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Weekly Podcast

Podcast: Social Gaming Gives Publicists Another Outreach Option

This morning we spoke with Nathon Gunn, CEO of Social Game Universe and IGAPI, about the social aspects of social gaming, why people love it, and how publicists can use it to promote their clients. Social Game Universe, the parent company for IGAPI, has created games that can be connected among users. With IGAPI, users can learn about products through gaming and interaction.

Gunn will also be one of the speakers at mediabistro’s Socialize conference, taking place next Thursday and Friday, March 31 and April 1. Click here for information and to register.

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Bolton on Trust: Creating Value and Aligning Business and Public Interests

This morning we learned from the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer that creating and maintaining trust is a big issue for organizations around the world, and particularly here in the U.S. where trust has slumped.

For this afternoon’s podcast, we spoke with Roger Bolton about the issue. Bolton is a co-chair of the Arthur Page Society’s Authentic Enterprise Task Force, which helps global companies with their brands and reputations. In addition, he sits on APCO Worldwide’s International Advisory Council, and was just named to Trust Across America’s list of top 100 thought leaders.

“It really does matter not only what value you create, but how you create it,” he says, adding that “aligning business interests with public interests” is key.

We also discuss building trust on a global scale and Wendell Potter‘s recent book Deadly Spin. Bolton, who was also previously SVP of communications at Aetna, expresses surprise over the book.

Click below to listen in.

Podcast: Which Awards Really Matter?

The annual TechCrunch Crunchies Awards were handed out on Friday evening and our contributor Joe Ciarallo was there taking it all in. According to Ciarallo (who also works with award winner Buddy Media), companies both large and small as well as investors were on-hand for the ceremony.

In the podcast below, we talk about the opportunities for publicists at the Crunchies, how to determine which of the many awards ceremonies out there are worth your time, and why there’s so much focus on startups these days.

In preparation for any awards ceremony, Ciarallo suggests doing your homework. “Research content being made available to you,” he says.

mBlast CEO Lee: ‘Influence is Not Something Brand New’

Yesterday, we had the chance to speak with mBlast CEO Gary Lee about the company’s latest offering, mPACT. As we reported previously, mPact measures influence across online media and provides monitoring services as well as other data.

“Influence is not something brand new,” Lee told us, but rather, something that has always been integral to the work done by PR pros.

Rather than offering a raw score to tally influence – “We think they’re meaningless,” Lee says – mPACT offers a ranking. He discusses the algorithm that determines that ranking, the origins of mPACT, and, of course, Klout in the podcast below.

Podcast: Wigibuy Links Marketing, CSR, and Social Commerce

Last week, we told you about the launch of Wigibuy, a social commerce site with a philanthropic component started by two marketing firms, Wagner/Junker Agency and Synthesis. In today’s podcast, we talk with Jeff Wagner, a WJAgency principle about why they launched the site and how they will make it successful in the long term.

According to Wagner, the firms wanted to do something “a little different” while still bringing “their backgrounds to social commerce.” Wagner is confident there will be other social shopping sites in the future.

“We think there’s room for lots of different [people] to do this,” he says.

In the podcast below, we jump right into the goals of the site. Click to listen.

Potter Seeks to ‘Pull the Curtain Back’ on Deceptive PR Practices

Wendell Potter‘s book Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out On How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans has rankled some in the PR industry. But, Potter told PRNewser that the criticism he’s received overall has “been minimal.”

More important, he says he wants “to pull the curtain back on how public relations practitioners like me worked to influence the debate about health care reform” and show how public relations is able to “influence public policy in a way that’s deception-based.” (Looks like Potter is getting some from Media Matters and The Daily Beast.)

Potter spent 20 years in corporate PR and was the head of communications for CIGNA when he stepped down in 2008. Since then, he has spoken out about the comms practices of the health insurance industry, including a 2009 appearance before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Technology Committee.

“If there’s anything that comes out of this for the PR profession it is for us to take another look at how we operate and whether our ethical standards are what they should be,” he told us.

NEA’s Steve Grant Talks Advocacy, Teachers

Between New York’s new schools chancellor Cathie Black, a Colbert Report appearance by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, and the film Waiting for Superman, public school education is a hot topic.

Today we spoke with the National Education Association‘s PR manager Steve Grant, who says many of the organization’s 3.2 million members are “upset” by the backlash against them. The NEA is an advocacy group for educators, whose stated mission is to “fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.”

Grant says NEA members “feel quite frankly they’ve been bashed or vilified as the problem” with public education. He also talks about the importance of PR for advocacy work at a time when “public opinion is becoming more important” and “can create a groundswell of support” for issues in Congress.

Grant also serves as a PRSA board member, who just published a column on the organization’s site about advocacy. Click below for his conversation with PRNewser.

WOMMA’s Paul Rand: “Integration is Key”

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association hosted its 2010 Summit last week. According to Paul Rand, president and CEO of Zócalo Group and president of the WOMMA board of directors, 500 visitors from around the world attended the Las Vegas event.

With an eye towards “best practices and next practices,” the conference focused on a number of topics like the differences between social media and word of mouth marketing, measurement and ROI, and integration.

“Integration is key,” says Rand. “The walls are coming down. [It] really is an organizational effort.”

We spoke with Rand in greater detail about the conference and the word of mouth landscape.

Using Humor to Get Your Point Across

A still from a video for Elasticity client Quicken, incorporating data from the American Mustache Institute.

PRNewser recently spoke with Brian Cross, managing partner and director of rocket science at Elasticity, about how to use humor in PR campaigns. Rather than going for the big belly laugh, Cross emphasizes the use of a clever tie-in and the ability to find the humor in yourself as a way to reach an audience.

“What you’re trying to do with a sense of humor is make yourself more human,” he says. “With that definition, we use [humor] with every client.”

And how exactly does one become “director of rocket science” at a PR firm? Cross says it had something to do with the fact that a lot of people were saying that social media isn’t rocket science. It definitely isn’t, he says, but “there is a little science behind it.”

Stagedoor Manor Leverages Buzz to Build Buzz

For more than 30 years, kids with acting aspirations have been spending their summers at the Stagedoor Manor theater camp. The camp has been the subject of books and movies, and has notable alumni like Natalie Portman and Robert Downey Jr. Rather than relying solely on this attention to drive awareness of the camp, there has been a concerted PR effort in place over the last six years.

We spoke with the producer and owner of Stagedoor Manor Cindy Samuelson about how she’s used PR to leverage interest in the camp. After looking over the advertising plan, Samuelson says, “PR was the route for us to take to get our message out and build our brand.” Brownstein Strategic Brand Relations works with the group, which has appeared in a number of outlets including the Today show, People magazine, and in the June 2010 issue of Vanity Fair (image at left).

Samuelson also offers tips to other small organizations looking to build their profile: “Look at what makes you special.”

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