Yes, it can. To me, PR is about communication between client and agency, agency and the media/analyst community, and between a client and its buyers/prospects. Its about conversations, and through these conversations, all parties agency, client, analyst firm, media outlet are able to achieve their goals.
More often than Id like to admit, over the course of the last eight years or so, I have seen momentum come to a halt in client engagements. Clients are disappointed, teams are frustrated and media relationships are damaged. Why? Because what we need to achieve and how we need to achieve it has been made too complicated.
Here is my formula for success: information (and lots of it!), an open channel of communication (the freedom for an agency to ask its client anything) and the clients commitment to follow through with media opportunities they are given (media relationships need to be handled with care for ongoing trust and rapport).
This combination of simple factors and series of conversations leads to one largely vigorous, dynamic and energetic roster of media coverage! Ideally, this coverage becomes market buzz and in turn generates new business leads, increased brand awareness and additional exposure opportunities (speaking, networking, awards, more articles, etc.).
This end result is what all parties want to see. The media receives compelling information for their readers (listeners or viewers). Clients interest the media with their news and reach key audiences (e.g. prospects). PR folks see the fruits of their labor through media placements and create positive market buzz.
Lets all remember this were all working towards the same goal: to receive and communicate compelling information for an interesting, persuasive message for the purpose of moving an audience.
Simple enough, right?
I'll call it the 45 day challenge. I challenge you to focus on meeting these three goals in your PR program, and after 6 weeks, I have a good hunch that all parties will feel your program is on the road to victory.
In the spirit of simplicity,
Todays economy seems to have everyone running scared, and entrepreneurs are no exception. According to Entrepreneurs' Organizations
(EO) 2009 Global Economic Forecast Survey
funding and healthcare are very high on the concern list for 2009. Also, Entrepreneurs are worried about the effect the presidential election will have on their businesses.
All of these concerns plus the disheartening economic news weve been hearing everyday would lead you to believe that business owners are boarding up their doors but this is just not so...
EOs survey shows that the confidence of entrepreneurs is strong even when times are tough. Seventy percent of respondents are highly confident/confident about surviving the recession and almost half predict an increase in revenue in 2009.
Also, more than 80 percent of entrepreneurs asked believe they will play a significant role in economic recovery... My fingers are crossed!
Guest columns. Authored articles. Bylines.
What should be an effective way for a client to appear as a thought leader and to provide valuable insight on emerging technology or industry challenges can far too easily turn into promotional schlock. As public relations professionals, its up to us to make sure that client bylines stay focused on the leadership aspect, not on company products and services.
Whether helping with content creation, deadlines or just bridging the relationship between editors and clients, there are some simple best practices to follow to ensure that client pieces are actually articles and not brochures.
- Know the publication As the PR pro, you know what publications and media outlets accept authored articles and which dont. If youre unsure, ask. Managing editors or editorial assistants will usually clarify any questions that you might have about their publication, and will clearly point out their stance on bylines.
- Use abstracts Dont waste client time or retainer by drafting an article that may never see daylight. Start with a 250 to 350-word abstract outlining the proposed focus, approach and structure, and make sure to add in a few sentences on the authors background explaining why they are qualified. Try to keep the jargon down too.
- Keep it (product) neutral Its a rare occurrence that an editor will be interested in abstracts, let alone full articles, that pitch a specific service or product. Make a point, but not at the expense of brand neutrality.
- Set deadlines Content development is a lengthy process, especially if clients are heavily involved in the creation. Set deadlines, even artificial ones, and stick to them. Dont go back to the editor for an extension more than once, barring emergencies.
- Expect edits The article author, whether a CTO, CEO or other executive, is just another writer to the editor. Always expect edits and be prepared to rewrite sections of the article if necessary.
The best best practice, however, is good content something fresh, unique and interesting that a publication hasnt seen before. Rehashing old themes, lacking supporting data or just a lame concept cannot be saved by punctuality or a personal relationship with an editor. In the end, contributed content is just that content.
Additional Resources:Entrepreneur.coms Writing Bylined ArticlesCommuniqué PRs Tips for Writing a Bylined Article
Women in Technology
(WIT) opened its nominations
for the 10th Annual Leadership awards. The awards program recognizes women who embody the WIT tagline of Connect. Lead. Succeed. in their professional lives. Categories span the various technology markets to include Corporate, Government, Entrepreneur, and Rising Star (for women new to the workforce). WIT honors its own with the WIT Champion award.
Nominees need not be members of WIT to be considered or win. The previous winners
list reads like a whos who of the DC tech Community and even includes our own Elizabeth Shea
and Lisa Throckmorton
Finalists will be honored at a banquet on May 21 where the winners will be announced. This is a cant miss event both for the networking and for the inspiring stories of success. Start thinking of a woman youd like to see honored and get your nomination in by March 13.
Grassroots and Green!
Last Thursday, SpeakerBox and partners MemoryBlue
(Marc Gonyea), LeverPoint
(Larry Roe), R2i
(Cheryl Dickison) and London, Ink
(Bob London) pulled together a bus trip down to Twin Tech III
, the hottest networking function to hit DC in recent years! Co-sponsored by iStrategyLabs
, the event saw over 2,000 attendees! The event was written up (along with our bus trip) in Kim Harts The Download
column in today's Washington Post
and in TechBisnow
among many, many others. Twin Tech is THE event series not to be missed, and we were able to make it even more fun.
Our friend Bob London had the idea to shuttle "friends and family" down to the event, extend the fun and be green while we were at it. We had a week to pull it together (that's right - 7 days!). It came together with the same community-oriented passion that Twin Tech is all about: before you knew it, Reston Limousine
gave us a great discount and provided great raffle prizes, Shashi Bellamkonda
(social media swami from Network Solutions
) showed up with his high-end camera
and took great photos, folks showed up with beer, wine, food and fun, and as the bus departed at the end of the night, all we heard was I dont want to leave yet!
It warms my heart to see the accountability in folks to pull something together so quickly, and to not sweat the small stuff. No nametags, no elevator speeches to the rest of the bus - just good, grassroots fun. And no pretense of publicity; that happened naturally. The cost? Minimal. Lets just say it was less than what we might spend attending an awards dinner.
- Elizabeth Shea
For all the negative buzz about this years Consumer Electronics Show
mostly in terms of down attendance
and down spending on consumer electronics purchases
from first-hand experience, I can report that it was a bustling event with positive feedback, energy and enthusiasm and cutting-edge technologies. Last week, I joined our partner and client Cernium
in Las Vegas
to debut its consumer-facing mobile video intelligence product, Archerfish
. An innovations award winner in the integrated home systems category
, Archerfish was heralded by a flurry of press conversations
during CES Unveiled
on Tuesday night, then spent the four days during the 2009 show passing out Phish Food
to prospects, partners and press in exchange for time spent on a product demo. The product reaction was great
and floor traffic busy. Interestingly, Twitter
was this years communications method of choice, outranking phone, email or text messaging. Using Twitter kept everyone up to speed on meeting times, places and timely developments.
As a side note, as long as I was in Vegas, I had to try my luck at the casino at least once. I sat down at one slot machine at the Wynn
, inserted $20 bucks and walked away one hundred dollars richer just five minutes later. Luck or strategy? Either way, Cernium and I are both pleased with the last weeks events at CES 2009.
(Photo by Douglas Cole