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Archives: June 2008

NY Times Investigates PR’s “Strategic Word Selection”

Do the words you use in your press release or media alert matter? Of course they do. But, just how much?

In today’s NY Times, JoAnne Kaufman looks into how, “Strategic word selection can catapult an announcement about a study, a product or a “breakthrough” onto the evening news instead of to its usual destination – the spam folder or circular file.”

The story features quotes from a number of PR pros, as well as David B. Armon, the president of PR Newswire.

PR pro Tom Gable, a former editor at the San Diegon Union, compiled a list of words we all hear to much and will not help any announcement: “solutions,” “leading edge,” “cutting edge,” “state of the art,” “mission critical,” and “turnkey.”

Click here for the full story.

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Storytelling for Media Professionals

Storytelling for Media ProfessionalsStarting April 22, this in-person workshop will teach you the specific ways to incorporate storytelling into your personal and professional life. Students will examine the role of storytelling in business and put their newfound skills into practice with a series of improvisation, writing, and presentation exercises designed to help them uncover personal stories. Register now! 

The Ticker: Groundswell, Ricochet PR, Wenner & US Weekly

For Immediate Release Fridays

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I’m running somewhat late on this edition of For Immediate Release Fridays due to a vacation. Luckily, the only burried bad news you have to worry about this week is some undeclared dairy in that ready-made garlic bread at the supermarket. There’s also the expected flurry of activity surrounding the big Supreme Court decision so I thought I’d include a release about that.

Also please note, the Avenue Q song “The Internet is for Porn” seems to be correct. The investment exchange for porn business is red, red, red hot:

Stop & Shop and Giant issue voluntary recall of garlic bread

Gun totin’ second Amendment Foundation up in arms over a Chicago Trib editorial which characterizes the amendment as an anachronism

And for those considering plunking money in to social networking startups, look not to Silicon Valley, rather the San Fernando. AdultVest, a financial services company focused on the adult entertainment sector, awarded the Hedge Fund Launch of the Year

Pitching Good Looks

We recently received an e-mail pitch forwarded from a reader where the opening line read as follows:

(Publication’s) Editorial Director is (name), a smart and beautiful veteran of 25 years is one of the most respected editors in the magazine world.

As you can see we’ve removed all identifying info. The reader sent us the pitch along with this note:

This struck me as inappropriate and questionable. Does the female editor-in-chief in question know she is being pitched to media on the basis of her ‘beauty,’ as well as her experience? It seems terribly ignorant and sexist, and if this guy were my publicist, I’d want him fired since I’d bet dollars to donuts he’s not pitching male EICs as being handsome or anything tied to their looks. Wanted to share it with you so you might expose the sexism that’s alive and kicking.

What’s your take? Have you ever been asked to send a pitch like this?

The Ticker: Icahn & IR, Bathroom PR, Hiring Social Media Pros…

Dan Klores Signs Deal with HBO

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Veteran PR pro Dan Klores has been spending more time making films lately, and the fruits of his labor continue to pay off.

HBO has cut a deal with Klores to turn his documentary “Crazy Love” into a “dramatic feature for HBO Films.”

According to Variety, “Klores won the 2008 Independent Spirit Award for director for his docu, which chronicled the obsessive love affair between Bronx lawyer Burt Pugach and Linda Riss. The pair became Gotham tabloid staples after she ended their romance and he hired thugs to blind and disfigure her by throwing acid in her face.”

Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan has the trailer here.

When, and When Not To Take Advantage of a Story

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As PR pros, we’re always looking to insert our client into the news story or trend of the week.

Sometimes it’s done right and makes sense, for example if you represent a promintent intellectual property lawyer and pitch him to comment on the latest online content lawsuit.

However, there are other times when not only does it not make sense, but it is distasteful.

Well, another agency got in on the act this week, trying to work into the stories around George Carlin‘s death. We know the agency, and for the most part, they’ve sent us great pitches. So, we’re not going to “out” them, but we will post the offending pitch, which offered an editor to comment on “media culture” and how it relates to Carlin’s death.

Read on for the full pitch.

Read more

Interview: Kelly Cutrone on The Hills and Fashion PR

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As part of mediabistro’s “So, What Do You Do” interview series, this PRNewser recently interviewed Kelly Cutrone, founder of fashion PR firm People’s Revolution.

You may have heard of the firm as a result its appearance on the popular MTV show, The Hills. (We don’t watch it, promise. But that doesn’t stop us from gawking.)

Here’s one of Kelly’s takes on how fashion PR differs from other types of PR: “And of course, the clothes don’t talk back. The clothes aren’t going to call you and make you call their lawyer. They’re not going to wake you up in the middle of the night because they were busted leaving a club with a drag queen. The clothes are the clothes, and usually the designers are manageable.”

The full interview has been published for your reading pleasure here.

PR On The Cheap

We know the job scene for journalists is pretty bleak, but still think the PR industry is relatively strong.

But then we run into ads like this on Craigslist:

Looking for detail oriented Self-Starter with PR & Marketing skills for owner of small weight control company and book author. Person needs be Focused, Consistent, Persistent, with strong writing/editing/grammar/speaking and follow-up skills. Website and print contacts helpful. Need ability to write and place press releases and articles on the web, in print, and all media as well as to secure seminar, radio, and interview bookings for owner. Two years experience.

Ok, seems like a reasonable job description, we thought. However, the catch: $12 per hour.

That’s right folks, write our releases, give us your media contacts, get us publicity! All for less than you’d make waiting tables.

Recession? WPP Group Reports 10% PR Revenue Increase

When we interviewed Advertising Age PR reporter Michael Bush recently, we speculated, “The PR industry is doing fine now, but we’ll really know where things are headed come this fall,” to which he responded, “I think that is absolutely true and it’s what I’m hearing from a lot of people in the industry that I speak to.”

Well, today maybe we’re finding out some relevant market info a little sooner than we thought.

From PRWeek:

WPP reported a 10% increase in worldwide revenues from PR and public affairs work for the first five months of 2008. The figure excludes changes in currency values. Revenues overall were up 14.6%, or 4.5% excluding the impact of currency changes and acquisitions.

WPP Group, which includes Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, and Ogilvy, among other PR firms, made the announcement today, June 24, at its annual general meeting in London.

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