Need for Strategists, Not Tactical Wizards

Editor's Note: The Twitter button counter is malfunctioning on this post. I write a lot about social media. How it is important. How it is changing the communications field in fascinating—but sometimes wacky—ways. Today, I am going to step back a bit. While social media represents a massive shift in the way we communicate and inspire action, it is not a magic bullet that enables you to ignore timeless communications principles. Like any other form of … [Read more...]

Limits on Federal Public Relations Activities? Sort of…

I read with interest yesterday a post on a "wide-ranging" Senate investigation into the federal government's use of public relations services. From the Institute for Public Relations website: "Twice in the past year there have been investigations into public relations spending by the federal government. The most recent was launched in late February by Senator Claire McCaskill (D–Mo.) and Senator Rob Portman (R–Ohio), who have triggered a wide-ranging investigation … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: Precise Strategies Liberate

A sound communications strategy or creative brief is the most important part of a successful communications campaign or product. It is the firm foundation determining how your communications mix (i.e., public relations, advertising, promotion, and direct marketing) will work together to achieve your communications objectives. It is the genesis of every word you write, every product you produce, every conversation you start. All too often, however, communicators … [Read more...]

An Influencer Is an Influencer Is an Influencer?

"Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose," is a Gertrude Stein quote we've all heard reminding us things are what they are no matter what you call them. In the communications world, however, the term "influencer" doesn't necessarily mean the same thing. One communications practitioner may define and apply the influencer concept in a way worlds apart from a second practitioner, though both are trying to harness influencers to change ideas, motivate new … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Unleash the ‘Crowd’ to Create Change

A Communications 301 rule of thumb is "information alone doesn't change behavior." You might have brilliant left-brained arguments about why people should do something, but if you don't touch them emotionally, they won't be swayed. O.K., maybe they'll give you a thumbs up, but they won't act. Raising awareness is only effective in changing behavior when you have the time and resources to reach the saturation point of "everybody knows that everybody knows that … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Fearlessly Start a Blog in 8 Easy Steps

Are you ready to start blogging to get your ideas out into the social media ecosystem? Or are you hesitating, afraid to get your feet wet? Here are eight steps to get comfortable—and your content carefully calibrated to your target audience—before you take the “publish” plunge. 1. Decide what to blog about. Choosing the right niche for your blog is perhaps the most important choice you can make before you actually start blogging. Search for a way to balance what … [Read more...]

HOW TO: Remove the Snooze from Your Company Blog

Once you get past the "should my company be blogging” hurdle, you need to ask yourself "what type of blog is right for my company?" Unfortunately, many companies forget that question and take starting a blog lightly. That sets them up for a blog full of regurgitated press releases with a high snooze factor and little readers. To remove the snooze from your company blog, figure out what strategy (or strategies) will build the most rapport with your target … [Read more...]

Is Twitter King and the Press Release Obsolete?

Now that anyone can break a story through Twitter is the old-fashioned press release obsolete?  People have been predicting its demise for years, but I think the truth is much more complicated. As I wrote in my Are Blogs King and Press Releases Obsolete? post last year, today’s Web 2.0 world doesn't mean you should stop issuing press releases and replace them with announcements on your blog. Likewise, you shouldn't just start tweeting all your announcements. The … [Read more...]

Social Media & Measurement: Elusive But Not New

Microsoft Director of Corporate Communications for Citizenship Tom Murphy recently wrote a thought-provoking blog post on how social media is clearly important but not the end of public relations and marketing as we know it. "We should all embrace social media where it is useful, makes sense and has a practical use, but the baby needs to remain safely in the bath," he wrote. I am completely with him about embracing and mobilizing social media to support your … [Read more...]

Cyberbully Seeking High Google Rankings Arrested

I was glad to read in the Huffington Post today that cyberbullying is no longer helping New York eyewear merchant Vitaly Borker get top Google rankings and more business. Instead, Borker is behind bars charged with, among other crimes, fraud, interstate threats, and cyber stalking. A Manhattan judge has denied him bail. Accordingly to the New York Times, Borker intentionally created a customer experience so vile, his customers would rant about it on the Internet, … [Read more...]

Tweeted & Deleted: Dodd’s ‘Technical Mistake’

Twitter followers of retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) got a surprising tweet from him last Thursday morning. “U love torturing me w this shit.” was tweeted from the Senator's Twitter account @SenChrisDodd. Then came the tweet “From Dodd Staff – Apologies to Dodd’s followers, last tweet was not from Chris Dodd.” The first tweet has quickly deleted but not before some of his followers took screenshots and sent out comical tweets about it.  Later in the day, … [Read more...]

Video Clip of the Month: KFC Pinkwashing Parody

My November 2010 video clip of the month is an oldie but goodie. It's a parody of last spring's “Buckets for the Cure” fundraising partnership between KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The low-tech, cheaply produced parody video, by Greg and Lou, a New York City comedy duo, received 10,795 hits on YouTube as of Nov. 1, 2010. This is more than both of KFC's high-tech and presumably expensive-to-produce "Buckets for the Cure" campaign videos: KFC Employees Do the … [Read more...]

The Washington Post: A Barrier to Communication?

We're in an extraordinary moment in journalism. "Who needs newspapers when you have Twitter?" many are saying. Others predict that all media as we know it today will become social and that journalists will become storytellers reporting in "interactive" ways. Granted "interactive" reporting hasn't caught on yet, but most people today do expect interaction on social networks. That’s the “social” part of social media. Apparently, the Washington Post, however, … [Read more...]

Will Social Media Kill Traditional Public Relations?

Social media will replace traditional media as the main tool for public relations practioners within two years, according to a new survey by StevensGouldPincus, merger and management consultants to the communications industry. Today, communications consulting firms devote 30 percent of their total percentage of work to social media as opposed to traditional media. Next year, the percentage will increase to an average of 42 percent.  "If this trend persists, … [Read more...]

Mexican President Tweets Category 4 Hurricane Alert

In a sign of the (social media) times, Mexican President Felipe Calderon used Twitter this morning to warn his people that Hurricane Karl could hit Mexico as a Category 4. By mid-afternoon, his tweet had been quoted or mentioned in newspapers and radio and television stories around the world. "An alert for Hurricane Karl in the nation's central states," President Calderon's tweet said in Spanish. "[It] could convert to a Category 4. It will enter through Veracruz … [Read more...]