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Interviews

Is the Press Release Ready for Its Latest Makeover?

Tiny Pitch

We know, we know: you’re tired of reading stories about whether the press release is dead or not. So are we!

One of the most/least surprising findings in the Business Wire survey we posted on last week held that “traditional” releases are still quite valuable for journalists covering big-name corporate clients.

And yet.

We’ve covered Jason Kintzler‘s PitchEngine a good bit in the past thanks to his ongoing efforts to convince PR “to do more than attach a word doc to an email when it comes time to pitch.”

He does have a new product called Tiny Pitch to show you, but we were interested in a longer conversation about the state of the pitching process and the blunt instruments we use to do it.

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INTERVIEW: David Meerman Scott Discusses the Art of Newsjacking

DMS header

Last week, we offered ’5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Newsjacking.‘ While many PR folks appreciated the knowledge, we heard from others who were new to the term itself. And so, I issued a tweet to one David Meerman Scott, the guy who coined the word in the first place.

To my delectation, he responded in about two minutes (I may have squealed a little).

In his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas Into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media CoverageScott touches upon this growing social media strategy with keen insight. He humored me with some great responses to a few questions about the growth of newsjacking, its benefits and drawbacks, and the magic of real-time decision making in the process.

Get your notebooks ready. His Q&A with yours truly is after the jump…

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‘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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Ashley McCown Runs Down 2014′s Biggest Crises to Date

It’s time for another rundown of the worst offenders in 2014′s PR Crisis Sweepstakes.

In this exclusive clip, Solomon McCown president Ashley McCown runs down the ones you know: GM’s self-made safety nightmare; Donald Sterling’s racist breakdown; Malaysia Airlines dual tragedies.

We’re most interested in the #1 crisis — the one surrounding Boston’s Market Basket and the family disputes that led the company to fire popular president Arthur T. Demoulas.

The company’s board meets today, with New Hampshire/Massachusetts governors Maggie Hassan Deval Patrick attempting to broker a cease-fire of sorts in the interest of avoiding all unnecessary drama.

How do you think the dispute will resolve itself?

Q&A: Top Firms Expanding into the Asia Pacific Region

World Map

It’s not exactly news that the Asia Pacific region is one of the biggest opportunities for international firms looking to expand and serve a more global audience. Allison + Partners recently opened an office in Singapore while firms like Edelman and Ogilvy have maintained a presence in China for some time.

Still, much of the market remains untapped by top Western firms, and the act of reaching the billions of consumers living in the Asia Pacific region presents significant challenges for many US-based organizations.

Siegel+Gale recently announced a partnership with Gramco, Japan’s largest branding firm, in the interest of better serving the Chinese public.

We spoke to Jason Cieslak, president of Siegel+Gale’s Pacific Rim operations, to get his take on the trend.

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More Career Advice for Upcoming PR Professionals

PR block

As hot as PR may be right now (check out the growing gap between communicators and journalists), young professionals still face considerable challenges in navigating their way around the industry.

Last week we spoke to Courtney Lukitsch, principal and founder at Gotham Public Relations, to learn more about how she evaluates junior-level candidates. This week she shared more insights on what applicants need to know and the ways in which the industry will change in coming years.

PR is a rapidly changing business. What is your advice to those just coming on to the scene?

Do your research upfront. If you walk in cold and unprepared to an interview, a PR pro will smell it on you and disqualify you almost immediately.

It’s a confidence and intelligence game. Plus, at most firms, a candidate will be interviewed by different members no less than three times. This is true even at the junior level given team dynamics, but it’s even more crucial when interviewing for mid-level and higher jobs.

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Ed Zitron Wants to Help You Learn How to Pitch

thisishowyoupitch-book

Ed Zitron is several things: author; PR veteran; founder of EZPR; extremely prolific tweeter; British person.

His book, This Is How You Pitch, promises to dispel the unfortunately common idea that a career in PR is an endless series of parties and mutual back scratches between journalists and the people who do what we do. According to its own site, the book can “tell you how to avoid becoming a buzzword-spitting automaton that the media will hate.”

Curious? We spoke to Zitron to learn more about his (very blunt) take on the art of pitching…and the just-as-important art of clearing up misconceptions.

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Q&A: How Can Brands Best Utilize User Generated Content?

Green screen much

But who’s she wearing in front of that green screen?

User generated content is more than just a catchphrase: for some major brands, it’s a key to reaching consumers on their level rather than with traditional ads and “SALE NOW” marketing emails. As a prime example, a recent Marc Jacobs campaign starred “real people” plucked straight from Instagram who’d never seen a modeling contract.

Marc certainly isn’t the only brand looking to others to help expand and improve its own promotional efforts.

So what’s the key to making fans’ content work for you instead of using stock photos like the one above?

We spoke to Ranvir Gujral, CEO of visual marketing startup Chute, for more information.

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OKCupid Co-Founder on Emotional Experiments: In 20 Years, No One Will Care

OKCUPIDWe’ve all heard about Facebook‘s ill-conceived “emotional experiment” and OKCupid‘s even better follow-up. While Facebook’s research only concerned slight tweaks in the algorithm that determines which stories show up in users’ news feeds, OKCupid experimented on total strangers who would later meet each other and go on what we call “dates.”

We’re interested in the story primarily because Facebook’s response was simply a blog post that didn’t serve as a very effective piece of self-defense. OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder, on the other hand, has gone all out to defend his company’s practices as the kind of thing we deal with every day as connected individuals — whether we know it or not.

Last week, to follow up on his “yes, we experimented on people, now get over it” blog post, he gave an interview to TLDR, a podcast associated with the excellent NPR show On the Media (which we encountered via the also-excellent Press Think blog).

The fourteen-minute segment is well worth a listen–especially for anyone with clients in social media.

Some key quotes and takeaways after the jump in case you can’t listen or don’t have time.

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Moving Up in PR: Career Advice for Junior-Level Candidates

PR on paper

What’s the current status of jobs in the PR field?

We’ve already established the fact that the industry has a high turnover rate; on Friday, Laurent Lawrence of the PRSA gave us some very solid theories regarding the why behind that fact.

Yet we’ve also heard from both younger readers who find it difficult to break into the field and from college grads who can’t seem to find the right position due to a perceived lack of experience.

We spoke to Courtney Lukitsch, principal and founder at Gotham Public Relations, to learn more about how she approaches the hiring process and what she thinks young, ambitious professionals need to do to advance.

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