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Digital

5 Reasons Why SEO Belongs in Your PR Toolbox

Toolbox

The aphorism “A good craftsman never blames his tools” holds true most of the time unless there is a PR professional that doesn’t understand which tools are actually in his or her toolbox.

As this industry evolves, we should always be on safari to find new and exotic contrivances to place at our clients’s disposal. They do count on us breaking out those utensils to give them hits, awareness, traffic — and to justify the occasional braggadocio.

Agencies are becoming more integrated every day, yet many PR types still lack the new plug-in SEO appliance. Honestly, there’s no excuse for that — and for this week’s #5Things, here are five reasons why SEO should be in every PR’s toolbox.

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Mediabistro Course

Mobile Content Strategy

Mobile Content StrategyStarting September 24, learn how to write content for smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices! In this online course, students will learn how to publish across multiple channels and manage the workflow, optimize content for mobile devices, and  engage with their audience across screens. Register now!

How Has the Media Changed Since 9/11?

9-11-gallerySeptember 11, 2001 started off like any other day in the news. Morning shows were shutting it down for the day; assignment desk editors were changing shifts; general assignment reporters were preparing for news meetings.

And then the clock struck 8:46 a.m. eastern time. 

From that second on, we know the horrifying details and remember the chilling visuals. Everyone in the world has a “Where were you then” story etched in his/her mind forever.

One other thing changed on that day: the media itself.

For the PRNewsers out there, here are a few ways that media — the way the news is reported, disseminated, and consumed — changed thirteen years ago.

(H/T: Newseum for the collage)

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GOP Creates Video Game to Round up Supporters

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 2.50.14 PM.preview

Well, if you ever wanted to assume the role of a conservative elephant (trunk and all) and use your massive feet to stomp out job-killing taxes and misguided liberal “mudslingers,” the GOP has just the thing for you!

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign has developed a multi-level online computer game called “Mission Majority,” which is made to look like a retro 8-bit video game (Millennials love nostalgia). Players can take on the persona of an elephant named Giopi (which sounds suspiciously like “GOP’), and spend their valuable time defeating enemy “taxers” and “mudslingers,” who, when vanquished, recite particularly unfortunate audio-clips from Democrats like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Mark Pryor.

The point, of course, isn’t just to entertain the constituency, but to rack up contact information of like-minded individuals — in other words, potential voters, volunteers and donors. Hence the game requiring players to log in using an email address, Facebook or Google Plus. Read more

Can This Software Write a Better Pitch Than a PR Pro?

18gnoncgzm93xjpgPR professionals are invaluable; their ability to create a positive public image for a company stems from a detail-oriented nature, a willingness to fine-tune an approach with finesse based on past experience and the study of data, and picking up on minute cues that can help determine which publications, news sources and journalists might be most open to their message.

Crafting a successful pitch is an art form, something that can certainly never be outsourced or automated…right?

MIT graduate Dan Siegel, co-founder of Cambridge-based PR firm Spokepoint, doesn’t quite see it that way.

The company, which was founded in early 2014 as a traditional PR firm geared toward helping small startups get their names out into the world, has been using its own software program that analyzes thousands of data points to predict whether a journalist will respond positively to a specific pitch. It also allows the user to search for and contact journalists based on topics they’ve previously covered, and even tracks whether or not a pitch is successful.

Realizing the market for affordable PR services for small entrepreneurial endeavors, tiny companies that can’t afford a PR pro, and time-crunched crowdfunding campaigns, Siegel and his company made a decision – rather than just using this software to help companies write pitches, Spokepoint has made the software available directly for use by such businesses, so that they can successfully create, manage and track their own PR campaigns — no PR firm or outside pitch-writer needed.

Scared yet? Read more

Firm Exposes ‘Billion Passwords’ Breach, Peddles $120 Service to Potential Victims

hackersIn case you missed it, the New York Times reported yesterday that a Russian gang of 20-something hackers has amassed 1.2 billion username and password combinations, plus more than 500 million email addresses. This isn’t Heartbleed—it’s a heart attack.

The records were discovered by the Milwaukee-based firm Hold Security, which also helped uncover the Great Adobe Identity Theft of 2013. 

Here’s what’s super scary about this particular scenario:

“Hackers did not just target U.S. companies, they targeted any website they could get, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to very small websites…And most of these sites are still vulnerable.”

And yes, the threat is authentic: the Times enlisted the help of a third-party security expert for confirmation.

Adding fuel to the hysterical fire is the fact that we don’t know whose email addresses are included or which sites are affected—and Holden “[WON’T] NAME the victims, citing nondisclosure agreements and a reluctance to name companies whose sites remained vulnerable.”

What will he name? A price.

For as low as $120 a month, you can pay Hold Security to find out if your site has been affected by the breach.

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Anonymous Sexts Do Not Make Great PR

prfail

Pando Daily blogger David Holmes recently received a message “from a coworker, anonymously,” that read:

“I do not were panties today, and I’m in the same office.”

I don’t know about you, but there’s not one person in MY office from whom I would like to receive THAT message. Then again (as Holmes points out) no one in my office who’d write such an atrociously worded note.

It’s gross, it’s creepy, but it’s also kind of intriguing (at least for a man, I would reckon). Who sent me that sexually provocative note? Is it a stunt? Or am I being catfished? Read more

Edward Snowden to the World: ‘Let That Whistle Blow!’

edward snowden anonymous

Edward Snowden has become a cult icon for people who “work” in their grandparents’ basements, pining away on Alienware while talking to Star Wars figures still ensconced in their original packaging.

The NSA and American consultant-turned rogue whistleblower was a guest at H.O.P.E. 2014 (that’s Hackers On Planet Earth) last weekend, and he asked the world to do something via secluded Google Hangout:

“Spill more government secrets.”

He made this questionable edict to all hackers, coders, and developers who were gathered at the New York City conference, as well as the ones watching via live stream online. While Snowden was applauded, he wasn’t the only famous whistleblower at the event.

That guy is after the jump.

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Dining Goes Digital With a Mash-Up of IBM’s Watson and Bon Appetit

watson bon appetitIBM‘s Watson supercomputer and food magazine Bon Appetit have joined forces to create an app — “Chef Watson with Bon Appetit,” currently in beta — that finds new ways to mix and match foods based on 9,000 Bon Appetit recipes. Essentially, Watson consumed the recipe data and can now manipulate it into new flavors and concoctions.

“To come up with these creatively crafted cuisines, Watson uses Bon Appetit’s insights about ingredient pairings, cooking styles, and dishes and then mixes that with food chemistry, the psychology of people’s likes and dislikes, and regional and ethnic tastes,” reports CNET. “The idea is to help people discover new and flavorful recipes that are fine-tuned to make taste buds happy.”

Something like fennel-spiced baby back pork with a tangy apple-mustard sauce. Good grief. Sounds delish.

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5 Things Wrong with the Press Release

PR ER

Once upon a time, there was a tool called the press release.

It was the largest hammer, longest nail, and strongest muscle all in one. Flacks were able to write commercial-esque documents in hopes of national pick-up. Clients were happy because of their approved (and finely crafted) 18-paragraph quotes. PR agencies were happy because they had a sure-fire journalism story written with fluidity.

Today? No one seems happy.

Releases don’t get that universal attention. Clients don’t get infomercial-length quotes. The Web certainly can’t stand such content, what with Google’s pet Panda traipsing all over free news wires like a scene from Godzilla. So, what happened? After the jump, we take a look…

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New Media Influencers on Rebranding, Expansion and ‘Obsessions’

Mic.com Logo“Voice, perspective and messages framed so they resonate with younger readers have all become more important in media now. That means having our ears to the ground in politics and entertainment, then packaging topics accordingly”, said Jake Horowitz, founder and editor of Mic (formerly PolicyMic).

Mic is among a growing number of media brands that launched or renamed recently, like re/code (formerly AllThingsD), Vox.com and Quartz. Editors from these outlets appeared on a PCNY panel on Thursday to discuss their latest moves.

While these sites generally don’t use PR-related pitches, that may change over time. Given their global focus, one could equate landing a story in these outlets to the U.S. soccer team’s World Cup game vs. Ghana: challenging but not impossible.

Here’s a brief rundown on each outlet and their approach.

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