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Things We Don’t Like

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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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!

10 of the Worst Press Headlines Ever: a Learning Opportunity

bad press headlineMentorship is underrated and under-utilized.

With PR executives jetsetting, working remotely, stuck in a marathon of meetings, or hibernating behind an office closed door, there is rarely a chance to hunker down for a learning opportunity.

On that note, one of the most visible flubs for any flack is the press release – specifically the headline.

It’s what you use to grab a reporter’s attention…at your own peril. While most headlines are perfectly functional, some earn a special place on the conference room bulletin board.

Bad headlines do happen…so let’s review a few and try to make sure they happen to someone else in the future.  Read more

THIS JUST IN: Teacher Takes 11 Kids on Field Trip…in Her Honda Accord

THIS JUST IN 2Teachers are responsible for some of the most important work on the planet: educate our future generations.

Despite what Time magazine staffers think about their locked-in job security (and sometimes, rightly so), teachers deserve much more respect and pay for what they have chosen to do for a living.

That said, there are other teachers out there who make Rosie O’Donnell look like a nice, sweet lady…and then there is this woman from some backwoods, high-heels-and-socks town in Oklahoma who took 11 kids on a field trip.

In a Honda Accord. With two students in her trunk.

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Everyone Still Confused by #AlexFromTarget

Alex Target

Beyond the regular old midterm elections, the big story last night concerned a certain guy who works at a certain Target location in Texas — and the agency claiming responsibility for his viral status.

Breakr, which told the world last night that it is “not a marketing company” but “a multi-platform entertainment network for gen-z and millennials,” took credit for the whole “event” in a LinkedIn post and an interview with Chris Matyszczyk of C|Net, claiming that the “experiment” demonstrated its ability to make something go viral with the help of a few overexcited teenage girls.

Reality looks a bit less newsworthy.

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5 Scary Things Still Lurking in PR Agencies

PR Halloween

Something wicked this way comes…or, more accurately, it has never left.

The PR agency has evolved in many ways — integration of digital, trying to understand social, open work spaces, and anything else that makes them resemble an advertising agency.

Although the thousands of public relations firms across this great land of ours have been changing, there are still some surreptitious, blood-curling, creepy things rearing its ugly head in cube farms everywhere. Be they boutique-size or big-time, all agencies still offer horrific aspects of an industry that wants to kill us all in a gruesome B-list scary movie fashion.

So, here’s a special Halloween edition of #5Things: 5 Scary Things Still Lurking in PR Agencies.

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Poynter Calls Out the ‘Worst Pitches Ever’

email bad PR pitches

In case you want to remind yourself that many pitches are not successful, here’s a story via Poynter — actually, a public query — about the worst pitches certain journalists have received. Sad to say, it’s hilarious (and Mr. Senor Flack and Ms. Anonymous PR Girl, we’re thinking of you two sharing this cacophonous mess).

How so? This post will scream #PRFail!

So why point these bad pitches out? Just scroll through our #5Things and you will see the countless times we offer the PRNewserverse tip, tools, and even tricks on how to best represent this glorious industry. (Yes, for real.)

That said, we must do better — because once our journo friends have sworn us off for good, there is no reversing that mess. They are gone and you only have green flacks pitching and “oh so senior” mentors forgetting to do that part of their job to blame.

You’ll see what we mean after the jump…

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Kim Kardashian Charges $1M Per Product Endorsement

KimK HeadshotRadar Online tells us today that your client won’t get a mention on Kim’s twitter feed for less than a million bucks ($750K if she’s feeling generous).

The “secret business emails from the star’s reps” that someone chose to leak — presumably for far less than $1M — are not particularly shocking to us. We have seen The Smoking Gun’s “backstage riders.

But it’s worth noting that, for personal appearances, Mrs. Kardashian-West requires:

“5 first class tickets, plus 1 coach, first class hotel accommodations (1 suite for talent and standard rooms for others in party), portal to portal first class exclusive ground transportation, airport greeter service, security, glam fee (day rate for her hair and makeup squad), and a per diem.”

The next quote isn’t much of a surprise, either:

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Uber’s Crisis Comms Strategy: Automated Email Responses

uber-300x225Amateur chauffeur provider Uber got a bit of attention on this blog back in July for saying (via General Manager Chris Nakutis) that PR is a waste of money and that new companies can “almost jump over the…process” altogether.

We’re starting to think that the business really does live that philosophy. A couple of weeks ago we noted, via BuzzFeed, that Uber issues the same “Safety is our #1 priority” statement every time one of its drivers scores negative coverage.

Today we learned, via Valleywag, that in some particularly egregious cases the company doesn’t bother releasing a statement at all.

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Google Receives More than 1,000 ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Requests Every Day

google search

There you are (not)!

Update on Google’s forced European “Right to Be Forgotten” experiment: it’s going strong with no signs of slowing down.

Since the law became official in May, more than 145,000 individuals across Europe have requested that the company remove certain links. Britons alone have begged for the removal of some 60K items currently listed in Google’s search results — and they were third behind France and Germany.

This Telegraph “what people want removed” post offers a revealing look at just how unworkable this situation really is.

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NFL Fumbles on Domestic Violence Again, Accused of Hiding ‘Hundreds’ of Abuse Cases

NFL-domestic-abuse

Typically, the question is “Are you ready for some football?” These days, as the NFL is drowning in sea of murky despair and hapless PR, that question would be, “Are you ready for some football…justice?”

It all started with Ray Rice being a despicable coward and knocking his then-fiancée smooth out in an elevator. There was Greg Hardy, who body-slammed his girlfriend onto a bed full of semi-automatic guns (because that’s what you check at the door for NFL parties). There’s Ray McDonald — who is still playing because Goodell is a dope — arrested for beating up his pregnant girlfriend. There is Adrian Peterson, who took the classy way out and left his estranged wife alone, instead opting to “whoop” and scar his 4-year-old son.

And now there’s this: a former NFL general manager says that, over his 30-year career, “hundreds and hundreds” of domestic violence incidents were simply ignored.

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