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Original articles from Brian Wagner.
Has LinkedIn Become the New Hot or Not?
LinkedIn began its life as a glorified business card repository. As it has grown and evolved, the number of features and depth of information included in the site has made it an increasingly robust tool for personal and professional promotion. But somewhere along its journey as the social media site for a work-oriented crowd that didn't need to check their profiles every hour, it took a surprising detour into territory pioneered by HotorNot.com. A short history lesson for the uninitiated...

Five Steps to Finding a Job Through Social Media
On Sept. 13, 2011, Veronica Brown, a vice president at Washington, D.C.-based Gibraltar Associates, received the following Tweet from a follower she had never met: "Veronica, I was wondering if it would be possible to arrange an informational interview at GA. Would love to learn more about firm."

You Are Boring: 9 Lessons for Improving Your Tweets
Seemingly on a daily basis, the Internet lights up with reports of clueless companies that create firestorms by posting a thoughtless or offensive tweet. Hence, we are all used to hearing the phrase "Think Before You Tweet" bandied about in blogs. But now, researchers give us a new reason to think before you tweet: you might be boring.

Does It Matter if the PRSA Redefines 'Public Relations'?
The Public Relations Society of America on Jan. 11 released the three initial candidates for a modern definition of “public relations,” seeking to find a single sentence that can encapsulate the essence of a messy, complex field. But does it matter if the PRSA successfully redefines a word? Frankly, without wishing any ill will to PRSA or the participants in the Public Relations Defined campaign, it does not matter if they redefine PR.

Three PR Lessons From a Sold-Out Rock Concert
On Veterans Day, the Foo Fighters, one of the seminal arena rock bands of the last decade, played in front of a sold-out Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Two-and-half hours later, the crowd poured out, happy and (temporarily) satiated. The show was an overwhelming success, but successful shows do not just happen; they are produced. What decisions were made to ensure the success of the show?

Does the 24/7 News Cycle Breed Hypocrisy?
A news article used to have a lifetime of at least one day. Now it's lucky to last 10 minutes. Today’s news comes and goes in a constant cycle, feeding the insatiable appetite of a wired, impatient readership. Does this 24/7 media culture cultivate journalistic hypocrisy?

A Global Force for Good (Public Relations)
On Monday the U.S. Navy's Office of Emerging Media Integration released the Social Media Handbook for Navy PAOs, a guide for Navy public affairs personnel to turn to when engaging in official and unofficial social media activities. But its value extends to all public relations professionals, and it is only one of the many ways in which military public affairs activities can prove educational for civilian pros. The guide is the latest step in the Navy's extraordinarily forward-looking and transparent foray into utilizing social media for managing internal and external relationships. Notably, the Navy has taken a stand in favor of social media.

BREAKING: Idiocy in Public Relations Extinguished
In a perfect world, tomorrow’s headlines would read, “Idiocy in public relations extinguished,” followed by an account of how the nation’s PR pros had woken up that morning equipped with all the knowledge, experience and common sense necessary to excel in their jobs. But such flights of fancy are not meant to be, and PR pros will continue to have to learn their jobs in a piecemeal manner. For the last six articles, this series has helpfully and whimsically provided common sense dos and don’ts for PR pros looking to learn the ropes or improve their performance.

An Idiot's Guide to Public Relations, Part VI
It’s not the client, it’s you. No wait, it is them. You can’t stand to work with them anymore. You’ve tried to make it work, but the relationship has been fraught with unpleasantries. But how do you cut ties to a client without hurting feelings or generating negative publicity about your firm's inability to honor its commitments?

An Idiot's Guide to Public Relations, Part V
You are a media guru. No, a media genius. Your press releases hang in the Louvre next to the Mona Lisa. You have an APR after your name. You graduated from strategic public relations graduate school at the top of the class. You are the best of the best. Or are you?

An Idiot's Guide to Public Relations, Part IV
The press release is a curious creature. Every PR pro knows what a "traditional" release looks like, but despite the widespread use of this format, it is often treated by experienced pros like "The DaVinci Code" — a populist crowd-pleaser that has limited educational value or impact — and is thus increasingly discarded for a variety of shorter, more visual, or more creative informational formats. Here is the dirty little secret: There is no right or wrong way to write a press release.

An Idiot's Guide to Public Relations, Part III
The mythical "Average American," when asked about the work of a public relations professional, assumes that the entire goal of the profession is to get clients into the media. When asked what the difference is between PR and advertising, the Average American will conclude that it boils down to earned media versus paid media. That assumption is incorrect. But while incorrect, the stereotype is grounded in truth. Media relations is at the core of PR, and everyone working in PR, even idiots, needs to know how to pitch a story to print, radio, TV and online outlets.

An Idiot's Guide to Public Relations, Part II
Last week marked the beginning of a concerted effort to reduce the number of idiots operating in and around the field of public relations. But you don't need to be an idiot to find common sense advice helpful in performing your job. This article, the second in a series being made up on the fly (remember, always be honest in your dealings with clients, the media and the public), should help.

An Idiot's Guide to Public Relations, Part I
Hello. If you are reading this, you may be an idiot. And you may be looking to gain some basic public relations knowledge, overwhelmed as you are by the proliferation of narrowly tailored how-to articles on running social media campaigns for 80-year-olds who bungee jump, drafting press releases targeting infants, and creating viral videos about typewriters.

Humor Reveals Four Truths Behind The Spin
Spin, and the world spins with you. Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Laugh at spin, and the truth is revealed. Humor has a curious way of revealing the truth behind the spin. It can uncover hypocrisy, reveal hidden facts, and bring deep-seated emotions to the surface. Take the April 30 White House Correspondents Dinner as a recent example.

It's a Public Relations Cloudtastrophe!
I can’t remember the complete lyrics to any pop song. Not “Yesterday.” Not “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” Not even “Macarena.” With such a tragically faulty memory, I shouldn’t be capable of surviving in the world of public relations, where information is flung at me in a close approximation to a haywire particle accelerator. Except, high above, floats “The Cloud.”

The Things We Carry
Public relations professionals are, by nature, portable people. Given the demands of the job and the client, we must be able to pick up and move once, twice, even three times a day. Few professions revolve more around the ability to carry one’s workspace in a bag and coat pockets than PR. But what do we carry to make sure we can do our jobs?

The RFP Ate My Homework
Every PR professional looking to build new business has, at one time or another, responded to a request for proposal (RFP). I completed another one last week. It nearly killed me. The RFP is a necessary evil. Like obstacle courses employed at corporate and military boot camps around the world, it operates as a hurdle to separate the creative, driven problem-solvers from the merely happy to be alive.

To Phone or Not to Phone: A PR Dilemma
There it is again: that annoying ringing sound, followed by that unwelcome vibration. You fumble around in your pocket and find…your iPhone? You knew it sent emails to clients and let you tweet, but now it’s telling you there is an incoming call from your client. Weird. You thought you had turned off that function months ago.


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