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4 Experts on the Future of ‘Corporate Journalism’ and Sponsored Content

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One of this week’s most interesting stories came via David Carr of The New York Times. In “Journalism, Independent or Not,” he addressed the rise of brands or corporations that want to make their own news, be it through sponsored content written by someone else or “outlets” created and managed by the companies themselves.

In this case, the site was created by Verizon and its advertising agency — but Chevron recently received a bit of heat for doing the same sort of thing.

As the journalistic discipline continues to struggle, more and more businesses are attempting to control or, at least, contribute to the larger conversation by creating their own stories. And many PR firms have launched content creation shops to better serve such clients (Edelman’s Creative Newsroom is a good example).

But how can these companies create real value by achieving a balance between paid promotional materials and real, substantive news?

We asked four industry experts for their takes on the trend.

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B2B Clients to Firms: ‘Stop Marketing to Me!’

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A recent guest post on this blog concerned the fact that B2B marketing often lacks “emotional appeal.

Emotion in B2B marketing, you ask? That’s unpossible!

It’s true, though: a recent survey performed by The Economist and Peppercomm found that business audiences want something a little more “substantial” from the brands they know. And, as the graphic below shows us, there’s a serious disconnect between marketers and the people they’re trying to reach.

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Despite this fact, the vast majority (93 percent) of marketers plan on sending more content to executives next year.

It’s time to rethink that relationship. We asked Ted Birkhahn, president and partner at Peppercomm, for his take on the survey results.

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Kung Fu Panda: Google Quietly Released Another Content Killer Update

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PR professionals that belong to integrated agencies, listen up! You hear that? It was a big Google update that whizzed right by you.

Less than four months after we spoke to Prezly’s Gijs Nelissen about learning Panda 4.0, the dudes in Mountain View switched things up on us again. And it’s important that we all stay up on these updates.

Did you know that, depending on the region or the website, this update affected about 3%-5% of all search queries? Was your client’s blog blasted? How about their website? Do you know what “thin content” is, and are you guilty of promoting it?

Those answers after the jump [cue scary laughter]…

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Bulldog Reporter Puts the ‘Daily Dog’ Down After Nine Years

Bulldog ReporterBad news for the PR community as we mourn the loss of a legend: the Bulldog Reporter. 

On its own blog (supplemented by a thorough post about the PR news industry overall by Jack O’Dwyer), Bulldog Reporter Publisher Jim Sinkinson announced that “the brand’s nine-year-old online trade journal, the Daily ’Dog, will cease publication with its September 12 issue”. A further release this week indicated that the entire organization would cease operations.

Founded in 1979, the Bulldog Reporter has been a mainstay for good industry information, agency news, and stories that affect public relations professionals. But the current state of affairs in media — much less, niche outlets in PR — have forced this brand to “evolve.”

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Q&A: What’s the Secret Sauce Behind Successful Content Marketing?

Content Marketing

One thing we can all agree on in the contentious world of content marketing: it’s important and it’s incredibly hard to predict.

We spoke with Skip Besthoff, CEO of content analytics software company InboundWriter, to learn more.

He tells us that it’s quite simple, really: as much as we’d like to think it’s all about the quality of the writing, topics and placement can determine whether a given piece will be successful ahead of time with a remarkable degree of accuracy.

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Is Sponsored Content Really More ‘Transparent’ Than PR?

To be honest with you, readers, many conversations about “content” alternately lull us to sleep and make us want to tear our hair out. Like most in the media, we have mixed feelings about the move toward a universal adoption of sponsored stories as a source of revenue for news outlets.

We have friends in the journalistic community who now write such stories for clients. They tell us that they see their role as supporting the work performed by their employer’s editorial team while managing to create content aligned with causes they support. (This is an ideal scenario, really.)

Still, we’ve noticed several people this week debating whether sponsored material is somehow preferable to “traditional” stories that involve a bigger role for PR. One anonymous “native” journalist interview by Digiday even went so far as to ask how PR-driven stories are “any different from native advertising, at the end of the day.”

The question begs for an answer.

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The 25 (Other) PR Blogs You Should Bookmark Today

BlogHere at PRNewser, we (that’s this team right here) believe we have a sweet blog full of flack-y posts focusing on the PR perspectives behind current events.

We have a firm commitment to sharing stories and objectives along with a light dose of snark every now and then. That’s what got us thinking about other like-minded blogs that feature stories from across this sometimes-great industry of ours. And while this isn’t another edition of “5 Things,” it is a premium listicle.

Here are 25 (other) blogs all PR pros should bookmark.

They are listed in no particular order, but they do have a place in our folders. They should be in yours too.

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14 Words and Phrases PR Pros Need to Stop Using

word-or-phrase-people-should-not-use-in-2014We have discussed catchphrases and buzzwords that should be erased from memory immediately. They are the worst, and used so much that they have become the replacement of “um,” “uh,” and “you know what I’m sayin’?”

No! No, we don’t.

To add to that prestigious list are real words (except one seen below) that have been used in popular settings like new business pitches, client kickoff meetings, and media interviews. Yes, way.

Although we did this in June, which revolved around the word misappropriated term “homophobia,” here we go again. Please take note and spread the word. Save the industry. #PRCares.

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BAD WORDS: The Oxford Dictionary ‘Mansplains’ Our New Lexicon

OEDMost logophiles and word nerds cherish their local dictionary. Typically ensconced in a warm light, these go-to resources hold a place somewhere among any collection of great works of American literature (alongside your brutally earmarked volumes of the “for dummies” series).

Thank God for Noah Webster’s fascination for etymology at the turn of the 19th century!

However, that wasn’t good enough for the Brits. So, in 1857, the Philological Society of London decided “that existing English language dictionaries were incomplete and deficient, and called for a complete re-examination of the language from Anglo-Saxon times onward.”

As of today, that austere compilation of the Queen’s English known as the Oxford English Dictionary is officially the worst compendium of any language in the history of ever.

Here’s why…

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5 Pitfalls to Avoid While Newsjacking

waffle-house-belgium-twitterAnyone remember this famous tweet? It happened during Team USA’s run in the World Cup. As you can tell, Waffle House got a little notoriety from that soccer success as well. This act of genius, according to a term coined by the great David Meerman Scott, falls into the “Newsjacking” category.

It has become a social media phenomenon that brands and people alike try to leverage for their benefit…with varying degrees of success.

To summarize, newsjacking is seeing a runaway story or a widely followed trend, riding on its coat-tails in the name of ‘brand awareness,’ and subtly exploiting that story or trend hoping to score exposure. It’s like photobombing an online conversation, and it works well if done properly. Then again, if it doesn’t, your brand will suffer.

Here is the latest 5 things list for your edification…

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