Google announced a new partnership last week with Pandora, the New York Daily News, and several other media companies that could be the death of the paywall model. “Google Consumer Surveys” is a stunningly simple idea. Say you’re surfing the web, and click on a link to a story that would typically be behind a paywall. Rather than pay, you answer a simple marketing question, and as a result are granted access to the article. Google pays the entity five cents for each question answered, which is about $15 per 1,000 pageviews.
I’ve long maintained that paywalls are a terrible idea and do nothing but drive potential readers elsewhere. The ROI of putting your content behind a paywall is far less than charging appropriate advertising rates on your site, or other inventive ideas. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself Continue reading →
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 →
For any PR pro who has jumped on the bandwagon and thinks that newspapers no longer matter, I urge you to read a great report just out from the Poynter Institute. The report sought to measure the total online and print reach of newspapers in their local markets, and the results may surprise you.
First: newspapers still reach a massive audience. The combined local market reach (online and print) of the top-20 newspapers is 47,370,687. That’s 15 percent of the U.S.’ 307 million population. (Note: The Wall Street Journal and USA Today were excluded because their local market isn’t clearly defined.)
I don’t know about you, but if I’m able to tap into even a sliver of that size of an audience, I’m absolutely going to give newspapers a bit more of my attention going forward.
There are a lot of things in life that get better with automation. Alarm clocks. Coffee makers. Calendar reminders of your wedding anniversary. But as PR pros, could we make our written communications and messaging better with automation?
That’s the question apparently attempted to be answered by a slate of new automated news reporting services, including one called StatSheet, according to a recentNew York Times article.
It’s an interesting question to ponder. The Times article notes that so far, StatSheet is mainly being used as a sort of fill-in news service for collegiate sports programs that lack the level of media attention and coverage that their big-time brethren get.
As a former collegiate sports information director, this obviously piqued my interest, so I gave StatSheet a closer look. It’s worth a quick glance at one of the service’s customized news sites for every NCAA Division I school . . . if only to see for yourself why the concept of automated news, and possibly automated PR, is doomed. Continue reading →
Through all of these changes, I’m still very optimistic that the profession is progressing along the right path; that we’re taking strides toward becoming more transparent, more focused on helping companies build their businesses (rather than building our own egos) and more in line with the goals of our clients and their key audiences and constituents.
My optimism is enhanced by recent anecdotal evidence noting how others, many of whom were once staunch opponents of the value of PR, view the strategic value of retaining PR counsel. Specifically, a post on blogger relations by Gizmodo UK editor Kat Hannaford, and another post by Jennifer Walzer of Backup My Info! leave me with the impression that our profession, as a whole, is beginning to learn from its mistakes. And while we certainly have many areas in need of improvement (media relations, agency turnover rates, mentorship, etc.), I feel we are beginning to see the hard work of many to reshape the public’s perception of the value of public relations taking hold. Continue reading →
Last Thursday (Aug. 26), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Reverb Communications had settled charges alleging that the public relations firm had engaged in deceptive advertising practices by having its employees write and post positive reviews of clients’ games in the Apple iTunes Store, without disclosing that they had been compensated to do so.
Those guidelines state, in part, that advertisers (in this case Reverb) are subject to liability for failing to disclose material connections between themselves and their endorsers. In a section entitled, “Disclosure of Material Connections,” the guidelines state that: Continue reading →
In a world where there are now thousands of print and digital publications and blogs, covering everything from the nuances of sports law, to the ways in which technology affects our everyday lives and culture and the joys of botany, securing media coverage for your business has arguably never been easier. On the flip side, there is a vast chasm of noise now coming at us every day, which makes it exceedingly more difficult for your big product announcement, or CEO profile you are pitching, to get the attention you think it deserves.
And it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. A recent study of business media reporting by the ITDatabase found that, in general, the top-8 business publications in the U.S. (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek, The Economist, the Financial Times and USA Today) were, “follow[ing] the lead of the media at large in focusing on what’s new and where the money might be going rather than where the money is now.” Continue reading →
“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” – Coach John Wooden
John Wooden’s death over the weekend, at the age of 99, got me thinking about the man they called “The Wizard of Westwood.” As someone who spent the early years of his career working in sports marketing, I thought about Wooden’s NCAA-record 10 national championships while coaching the legendary UCLA Bruins of Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and Bill Walton and many others. I also remembered the man’s great humility and sense of humor, as well as his uncanny ability to get the best out of his players without overtly trying to put his ego or his own highly-respected reputation ahead of the game, his team or his employer (UCLA). Continue reading →
It’s Monday morning. You grab your coffee, sit down at your desk and flip through a few articles before you dive into the tasks ahead. As you skim your New York Times, your Wall Street Journal, your PRDaily, Mashable and the like, it catches your eye. The holy grail of Monday. The article you absolutely, positively have to tweet.
You login to your management console and along the way the phone rings, emails multiply, crises erupt and your Monday morning is gone before you know. And the article remains untweeted. You call it quits and hope for a better Tuesday, one where you can tweet that beloved article that you are certain your followers will love. Continue reading →