PRSA Boston Blog

This is a blog written by the PRSA Boston president (Tom Nutile for 2008) about events and activities involving PRSA Boston

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What a great event!

Good morning,

Last night was one of the most informative, dynamic and passionate PRSA Bost0n events I have been to in a long time.

The panel discussion on social media, moderated by John Cass, with panelists Paul Gillin, Todd Defren, and Todd vanHoosear touched on everything from tips for blogging success to five things to never, ever do when engaging social media.

The panel discussion ran for almost a full two hours in front of a packed audience. I believe the final tally was 90 people. Shift, Racepoint and Schwartz Communications (the agency for which I were) had a strong showing, but the session was a good mix of corporate communications professionals, small agencies, principals and independent practitioners and large agencies.

All agreed that if you try the "command & control" system of PR in the social media, you are doomed to failure. (I personally believe that if you try it in traditional PR you will not be as successful as you could be. Two way, symmetrical communication will provide the greatest impact).

A few recommendations they made that I wanted to share with members:

1) When starting to engage in conversations in the blogosphere follow the tried and true PR practice of listening and learning about the people with whom you will be interacting. Then a good opening to to simply let people know you are present, listening, ask them what they want to know and ask how you can help.

2) Avoid drive by commenting. (You need to return to your posts)

3) If you haven't started tagging, you should. There are some great resources that explain this in greater detail, and I invite yo to share them in comments.

4) PR is still essential.

5) The vast majority of markets are still not represented in the blogosphere. Now is the time to act! (If you are tech, entertainment, politics or financial services and not active, you are late to the game).

6) Don't visit http://www.willitblend.com/ unless you have time to kill. 30 second videos, one of which received more than 3 million views.

7) One of the Todd's (sorry my notes were lazy at that point), pointed out there are four levels of participation.

a) Monitoring (all should be doing)
b) Joining conversations
c) Starting conversations
d) Optimizing visibility online.

I believe that serves as a good guide for our members who are still looking for guidance on what to do.

There is a lot that I did not include in the wrap up, but I invite others to comment and share their thoughts. (And I will follow up with any interesting posts I find on this program).

These are the types of high quality programs PRSA Boston wants to bring our members. Chime in if there are topics of interest to you.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why I hate PR 2.0...

No, I don't hate social media. I just don't like how the practice is being labeled by some as PR 2.0 (I don't like a lot of labels, as anyone who has had the misfortune to listen to me rant about the 'Red State' label knows all too well).

Why don't I like the term PR 2.0? I believe it does a disservice to all those who have come before us, giants such as Ivy Lee and Arthur Page etc., by lumping them in one category of PR 1.0. I believe it ignores game changing events such as the news release, press conference, newswire, Internet, etc.,

But I am a tech PR guy at heart. I first cut my teeth on enterprise software, and remember the arguments over 14.2.5 or renaming the product so it could be 1.0.

So let's have a little fun and collaboratively come up with what dot rev we are really on.

My list is by NO means complete. I am sure it will change and change dramatically, but lets start off with this for now. (And yes, it is very U.S. centric)

PR Alpha - 1800 B.C. - the pamphlets cited in almost all PR textbooks I have ever read to help educate about the best ways to plant grain and deal with field mice

PR Beta 1.0 - 1622 - Catholic Church founded the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide

PR Beta 2.0 - 1788 - The Federalist Papers

PR Beta 3.0 -- Amos Kendall, a member of Andrew Jackson's kitchen cabinet, served as the first U.S. presidential press secretary.

PR 1.0 - 1850 - The birth of press agentry (yes, its bad now, but so are most 1.0 products *except those by companies that I represent of course). Widespread.

PR 2.0 - 1889 - The first reporters come to the dark side and begin press agentry at Westinghouse. Significant change.

PR 3.0 - 1897 - The American Association of Railroads first uses the term Public Relations (I toyed with having this be 1.0, but it wasn't dramatic enough, and introducing the term deserves more than a .5)

PR 4.0 - 1900 - The first PR Agency (Publicity Bureau) is founded in Boston. Introduction of the agency model.

PR 4.5 - 1906 - Ivy Ledbetter Lee introduces the "Declaration of Principles" (It's very significant but internal and process/standards oriented so it gets a .5)

PR 5.0 - 1906 - The first news release is issued. And they are still being issued today. From one-to-one to one-to-many

PR 5.1 - 1923 - Edward Bernays coins the term PR Counsel

PR 6.0 - 1927 - Arthur Page hired by AT&T as first corporate VP of public relations. This only intensifies the debate that still ranges today about getting a seat at the table. Elevation of the recognition of the importance of PR.

PR 7.0 - 1947 - PRSA is formed - Founding of a professional organization/standards body is important.

PR 8.0 - ? - The first commercial newswire begins operation, creating what will later be called the first spam - one-to-many exponentially

PR 9.0 - 1995 - Companies really start to use the Internet and Web in public relations. (Yes, I realize some happened well before that, I was on GEnie and had an MCImail account).

PR 10.0 - 2006 - Social Media and public relations takes off

So. What key compelling events am I missing? I want to add radio and TV into the mix, but am debating where to put them.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Going the extra mile

First, sorry to the delay in posting. I wanted to keep Social Media on the top as long as a could.

I want to divert a bit from my regular posting to take a minute to thank someone for going the extra mile. When it comes to PR, we are regularly asked to do so. A crisis erupts, an event falls through, a customer complains, the client decides they want a 258 page report in three days...whatever it is, one of the things that really demonstrates a good PR pro is their willingness to unhesitatingly go the extra mile (often without complaint). And yes, we should plan ahead to eliminate the *need* to go the extra mile, but events often conspire to make us change our plans.

So I wanted to take a minute to thank a vendor that many of us use for going the extra mile. On a project I was working on recently, MediaLink, not only went the extra mile, but did so again and again. Changes had to be made to an Audio News Release at the last minute (which involved re-recording) more than a few times. They could have told us the deadline was passed. They could have charged us extra (I was expecting that) and they did neither. They matter of factly did what was asked, and the project was a resounding success. There were a few other things I was doing with them at the time and they accommodated all of my last minute needs without complaint.

For that they deserve public praise. But I *know* companies other than MediaLink do this. I know PR people do this. So why not share some of those "Extra Mile" stories in the comments section?

Note: Neither PRSA Boston nor the agency for whom I work is endorsing MediaLink or any of its services. I am sharing a personal anecdote that I believe deserves to be shared.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Learning About Social Media

Aside from the question, why are dues so high? One of the most common questions I get from our members is, I hear the buzz about social media, but how do I learn more, and how can I use it?

Well, PRSA Boston has brought together a panel for you. We have gathered some of the leaders and pioneers together for a practical discussion of tips, tricks, and tools as well as the pitfalls to avoid for successfully reaching and engaging bloggers and other social media participants.

The panel will answer questions such as:
What is a social media release and how can you create one?
What are the five things you should avoid doing when utilizing social media?
What can you do to make your Website more effective?
What are the most practical means for working with bloggers and communicating your message?

Our panel of experts and thought leaders includes:

John Cass - author of "Strategies and Tools for Corporate Blogging," to be published by Butterworth-Heinemann, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc., in 2007.

Todd Defren - principal, Shift Communications, research fellow and advisory board member for the Society for New Communications Research. Defren created a template for the Social Media Release and Social Media Newsroom.

Paul Gillin - veteran technology journalist with more than 24 years of editorial leadership, writes the social media column for BtoB magazine. His forthcoming book, β€œThe New Influencers,” chronicles the changes in markets being driven by the new breed of bloggers and podcasters.

Todd Van Hoosear - practice Leader for social media, Topaz Partners. Van Hoosear is active in the Social Media Club Boston and Chief Propagandist for Tech PR Gems.

When: February 26, 2007 – 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Dinner & Networking 6-7:00
Program 7-8:30

Where: The Newton Marriott
2345 Commonwealth Avenue (Route 30)
Newton, MA

Sign up here

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It's a party!

PR Week asked me to pass this on. And in the interests of helping our members have fun, and making them think better of me and the agency I work for, I wanted to post the details, ASAP:

Please join PRWeek for a Cocktail Party in Boston

PRWeek invites you, a key practitioner in the Boston area, to a cocktail reception at the Reflect Room at the Nine Zero Hotel. Come and meet senior PRWeek editors and staff for an evening of drinks and conversation. We hope to see you there.

When: February 22, 2007 Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm Where: The Reflect Room Nine Zero Hotel 90 Tremont Street Boston, MA 02108 Please RSVP to Irene.chang@prweek.com by February 13th. This event is sponsored by: Waggener Edstrom

I will be in San Francisco, so can't make it. But I hope some of you hve a good time! Post here in comments about how it went.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Responsible PR and marketing

I had planned another post for today, but yesterday's events caused me to change direction.

Stating it most charitably, yesterday a promotional event went awry, significantly inconveniencing thousands and costing Boston taxpayers a significant amount of money. (And I am not referring the the inconvenience of those trying to install Vista).

Details of the event can be found http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/01/31/boston.bombscare/index.html

or for a more local take on it

Although this is guerilla marketing, I post for it does impact us as practitioners as:

1) We are often called upon to provide counsel re: marketing
2) We plan special events and activities ourselves.

How does this relate to the PRSA Code of Ethics.