd examples from celebrity publicists of how they either act as mouthpieces for their clients or do everything they can to tell them to “shut up” when thinking about oversharing online. Continue reading

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Tricks of the Trade: E-Mail Etiquette

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Communication has changed over the years, and I’m pretty sure that everyone would agree that most of our daily communication is over e-mail. I think sometimes people forget that they are still talking to people even when they are writing to them. A lot of things irk me in life, but when I get an e-mail that has some of the following features, I really lose it: Continue reading

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PR Job Descriptions: Professional Social Media Experience Now Necessary?

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There have been abundant ramblings on how the emergence of social media has changed PR, for better or worse. Whether you are a social media guru or a non-believer, the requirements of the public relations profession has undoubtedly become more “social.” Here is a sample pulled from a PR coordinator job posting in 2005, and an almost analogous job description posting pulled from this year. Continue reading

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Are You Getting Credit for the 3Rs of PR?

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I don’t think PR professionals give our industry enough credit. And it starts with the fundamentals. As in those of us who are practicing them aren’t claiming them. And that’s our bad, because we should be.

Why should we claim things “everyone” should be doing? Because when we don’t continue to talk about doing the three Rs well – research, relevancy and relationships – bad pitches like this one gobble up all the PR headlines, tweets and Google results. Continue reading

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Are Mobile Health Apps the Answer?

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An estimated 500 million people worldwide are expected to be using mobile healthcare applications by 2015. As of November 2010, there were nearly 17,000 health apps available in major app stores, with 57% aimed at consumers rather than healthcare professionals (HCPs).

So what does this mean?

Basically, if you design a mobile app that doesn’t just push information and that patients find valuable they can become a key component in patient education and compliance.

Unfortunately, there is no connection between the gold standard of public health recommendations/guidelines and these apps.  Continue reading

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Will Hollywood Be the Next Industry Consumed by the Internet?

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As someone who recently turned the big 4-0, I can say that I have seen a lot of technology come and go in my time. I remember the days when families used to gather around a black and white TV, and you had to get up to change the channel. The stations would also shut off at night leaving you with the much-maligned test screens.

I am sure this sounds prehistoric to the YouTube generation, but it show how much things have changed in the past few decades. One of the biggest changes in the media industry over the past 20 years has been the radical reshaping of the music industry.  I have seen many changes in this medium over my life. I grew up with the record player and used to enjoy and cherish the artistic designs on those huge album covers. I then progressed to the tape, and watched the boom of portable music with the Walkman.

Watching technology change, reminds me of how each technological advancement has its own flaws. Continue reading

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