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The 14 Biggest #PRFails of 2014


The leaves are dying, the trees are barren, the weather is getting colder, and there’s no money left in your bank account. That literal and figurative chill in the air can only mean one thing — it’s award season for public relations.

It’s that time of the year when we scour the Interweb for the best ideas and most original thoughts; we also remember those unlucky/unintelligent/unprepared folks ready to take their rightful place atop the pedestal for staging the worst communications failures of the year.

PR fails are those instances when a brand or personality just loses its for a moment. Unlike the year’s real “losers” (cough…Uber…sniff…American Apparel…hack…Lululemon), these juggernauts of jocularity can provide us with a bit of holiday comedy, after which we can all stand and applaud the fact that we were not in any way involved.

Without further ado, here are the worst #PRFails of 2014. Enjoy — we did…

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Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

15 Buzzwords and Phrases to Avoid in 2015


It’s that time of year again. No, not the week before Christmas — it’s buzzword buzzsaw time. Our friends at UK firm Houston PR have updated the semi-famous feature created to tell you whether the industry catchphrases you heard in so many press releases and presentations this year need to follow this guy’s lead and quit while they’re ahead.

Last year saw the induction of such winners as “evangelist,” “deliverables,” and our personal (least) favorite, “SoLoMo,” to the buzzword hall of infamy.

This year, Houston MD Hamish Thompson has even more words for you to avoid using in 2015!

As before, we’ve picked a few and offered some alternate translations…but you probably shouldn’t use those either.

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This Week in Apologies

best buy serial

Today we’d like to do something just a little bit different: a roundup of the week that was…in public apologies.

Since the world still turned and businesses still had to make money over the past seven days, plenty of public figures and brands needed to say “I’m sorry.”

Let’s run through them in a completely arbitrary order…

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5 Important Things PR Is Not

what is prFrom agency to agency, professional to professional, definitions of this glorious industry differ almost daily. If you ask people to define PR, the answers you get will be more all-over-the-place than those submitted in response to you “is reality TV scripted?” survey.

So people disagree about what PR is. But the more important query to remember during these days of evolution may concern “What PR is NOT.

After the visions of sugar plums and jolly fat men fade from your head, 2015 may be the time to definitively answer the big question — but we have to start with a negative.

Hopefully, this week’s edition of “5 Things” can be a small gift for those who struggle to define what their business does. Here, then, are five classifications that definitely don’t apply to the communications industry.

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Edelman Is the Only Firm on Glassdoor’s ’50 Best Places to Work’ List

The business ranking site Glassdoor released its “Best Places to Work” list for the US today, and we’re not quite surprised to report that Edelman is the only PR firm to appear on the list at number 43.

edelman glassdoor

Since the rankings are determined by calculating the highest average review for businesses with 1,000 or more employees, this means that the firm has a disproportionate number of positive reviews submitted by those identifying as current and former employees. The highlighted reviewer, an account executive in Atlanta, writes:

“The people, the global network, the firm’s reputation, the benefits…the list goes on…you have the chance to experience many different things and move up the ladder quickly.”

Let’s dig into the details for a quick minute, though: Edelman currently has nearly 1,000 employee reviews. Burson-Marsteller, on the other hand, has just over 130 while Ketchum has an identical rating (3.9 average) but only 110 reviews. The same is true for Weber Shandwick.

This isn’t the first time Edelman won the Glassdoor sweepstakes, either.

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50 Publishers Share Their Pitching Pet Peeves

Last month, Fractl‘s VP of marketing Kelsey Libert wrote a guest post detailing the results of research conducted by her company and CRM provider BuzzStream. The topic of that story was tips for writing email pitches that editors will actually see.

Spinning off the same project, the team surveyed members of the editorial teams from the “500 top-tier publishers” included in the previous infographic to help identify their biggest pitching pet peeves.

The resulting flipbook is a great — if sometimes painfully honest — document. Interestingly, some of these quotes address pitches from within the given publication’s editorial team, not from outside PR contacts:

The lessons are the same, though. Some basic takeaways after the jump.
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Firm Shares ‘Defining PR Moments of 2014′

As the year winds to a close, it’s time to review the stories that sparked the biggest communications conversations of 2014. First in line to do just that are our friends at The Pollack PR Marketing Group, a full-service agency based in LA and New York.

You’ll have to roll with the clip in terms of music choice(s) and production values, but the stories in this quick review were indeed some of the biggest of the year:

So, in summary…

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5 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2015

social keyboard

Hard to believe it, but December has arrived yet again — which means lots of year-end lists and predictions for the year to come.

Nothing changes more rapidly than social media, what with the new platforms, new privacy policies, new venues for storytelling (yes, even Snapchat), and the ability to more effectively flag and report your worst trolls.

So what’s next for social media? The social team at Chicago-based marketing comms agency JSH&A has created an infographic for your review.

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10 Client Delusions About Social Media


We all know that social media is extremely important and that every PR pro worth his or her digital salt will be up-to-date on the latest changes from the major networks as well as upstarts that may soon become essential tools…or  not (see Ello, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.).

Beyond those basic facts, however, there’s lots of disagreement among both industry veterans and clients: who “owns” social? Which networks are best for which clients/campaigns? How can one satisfy clients demanding ROI?

The founders of Santa Monica-based agency [made to order] recently focused on the client side, asking followers and colleagues to help compile a list of the most stubborn social media myths on Facebook  and Twitter using the tag #SocialDelusions.

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COPYWRITER ALERT: 10 Words with Some Very Odd Origins


So, you think you’re a “word nerd.” You brag about your disease “logophilia.” You believe “etymology” is something that deserves a CSI spinoff. You can torch anyone in Scrabble and AP-Styleguide update recalls.

We get it; however, there are a few words in the PR lexicon that have some unusual origins. Seems that some words you write almost everyday derived from a dank warehouse in the middle of a meth lab complex…or something like that.

These words?! Not so much, as you will soon see. Get your red Sharpies ready, kids. You may need it to stab your eyes out.  Read more