Posts Tagged 'digital PR'

Exploring the Evolving World of Media, Technology and PR

Alternately as publicists, communications strategists, social media marketers, and general media advocates—in other words, as Public Relations professionals—we’re highly interested in the evolving world of new media, technology, and new methods and distribution channels for reporting. We understand that these developments are an integral part of what we do, and we’re pleased to be actively involved in some of these spaces. In the past few months we spent time away to examine more closely what’s happening in the fields of journalism, media, technology, and therefore public relations. We’re excited to post our first findings here.

Capping our activities, we participated in Illinois Humanities People-Powered Publishing Conference, subtitled “Innovation, Community, and the Future of Journalism.” As it turned out, this conference gave us a national picture of what’s happening in these areas.

A Changing Sense of Audience

To begin with, perhaps in the future, the whole concept of “audience” will change, or even diminish. Hearken, the company behind its namesake community engagement platform for news organizations, describes the audience as all of us, and the relationships we share with others.

audience-silhouette-black-large-panoramic-view-35594276

 

By this view, the “audience” isn’t consumers, or for PR purposes “publics,” sitting out there waiting to engage with us and what we do; the “audience” is our network of friends, associates and even strangers who we interact and engage with in some way on an ongoing basis. Think of it—as a practicing or aspiring journalist, PR person, social marketer, content developer or thought leader, you view yourself as an integral part of whatever community you’re looking to engage with, and not separate from it. Otherwise, you’re missing the point.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

When you’re in almost any business, especially media, PR, journalism and social networking, how we share information and receive feedback is vitally important. There’s a lot of study, development and, in some cases hand-wringing, going on related to how best to share, then receive and process feedback. In the real media world of today, much of that receiving feedback focuses on comments—how to receive them, what to make of them, and how best, or even whether, to respond them. Here’s a peak at how much actual science is going into how individuals are managing daily, or should be managing, such interactions as comments.

____________________________________________________

Are you thinking about two-way conversation and feedback? Important questions:

1) whether comments are allowed;

2) what are the rules/guidelines for commenting and how are they customer-engagementcommunicated or monitored;
3) are comments curated or moderated, and who’s assigned those duties;
4) when we solicit feedback, especially in social media, are we too limited in our range of choices (e.g., like, share, comment, etc.)

_________________________________________________

While we’ve always agreed that it’s not the best judgment to assign digital and social media curation to an intern, as many do, we wondered how much actual forethought organizations are giving to addressing crucial questions like those above, directly tied to audience engagement. It was also exciting to see that one group, the Engaging News Project makes the case for and offers additional feedback tools such as downloadable buttons for Respect, Important, Recommend, etc., for posted content.

Of course, your individual goals, objectives, organizational culture and policies, should guide answers to some of these questions. However, it was great for us as consultants and counsel to re-examine some of these questions to make sure we consider a wider array of options in making recommendations to clients.

Re-Emergence of Civic Journalism

What’s old is new again! Remember back in the 1990s (for those of you old enough to recall) the trend in journalism toward more participatory, collaborative reporting between journalists and community members toward what was considered the greater good. It was called civic journalism, and though the trend fell out of vogue, it never died in some places. With the further decentralizing of the news media, and news reporting capabilities now made possible widely via mobile, social and digital media, there’s a renewed push for more collaborative journalism between news reporters and community members. Be on the watch again for the terms civic journalism and “engaged journalism,” even “public journalism”—all of which speak to what the Democracy Fund, one of the organizations spearheading this media transition, describes as “transforming the relationship between news consumers and news producers.” (Overholser, Democracy Project)

cropped-impact-of-social-media1

Some of the other organizations actively promoting more open and collaborative efforts include The Pew Center for Civic Journalism, which describes itself as “an incubator for civic journalism experiments that enable news organizations  to create and refine better ways of reporting the news to re-engage people in public life”; the Coral Project, dedicated to creating open source tools to further empower news content developers of all sizes; and university-based research centers such as the Engaging News Project, at University of Texas/Austin, mentioned above.

In addition to all of these, there are a number of working models and examples of collaborations between media and community organizations aimed at diversifying news gathering and news content. At People-Powered Publishing, several of those featured included experiments in Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia and Kansas City, to name a few.

Technology

More specifically on the technology front, Mozilla OpenNews, enables peer-to-peer networking and problem-solving by techs, journalists and digital content producers to “help journalism thrive on the open web.” It’s an example of the kind of high-stakes networking, research and development, and collaboration taking place to maximize and support technological developments in the news business.

At behooves all PR pros to at least be aware of these initiatives, and to perhaps look for ways to participate and engage on behalf of their organizations or clients. The news business is changing radically right before our very eyes. It’s important for public relations professionals to be on the cusp of those changes.

Reframing Issues for Public Policy in the Digital Age

We’re back! … from taking time away to do a deep dive into Tech PR. (We’ll be writing more about that in upcoming posts.) But in the meantime we stumbled upon this article on reframing issues in the digital age, which should be required reading for people who work in nonprofits. We work principally with nonprofits, and we love them and the causes they represent. The world’s a better place because they do what they do–but, for many, there’s so much room to do more, and do it better! The PR Doctor can’t reach everyone, so in the best spirit of aiding good causes and intentions everywhere, we’re sharing this post from Nonprofit Quarterly. And if you reside strictly in the commercial world and think nonprofit’s not your “thing,” be advised, there’s lots of good information here about shaping public opinion on just about anything. Enjoy!

  

“One of a social advocate’s most critical acts is to frame an issue. In framing, a communicator uses language, metaphor, and other means to bring the community into the issue in a particular way. So, for instance, tobacco control advocates reframed tobacco from a “personal vice” narrative, in which the public discourse centered around individual choice and behavior, to a “defective product” narrative, in which the role of corporate malfeasance and the need for protective regulations became clear. Reframing an issue is hard work, as frames are socially shared and persist over time; but it is worth it, because public opinion and policy preferences are frame dependent. The stories nonprofit communicators tell have the power to make the public more or less supportive of positive changes” … yet

“Too often, nonprofits have mistaken self-promotion and “click bait” as meaningful contributions to the public conversation on complex issues. “Clicks,” “views,” and “likes” only mean so much if the story they carry isn’t helping people to understand the causes of and solutions to complex social issues. More and more, organizations tackling tough social justice issues are recognizing that not just participating in but also changing the conversation is essential to achieving and sustaining meaningful impact.”  Read more.

Getting “Social”: A Snapshot of CEOs Using Social Media

Our readers no doubt know that we’re a big fan of  CEO-blogging. There’s virtually no reason not to, and there are many, many ways to work around the possible constraints. To make the point about CEOs generating content via blogs and other forms of social media, here’s a relevant reblog from Steve Tappin, Guru and Founder of World Of CEOs, via LinkedIn and his WorldOfCEOs social-mediawebsite.

In this post, Tappin cites [and ranks] the many big execs who are now active on social media [not just blogs] and creating digital content. It’s very insightful and underscores our belief that CEO-posting is relevant and useful in creating an overall company culture, but also in influencing the social climate in which businesses operate.

The graphic below shows a bit of what Tappin and his World of CEOs has found. We’ve copied the top three CEOs listed: Richard Branson, Marissa Mayer and Jeff Klein, but you can view the entire list by following the link at the end.

 

World of CEOS World of CEOs 2 World of CEOs3

Here’s the link to Tappin’s full top 60 list of CEOs using social media:

http://linkd.in/1kiLZK4

And, if you’re interested in more on this topic, below is a link to a nice series of articles from Forbes on corporate marketing on social media. We’ve started with the summary of the 10-part series, from which you can link to each of the 10 articles.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviatemin/2011/08/17/strategy-the-one-do-amidst-the-donts-wrapping-up-the-10-donts-of-corporate-social-media-series/

Check out all of the above, and share this info with your top exec! It’s great for inspiration and as a guide for “how-to.”

Think you’re a thought leader? You’re probably wrong… but here are 3 ways to become one

As our readers know, we write regularly about public relations strategies and tactics, corporate social responsibility (CSR), marketing and customer service, storytelling, etc. Another topic that sparks our interest is thought leadership. Below we reblog an article on what makes a thought leader. As far as we’re concerned, we couldn’t have said it better. If you like the post, or have something else to say about thought leadership, let us know in the comments below.

Financial Post | Business

Thought leadership. A term bandied about daily by public relations people trying to build the reputation of their CEO. But most people talking about thought leadership have no clue what it means. And most content labelled as “thought leadership” is actually missing the elements of both “thought” and “leadership”.

That’s a shame, because what Canadian businesses desperately need right now are a few business leaders who are willing to seize the conch, demonstrate leadership, and challenge government and industry alike in a public and personal way.  Instead, Canadian leaders are notably absent from the international stage. January’s meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos is a perfect example. Of the more than 2,500 participants, only 36 are listed as coming from Canada. Just eight speakers for the summit are listed as Canadian, and not a single one was representing a Canadian-based business.

That means Canadian CEOs were almost…

View original post 888 more words

Digital Advertising: The New Career Path in PR?

PR v Ads

Can developing expertise in digital advertising become a promising new specialty for growth and expansion in public relations? We are among others asking this question lately because of the unfavorable changes occurring in and prognostications about the decline of advertising agencies.

Several recent reports have detailed the negative changes affecting traditional advertising [due to its reliance on major revenue from print and broadcast industries, both of which are also experiencing unprecedented convergence and decline.]

Writer Tom Foremski’s January 14, post in ZDNet about PR’s “war with advertising” gives an insightful indication of what some of these changes could mean for PR. Quoting in his article no less an authority than Richard Edelman, of Edelman public relations, from Edelman’s blog “6 A.M.,” Formeski posits:

“We believe that the combination of public relations, digital and research will allow us to build a new kind of marketing communications firm that can help clients both promote and protect their brands. … [And] to challenge the status quo, which has placed advertising agencies as the first among equals.”

Challenges to the established advertising industry

Foremski goes on to make several well-taken points:

▶    The Internet is a publishing technology that now works in both directions

▶    Computer screens are no longer one-sided; they now work on both sides

▶    Our communications and computing technologies now represent a new kind of Gutenberg press—reconfigurable on all ends of the equation.

He closes his article by noting that there’s lots of money at stake, and how the PR industry responds to this phenomenon will be interesting to note throughout 2014.

Similarly, Adweek, published a story the same day noting “Survey Predicts a Bleak Future for Agencies.

Among writer Andrew McMain’s key points:

▶    There will be continued convergence among major [ad] agency players

▶    Ad agency “survival will hinge on digital capabilities”

▶    There will be a thriving market for smaller, more agile, digital shops and for specialists

Opportunities for Public Relations

Given this unarguable reality, how can PR pros prepare and capitalize on such an unprecedented opportunity for impact and growth? Here’s our view:Digital PR Prescription

1)  Get Onboard. Make sure you’re online: publishing; monitoring and adapting to analytics; joining the conversation.

2)  Dive Deeper. Get actively involved in creating and managing digital/mobile advertising campaigns, through Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., as well as on social media through Facebook, Twitter, etc. Utilize the customization and analytical tools that are available through each platform.

3)  Upgrade Production Skills. YouTube, Vimeo, and even smartphones, and a host of other technologies and platforms, now make it incredibly easy to produce and upload video content.

4)  Collaborate. Become, or team with other pros, who are certified digital specialists. There are many options—Google Partners (formerly Google Adwords); Yahoo!; Bing Ads (formerly MSN Ad Center; SEO certification; Facebook, etc.—although you needn’t specialize in them all. There’s lots of shared knowledge and overlap that can be applied across platforms.

 PostScript

We, at MediaWorks, owner and curator of PRDoctorChicago, are trained and have practical experience in publishing, online content development, and digital campaigns. Our founder, Muriel Jackson, is certified in public relations and search engine marketing. If you need help, we’re ready to help you solve your communications issue and work through the external changes occurring in the media industries.

We welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your next project. Feel free to start the dialogue by using the comment form below.

Teaching Public Relations in a Digital World

Public Relations

As a PR professional, I recently had occasion to step back into a role I occupied almost two decades ago: that of PR teacher. Of course, I’ve taught numerous media courses since then—writing, social media marketing, speech, media studies– but none of them specifically public relations. It’s interesting because in the ’90s I actually led the public relations sequence for a California university. Nevertheless, even though I’m active in public relations every day, I hadn’t really had occasion to think about how I’d teach it today in light of all the changes in the digital and social world that have impacted the industry.

Given that opportunity after being invited by a school for a visit, I came to realize the new way I would teach public relations today. Here’s what I decided: I’d teach PR similar to how I teach social media marketing,college teacher with emphasis on content, strategy, marketing, storytelling, plus visual storytelling, and with an understanding of cross-platform integration through Web, digital, social and mobile. With that, I’d underscore these points:

  • Content, means good writing, even great writing … finding your own voice and how it connects w/ others.
  • Competent execution: You don’t have to be great, but you have to be good … you have to understand the fundamentals, and then some. Hopefully, you can always team with other specialists to make execution great.
  • Attitude for collaboration: Understand that expertise is increasingly part of a shared experience. Knowing how to work in groups and teams is a fundamental. Politico CEO Jim VandeHei said it best when he shared his internal memo on Politico’s culture:

“People who thrive here are highly talented, self-motivated doers who are brimming with passion and a desire to win. …

There is no tolerance for office drama and problem ducking. Litigate differences in person, bluntly but respectfully. If a problem arises, confront it directly and don’t waste the time and energy griping about it with others. And then move on.”

 I’d also add: Be familiar with the new “tools of the trade.” For public relations, this is no longer the caricature of an individual practitioner with simply a phone, a competent media list, and a news release or a news pitch. Today it might mean creating a Storify, Flipboard, Paperli or infographic. It’s also about understanding digital, social, and mobile platforms, how they operate, intersect, and how they can work best together in a marketing context. What does Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., offer a brand? How can they be effectively used to create and advance a product or organizational narrative? PR and marketing today is about the synergies you can create across platforms. It’s formally called “channel agnosticism—using paid, earned, owned and social to, as described by Jennifer Risi of Ogilvy Public Relations, “tell a cohesive story that resonates with discerning consumers.”

What’s your idea of the best methods and practices for teaching public relations in a digital world? Let us know.

More On Companies Daring To Do Good

Panera Restaurants

Over the span of our posts, we’ve complimented a wide array of companies that seem to be particularly attuned to marrying their business operations with what we call “smart marketing” and corporate social responsibility. Panera has been cited as one such company, on more than one occasion. Today, in his own words, Panera’s founder, Ron Shaich, talks about the principles that guide the company’s business and good deeds … Daring to Do Good

And on more than one occasion, we’ve written about the benefits of C-suite blogging as a way of “keeping it real” and staying in touch with customers and other important audiences. We’re happy to give a platform to others who share that view. Here’s a testimony from Twitter social leader & blogger, Claire Diaz-Ortiz …

“Starting a blog was one of the smartest things I ever did …”

May 07, 2013

Inspired reading, on both counts, we hope! Let us know what you think.

New from the ‘Net: All About Content Marketing, New Ideas, & Brand Journalism

Where would we be without the Internet? I know it’s an obvious statement, but do abstract background @ & internet

you ever ponder the question? Sometimes, usually following some great find online, I think, how would I ever have come across this info if not on the ‘Net? So, in that spirit of sharing, I’m here today to share some especially helpful posts from the Web.

First, if you’re in PR and have been preoccupied with—or in some cases, maybe just vaguely aware of—the terms content marketing and thought leadership, here’s two must-read articles to help you understand these trends that have taken hold in the industry. Yes, there may be a lot of good reads on the topic out there, but I think AdAge’s article, “Solving the Content Creation Conundrum,” is the one that may help get you up to speed most quickly.

Then, once you’ve got a basic understanding of content marketing as a foundation, this MinnPost story will give you some idea of how the dynamics of content marketing are playing out in the industry.

Wait, there’s more … In this digital era, how are you creating and cultivating new ideas?

A timely question, which got us to thinking after reading an article on the same topic, once again in AdAge. So what are you doing to grow good ideas? This article will share not only some nifty new tech products you may never have heard about, but will actually give you a sampling of how the “ideas” people work … you know, the ones who are radically changing your workplace & mine.

And finally, while we’ve leveled some criticisms, we also like to take a look at some of the creative things companies are doing in this new media/new marketing environment. Starbucks is often a frequent target. To that end, here’s the latest on what Starbucks is doing to keep its brand (and its innovative CEO Howard Schultz) in the public mind.

Hope you found something that makes you go, Ah!

When Did We Start Doing Only “Traditional” Public Relations?

There’s a lot of talk in the PR field about the “death of ‘traditional’ or ‘standard’ PR.” What with new technologies continually exploding on scene, we’re told that the standard tools alone simply won’t cut it. Our question is: When did we start doing only traditional PR?

Collectively, at MediaWorks we’ve been doing PR for almost 30 years. During that time, we’ve written news releases, pitched media stories, created and placed ads, planned and orchestrated special events—including scripting and stage management—updated and managed websites, tweeted and posted other social media updates, shot and uploaded videos to online sites, and even run interference  to mediate a few issues, which, left unattended, would have devolved into a crisis. In our time, we’ve even had to manage a couple of crisis situations. In the course of doing all this, we’ve never considered our work “standard” PR. What is standard PR? When did it become “standard”? When did “standard” PR become out of vogue?

Yes, we’re among the vanguard in accepting that public relations has evolved; but as advocates for our organizations or clients, we never considered, or accepted, that what we do as tactics and techniques is “standard”. The beauty of PR is that it’s as encompassing as the situation requires, or as the client will pay for.

In reality, the public relations skill set and duties have continued to multiply since the 1960s. Perhaps there are PR pros who’ve worked continuously in siloed sectors; maybe they’ve never had to produce a video, train a virtual army of frontline employees, write op-eds and talking points, or negotiate media buys. If so, I don’t believe I’ve ever met them. At MediaWorks, what we’ve always loved about the practice of PR is that it’s so boundless.

Now the world seems (forgive the expression) –atwitter– because learning how to understand, use and measure social media is becoming part of a PR pro’s required toolkit. We think the reality is that most PR folks have been expanding their repertoire of skills to solve problems for decades. Why? Because it’s the way to keep a job, or clients—and the profession demands it!


Follow prdoctorchicago on WordPress.com

prdoctorchicago

Follow me on Twitter