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Advocacy

‘Influence’ vs. ‘Expertise’: Which Is More Valuable?

influence

Everyone in contemporary PR knows that online “influencers” can, in some cases, be more powerful than any journalist or pop star in terms of delivering a client’s message — especially if the audience that client wants to reach is between 13 and 25 years of age.

While this fact has been obvious to some for quite a while, the recent lawsuit filed against beauty influencer Michelle Phan and a Variety survey which found that the five best-known celebs among American teens happen to be YouTube stars confirmed it for everyone else.

Yet, as we move forward, we will pay more attention to the difference between two words in the brand advocacy space: influence and expertise.

How are these terms different in meaning and application? We talked to Robb Henshaw, headof comms at content platform provider inPowered, for more insights.

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Mediabistro Course

Social Media 101

Social Media 101Get hands-on social media training in our online boot camp, Social Media 101! Starting September 4, social media and marketing experts will help you determine the social media sites that matter most to you, based on your personal and professional goals. Register now! 

The ALS ‘Ice Bucket’ Challenge: When Shtick Becomes a #PRWin for Charity

Lou Gehrig Speech

It is called Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and before the New York Yankees of the 1930s, no one really knew about this tragic disease that attacks the neurons in your brain that connect to the spinal cord. Even the top ALS advocacy group will tell you that:

ALS was first found in 1869 by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Lou Gehrig brought national and international attention to the disease.

When the ‘Iron Horse’ got afflicted with the disease, ended his historic career in baseball, and gave what is easily one of the top three speeches of all time, ALS got a much-needed nickname — “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

The foundation got its own sort of kickstarter campaign as well. Awareness went up. Involvement went up. And donations went up. And now, decades later, we have people dunking themselves in ice water. To wit, I say, “Whatever works.”

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Downton Abbey’s Classy, Charitable Response to ‘Water Bottle-Gate’

By now, you’ve probably seen the promotional image for Downton Abbey that’s had fans, history purists, and the internet in general in a multi-day frenzy, but in case you haven’t, here it is — out-of-place plastic water bottle and all:

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In response to the media madness, the cast of the hit show has released another image, and this one is chock-full of water bottles. Only this time, their presence is intentional, and intended to refocus the public’s attention on a worthy issue.

A spokesperson for British TV network ITV explained, “After seeing the reaction the picture caused earlier this week, the cast and crew came up with the idea of turning some of this attention towards an issue around water that really matters. They hope that by posing for this picture they will be able to raise awareness and amplify the work of international charity – WaterAid.”

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WaterAid is a charitable organization that has spent decades bringing water, sanitation and hygiene education to where it’s needed most.

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid, said: Read more

How Zelda Williams Will Change Twitter’s Troll Policy

A while back, we offered a ’5 Things‘ post about “How to exterminate Internet trolls.” Apparently, some of you didn’t get the memo because something really (expletive) awful happened to the grieving Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin Williams.

The tweet says it all. Thousands of others chimed in because those two aforementioned stains on humanity were sending Zelda pics of … her deceased father. Of course the photos were fake, but the claims were bad enough.

Twitter finally got the message and let the trolls know: “We’re coming for you.

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The Art of ‘Um’ and ‘Uh’: Different Vocal Pokes for Different Media Folks

likeIf you have spent any time in PR, you know there are a fair number of media trainers. Typically, these are hacks-turned-flacks who understand how to help clients talk to the media without sounding like remedial English students.

That brings us to a lingustic affliction called Speech Disfluency.

SD involves speaking with “any of various breaks, irregularities, or non-lexical vocables that occurs within the flow of otherwise fluent speech”. You may think of stuttering or hesitating, but this definition also refers to the use of the universal word (and media no-no) “Huh.” (True story, look it up.)

We call those “vocal crutches.” And now — thanks to some deep, battle-of-the-sexes-type research, such crutches can demonstrate one’s gender you are during one of those deep throat interviews.

So, like, see it, um, after the jump…

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Is the Public Statement of Advocacy the New PR Stunt?

rainbow_targetMinneapolis-based Target hit a direct bulls-eye with an interesting blog post from Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Jodee Kozlak. In the post, she notes her retail chain had signed on to a recent federal amicus brief.

Nothing too exciting, until you see that Target now stands side-by-side with Apple, Nike, Starbucks, and Facebook in support of judges striking down bans on gay marriage in Wisconsin and Indiana.

This announcement came as a stunner to many in the press as the organization has been unclear about its stance on the subject for many years. Target executives do not talk about it, which is why many assumed that they were not supporters.

Then this blog post happened, inspiring headlines everywhere. And a few hacks and flacks of the more cynical nature were left wondering whether it was a sincere statement or a stunt.

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Why the Redskins Lost PR Points by Hiring Burson-Marsteller

redskins_facepalmFULL DISCLOSURE: I am a proud former Burson employee.

That said, the Washington Redskins lost whatever integrity they had left when they hired Burson-Marsteller yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, the hire made sense. If B-M is known for anything, it is a powerful one-two combination of public affairs and crisis communications.

Those are two things that team and its thick-headed owner sorely need.

The problem is that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder didn’t hire them to help his football team do the admirable thing. He hired B-M to help his team continue to do the wrong thing.

And there goes his credibility, swirling down the drain.

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Obama to The New York Times: ‘Legalize It? No We Can’t.’

yes we cannabisThe week began with a landmark opinion piece from The New York Times’ editorial board, which collectively asked for the federal repeal of the ban against marijuana. You can imagine it caused quite the hubbub at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

While the White House placed Press Secretary Josh Earnest on the front lines, taking its respective shots in rapid fire succession, the man in the Oval Office was silent about the whole thing…until now.

To President Obama, upholding the ban isn’t the feeling or decision of the White House, so much as it is simply following the letter of the law.

 

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The New York Times Editorial Board Says ‘Legalize It’; Munchies Ensue

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One green begets another

In what has to be the biggest sign of the inevitabililty of that marijuana legalization, The New York Times editorial board announced this weekend that ”Now is the time!”

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

That sound you hear is America dropping its collective jaw.

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Batkid Begins Trailer Brings Make-a-Wish Hero to the Big Screen

The tiny hero who launched a million* tweets is headed for the big screen.

In case you missed it (yeah right), #SFBatkid was the hashtag of the fall, scoring a whole hell of a lot of attention for sponsor Make-a-Wish, the city of San Francisco and partner-in-crime social media agency Clever Girls Collective.

Now, as revealed at Comic-Con this weekend, social media superhero Miles Scott will soon hit the big–or at least bigger–screen via Batkid Begins, a “feature-length crowdfunded documentary”; the trailer debuted online yesterday.

It’s quite a cinematic effort from “award-winning filmmaker Dana Nachman (Witch Hunt)”, who has raised “$45,500 of a $100K goal to date” in an ongoing Indiegogo campaign. This looks like another big win for both Miles and Make-a-Wish; does anyone doubt that Nachman will reach her goal?

Also: whoa there, Chris Taylor of Mashable. Don’t dive too deeply into our psyches.

One thing we know for sure: this clip will give you a more positive Monday morning buzz than the new Mockingjay trailer.

*Well, 400K tweets. But still.

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