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Posts Tagged ‘PR’

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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5 PR Myths That Still Need Debunking

PR

Public relations.

It’s an industry hiding more mysteries than whatever sauce transforms actors into superhumans on the red carpet. No one really seems to understand every nuance in PR–not even our fellow flacks. Of course, our parents just tell their friends at church group that “my kid gets people on TV”, but that’s another story.

Here’s the aggravating part: many of the most persistent myths in PR still get repeated by people within the industry. These are the folks who make meetings to have meetings, schedule lunches to “network,” and use phrases like “moving the needle” because, as a certain group of cranberries once said, “Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?”

Here, dear readers, are five of the myths we need to keep on debunking.

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How to Be Your Own Publicist: Creating Your Brand, Perfecting Your Message

Be-Your-Own-Publicist-ArticIn this day and age, we’re basically all our own publicists. Sharing our witty words on Twitter, our perfect pictures on Instagram and our professional achievements on LinkedIn. It’s almost become second nature to promote yourself via social media.

But there are myriad ways to get your name out there, both on and offline. We recently spoke with several branding experts who revealed five key ways to market yourself. The first thing to do is develop your brand and messaging:

Jeffrey Hayzlett, host of The C-Suite on Bloomberg, explains, “Every person is [his] own brand and you have your own promise to deliver. Do you want somebody else telling that story or do you want to tell it?” The author and speaker adds: “If you don’t represent yourself, someone else will do it for you. I would much rather control what’s said of me and how it’s said than having other people do it. And I’d like to react to that as well.”

[Beth Feldman, co-founder of BeyondPR Group] suggests reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, especially the part about the “10,000 hours” rule. The gist is if you can determine in your life where you’ve spent 10,000 hours doing something, then you will feel the most comfortable talking about it and becoming an expert. “The more experience you have, the more comfortable you will feel and the more people will take you seriously,” she says.

For more advice, including how to choose the right partners when cross-promoting, read: How to Be Your Own Publicist.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How Did We Become ‘Spin Doctors’ Anyway?

what-is-public-relationsSo, there I was reading PR Week recently when I noticed its quote of the day: “PR professionals hate spin and what it stands for.” The fact that said PR professional shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition notwithstanding, the sentiment is right on!

Candidly, I have never been so smug with this craft to think I am beyond being called a “flack.”

It’s our nickname and it’s a term of endearment. Many journalists respectively celebrate their status as “hacks.” However, one term that is universally frowned upon in this establishment is “Spin Doctor.” 

Why? The term connotes ne’er-do-wells, people who suck at PR, and borderline used-car salesmen or, in the worst case scenario, lobbyists.

Unfortunately, the literal meaning of the term is even worse…

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5 PR Strategy Mistakes to Avoid

StrategeryStrategy: it’s the one thing we always try to sell our clients and, arguably, the thing we most often fail to deliver.

No worries, though; it’s understandable. We’ve all had clients call in a panic while we’re neck deep in creating a strategy that would make Alexander the Great scratch his head.

As longtime residents of Tactic Town, we’ve all heard this one:

“Do this, now! We are in a bind and need some help.”

Now it’s sweet that clients call with their hair on fire, imploring us to take the lead. But tactics don’t always pay the bills unless you have a desired goal.

So, here’s another listicle for every flack to enjoy: the 5 PR Strategy Mistakes to Avoid.

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The 5 Worst PR Stereotypes

what we do

Hell, we can’t even agree what we do.

Okay, raise your hand if during a Thanksgiving dinner, this has happened…

You grow weary, like near clutching the dusty bottle of formerly nice alcohol to what has to be paint thinner now, because you made the mistake of trying to explain what you do for a living. The questions are overbearing, nonsensical, and borderline WTF. Even your own mother can’t figure it out. So, you dig in fighting the good fight, and say the following words we have all said out of frustration:

“I get people on TV.”

Oooooooooooooooooooooooh! The room nods in agreement and you rush for the bathroom, if anything, just for some well-deserved “me time.” And that’s why these ridiculous stereotypes exist.

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Pope Francis Won’t Bless Noah but Did Have Some ‘Crowe’ for Dinner

Pope Francis is a positive mojo machine. In fact, we consider him the patron saint of PR. Because of his overwhelming humility to be tangible and his undeniable ability to be liked, everyone wants a piece of Il Papa’s garment and a little of that Jesus blessing on them.

Including Russell Crowe. No, really. He even tweeted the Pontiff:

Cagey. Effective. Almost begging. Did it work? Yes … and no.

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PR Is Dead! Long Live PR!

is-pr-dead

Depends on who you ask. Be prepared for a response. You’ve been warned.

Ever heard the oxymoronic exclamation, “The king is dead! Long live the king!”

Feels odd just writing it. The phrase comes from the 15th century when Charles VI (known as “Charles the Mad,” who died as king and his son took the reigns to a much maligned and ransacked France).

Le roi est mort, vive le roi!” 

“The king is dead” announces just that. “Long live the king!” refers to whomever is the shrew to take the throne — in this case, Charles VII. Family business and all. Whelp, this often misunderstood profession seems to suffer same fate every year. Some schmuck says, “PR is dead.” Followed by a hipster who says, “Uh … no, dude.”

That has happened already in 2014, so which person is correct?

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Be Aware of These 5 Common PR Mistakes

pr mistakes

We know. It’s a crap shoot.

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but a recent discussion with a reporter chum of mine reminded me of this one irrefutable truth in the public relations industry — the easy stuff is always the first stuff to screw up. The mistakes, albeit as common as they exist, are committed on every level of the food chain. From intern to inside the corner office, everyone is susceptible to having these aberrations with the press and our clients.

Yet, there they are, scattered bodies lining the streets like a deleted scene from “The Walking Dead.” In an effort to inhibit the PR ninjas in this industry jumping from trees and throwing star shurikens with dazzling accuracy into pools of heaping crap, here are five common mistakes in PR of which to always be aware to avoid.

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The 5 Big Questions PR Pros Should Know How to Answer

thoreauThis quote from Thoreau is one of my mantras. Think about it.

Many flacks in this beloved profession are good at what they do, but can’t really tell what they want to be good to do. What’s your preference in PR? What’s your space of expertise? In short, what’s your fire hydrant that you pee on to ensure everyone if your own agency knows that’s your spot?

There are several questions in this industry that we should all know how to answer, despite who is doing the asking. The answers can be curtailed differently to an intern in your agency versus a news director at your local TV station, but truth is salient. Let these answers help you define your own fire hydrant because we have all been asked these questions in one way or another.

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