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Original articles from Elizabeth Friedland.
True Lies: Fixing Agency Fibs, Part 2
The Lie: “We’re really excited to hear your feedback!” The Truth: The subtext that comes with that, as one creative explained, is, “We’re also fearful of you killing our ideas.” The Fix: “We want you to love our idea because we think it really meets your needs. It’s pushing your comfort zone, but here’s why it will work.”

True Lies: Fixing Agency Fibs, Part 1
I got a kick out of the Digiday article “The White Lies Agencies Tell Clients,” but it also rubbed me the wrong way. With solid communication skills and an atmosphere of honesty (yes, even when it’s uncomfortable), no agency should ever have to tell a client a lie — even a little, tiny white one. Check out the original article here, and then read about how we PR agencies should handle each situation with honest and open dialogue. The Lie: “That’s a great idea!”

Magic Tricks, PR Style
PR practitioners always have to fight the perception of being spin artists, but that doesn’t mean the industry doesn’t have some tricks up its sleeve to help focus on positive messages and distract from the negative. While these may not be best practices, they are techniques used when times get especially tough. Have you used any of these? Are they ethical? What other (lawful) “tricks” have you heard of being used? Trickery is used on the other side of the aisle, too.

'Good Karma' New Year's Resolutions for PR Pros
With Christmas just a few weeks away, it’s almost time for gyms to be packed with the newly resolute that haven’t seen a treadmill since the Reagan administration. Yes, that’s right — it’s time to make our New Year’s resolutions. PR is no doubt a stressful industry, filled with tight deadlines, demanding clients and journalists, and stiff competition from other agencies, occasionally making the field a wee bit grumpy.

Shuffling Past Indy's Super Bowl Shuffle
Indianapolis will be hosting Super Bowl XLVI this February, a big deal for the growing Midwestern city (which, in full disclosure, is the city in which I reside). Indy has hosted large conferences and events before, including the Pan Am Games and Big 10 championships, yet the hosting win of the Super Bowl is the uncontested crown jewel in the city’s tiara.

How Do You Explain to Uncle Larry What PR Is?
Thanksgiving is almost upon us, meaning mounds of buttery mashed potatoes, plotting a Black Friday shopping strategy, and trying to explain to your family — for the millionth time — just what it is you do for a living. Sigh. PR professions don’t have it easy in that regard. A doctor, a lawyer, a salesman — even the most senile great-grandmother (or most hyperactive grade-schooler) understands what these people do. Yet sometimes it’s hard to even define the job ourselves,

Is PR Suffering From a Crisis of Politeness?
Nick Denton, owner of Gawker Media, recently lamented boring commentators, calling them a worse problem than “trolls,” or anonymous cyber bullies. He explained that while these uninteresting individuals are “perfectly nice,” perfectly nice does nothing to contribute to the greater conversation. Somewhat similarly, a recent New York Times op/ed piece “Generation Sell” described the Millennial generation as “inoffensive, smile-and-a-shoeshine personality — the stay-positive, other-directed, I’ll-be-whoever-you-want-me-to-be personality…"

Ideas are Money: Protect Them!
Nothing is more rewarding that putting the finishing touches on a new client proposal; it’s an exciting feeling to present them with your biggest and best ideas after days, even weeks, of preparing a response to an RFP. But it can also be a little scary; now the client has full possession of your valuable ideas — and in this business, ideas are money.

Top 20 Ways Clients Annoy PR Pros
Refill the cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and know you're not alone. 1. No, we don’t know every journalist everywhere across the universe — not that it matters, anyway. Even journalists whose weddings we were in have turned down our pitches occasionally. 2. A good publicist doesn’t have to be based out of New York or L.A. to be effective. Ever heard of this crazy thing called email? 3. Few things actually warrant a press release… 4. ...but a creative PR professional can still brainstorm ways to achieve your goals without one.

Taming the Journalist Gone Wild
The vast majority of journalists and bloggers a PR pro works with are stand-up, ethical professionals that often become a publicist’s best buddy. As in any profession, though, there are always a few bad apples that spoil the bunch. It can be tricky to deal with difficult reporters without risking the relationship, especially when the outlet is one you or the client needs to keep close.

Do You Have an A+ in Client Education?
The agency/client relationship isn’t much different from a marriage. While both parties are on the same team and tirelessly working toward the same goal, friction inevitably arises when communication isn’t clear or honest. How can you avoid seeing the ugly side of this relationship? Thankfully, it’s easy: client education. Client education isn’t implying clients are stupid.

Five Things a PR Pro Should Never Do
Things You Should Never Do as a PR Professional: Pitch Non-News. Many times a client will approach the PR team, acknowledge they have no news (or worse, insist that an irrelevant or very minor bit of information qualifies as news), and expect you to land coverage in every major publication in town. Don’t do this. By spamming out information that truly isn’t newsworthy, you’re conditioning the reporter to ignore you, your client, and eventually anyone who identifies themselves as publicists.

What Do Facebook's Changes Mean for PR Strategy?
We may not know (yet) what the new Fan Pages will look like, but we’ve had a few weeks now to settle into the broader changes that have come to Facebook. What do these changes mean for PR strategy? First, shift focus away from fan procurement. Brands used to think of their Facebook Fan Page as a numbers game.

The Art of PR War
Stop me if you’ve heard this in a meeting before: “What’s our strategy for Client Project X?” “Well, we’re focusing heavily on media relations.” or “We’re reaching out to consumers through social media.” or “We’re planning a guerrilla marketing event.” Did you catch the glaring problem with the responses? The answers are all valuable tools to achieve client goals, but they’re tactics, not strategy.

PR and Digital: A Steamy Affair
A funny thing happened on the way to the digital agency — public relations joined the team. PR has, for better or worse, been traditionally siloed in the agency world. Either it was its own department, working independently of the “creatives,” or PR was found in stand-alone communications firms. But slowly, digital agencies and PR practitioners are getting into bed together and making beautiful industry love.


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