Friday, February 24, 2006

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

A story that ran in todays Orlando Sentinel reminded me of a point that has been discussed many times in the past...the significant difference between the court of law and court of public opinion. Read the headline and some of the language used in the story and you'll see that this (like most journalism) was approached with a “guilty until proven innocent” framework. Compare that to our legal system's “innocent until proven guilty" and the differences will be clear. This also makes me think about the declining readership of newspapers. Maybe this “guilty until proven innocent” approach has alienated some members of their audience. Don't have any stats to back that up. Just a thought.

I also recently heard this reporter say that he sees the primary role of the media to be “to make the uncomfortable more comfortable and the comfortable more uncomfortable.” The problem with this thought process is that sometimes the comfortable are that way because they have made sound and ethical decisions. I don't know what the final outcome will be on the story referenced above, but I have doubts that this is much more than a situation that has been blown out of proportion. Time will tell.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Finding Purpose on the Blogosphere

I just read an interesting post on one of the blogs that I monitor. This reinforced something I've been mulling for some time now. I believe that up to this point, many blogs have been started with little to no thought about audience, message or purpose. Heck...I'm a prime example. I started this blog with little idea about who I wanted to talk to, what I wanted to say, or why I wanted to say it. As a PR professional, I should be ashamed. Since that time, I've realized that my purpose here is to share insights with other PR professionals about how to make our professional stronger.

I've also mentioned in a prior post that I've helped my organization start a blog. That one was done with a lot more strategic foresight. Audience=traditional media. Message=Metro Orlando is full of interesting companies, business people and trends that you should know about. Objective=increase coverage of the undiscovered side of the region's economy. Since starting the blog we have tried to focus our attention on posting items that address these main points. Generally, we have a purpose.

I think this is John Jantsch's underlying point. Don't start a corporate blog, just to start one. That's a bad strategy and will lead to bad results. Need help identifying the potential opportunities associated with this medium? I have just the person to talk to...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Shout Out

With some of the horrible retail experiences that I have had in the past, I think that good customer service should be highlighted. It's unfortunate that positive retail stories seem to be so few and far between (that's a whole post in and of itself). However, today I just want to highlight two retailers that I have purchased products from for my Nissan 350Z. The two companies are Coastal Metals in Fayetteville, NC and ZeeToyz, Inc. out of Hamilton, Ontario. Not only did these companies offer unique, high-quality products, but they were both extremely responsive throughout the ordering and delivery process. I would highly recommend them, and would challenge other companies to take the kind of hands-on, responsive approach they represent.

This is also a good lesson for communication professionals. We simply cannot undervalue personal communication in this world of mass messaging. Think about that in terms of your strategic plan and media relations activities. Would you be more effective by personally sending a message or picking up the phone than by blasting something out using the dreaded Cc: or Bcc: function? In fact, much of the discussion on the Bad Pitch blog is about this mass e-mail approach.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

ProfNet Inquiry...

Thought some of you might get a kick out of this recent ProfNet inquiry.
BUSINESS : Small-Business Voicemail - The Associated Press (US)
I need to speak with small-business owners about leaving voicemails, and how to do it effectively so your target actually listens and responds. No phone calls, please.

Contact:
Joyce Rosenberg

Deadline: 10:00 AM US/Eastern FEB 15
Email:
jrosenberg@ap.org

Draw your own conclusions as to the true purpose of this inquiry. Note: its not that hidden.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Tag: I'm It

I've been absent for a bit, but this seemed like an interesting reason to get back on here. My friend Bob O'Malley just tagged me on O'Blog, so here is my response:

Four Jobs I've Had:
1. Sunglass Salesman at Sunglass Hut
2. Engraver at Things Remembered
3. Deli Associate at Publix
4. PR Intern for the City of Orlando Office of the Mayor

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over (Don't Judge Me!):
1. Napoleon Dynamite
2. Nightmare Before Christmas
3. Drumline (not sure why, it's just addicting)
4. Red Dawn (gotta love the premise)

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch:
1. Anything that is about to be cancelled (Ed, Love Monkey, Keen Eddie, etc.)
2. Alias
3. Four Kings
4. King of Queens

Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
1. Hawaii
2. New York
3. San Paulo, Brazil
4. London, England (Actually, haven't been but am going this summer)

Four Favorite Dishes:
1. Lasagna
2. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
3. Pad Thai
4. Waffles

Four Websites I Visit Daily:

1. Orlando Sentinel
2. Bloglines
3. Metro Orlando EDC
4. Boing Boing

Four Places I'd Rather Be:
1. New York
2. North Carolina
3. Playing Xbox
4. At Napasorn

Two Bloggers I'm Tagging (Since everyone else I could think of was already taken):
1. Amy Edge
2. Casey Haas

Thursday, February 02, 2006

One last thing...

...before I get off of the media relations topic. You have to check out this blog on bad media pitching. It is fantastic.

The Problem Defined

I read with interest a recent post by Josh Hallett that related to my comments in Public Relations = Media Relations. Josh retells the tale of a Florida PR practitioner who was "directed by the 'corporate office' (read: not local) to increase their media outreach initiatives." I'm hoping that this directive came with an underlying purpose...a message and clear goals. It very well may have since I wasn't there and didn't get to talk to this fellow professional. However, too often a directive such as this is passed down from management without specific goals in mind. Basically, just go raise awareness, get my face in the paper.

It is time that the PR departments of the world stop hiding behind excuses that there isn't a way to track PR results. The fundamental problem is that we don't know what to track because we don't know what we're trying to accomplish.

I recently met with a local company that is looking at generating local buzz. However, these were smart business men and women, and they had a goal in mind. A competitor was taking too much of a lead in a business area they wanted to capture. The buzz was specifically related to helping them break into that market. Now, that's smart public relations. Is it hard to measure? Sure. But, that's true for many aspects of the business world.

Let me reiterate, I don't know any details of the situation mentioned by Josh. I'm sure there is more to this specific story than I know. It just made me think about a thousand other examples I've heard where PR folks are trying to get their boss's name in the paper, but have no clear understanding of the overarching business objectives driving that activity.

Let's get that seat in the board room, folks.
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