Tag Archives: pr

Change is in the Air

It’s an exciting time. Summer is over and the smell of Fall is in the air. It’s the perfect time to announce some exciting changes.

PR Meets Marketing is Moving

For the past 3.5 years, I’ve hosted my website on WordPress.com. While there are many benefits to keeping my blog here, I’ve decided that hosting my own website provides more flexibility with regard to plugins, themes and monetization. After today, all future posts will be on my new website as PR Meets Marketing.

Clear Focus

When I first started PR Meets Marketing, my intent was to write about the intersection of PR and marketing. This includes highlighting how PR is an integral way to drive tangible results that address marketing objectives. I’ve also written extensively about social media and virtual events/meetings.

With the new website, I plan to further explore these topics and understand how each – PR, marketing, social media and virtual events – drives business results that matter.

What Now?

I’m excited with the next stage of PR Meets Marketing and the opportunities this presents. I look forward to exploring the intersection of PR and marketing for more years to come!

Thanks To All My Readers

And finally, I want to thank everyone who’s read my blog, commented and linked to my blog. Without all your kind words, I wouldn’t have had the motivation to continue writing all these years.

So are you ready to join the journey?

  • Subscribe to the new feed here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/PRMM
  • If you prefer to receive this via email, I don’t plan to move the current list and request that you resubscribe on the website.
  • If you’ve been kind enough to link to this website, please update it here: PR Meets Marketing, http://www.prmeetsmarketing.com.

I look forward to reading your comments, feedback and questions. Thanks!

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Crisis Communication – San Bruno Fire

via flickr by achesonblog

At approximately 6:15 pm, we now know a huge gas explosion occured in San Bruno.  First, please take a moment to send positive thoughts to the residents and families of the homeowners. If you live in the Bay Area and can give blood, they are requesting O-negative (assuming any and all blood types will be welcomed) and can find locations via the Blood Centers of the Pacific website.

Like the BP oil spill, the confusion around such an explosion is understandable. What perplexed me was an on-air phone interview with a PG&E spokesperson. When the reporter inquired if the gas line was PG&E’s, the spokesperson purposely didn’t answer the question.

Since crisis communications on this level isn’t my core expertise, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on how one would handle a situation like this.  Here are my initial thoughts:

1. Express Sympathy: The spokesperson did communicate that the company’s thoughts were with the families of this tragedy. This was a good sign, demonstrating the company’s empathy with the victims.

2. Answer the Questions: I recognize that PG&E may face legal action once everything is sorted out over the next few days. But by not answering a direct question regarding “was this a PG&E gas line?”, PG&E seemed to be more concerned about evading responsibility. Maybe a better response would have been “At this time, our concern is with the families and we are working with the authorities to ensure that the immediate danger has passed.”

Update (9/9/10, 10:19 pm): Per an email sent to news outlet (source: CBS 5 News), PG&E acknowledges that the gas pipeline was the company’s and plans to take full responsibility if it’s found to be the company’s fault. Nothing on PG&E’s website at this time.

3. Provide Valuable Information: In a 24/7 news cycle, news outlets are seeking to get information out as quickly as possible and companies are seeking to minimize potential risk. With that said, the interview seemed to be premature. The spokesperson didn’t seem well-prepared and didn’t provide tangible information. Rather, there was (still is) an opportunity for PG&E to discuss the steps they are taking to bring power back to the area.

4. Give Back to the Community: There is a great need for the families displaced by this crisis. While there needs to be a balance, PG&E can demonstrate its corporate care by donating to shelters, relief organizations, and supporting a blood drive amongst employees.

Again, thoughts are with the families and victims.

Update (9/10/10): Last night, the President of PG&E did a press conference around 11:30 pm at night. Unlike the spokesperson earlier, the president was prepped and repeated three messages: 1) ongoing investigation so cannot speculate, 2) working to make the area safe and 3) thoughts are with the families and if this is PG&E’s responsibility, they will “make it right”. While short on detail, these statements addressed my points above.

Guest Post – Go Virtual for your Next Press Event

Dennis Shiao I asked my former colleague, Dennis Shiao, to share his insights on how virtual events can augment PR and marketing. Briefly, Dennis is an evangelist, strategist and practitioner of virtual events. Dennis provides strategic consulting to clients on their virtual events and has managed virtual event campaigns for Cisco, HP, Oracle and Microsoft, among others. Dennis blogs about virtual events and virtual worlds at “It’s All Virtual and is a frequent author and speaker. Dennis can be found on Twitter at @dshiao.

Virtual events are seeing strong adoption. It all started with the virtual trade show, a 2.5D representation of a physical trade show, complete with a lobby, auditorium, exhibit hall, networking lounge and more. A number of formats soon followed, including the virtual career fair, virtual sales meeting, virtual product launch and virtual partner summit. In addition, we’re now seeing businesses leverage virtual platforms for “corporate university” or e-Learning.

It will be exciting to see the new and innovative formats that marketers, publishers, event managers and business owners develop in 2010 and beyond. I have a format that is well suited for virtual: the press event.

In many ways, the benefits of a virtual press event are the same as a virtual trade show. The host, along with attendees, presenters, etc. participate via the web and save on travel costs, lodging costs, shipping costs and “out of office time.” In addition, all activities within the environment are tracked. And, the environment can remain available long after the live “event” concludes.

Additional benefits of producing your press event virtually:

Global Reach

In the past, press events were planned in “road show” fashion, in which you visited major cities that had the highest concentration of your target media publications. With virtual, you can host a single event and capture a global audience. Alternatively, you can leverage a single virtual platform and stage live events based on regional timezones, to target business hours in North America, then EMEA, then Asia Pac. Your PR efforts can now have a wider reach at a lower cost.

Convenient Access to Your Executives

In a physical setting, it can be a logistical challenge to schedule and coordinate access from press members to your executive team. With virtual, executives can interact with larger audiences more efficiently. For instance, you might place your CMO in a moderated chat room and take questions from an audience of 1,500. Imagine doing that in a physical setting!

Invite Customers and Prospects

Increase your ROI by also inviting customers and prospects to the event. Do your require press credentials to gain access to certain materials? No problem. Virtual event platforms provide role-based access, which means that an access profile can be applied to your customers and prospects that are different from press members. Any PR that you do affects your customers, too, so include them when sharing the news.

Use Activity Paths to Follow Up Appropriately

Whether customer, prospect or press member, study activity paths in the virtual event to determine effective follow-up plans. Did a reporter visit your booth ten times, then ask numerous questions in the group chat area? Schedule a one-on-one conference call with your Senior Product Manager, to ensure that the reporter has all the info she needs. Similarly, follow up with prospects to move them further along in the sales cycle.

Conclusion

I believe virtual events can be the definition of “PR meets Marketing”. As PR and Marketing look to Web 2.0 to broaden reach and engagement, consider virtual events as one more tool in your arsenal.

Interested in being a guest author? Send me an email with your proposed topic and how it relates to PR Meets Marketing. Self-promotional content will not be considered.

Did Mashable Break Twitter Button Embargo?

I just noticed a couple of tweets mentioning that Twitter will be announcing a Twitter button, most likely tomorrow. What I found interesting is not the news, but the image that accompanied the articles. The images clearly state (the above is one of several in the article):

Twitter Confidential – subject to NDA

This leads me to ask, did Mashable break an embargo or  did someone inadvertantly send the image without obtaining one first? If the former, how does this impact how PR professionals approach blogs as part of a communications plan?

With TechCrunch publicly stated that they will no longer honor embargos, PR professionals have to be more vigilant of the policies and, in some way, integrity of the outlet and reporter/bloggers you’re contacting. 

I don’t advocate getting every reporter to sign a multi-doc NDA, but by the same token, I don’t think a verbal NDA may suffice anymore. What do you think?

Now, if I were more cynical, maybe Twitter meant to have this leaked =) Mashable, would love to hear from you on this.

Networking Newbie Uses Unique Approach to Pursue Dream Job

In mid-July, I received an email from Mia Salituro requesting an email interview which is posted here. After reviewing Mia’s background, I was intrigued by her Networking Newbie blog and aspiration to find a position with Ogilvy & Mather (Note: My first PR job was with O&M Taiwan as a translator!).  Part of Mia’s approach is to interview one person per day (more like a week I believe) and leverage this expanding network to make inroads into the company.

I asked Mia to share her thoughts and the reaction to her unique approach to date. Personally, I think she’ll find a position – what do you think? What have you done to pursue your dream job?

1) Why did you start Networking Newbie?
 
I began networking as an international model and since then have learned that networking is one of the most beneficial tools we have to fueling our success. I may be in the small city of Kenosha, WI in the physical, however the Internet allows me to network with business professionals and entrepreneurs worldwide. One day I am interviewing an SEO expert from India, the next I am speaking with the CEO of an advertising company in Dubai. Networking Newbie has allowed me to maximize my summer holiday and use it to connect with inspiring business professionals and entrepreneurs worldwide.
 
2 ) You’ve expressed an interest to work for Ogilvy. How is Networking Newbie helping you to achieve this?
 
I aspire to work in PR for Ogilvy. Already, those in my network have been reaching out offering to help me pursue this dream. On July 6, the day of my first interview post, I e-mailed Lori Bizzoco, a 15-year PR veteran turned writer (www.loribizz.com) who I intern for and asked her if she had any questions to ask editor Isobella Jade and directed her to my site. Lori replied back, ” I don’t have any questions for Isobella, but I have one for you. It says on your site that your dream is to work for Ogilvy? Is that true? Given my PR background, I would be happy to help you make some connections. One thing I know, is that you are on the right path to making your dreams come true.” I think that this quote speaks for itself.
 
In addition, I plan to contact the managing directors of Ogilvy Shanghai and Ogilvy Hong Kong to invite them for an interview on Networking Newbie.
 
3) Who do you contact and why?
 
I contact those who I feel will not only serve as inspiration to me, but also to my readers. I am personally interested in PR,advertising, marketing etc., however I think that anyone can admire an entrepreneur regardless of their industry. For example, I interviewed Justin Beck, CEO of PerBlue, software startup in Madison. I am not particularly interested in software however Justin’s story is truly inspirational. He was 21 when he became the CEO of PerBlue . Lately, I have been sending interview invites to young entrepreneurs such as Justin Beck. My most recent young entrepreneur interview features Ryan Meinzer, CEO of PlaySay, foreign language learning program. I’ve also interviewed Jason Pereira who at the age of 19 has already owned an offline business in Bangalore and an online business in Dubai.These are the type of people that we should model ourselves after.
 
4) What has the response been to those you’ve reached out to?
 
Initially, I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. Perhaps those whom I looked up to were much too busy to answer my questions. I am pleased to say that those whom I have contacted have been more than happy to participate. Many have even offered me advice, beyond my interview questions. I have received loads of encouragement. Receiving advice from such inspiring individuals is worth every bit of the work I put into Networking Newbie. It is very refreshing to see such busy people take time out of their hectic schedule to answer my questions. It is greatly appreciated.

Social Marketing Strategy 101: Are you ready?

Previously, I highlighted how I used social media. After reading recent posts by Dave Fleet and Social Media Explorer regarding the social media marketing ecosystem and measurement respectively, I wanted to expand upon my thoughts about how to take social marketing to the next level.

One challenge for many marketers isn’t how to get started, rather it’s how to delegate your time to make the most out of your social marketing. This series of posts will look at putting a social marketing strategy together. And where relevant, I’ll add my thoughts in terms of how PR can leverage this information for their strategies as well.

While many may start strong with social media, these efforts may slowly stop without fully evaluating if you’re ready to embark on a social marketing strategy. Here are six questions to ask yourself before starting:

  • Are your executives supporting you? While social marketing is being adopted by corporations, the question is whether your executives understand the value of social marketing to the business. Since results may not be immediate, you’ll want one executive sponsor who can advocate for the program and highlight the long-term benefits.
  • What are your objectives? The tendency is to start setting up pages and accounts before fully understanding what your objectives are. Take a step back and outline what your goals are before setting up accounts.
  • Where is your audience? Along with your objectives, evaluate where your audience congregates. Jeremiah Owyang of Web Strategist Blog calls this “fish where the fish are.”
  • Do you have something to say? Getting started is easy. Maintaining the momentum is difficult. Do you and your company have something to say, consistently? If not, then maybe starting a blog isn’t the best venue for you but maybe slideshare.net where you can post occasional presentations and white papers.
  • How much time do you have to dedicate to this? According to Exhibitor Media Group, 30% of marketing professionals spend 6+ hours on social marketing a week, with 10% spending 21+ hours. Do you have the time to monitor, create content and track metrics for your programs?
  • Who’s doing the work? Ok, you’ve identified someone who has the time, but who is that person? Social marketing is an extension of your corporate brand. You need to have the right individuals in place to evangelize and steward your brand.

Conclusion

By answering the above six questions, you can develop the right approach that fits your company and time. What other questions should one ask before pursuing a social marketing program?

PR Freelancers versus PR Agencies: Five Points to Consider

Four years ago this month, I left the agency side to move in-house. During this time, I’ve had the opportunity to work with different types of agencies, do an agency search and consider the value of working with a PR freelancer. If you decide to bring in outside PR help, here are five points to consider:

Administration

The general rule of thumb is that 10% of any retainer goes toward administration. On this point, I do favor opting for a PR freelancer over an agency, especially if you have a smaller budget. Working closely with a contractor streamlines the process, focusing more on the tangible PR work versus administrative activities such as detailed weekly reports, activity reports, etc.

More Arms and Legs

Let’s be frank, the idea of bringing in outside PR is to provide more arms and legs to get the work done and deliver results. This will vary on your budget and PR objectives. A PR agency has a slight edge as the agency can grow with your PR needs. A PR contractor will be limited by the number of hours in her work week.

Transparency

Along with administration, another aspect is transparency on what work is being done for your monthly retainer and by whom. Like administration, I believe a PR contractor has the edge over an agency. A contractor’s work is very evident based on the results provided and daily interactions. With a PR agency, it can be difficult to know who is truly pitching your business to the media – the seasoned account manager or the fresh-on-the-job account coordinator. Believe me, when a reporter forwards you an obvious mass pitch sent from the AC, you start wondering about the “transparency” that an agency provides.

International Coverage

Our world is more economically intertwined that it’s ever been. At some point, so will/may your business. Being able to reach global media, understand local customs and cultures, and communicate your messages accurately will be difficult with a PR contractor – no matter how well connected she may be. A PR agency with a global network or branches will provide an advantage for expanding your business and messages globally.

Experience & Strategic Counsel

On this one, I believe an experienced PR contractor and good agency will be on pare with one another. My one beef is the use of “name dropping” as a sign of experience. No – that’s a sign that you are a good networker but not necessarily a good PR person. The things I look for are:

  • Chemistry: Does the person/team have a good rapport with you?
  • Results to date: What results have they delivered in the past and for what type of client? Getting cover stories for a Fortune 100 does not apply to a start-up company.
  • Referrals: Who is willing to vouch for the person? Ask for referrals to support what is being said in the room
  • Does the Tail know what the Head’s doing? This one mainly refers to PR agencies. Oftentimes (and this has happened to me), a Director/VP and above will promise something to the client that falls to the team to implement. Or there is too divergent of thinking between the “team” handling the day-to-day and the “executive” counsel that parachutes in.
  • Domain Expertise: This is tough one for me. I lean towards selecting someone/agency that really knows PR over domain expertise. Why? If you know how to speak with reporters and position a company, this transcends industries. The one exception that I can consider is if you MUST launch immediately; thereby requiring instant access to the reporters/influencers in your space.

Conclusions

In the end, selecting a PR contractor or agency depends on your objectives, budget constraints, size of company and working style. Pease let me know if there are any other points to consider in the comments.

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PR Contractor versus PR Agency: 5 Points to Help You Decide by @csalomonlee: http://bit.ly/8GDGSJ #marketing #pr