Category Archives: Josh Sternberg

Wasted Money Press Release of the Day:3-2-2011

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As communications professionals, we understand the power of a strong press release. And while our clients (and for you in-housers, our C-levels) often believe sending out press releases are important, it’s our job to make sure that the release has a purpose. Unfortunately, there are many companies who dismiss or ignore the strategic value of a release and instead send out something that could have been announced through a different vehicle: website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. These tools have made communicating to audiences easier, faster and cheaper. So with this, we start a new column here called Wasted Money Press Release highlighting releases that could have been better served using alternate communications vehicles.

Today’s is about how an unauthorized biography of Carl Icahn can now be found on audio. This is the kind of release that could have been announced via the author’s (or book’s) Facebook page, if there is one. Continue reading

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One Year Gone…

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Abstract circular collageIt started, as these things tend do these days, with an innocuous tweet; the tweet in particular was about Twitter lists. After a torrent of @ replies and emails, it was determined I needed to flesh out a post for a newly formed blog focusing on public relations as, it turns outs, there are some things that cannot be described in only 140 characters. And thus, my entry into the world of competitive blogging organized chaos.

That was a year ago. A complete revolution around the sun has come and gone since I first submitted a guest post to PRBC, a post in which I subtly make fun of both the blog and a little less subtly, the narcissistic nature of social media. As regular readers of this space, or even naturalized citizens of the world wide web, you know that not much has changed. Sure, there are more people coming here to read their daily fix of public relations banter, and sure, there are more people using social media, but what’s changed? Continue reading

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Leave it to the Professionals

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View of a young businessman working at a laptop at his deskRecently, fellow PRBCer Keith Trivitt raised an interesting question about PR folks’ background. Essentially, he said, you don’t need to be trained in communications or PR to be successful in our field:

It takes all types to be a successful communicator. Some are bold and brash. Others are quiet and reflective. And still some are a mix of the two. Each can be successful in their own way. And as long as you have a bit of wisdom, a lot of patience and a major drive, a lot of different people from various backgrounds can be successful communicators.  Continue reading

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Why so serious, social media?

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Businessman sitting in an office and using a laptopThis post is a result of joking around on Teh Twitters with Josh Sternberg, who pointed out that social media, God bless it, has a tendency to get blown way, way out of proportion in terms of, well, everything. Of course there are some things that the deserve the hyperbole–you know, like the snowmaggedeon/snowpacolypse. But being the pragmatic, rational people we are, when we see people make overblown statements it just makes us wonder, “Hmm, what’s the real message behind this message?”

And looking at this from a post-modern perspective, we understand that everyone’s reality is different and there are different perspectives on any given topic, but relying on the snake-oil salesman approach will eventually catch up to you. Continue reading
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Manager vs Leader: Are You A Trusted Advisor?

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Portrait of a businessman standing with his four colleagues in opposite directionsBarely a year into my journey as a small business owner, I’m learning valuable skills and lessons that enable me to do my job better. Now, I’m not talking about building media lists or drafting messaging documents, but what it means to be a trusted advisor, someone who has the ear of a client, offering counsel to help their business grow.

I’m learning that to be an advisor I need to focus on the client’s needs and not my own; to help them grow will help me grow. I’m learning that I can’t rest on what’s “tried and true” all the time and that I need to undergo constant reinvention; to find new ways to service my client. Most importantly, I’m learning to place the highest value on maintaining the relationship; to prove to my clients that I am here for the long haul, not just for the length of the immediate contract. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Twitter as a study in human behavior

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[Editor’s Note: We are graced with contributor post on our first day from Josh Sternberg.  PR BreakfastClub is happy to accept outside articles.  Check here for information on submitting a guest post.]

I want to preface this piece by saying I love Twitter. Maybe not as much as I love my wife, or baseball, or even a good burger, but I enjoy the opportunities Twitter provides: learning about people through discussion, learning about brands, getting information that I normally wouldn’t think to research, etc.
However, Twitter is also a great study in human behavior, as Twitter is just a microcosm of our society whereby the cliques that form on Twitter are for the most part the same cliques that are found in high schools. This has become more evident since the passing of John Hughes. As I watched my Twitter stream recite quotes from his coming-of-age films, I started to view Twitter as nothing but a social media breakfast club. In fact, I’m writing a post on a blog called: PR BREAKFAST CLUB for crying out loud!
In January of this year, I made the conscious decision to at least TRY to go to one industry event a month. So I find myself at some place where a bunch of people are on a stage playing a game; I believe it was a “guess that meme” game. And as I’m standing in the back, nestled between the bar (ironic since I don’t drink) and a few people I’ve met over the years, it strikes me that I’m bored. And I’m bored because the people on stage are clearly having a great time, only I don’t understand why. Turns out, it was all a gag…all inside jokes that if you had no idea who these people were (like me) you wouldn’t find it funny. So I left.
Twitter is the same way. Look at this blog, for example. It was started because a bunch of excited, young, talented PR people decided they wanted to share content. Each day, the hashtag #prbreakfastclub or #prbc is attached to the end of tweets so that people know they are part of a group. I like the idea that complete strangers have formed bonds online and can work together and hang out offline. That said, it reaches a point of ridiculousness (at least for me) when we start seeing “Top 50 people to follow on Twitter lists.”  (http://prsarahevans.com/2009/08/voting-now-open-for-the-2009-top-50-tweeples-to-follow/)
(In fact, in this Twitter-age, it seems as if persistent Tweeters can be more influential than industry experience. For example, a 23-year-old with thousands of followers can position themselves much better now as an influencer compared to 5 years ago when a 23-year-old would most likely be fetching coffee for a more senior person. Now, I’m not one to say that youth isn’t valuable to an organization/brand/whatever, but since today’s barriers to entry have been demolished by the democratization of media, if you’re loud enough, you gain influence. But that is a topic for another day.)
I understand these lists are for fun, and the creators of these lists make that point very clearly. But there are a lot of periphery people who use Twitter (not to mention the overzealous, self-important, vapid self-promoter who uses these lists as an opportunity to say how great they really are) who don’t know this. Even more important is that this philosophy of fluffing up your online buddies diminishes the overall value of the content provided by these people; mainly because there are always people that will be let off a list.
These lists are emblematic of a culture that needs constant approval to validate their existence. (Hell, a study was just completed where 57% of young people believe their generation uses social networking sites for self-promotion, narcissism and attention seeking.) Now, this is not to say that we’re these narcissistic vultures who provide no value to anything and just let the drivel drip from our fingertips onto the keyboard. There is some value from these lists, mostly opening up new avenues of learning. The problem is that these lists are blinded by the little piece of world they exist in. There are some great people on this list, but how many of them are connected to each other compared to those not on the list?
It just seems as if it’s a matter of who you know, not what you know. Where are the academics, the reporters (yes, there are a couple), the athletes, the thinkers, the movers, the VCers? Just because your world accepts that certain influencers should already be followed, the rest of the public typically has no idea who these people are. This is a myopic list at best and a sycophantic list at worst. But that’s the nature of lists, isn’t it?
And you may have though throughout this rambling post, well, you’re not on the list and that’s why you’re grumpy. As Groucho Marx says, “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.” On the flip side, please retweet this article so that people can read what I’ve written. In fact, I think I’ll post a link to this article every 5 minutes over the span of 24 hours just to make sure my legions of followers know that I’ve written something very profound.
RT Pls.

I want to preface this piece by saying I love Twitter. Maybe not as much as I love my wife, or baseball, or even a good burger, but I enjoy the opportunities Twitter provides: learning about people through discussion, learning about brands, getting information that I normally wouldn’t think to research, etc.

However, Twitter is also a great study in human behavior, as Twitter is just a microcosm of our society whereby the cliques that form on Twitter are for the most part the same cliques that are found in high schools. This has become more evident since the passing of John Hughes. As I watched my Twitter stream recite quotes from his coming-of-age films, I started to view Twitter as nothing but a social media breakfast club. In fact, I’m writing a post on a blog called: PR BREAKFAST CLUB for crying out loud!

Continue reading

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