Ahh, the PR internship.
That much-maligned rite of passage for anyone hoping to make their way in the communications world.
It’s a bit like that inevitable bin-dunking you get on your first day of junior school (just me, then?) or learning to drive: Painful and a bit degrading at the same time.
But hopefully you emerge from the whole sorry mess a better, more enlightened person (or, alternatively, a snivelling shadow of your former self).
Those bewildering weeks spent shackled to the photocopier, the tea-making, the media-list compiling, the general skivvying – and without being paid – that’s all a massive favor, isn’t it?
No, not on the intern’s part, silly! It’s an act of kindness from PR agencies, giving career-thirsty twentysomethings extremely valuable lessons in the workings of the illustrious communications industry (and hot beverage-making too, of course).
If anything, these interns should be paying PR agencies for such an enlightening induction into public relations, right?
My cheeky’ness aside, unpaid internships can potentially be harmful to your business. At the very least, you’re probably not going to get the very best. And they could prove detrimental to your business. Continue Reading »
During the recent Boston Marathon tragedy and ensuing chaos, a friend of mine made a comment about content.
It went something like this: “The first time I see a blog post titled ‘What I learned about business from the Boston Marathon Tragedy’ I’m going to gouge both my eyeballs out with a dull spoon.”
I’m paraphrasing, of course.
I’m pretty sure there were lots of swears.
Whether it’s a high profile death, a world tragedy, the Oscars, a sporting event, or a political firestorm, you usually have about .02 seconds before it’s time to get that spoon out of the cutlery drawer and commence gouging. Let’s call it event-jacking. Continue Reading »
It’s 5:23 a.m. and I’m sitting at my desk, watching the neighborhood start to light up as the sun rises.
The birds are chirping, squirrels (I hate those little rats with fuzzy tails) are running across the telephone wires, and people are beginning to walk their dogs.
As is my ritual, I start my day reading, particularly if I don’t already know what I’m going to blog about, which is the case this morning.
Sure, I could write about the absolute disaster that is Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro, but I think the way those business owners are behaving on Facebook is completely on purpose (they’ve been known to behave the same way on other sites, such as Yelp) so I won’t give them more than a…it really is worth reading because the meltdown is epic. Continue Reading »
We live in a crazy world right now. Social media has completely turned business communications on its head.
To boot, technology is changing more quickly than ever before.
It took the following technologies to reach 50 million users:
- Radio – 38 years;
- TV – 13 years;
- The Internet – four years;
- iPod – three years;
- Facebook added 100 million users in just nine months; and
- iPod app downloads hit one billion in nine months.
In 2011, alone, we had two big social networks introduced – Google+ and Pinterest – and the latter is the fastest growing social network…ever.
It’s no wonder business leaders are sitting back, scratching their heads, and trying to figure out not only how to keep up, but how to hire the right team of professionals to do the work.
So how do you do it? Continue Reading »
Yesterday I participated in the American Society of Journalists and Authors monthly call where the gracious host, Nancy Faass, asked me all about how Geoff Livingston and I marketed Marketing in the Round.
During the call, she asked me what one of my first assignments was as a young professional.
I told the story of how I learned about my job by reading the copies of the clips I was making color copies of day after day, but she pushed a little bit further to get me to walk down memory lane.
What came out surprised me. It was a memory I’d forgotten about. Not intentionally, but just something I hadn’t thought about in a long time.
You remember the Franklin Covey planners? We all carried them around (this, of course, was before electronic calendars and task lists) and they were certainly all the rage.
Well, I worked on the Bayer CropScience account and, specifically, my job was to work with potato growers across the United States.
I was tasked with interviewing them every month to write a newsletter that told their stories. We were tasked to create compelling content before content was a thing. Continue Reading »
There’s been a good deal of talk about content overload lately.
How all of our efforts may soon come to a non-rapturous end in the Crap-ocalypse that now represents much of content creation and sharing.
One of the best commentaries on this is the pithy – and nicely designed (don’t get me started on the sorry state of conceptual and graphic design in content marketing) – slideshow from Velocity Partners in the U.K.
Because my own livelihood depends on people recognizing the value of real creativity in content (thank you, Mark Schaefer, for tapping Creative on Call to design your latest eBook), I frequently find myself cornering other creative types to get their opinion on the current state of, and outlook for, real creative thinking in content creation.
Naturally, then, I simply had to nab Jason Konopinski, one of my favorite writers, when I saw him at Social Slam 2013. Continue Reading »
I love it when big conferences are held in Chicago because I get to see all of my friends without having to get on a plane…and I get to sleep in my own bed.
This past weekend was SOBCon, the mastermind of Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker St. Marie, and lots of friends – old and new – were here to participate.
On Saturday night, I met some friends for dinner at Michael Jordan’s new restaurant (which, even for a vegetarian, was super yummy and the service was superb) and we sat down to talk about the realness (or lack thereof) of social media “experts,” the marketing industry as a whole, and whether or not PR firms are really worth their salt.
You see, I am told many times, when I tell a new acquaintance what I do for a living, that the person has worked with PR firms in the past and they haven’t gotten their money’s worth.
They’ll say, “Oh yeah. I know it’s hard to measure PR” and they’ll roll their eyes.
I mean, I hear this a lot. I usually just shake my head and say something such as, “Yeah, I hear that a lot” and the conversation moves on. Continue Reading »
We’ve come a long way in the last few years.
Pretty much everyone knows the definition of blog.
Most ad agencies – and people, for that matter – are on Facebook.
We’ve stopped putting ‘the’ in front of Twitter and LinkedIn.
And many of the Big Insights and thought leadership we’ve heard and re-tweeted have simply become the way we connect and do day-to-day business.
The insights such as:
- Be transparent and authentic on social networks.
- Don’t sell; tell stories that engage your community.
- Develop a strategy and be able to nimbly adapt.
- ROI matters. Set up measurable goals and don’t be afraid of numbers.
- It’s important to know where your audience is and go where there. Continue Reading »
At the Ragan Corporate Communicators Conference, I kicked off the day yesterday with a keynote on the future of PR.
I pulled out my magic 8 ball and we peered into it to figure out what the industry is going to look like five years from now.
It turns out, while the magic 8 ball isn’t so good for open-ended questions, when I asked it if it could help us figure out the future, it said yes.
The future is now. It’s not five years from now. It’s not three years from now. It’s happening right now and if you don’t learn the new skills needed to keep up, you’ll eventually be left behind.
If you read this blog a lot, you know I’m a big fan of continuing education, expanding our skills, and working with other disciplines to learn about the things we don’t already know. Continue Reading »
In 2006, Wal-Mart was caught redhanded cheating its way through the Internet to receive attention.
Their PR firm hired actors to pretend they were traveling the country in an RV, visiting Wal-Mart locations as they drove, and blogging about their experience.
This was before anyone really realized how the social web works and many organizations were taking some risk to figure it out.
But in 2013? In 2013, there are many experts out there in the world who know what happens when you give a customer, an employee, or a journalist or a blogger a megaphone.
And yet. Continue Reading »