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Original articles from Jeannine Wheeler.
 
3 Great Blogging Tools You'll Love
If you’re a blogger, a press release writer or a social media influencer, you may want to check out these three top tools for creating and sharing your content. Are you being a bit dense? Is your writing impenetrable? Are you using bigger words than you need to? Are your sentences just a bit too long? Even though you might be capable of writing for the New York Review of Books, you really shouldn’t. Blogs in general should strive for readers with a grade level of around 8.

Bad Reviews Can Be a Very Good Thing
What’s so good about a bad review? Ask brands today that are using good (and bad) reviews — as well as other forms of consumer-generated content — to substantially boost their messaging, improve their products, and redirect their marketing plans. This, according to a Target Marketing webinar sponsored by Bazaarvoice...

Going Viral Makes No Sense; Just Ask Marcus
Marcus Lepage overslept. Twitter noticed. In fact, more than 53,000 (and counting) Twitter users retweeted when Marcus said he was going to sleep on April 26, 2009; and again SEVEN YEARS LATER when he announced he had just woken up. One of the world’s longest played jokes illustrated just how arbitrary it is to go viral on any kind of social media. In fact, a look at today’s Twitter Trends shows how timely, newsworthy, and esoteric going viral can be...

8 Great Marketing Books
Marketing consultant and entrepreneur Lon Safko just came out with a new book and — to my great surprise — it had nothing to do with digital marketing, social media, or business. It’s actually a Western historical fiction novel called Massacre! The Secret of the Lost Dutchman. But it did remind me of some of my favorite books on marketing, PR, and advertising, including one by Lon. Here are eight of the best.
Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era by Antony Young
Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization by Olivier Blanchard

Are Millennials Unhappy with PR?
A recent study says Millennials working in PR are feeling the pressure and lack role models. What’s a manager to do? According to PR Week, Millennials are dissatisfied after the two-year mark in the public relations profession and — although enjoying the ‘work hard, play hard’ culture – have gripes. Concerns included: "How little you are briefed – you’re expected just to get on with it."

3 Things I Know About Client Relations
Client relations is a steady rapport. When you get up every morning, you want to know what to expect. Your coffee mugs are above the sink, your scrambled eggs might have a bit of shell in them, and your laptop is slow to open. That’s just how it is...

Is Your Newsroom Newsy or Just Annoying? Journalists Report
Do you manage an online newsroom? If so, you might be frustrating a journalist. That’s the finding of a recent study that says around one in six journalists find online newsrooms hosted by corporations, NGOs, and government organizations to be unsatisfactory. ​That’s unfortunate because an online newsroom can prove a valuable tool to inform and influence journalists...

What’s So Great About These 3 Top PR Trends?
Increasing the Twitter character limit from 140 to 10,000. That’s from an average of six words to about 1,650. Twitter is rumoured to be launching this feature in 2016, turning the micro-blogging site into a full macro. But will it resonate with brands that already have Facebook, blogs, content marketing, and other long-form communication channels?

Considering a Career in PR? Have You Decided Your Specialty?
If you’re preparing for a career in PR, have you considered where you would want to specialize? Although many PR positions will traverse a number of specialties — especially in the beginning of your career — there is the opportunity to focus exclusively on one sector of PR or another.

7 Types of Blogs: Which One is Right For Your Company?
Is your company or organization thinking of starting a blog? The work is hard, the pace is relentless, and the pitfalls are many; but the rewards are great. Once committed to the challenge, however, what kind of blog is best to ensure success? According to best-selling author, speaker, and online marketing consultant...

Influencer Marketing: What PRs Need to Know, with Rachel Honoway
Just what is influencer marketing? PRs probably get tired of hearing just how much their industry has changed in the past five years, let alone 10. It is true that PRs must continuously educate themselves on the new techniques that have sprung up, by and large because of changes in technology and how the Internet is being used — both from a consumer and a brand standpoint. These changes have particularly taken hold in the blogoshpere, where it’s now not enough just to put out content...

71 Top Tips for Getting Media Coverage
“A well-crafted pitch does wonders, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle,” says Cision in a recent report. “With so many brands pitching traditional outlets, trade publications, highly trafficked blogs and influential social media voices, how can you stand out?” Cision recommends 71 ways to do so.

Subway’s New Route Throws Jared off the Bus
How best to take our minds off a PR debacle? Give people something "new" to think about; in this case, something very "old." Subway has done just that, replacing images of its former spokesman and convicted sex offender Jared Fogle with a 1960s portrayal of the sandwich chain’s founders...

3 Content Marketing Trends to Adopt in 2016
2016 is here. Is the PR team ready? Here are three top content marketing trends for the year ahead that will help to drive higher sales and online reputation. 1) Websites are becoming less important. The focus for marketers has long been on generating as many visits to a brand website as possible...

How Much Should You Pay for PR?
If you’re looking for PR — whether you’re a startup or a well-established brand – you’re probably wondering how much to pay for your PR services. Here’s a general rule of thumb, according to Technori. Large firms: Most often reserved for large corporations or enterprise brands, agencies with 50+ employees will typically charge clients between $30k–50k a month.

3 Top Twitter Tips
Twitter has become a key tool for PRs to liaise with journalists. In fact, 23% of journalists now accept pitches via social media (a five-point increase from 2013), according to a recent study by Cision. Although email is still journalists’ preferred medium (83% say so), social media is now a pitch point, with Twitter a major player.

How Do YOU Define PR?
With the advent of digital and social media, the definition of public relations has changed. And dramatically. The first definition came about in the early 1900s when the "father" of public relations, Edward Louis Bernays, described the profession as “a management function, which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interests of an organization...followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance." Since then, the industry has moved on.

HARO Helps Reporters — and PRs — Get the Story Out
Whether you’re PR’ing a new product for wine lovers, represent an oil and gas association, or are an expert on small business startups, you should not overlook the value of HARO — Help a Reporter Out. HARO helps connect PRs with the media looking for products and sources for their stories.

Thieves are Stealing Your Content
Most people don’t intend to break copyright laws when they try to pass off someone else’s ideas as their own. They are just “sharing content” with friends, family, and coworkers. What’s the harm in that? According to a new report by Cision, there can be quite a lot — in the form of litigation and hefty fines. Content sharing has increased dramatically since 2007 ...

PR Owns Social Media, Say Ad and Marketing Execs
Who owns social media? This question has been asked and wrangled with ever since social became an integral part of any brand marketing program. But who should manage the task? According to a recent study of advertising and marketing executives: It’s the PR team. More than half (51 percent) said public relations/communications members should manage social media, up from 39 percent in a similar study conducted in 2013.

BASF Pulls Off Best Practice PR Campaign
With its PR firm PadillaCRT, chemical giant BASF pulled off one of this year’s best PR campaigns, convincing more than 50 busy journalists to attend a three-day media retreat in North Carolina to hear about the company’s latest developments in the agribusiness.

Five Ways PR Has Changed Dramatically in the Past Five Years
There is no question that one of the industries that has been most changed by digital and social media has been PR. Here are five things that have altered most radically. PR looks more like advertising. For all the years we have tried to distinguish ourselves, PR today is looking more like advertising than ever.

A Really Bad Press Release Gets Called Out on Social Media
Have you ever written a really bad press release? Truth be told, we all have at some point. Poorly written, not the right angle, leaving out pertinent information…this can happen. But when your press release is so horrendous that journalists are complaining about it on social media, you know you’ve hit a low point. If you don’t want this to be you, consider not sending the following pitch release sent by a UK PR, which was trashed on Facebook...

Twitter Takes a Few 'Moments' to Stay Relevant
Does the world really need yet another channel to aggregate its news and top trends? Twitter is about to find out with the launch of its new feature, Moments, which it calls “the best of what’s happening on Twitter in an instant.” Solely for U.S. Twitter users for now but with plans to launch further...

Five Steps to Content Curation
If you’re putting together a content curation strategy — or you’re wondering what one is — you’ll benefit from curata’s new infographic outlining the five steps to creating a plan that will help your brand increase sales, leads, and reputation. According to its 2015 Content Marketing Tactics Study, leading marketers are curating 25% of all content they publish...

If You're a Fan of 'Astroturfing,' You Probably Know Edward Bernays
Edward Bernays. You say you’ve never heard of him? If you’re in PR, you should have, and if you’re not, you’ve certainly been influenced by his ideas and his campaigns. Dubbed the “father of PR," the “Prince of Puff,” the “Baron of Ballyhoo,” this Austrian-American nephew of Sigmund Freud was an astute student of human behavior and consumerism.

Flash Forward to the New 'Social' Press Release
Wondering if you should still be pounding out press releases? The industry consensus is still a yes; however, if you’re ignoring the "social" aspect, you’re not taking full advantage of the exercise.

Social Media Demographics for Marketers
Social media: Ask yourself why. And, once you do, ask yourself which channel or channels will best suit your marketing strategy. Spout Social has made it easier with its Social Media Demographics for Marketers research...

Does Your Family Know What You Do All Day? #PR
A new survey finds that if you’re working in PR, few families know what it is that you actually do all day. In fact, 72% of PR agency pros report that their parents do not understand what PR is and 41% say their spouses are ignorant of their profession as well. “Anyone who works in PR wouldn’t be the least surprised..."

9 Modern-Day Quotes About PR – and One Not So Much
Who among us has not hung an inspirational quote above our desks or on the bathroom mirror? Words of wisdom can empower, motivate, and compel us to do our best in whatever industry in which we work. Here are 10 of the best about PR. “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” –Seth Godin “Make the customer the hero of your story.” –Ann Handley “It’s impossible to measure the ROI for something if we haven’t first established the R (return) or the I (investment). No amount of acronyms will change this.” – Brian Solis

Launch a Magazine With a Great Business Story
“Be brave and say yes.” That’s the mantra spoken by renowned medical esthetician, product developer, and entrepreneur Ann Webb at the launch recently of Austin’s STOUT magazine, which is scheduled to debut after the first of the year. If you’re launching a new venture, don’t go it alone. Think of a business leader, company, organization, or popular entity in your area that might boost not only your credibility, but also your attendance. In this case, the inspirational Ann Webb — who started a million-dollar company 13 years ago from a small cramped room in her Austin home...

In God — and Dashcams — We Trust
Just about everyone agrees that U.S. police forces could use some good PR right about now. But is putting bumper stickers that say “In God We Trust” on their official police vehicles the answer? “In Dashcams We Trust” might make more sense. Dashboard-mounted cameras are inconspicuous and automatically record video of the road in front of the driver, often providing a vital piece of visual evidence in automobile accidents and, increasingly across the nation, police stops. It is just such dashcams that have exposed the rights and wrongs of some allegedly very bad civilian and police behavior, at times exonerating or vilifying one or the other and at other times ambivalent to the end. The “In God We Trust” bumper stickers have begun appearing on police, sheriff, and firefighter vehicles in Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, and elsewhere...

11 Top Tips for Optimizing LinkedIn for Business
Are you on LinkedIn? Maybe so, but have you really optimized the platform for you and/or your business? After all, there are now 364 million users and three million company pages on LinkedIn. In fact, 30% of small businesses are now using LinkedIn regularly.

LinkedIn Company Profile Page Should NOT be Overlooked
You may have your own LinkedIn page, but don’t overlook a LinkedIn Company Profile Page as an invaluable tool for building brand presence, whether it’s for your own PR/marketing agency...

It .sucks to Get Sucked into This New Domain
The Internet has brought us many great PR opportunities, but also many challenges. A recent one is the advent of the new domain .sucks, "forcing" brands and celebrities to purchase the domains to protect their brands against the obvious. Mark Zuckerberg, for one, has registered no less than 10 .sucks domain names...

This A to Z Blogging Glossary is a Good One
Thinking about blogging for yourself or your client? If so, it’s best to know the language of the blogger, including what’s A/B testing, a cPanel and Hotlinking. Check out The Blog Stylist’s A to Z Blogging Glossary for a comprehensive list of blogging terms that will help you write, post and share like a pro.

3 Brands That Lost Control and Had To Fix It
From ketchup to baseball to the nightly news, you’re never too big to get stung by a mess up, thus forcing the corporate team to come up with a bit of PR and an apology. Here are three very recent examples.

Uber a Driving Force Among NYC Riders
Everybody loves Uber, right? Not so fast, says a recent MediaMiser report highlighting Twitter sentiments and online news coverage in five US major cities, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. Nevertheless, the privately held San Francisco-based ridesharing company has earned a steady stream of converts...

# Now a Literary Device for the Under 13s
The hashtag, a term used widely in social media, has been named as children's "word of the year," in the UK at least. That’s the finding of a University Oxford Press (UOP) analysis of BBC Radio 2’s entries for its 500 Words competition for under 13s. The UOP found that there was a huge increase in both the use of the word...

Put an Annual List at the Top of Your List
If you’re looking for a way to stay relevant, increase social share, and gain website visits, why not publish a list, much like the Social Security Administration does every year when it names the country’s most popular baby names? Noah and Emma, by the way, followed by a few newcomers to the ‘Top 10 Baby Names List 2014,’ including James and Charlotte. Publishing a much-anticipated annual list is a great way to gain or keep influence...

Journalists to PRs: Give Me a Call. Better Yet: Don’t!
Your client wants a result. Is the media picking up the story? You’ve sent an email. Okay; two emails, and you still don’t know if your targeted journalist is going to cover. Your hand is on the phone. Should you call? Maybe not, according to a recent study finding more than 75% of UK journalists prefer NOT to hear from PRs...

Fiskars Puts a PESO in Its Pocket
That’s the PR model PESO — paid, earned, shared, and owned; and if PRs are not using it, say industry experts, they can kiss their jobs good-bye. One brand that put a nice twist on the Paid and Earned aspects of the model is Fiskars, the 357-year-old scissors company. Suffering from flagging sales, Fiskars in 2006 ran focus groups that told them that if it were a color, it would be the color beige.

Pitney Bowes Goes Social — So Can You
Taking your company social is no easy feat: resistance, anxiety, and fear from the top, as well as the same from line managers and staff; a PR roadblock for sure. One major U.S. company, however, has done it — and done it well. The Pitney Bowes social media program was featured this week in a webinar presented by PR Week and sponsored by DynamicSignal. Since going social, the Pitney Bowes social advocacy program has achieved startling results in just six months: More than 100 Pitney Bowes employees are active advocates of the program, 8,100 social shares, 4.7m impressions, 24k clicks, and 4,750 reactions. “One of the key components of devising a successful social media program,” says Pitney Bowes Social Media Director Bart Casabona...

Is It Time for a Female President? One Woman Says Absolutely NOT
The PR spin doctors are in overdrive arguing for and against the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton, now that she has formally announced her plans to seek the presidency of the United States. Arguments will be based on her experience, vision, and yes, gender — but who could have predicted that a female CEO would be arguing against her election based on gender alone? “With the hormones we have, there is no way (a woman) should be able to start a war,” Texas CEO Cheryl Rios wrote in her Facebook post, according to KTVT. “Yes, I run my own business and I love it and I am great at it BUT that is not the same as being the President. That should be left to a man, a good, strong, honorable man.” In fact, says Rios, who is CEO of Dallas marketing and PR firm...

Uber and Lyft Leave Taxi Comms in the Dust
Whether you’re a frequent Uber rider or have only used the ride service once, you might have concerns about your personal safety, physical or financial. To put your mind at ease, Uber has an aggressive communications program that includes frequent emails to customers highlighting features, videos...

10 Arguably True Things About PR Today
If you’re older, you hardly recognize PR from when you first trained; if you’re younger, you have a lot to grasp. Below are just a few ‘truisms’ about the industry today, which charges ahead faster than a thoroughbred horse at the Kentucky Derby. 1. The Starbucks “RaceTogether” campaign will brew more controversy than coffee. 2. The Daily Mail Online employs few proofreaders well.

If You're Using Email, Here Are 3 Simple Rules
Whether constituents or clients, how do you handle sensitive emails? Stream-of-consciousness, carefully constructed messaging, or office consensus? These are all different styles that can work, but there are a few general rules to keep in mind before you go completely teetotal on emails, as has admitted Sen. John McCain, who told the National Journal: "I don't email at all," McCain said. "I have other people and I tell them to email because I am just always worried I might say something. I am not the most calm and reserved person, you know? I am afraid I might email something that in retrospect I wish I hadn't." We all know how a quick-finger tweet can get us into trouble, but email can be just as injurious within your client circles if you’re not careful. Here are a few simple rules: Don’t ever say anything that isn’t true.

PR Stage Fright? How About a Toast to Toastmasters
What is the most terrifying thing you do as a PR professional? If it’s public speaking, take your cue from one PR executive who nipped her fear in the bud at a very young age. And it was all down to Toastmasters. “When I was almost 12,” said Megan Matthews Carnahan, Chief Communications Officer...

Should Conrad Hilton be Grounded?
You pay your agencies millions every year to hone your messaging, you invest heavily in infrastructure, and you properly train your personnel. But the one thing you can’t always control is your own family members, for some reason — especially when they travel. Witness the latest corporate case of air rage: Conrad Hughes Hilton III and “peasantgate.” What’s a PR to do? Seems the 20-year-old scion of Hilton Hotels & Resorts hotelier Conrad Hilton...

The PR Pitch: It’s Like Opening a Present
Just like the iconic 1960s award-winning Polaroid ad that helped sell millions of cameras, the PR pitch should feel like a gift to the journalist who is enticed to open it up for a special prize inside. All components should portend valuable and relevant news, including the subject header, the email pitch, the press release headline, and certainly the first graph. All should provide a reward for securing the time and attention of the journalist, blogger, or even consumer via social media channels such as Twitter.

Five Common Traits of All Strong Brands
Whether you’re in PR, marketing, banking, or selling software, strong brands are essential — both the brand you represent and your own personal brand. But what do all strong brands have in common? Here are their five top traits. “Strong brands win,” says life coach Darryl L. Mobley,” who presented this week to the Austin chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA). “They’re authentic and they stand for something."

Facebook Changes I Would 'LIKE' to See
Facebook has done it again! It's changed its news feed, format, and design settings. These changes include everything from enlarged photos to auto-play videos to "resurfaced" content. But what about changes that we would LIKE to see?

Obamacare By Any Other Name
With the admission this week by former Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the Obamacare program “has a very bad brand” comes the realization that sometimes, a tarnished brand’s only recourse is a name change. This is not a new phenomenon.

'Weird' Austin Christmas Tradition Now Has Its Own Hashtag
Love it or loathe it, the Austin tradition of decorating roadside Christmas trees now has its own Twitter hashtag (most people love it!). #360trees — named after the 360 Loop, Capital of Texas Highway where it all takes place — celebrates the tradition of ordinary families picking a tree by the side of the road and adorning it with their own style of decorations, including ornaments...

Three PR Ideas That Worked, and One That Didn't
You never know what is going to stick, but many of us pretty much know what is a truly bad idea. For instance: There are several ways to make a million dollars, but who knew one of them was winning a Lay’s Potato Chip contest? That’s just what happened to lucky Meneko Spigner McBeth, a 35-year-old Philadelphia nurse who is the proud inventor of the new Lay’s Wasabi Ginger flavor. The brand’s "Do Us a Flavor” contest pitted finalists against each other in a nationwide contest that began this summer, with consumers choosing between Wasabi Ginger, Mango Salsa, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, and Cappuccino. McBeth gets to take home either $1 million or a percentage of one year of the new chip’s sales, whichever is more.

Evite's '31 Days of Party' Campaign is Definitely Something to Celebrate
If content is king, Evite’s brilliant ‘31 Days of Party’ calendar campaign is the whole kingdom. Complete with compelling content, extensive links back to its selling platform, robust social media share, and calls to action, Evite’s ‘31 Days of Party’ is worth celebrating, especially if you like to applaud great marketing campaigns. By hovering over Evite’s December advent calendar, you can click on any of the 31 days of December to get inspiration for your holiday get-together. Each day gives a reason to party, with a designated and adaptable invitation that users can either send to guests digitally off the Evite platform, or get printed through Evite. From cookie-baking parties to tree-decorating soirees to Hanukkah to Christmas...

Creating a Communications Plan? Have You Done the Research?
We all know the feeling of wanting to jump right in and carry out a communications plan based on the strategies, tactics, and client objectives we might know. However, don’t miss out on the very FIRST step: audience research. While clients might want instant results (as so you), you’ll want to make sure you take the time to research your client’s audiences...

No More 'Mr. Bad Guy' for Ryanair's O'Leary
If you’re a traveler in Ireland or the UK, you’ll know well the reputation of the combative Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary, who famously calls his own customers "stupid," tells refund-hunters to "f*** off" and has threatened to remove on-board bathrooms completely so he can get in a few extra seats. But now it seems the 53-year-old Irish executive is on a PR charm offensive, telling MailOnline Travels that “We should have been nicer to customers earlier than we have been.”

Renee Zellweger Wages PR Campaign to Defend Her Own Face
Is 45 too early to "get a new face"? Possibly so, if you listen to the social media chatter that forced Hollywood actor Renee Zellweger to defend her own face after some fairly obvious "rearrangement." After appearing at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills this week, Renee displayed her Oscar-winning...

Tasked With Your Company's Social Media Program?
You might want to set up a task force, rather than going it alone. The best social media programs involve a cross-section of professionals from an organization, ensuring the most buy-in, efficacy, and chances of success. A task force would be more successful for three reasons: You’ll have more political clout throughout the organization. A social media program is a serious and necessary marketing effort that can bring great results...

UPDATE: LEGO has 'Leggo' of Shell
On July 11, I reported on a unique partnership between beloved toy company LEGO and oil industry giant Shell that saw Shell-branded LEGO cars sold at gas stations in more than 26 countries. This week, LEGO announced the end of this agreement, with eco-warrior Greenpeace taking credit for the breakup. Is this good for PR? Well, it depends which side you’re on.

Not So Sweet on Stevia? An Infographic Might Help
Classic PR move. If you know some of your consumers might not be completely sold on your product, or its ingredients, de-mystify it. Coca-Cola did just that with a clever infographic on Stevia, a plant extract that it uses in some of its beverages. Infographics are a great way to make a controversial or new product seem friendly, open, and inviting, as in the case with Stevia...

Are you Pitch Perfect?
If not, you may want to invest some time in reading a new book that can help you prepare for just about any situation where you are required to present yourself and your ideas. This can include a PR pitch, a job negotiation, a wedding toast, or, indeed, any occasion where you are required to be engaging, persuasive, and effective. Pitch Perfect by Bill McGowan and Alisa Bowman teaches you “how to say it right the first time, every time.” McGowan, an Emmy-winning correspondent and founder and CEO of Clarity Media Group, has helped to train hundreds of newsmakers, CEOs, celebrities, authors, editors, attorneys, and athletes — even a few PR executives. What they have in common is the need to gain a new skill set that will help them to earn new clients...

Three PR Stunts to Love Right Now
PR stunts are dicey. The may not work. They may go nowhere. Or they may ruin your reputation. However, when done well, they can transform a brand or create a huge upsurge in sales. Here are three to celebrate. Olive Garden has scored a hit with its “never-ending Pasta Bowl pass," which allows ticketholders to enjoy the restaurant’s carbs as many times as they like...

Mythical Tactics Behind the $1B Unicorn Company
Three lessons learned this week at an Austin SEO seminar on strategies to help to grow a startup into a "unicorn" — a U.S.-based software company valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors. Sponsored by Ausome (Austin Online Marketing for Entrepreneurs) and hosted by incubator company Capital Factory...

Are PR Students Ready for a Changing Industry?
The PR industry has changed radically in the past five years, to say nothing of the past 25. Digital advertising, social media, content creation, and video share have introduced whole new ways and channels for brands to interact with their audiences. So what are today’s PR students doing to prepare for one of the world’s most dynamic professions? To get some answers, we spoke with Ashley Schlosser, owner and founder of Live Out Loud public relations firm in Austin and the PRSSA liaison to the University of Texas at Austin, whose Moody College of Communication is one of the nation’s foremost institutions for the study of advertising and public relations, communication studies, journalism, and radio-television-film.

Five Things You Really Need to Bring to a PR Pitch
If you’re looking to win new PR accounts — and who isn’t? — you will need to bring these five things to the pitch — and none of them is a stellar presentation, although that might help. If you can answer these five questions well during the precious time you have available, you will be in the running to handle the brand’s reputation, trust, and budget. 1. Who are you? What’s your ethos, pledge, and capabilities for handling an account of our size and scope?

Ignored Every Time You Walk Into a Room? Try Something Else, Then.
That’s exactly what brands have done. After realizing that few consumers were paying attention to their traditional web ads, they’ve changed tactics. They had no other choice. Between 2000 and 2012, for example, the click-through rate for banner ads fell from 9% to 0.2%, resulting in 99.8% of them being ignored, according to Publigroup. Consequently, brands have gone native, and they’re doing it brilliantly...

Launch a magazine with a great business story
“Be brave and say yes.” That’s the mantra spoken by renowned medical esthetician, product developer and entrepreneur Ann Webb at the launch recently of Austin’s STOUT magazine, which is scheduled to debut after the first of the year.

Welcome to the Bloghood: Have You Got Time to Stay a While?
Maybe not. It is an intensive process. If you’ve made a commitment to blog, you know you can’t contribute sporadically; it has to be a regular thing. If you’ve made a promise to yourself, your agency, or your blog-hosting site, such as Flack Me, it’s your word and your commitment that you’ll keep at it.

Should You Get Fired for Being a 'Homophone'?
I hope you read that carefully. That was homophone, not homophobe. For one Utah language school blogger, however, no matter how carefully it was spelled out, it still meant "You’re fired!" That’s allegedly what happened to Tim Torkildson, social media and content provider for the Nomen Global Language Center in Provo Utah, after the owner of the school read his blog about homophones.

Five Things a PR Can Be 'Mad' About Today
They say "count your blessings." For the field of public relations, there are plenty. Here are just the top five! 1. If you’re a frustrated journalist, there’s more work out there than ever. If you’re a talented PR writer, content marketing has created enormous new platforms for showcasing your journalistic talents.

PR and and Digital Budgets are Up: Uncork the Champagne!
Great news for PR practitioners: looks like brands are upping their PR spend, with the highest increases since 2012. According to the latest IPA Bellwether Report, PR budgets in the UK were boosted in the second quarter of this year, which followed a sustained trend toward higher marketing costs.

LEGO Rebuffs Greenpeace Campaign Video to Ditch Shell
If you’re a controversial brand (and industry), what might you do to gain a little goodwill? Team up with a much-beloved brand and bask in the associated benevolence. Well, Greenpeace is having none of it, releasing a strongly emotive video attacking the Shell/LEGO partnership to sell Shell-branded LEGO cars at gas stations in 26 countries, with more to roll out soon.

Knowledge is Key for Graduates, Says Gallup; Google Agrees
When you walk into a client’s office with a new pitch, believe me, he doesn’t care where you went to school, how many degrees you have, or where you were born. All he cares about is whether you know what you’re taking about and if you’ll achieve results. Same goes for hiring new college graduates...

Stick-Thin Pop-Tart Pilferer Proves More Bad News for the Fashion Industry
Do you ever feel so famished that you could eat or do almost anything to satisfy your hunger? Apparently, that’s just what happened to a painfully thin model who allegedly stole a box of Pop-Tarts and other junk food from a Harlem supermarket. This is not good news for the fashion industry. “I don’t want to judge her,” said an employee of the Harlem Pathmark store. “But maybe she needed it. Maybe she was hungry and had a sweet tooth.” Six-foot-tall Detroit native Mary Jean Conniff, 23, appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on June 25 to answer for the May 5 theft of one cake, three boxes of Pop-Tarts, two boxes of cake mix and several other items, which she allegedly stuffed into her purse...

Student Video Proves You Can Never Be Too Happy (Well, Maybe in Iran)
Iran has arrested seven college students who created a video of them dancing to Pharrell Williams’ pop hit “Happy.” Does Iran care about criticism of this latest example of seemingly extremist views on freedom? The jury is out. A group of students, filmmakers, and photographers made the “Happy” video...

Lowly 'Haute Dog’ Gets a PR Makeover
Whether you call it a foot long, a wiener, or a Fenway Frank, the hot dog has long been considered a lowly meal. Anything that is commonly served out of a roadside stand, a ballpark, or a 7-Eleven is going to take a beating in the PR sweepstakes. But wait. A new cookbook has set its sights on raising this renowned ‘sausage in a supermarket bun’ to stratospheric heights for a much-needed PR makeover. Haute Dogs: Recipes for Delicious Hot Dogs, Buns and Condiments is Russell van Kraayenburg’s 168-page book showcasing 100 mouth-watering recipes...

‘Virgin Killer’ Tragedy: Who Will ‘Own’ it? The PR Race Is On…
The UC Santa Barbara killings by a deranged young man were the ugly, senseless murder of six people and the injury of 13. No disagreement there. But who is to blame for this senseless tragedy? The 'PR blame game' is in full throttle. Twenty-two-year-old perpetrator Elliot Rodger...

How Do YOU Define PR? Here Are Some of the Best
Are people confused by what you do? According to PRSA: "Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” B-o-r-i-n-g but necessary. Here are some slightly more pithy descriptions of PR. In fact, some of the best…

Is Virgin Airways Encouraging Us to Break the Law? Or Is It Just Good PR?
It couldn’t have been much worse for the newest member of the "Mile High Club": handcuffed to her seat, parents sitting nearby, and the police awaiting her arrival in Las Vegas. Was the public humiliation of this Virgin Airways passenger a PR plus for the airline or a PR debacle? You decide.

Networking Tips for PRs: MeetUp, CamUp, and 'Fess Up
Do you feel you’re stuck in a rut? Need a few new ideas? Has your business network gone stale? Chances are if you are a PR, you have a natural ability to connect with many different sorts of people and an innate curiosity to learn more about any situation. Use this quality to get out there and network. Here are a few tips.

Three Little Letters That Say a Whole Lot About You: PRSA's APR
If you’re looking to improve yourself and your credentials, you might be looking to get a graduate degree. However, do not overlook the APR credential, established in 1964 as the Public Relations Society of America‘s (PRSA) certification program, well respected by colleagues and employers alike. APR (Accredited in Public Relations) began deep within in PRSA, which continued to manage the program until 1998 when the Universal Accreditation Board — consisting of representatives from eight major...

C-Suite Not Yet Sold on the Blogosphere? Try This...
What’s in your PR plan? Social media, media outreach, video, SEO, stakeholder engagement? What about blogger outreach, particularly if you’re working in the hospitality sector? Bloggers can be an integral part of your success…but is everyone sold on the idea of gifting expensive destination packages to travel bloggers? To learn more about how to leverage the blogosphere, I spoke with Ryan Sheehy, APR, a PR pro who specializes in travel, tourism, and entertainment. Based in Austin, Texas, she services clients in The Lone Star State, as well as in Orlando, Florida. In addition to running her consultancy SHEEHY creative, Ryan teaches PR and emerging media at Texas State University. Q. Is there value in incorporating travel, food, and entertainment blogger outreach...

Deal With It; It's All About Me
As content continues to rule, brands struggle to put out the right kind, in the right channels, and at the right time. No one knows better than the master of self-reflective content: BuzzFeed, whose quizzes consistently achieve phenomenal shares, views, likes, and comments.

Papi/POTUS Stunt: Has Samsung Hit a Home Run or a Foul Ball?
You can’t perform a PR stunt at a much higher level than the White House. Just ask the brain boxes at Samsung, who sent their brand ambassador, Red Sox player David "Papi" Ortiz, to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to rope President Obama into appearing in perhaps the "second most famous selfie" of the year (so far). Was it a grand slam or a cheap stunt? Judging by TV commentators, social media, and the general public, it looks like Samsung may be far short of a home run over the PR stunt, although the whole world is indeed talking about Samsung’s phones today, and not Apple’s. The White House said it was not amused. The next day — perhaps after reading the tea leaves — the White House condemned the stunt: "As a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the President's likeness for commercial purposes. And we certainly object in this case," said spokesman Jay Carney.

There’s Something About Kevin...At Least, the MTA Thinks So
Death, drama, destruction? Yes. Efficacy? Maybe. Welcome to a new PSA urging New York commuters NOT to jump onto the tracks to retrieve items such as iPhones. Will this new campaign be effective? The problem is a real one. In 2012, 55 people were killed and 141 people were injured...

Twitter Won't Replace the Press Conference
In just a few short years, social media, digital marketing, and content creation have completely changed how the profession functions within agencies and brand marketing departments. Clearly, though, not everything has changed. We look to David J. Neff for the answers… No longer just about boozy lunches, press tours, and well-placed newspaper editorials, PR today is about building campaigns that successfully harness the newest and most effective social media channels...

Content Marketing is no Red Bull
Think Red Bull — a master at brand-based content production and the DIY mentality of messaging. Even if you don’t drink the drink or live the life of an extremist daredevil, you’ll still love their stories. Who didn’t enjoy Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space?

One Shot, and the Press Can Take You Down
The German prime minister sporting a Hitler-like ‘stache? Just one in a long line of unbecoming press photographs that can influence public perceptions — one way or the other. The power of the pixel is alive and well. Compound that with the power of digital and social media, and what is a politician or celebrity to do but grin and bear it?

Four Things That Really Need a Good PR Campaign — and a Few That Don't
What do Justin Bieber, the Russian hockey team, airline seats, and the Arctic Freeze have in common? They could all use a really good PR manager. You know how it is. All of the sudden you start hearing about some issue or product out of the blue and you think, wow, they must have a pretty good PR manager. Oscar-nominated movies are the perfect example.

Is your Newsroom Newsy or Just Annoying? Journalists Report
Do you manage an online newsroom? If so, you might be frustrating a journalist. That’s the finding of a recent study that says around one in six journalists find online newsrooms hosted by corporations, NGOs and government organizations to be unsatisfactory.

Tasteless PR Campaigns that Proved a Little Too Hard to Chew
As America mourned the loss of yet another Hollywood actor to drug overdose, there was one person who thought the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman might have presented a different opportunity. That was Valentino’s celebrity relations manager Upasna Khosla, who sent out a press release showing actor Amy Adams clutching one of the brand’s handbags...

House of Cards Will Rise or Fall on Its Best Lines; PR is the Same
If you want to rule the waves of PR, you’ve got to write the best lines. No one knows that better than the producers of the Netflix blockbuster House of Cards, the award-winning political drama set amid the intrigues of Washington, DC (and a remake of a BBC miniseries focused on the British Parliament). Below are some of the best.

Don’t Like the Rules of Modern-Day PR? Blame it On Ivy Lee
Not many PR practitioners today will know a man called Ivy Lee, yet he is the modern-day founder of public relations. He called himself a "physician to corporate bodies" and believed that companies should not conceal the truth from the press and that business leaders should not shun publicity. Born near Cedartown, Georgia in 1877, Ivy Ledbetter Lee was a newspaperman, author, publicity manager, and influential pioneer who espoused the PR ethics we know today, including client openness, crisis comms, and corporate social responsibility. Lee was the son of a Methodist minister and member of a prominent Atlanta family.

‘Planet Hillary’ Explodes into Viral Parody
New York Times magazine scored a major coup this month when its photo-shopped "Planet Hillary" cover went viral, proving once again that there is no surety or formula for creating the video, tweet, or photo that will capture the world’s attention. But it is most certainly every brand’s daydream to do so. The NYT magazine visual showed Hillary’s visage photoshopped onto a planet, which New York Times design director Arem Duplessis explains was inspired by the 1902 silent film Le Voyage dans la Lune, featuring the iconic "Man in the Moon." Rather than a man on the moon, however, the NYT magazine superimposed Hillary’s face onto the orb, insinuating that Hillary might become so powerful...

Blame It on Bush: American Apparel Sparks Hairy Merkin Debate
To bush or not to bush. The debate can get hairy sometimes, with advocates on both sides of the issue (yes, it is an issue). But not usually in public. That is, until American Apparel displayed three mannequins sporting shaggy bushes in one of its New York storefront windows. Some commentators called the display "gross," others "shocking," and others a "feminist manifesto."

What Do Jamie Foxx, Google, and Blackwater Have in Common?
Whether you’re a Hollywood star or a well-established brand, there’s great merit in simply changing your name. To gain that extra mileage or wipe away a checkered past, a simple name change is one of the oldest PR tricks in the book. That’s because it works. There are two tiers to the game. One is practiced routinely by aspiring Hollywood actors and musicians.

Excuse Me, But Your Fat Thighs are Ruining My Brand
When your chairman is your worst possible PR nightmare, it’s time to reassess your leadership roster. That’s precisely what cult brand Lululemon Athletica did last week when it announced the resignation of Dennis “Chip” Wilson, who insinuated that women’s oversized thighs affected the quality of his company’s yoga pants.

‘Catch an Illegal Alien’ Stunt is Caught Out as Bad PR
When a conservative group on the University of Texas campus planned to host an event called "Catch an Illegal Immigrant," controversy spread quickly. The event was organized by Lorenzo Garcia, chair of the Young Conservatives of Texas at the University of Texas (YCT)...

For Walmart, No Good Deed Should Go Unpunished
When a Walmart store held a food drive for its own employees, criticism of the multinational retail giant spread quickly. The controversy began when word leaked out that a Canton, Ohio Walmart had put out boxes to elicit food donations for its employees by its employees. The boxes, which were not displayed publicly...

News Reporter Makes Great Case for Case Studies
When Good Morning America’s Amy Robach found out she had breast cancer only two weeks after undergoing a mammogram on live TV, she provided her own network with the ultimate case study: showing how a simple medical test can save women’s lives. Case studies are tried and true tool for enticing readers...

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