True Believers: Should A PR Person Stand for Something?


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A respected academic posts a blog titled, “Spotlight on Ethics: Not Every Business Decision Can Be an Ethical One — So Where Do You Draw the Line?” Right off the bat he writes, “no one can go around living like Socrates, doing only what is ethical, moral and just.” I don’t know about Socrates, but if Diogenes saw or heard that line he’d grab his lantern and run.

Relax. This is not another holier-than-thou sermon on ethics. Rather, it’s a plea to stand for something more than just earning a buck, and to believe in what you do.  Continue reading

Speaking Up About Engagement Chicken


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After shying away a few offers to write a PRBC post, a recipe for chicken ironically inspired me to pipe up.  Have you heard about Engagement Chicken? According to Glamour, this chicken turns boyfriends in to fiancés, and they have four staffers (and 70+ readers) who baked the recipe and received a ring to prove it.

Now Glamour is parlaying the success of Engagement Chicken into a book of “100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know.” To promote the book, Glamour’s May issue highlights seven of these recipes that will “get you everything you want in life.” Let’s discuss the highlights: Continue reading

Stop the Silly Social Media Ownership Battles


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Much fuss has been made in various marketing, PR and advertising circles about the supposed “death” of traditional media and marketing. They were to have become a sort of vestigal organ of the new-wave social and digital marketing scene. 

As reality would have it, things haven’t quite worked out that way. Whether it’s continuing reports of traditional media – such as newspapers and TV – feeding much of the content we consume via social media, or collaborative efforts on behalf of competing marketers to increase their power, today’s marketing scene is more about the vast opportunities now available because of digital opening new doors, rather than who is winning which battles and how.

At least, that’s how it should be. Continue reading

Do you have FOMO?


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Sounds like a disease, right? Oh, it is. FOMO is the “fear of missing out,” as the New York Times cleverly reported this past week. The cause: Facebook – and other social networks that can’t notify you enough of what your friends are doing.

The availability and accessibility of content has caused an uproar “socially”; many people think their life is boring when comparing it to other individuals’ posts – whether it be an update, photo, or video of a concert, new baby, etc. I, for one, get rather envious when I see a particular “friend” post updates of his trips to Costa Rica to swim in the hot springs, or the fact that he sold not one but two houses in a couple hours as a part-time realtor on top of his full-time gig. It’s these types of posts that make people nauseated. Continue reading

PRBC Calls Malarkey


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Last week, PR Daily had a post titled “Advertising vs. PR: How to Measure the Value of Editorial Coverage.” One of the quotes from the post said:

“When assessing the monetary value of publicity, many public relations professionals use a simple equation to put a dollar value on a specific placement. This value is determined by first knowing the advertising value.”

This was just one of the points that we had an issue with while reading.

When it comes to getting publicity, everything does not have a monetary value. Most importantly, you attempt to garner exposure and positive publicity for your client’s company or product.  The value in having a front page story or feature story on a client goes way beyond money.  As a matter of fact, in my experience, I have never put a dollar figure on any potential placements.

In all honesty, putting a monetary value on any placement is a mistake. It gives a false sense of “victory.” Does paying for a 30-second spot in prime time mean you’ll be a success? No way.  Sure, you’ll get eyes on the company or product, but it by no means guarantees anything. Continue reading

Is Your Web Content a Marketing Liability?


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Distracted by all the social media buzz, it’s easy for a company to lose sight of the fact that their website remains the mother ship of brand expression and commerce. The standard marketing approach – particularly among B2B firms – is to create a brochureware-esque “Who We Are / What We Do / Why You Should Select Us” web presence, which forever serves as a handy repository for press releases, case studies, white papers and other expressions of thought leadership. For many firms, “build it once & fill it with stuff” is considered effective website management.

What often happens – soon after LAUNCH COMPANY WEBSITE is crossed off the corporate to-do list – is that companies don’t apply the same standards of excellence or levels of scrutiny to the content generated post-launch that were applied during development of the website’s original core content. For a host of political and practical reasons, inappropriate and ineffective web content gets posted; sorely outdated content is granted lifetime tenure; and assorted layers of information…in WORD documents, PDFs, YouTube videos, podcasts, webinars…all obscure the company’s core messages and brand positioning goals.  With apologies to poet Robert Browning, when it comes to website content, less is absolutely more.

If the brand police were to issue citations for website content-related abuse, some of the most common violations might include: Continue reading

Video Book Review: Social Media ROI


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The title of Olivier Blanchard‘s Social Media ROI is a bit misleading. While it does talk about ROI in some areas, the book is a good roadmap for companies and practitioners looking to institutionalizing social media within their company. Continue reading

Breaking Up is Hard to Do…


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It happens in every job, usually in January and June, sometimes at random times throughout the year, but it always happens. I mentioned in my last post that it’s hard not to develop a friendship with coworkers and sometimes it’s better that way because all good things come to an end. You know what I’m talking about, the departing of a coworker at your company.

Whether it’s your partner in crime, your mentor, or someone you absolutely hated and wanted to push them out the door, there is now a void in the atmosphere every day. That last two weeks with them can be an emotional time, especially if you have worked with someone for more than a year or they were your neighbor. Do you talk about it? Do you take offense to it? How is one supposed to cope with this? Continue reading

The Lost Art of Humility in PR


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Ask yourself this: Are you an “expert” at anything? Have you really taken the time necessary to completely master a skill, job or even just a hobby? Think long, hard and be honest. 

My guess is no.

We hear the words, “expert,” “guru,” “jedi” and “ninja” thrown around like ego-infused projectiles day in and day out in the PR and marketing sphere. To be completely honest, it drives me nuts.

Here’s why – 99% of the people, who call themselves experts or gurus are just doing it to inflate their own egos and make themselves feel good and sound more important. Continue reading

Using Twitter as a Pulse, Not a Firehose


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In case you’re still not convinced about Twitter as a research tool, Twitter’s CEO, Jacky Dorsey, recently gave some wise advice at The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Innovation event:

It’s never been easier to start a company since Twitter exists. We get this instant pulse of what’s happening around any topic.

Let’s face it: Twitter is not for everyone. Not every company or every brand should have an official Twitter handle. I think we will all be happy if our toilet brush never says hello to us in 140 characters.

One thing is pretty universally true, though. With more than 450,000 people checking it out every day, there are bound to be people talking about your product or your core consumers talking about other products they love. Continue reading