Archives for posts with tag: media relations

Not everything can be done via email or social media tools. It’s important to know how to professionally conduct a phone interview. I thought this article, “7 tips for giving a better phone interview” by Brad Phillips for Ragan’s PR Daily, gave some great tips. Read the article and take the time to watch the video at the end. It will crack you up.

Cheers, and have a great holiday!

Flackchick

First things first…

“It’s been a long time since I left you, without dope beat to step to…”

“I Know You Got Soul,” Erik B. & Rakim

My little way of saying, I know, and I’m back! I love writing, and even in writing about what I do professionally; I take it seriously and personally. So when lots of things converge in my life, good and bad, which is what happened, it affects my writing and my urge to do it.

So having crossed some things off the life list, I am ready to get back in the saddle and hopefully won’t be away for so long…

Having said that…Leggo!

I read this article on NYTimes.com, Distilling the Wisdom of C.E.O.’s, an article based on Adam Bryant’s book, “The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed,” and got inspired. Not so much to become a CEO – I can easily say that isn’t in my “five plan” – but to develop the attributes listed in the piece to become a better employee today and one day a better leader. I think a lot is changing in the business world, and for the better, but there are a lot of bad habits still floating around that are being taught by those who should know better and embraced by those who don’t.

So here is what I am planning my present and future career on, and what I’ll be reading more in-depth on soon!

Best Practices from the Best in Business

1. A Passionate Curiosity: Learning, questioning, pondering, researching, doesn’t stop for these folks once they get into the big comfy leather chair specially ordered for them. So many times we see people getting promoted and their quest to get better and learn more just STOPS. They don’t seek to learn more not just about their industry, but the world around them as a whole. I vow to not let my brain ever turn to mush as a result of a JOB TITLE.

2. Battle-Hardened Confidence: Who do you want solving problems for you? It’s not the person who has never won or LOST a battle at work, or had anything bad happen to them, whether it is being fired by a client, laid off from a job, had a media interview go awry or some other catastrophe they bounced back from. There is a difference between those with battle scars and those that are damaged. Damaged folks don’t learn from the challenges presented to them; those with battle scars have faced adversity and know how to heal, learn from it and turn it into a new opportunity.

3. Team Smarts: I can’t do what I do alone. I can’t. I need to learn how to work with others, have an understanding of what they do, what challenges they face and what their day-to-day looks like. There is nothing worse than mindlessly pushing paper in your office and when asked to work with others, you are completely oblivious to what they need and how to get what you need from them. Don’t you hate working with folks like that? I do.

4. A Simple Mind-Set: The book describes this as “mental jujitsu.” I need to learn this concept, particularly in my industry. A lot of people just don’t get public relations, marketing, integrated communications or why any of it is necessary. Discussing strategies and initiatives simply can go a long way in helping folks understand – and getting them to say YES!

5. Fearlessness: This is calculated, informed risk-taking – not running off willy-nilly on some project. I think I have some of this, but probably not enough to do something really big and wonderful. I think growing my confidence will help the wonderful thing I do come about.

If you have read “The Corner Office,” please post below how it has inspired your work or changed how you viewed and managed your career. Thanks!

Recently, I’ve discovered that several people were following me (@nlinton) on Twitter. Of course, I clicked on their profiles to find out more about them to possibly follow them and I found out that they protected their Tweets. This has happened three times in the last week.

I can understand why. Kind of.

There are a lot of spammers, scammers, porn bots, crazies and people looking for casual, anonymous and STD-laden Internet sex-hook-ups on Twitter. I have been Tweeting for a year and I’ve come across all of these issues. But I can’t say that it has happened enough to compel me to protect my Tweets. Minors probably need to. I would not want my kids being contacted by just anyone online through Twitter.

I am much more selective on Facebook and LinkedIn, where I only accept requests from people I know or have met personally. For instance the other day I received a LinkedIn request from a woman who worked at a company in Marietta that I wasn’t familiar with and isn’t in my industry. I racked my brain for more than an hour trying to figure out if I met her somewhere or knew her from a past position. I logged into LinkedIn to look at her profile. No picture. One job listed and it was only a company and title, no specifics. No past positions. No schools. No shared connections. No information about her whatsoever.

I didn’t feel one bit guilty about declining the connection. LinkedIn is a work in progress, and I am always tinkering with my profile, but it is foolish to run around sending invitations to people and you haven’t put in the basics on your profile.

I also don’t feel bad about blocking my Tweets from people who follow me, but protect their Tweets. So, I’m telling you upfront that if you choose to follow me and I go to follow you and find out you protect your Tweets, you won’t be hearing from me anymore.

It just seems strange to me to use Twitter to follow people Tweeting conversationally, reading the links they share, yet not wanting to fully engage yourself. If you want a more selective social media experience there are forums to do this. I don’t think this is what Twitter was designed to do. And it makes me think that maybe YOU are the spammer or a bot or crazy, and have nefarious reasons for hiding your Tweets – like you don’t want to make too many people mad doing what you are doing, report you to Twitter and risk getting your account suspended!

If it is a personal safety or privacy violation issue, I think Twitter is far safer in this respect – without having to protect one’s Tweets – than say LinkedIn, Facebook or MySpace.  Tweeting conversationally and sharing links won’t open you up to serious issues.

As far as the spammers, bots and other crazies are concerned, regular pruning of the people following you can prevent a lot of issues. I do it at least once a month. Of course, people who come out of the gate being obnoxious (follow me!, retweeting the same crap over and over, obvious spam and other foolishness) get the boot immediately.

I’m still learning about this Twitter thing. If someone can provide me with a good reason for hiding Tweets, let me know, I am open to other’s opinions, etc. I just don’t see the point.

By the way, follow me on Twitter @nlinton. LOL! And have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

A personal situation I encountered a few weeks ago prompted me to write this piece on ethics. A person I thought I knew very well and trusted turned out to be not-so trustworthy. To make matters worse, she thought that the personal relationship between me and the others she wasn’t being entirely honest with would negate the unethical and duplicitous things she was pulling in trying to secure new business. She was wrong.

As public relations professionals, we are faced with ethical situations all the time. The very often sensitive nature of the information we are privy to and the challenges we encounter in our organizations and agencies force us to make tough decisions. We often have to give the media and other target audiences information that will make them disappointed, angry or both, or give honest answers to tough questions that put our clients and/or organizations in a negative light. We often do this under duress, in the midst of a crisis and on the turn of a dime. We have little time to think and prepare our answers and the information we need to provide.  It is even harder when the emergency situation impacts people’s health and lives. “No comment” is never a good option and even less so when it involves highly sensitive and emotional situations.

New forms of media also put us in difficult situations. Blogs, message boards, Facebook, My Space, Twitter, give us immediate and powerful ways to communicate with our audiences – but it also allows us to use those tools to influence the perception of brands, companies, clients and organizations in misleading ways. Recently a large public relations firm was exposed for using interns to post positive reviews on its client’s apps on the Apple store.  Now, PRSA and IABC have explicit guidelines for ethics in our profession. And gaming an app rating system isn’t explicitly listed as a no-no within the ethics guidelines provided by these organizations, but…

The management that developed the client plans executing this “tactic” knew it wasn’t right. They knew it was dishonestly influencing people’s decisions to use or pay for and use an application and the “strategy” was flawed. They ignored their gut and pulled this stunt anyway, getting quick results for their clients and eventually being exposed, along with the clients, for being dishonest.

Step outside the pressure of getting a client, getting results, getting the media off your back, and think beyond the ethics guidelines of a PRSA or IABC (although they are a great start!): Does what I am about to do pass the gut test? Do I feel good about this? If what I am about to do was written out fully and posted in the company lunch room, on the organization’s website, my church bulletin or my child’s school newsletter, would I feel embarrassment?

We operate personally and professionally in a social and natural environment. We also expect people to be straight with us. We have to be in return. We are bound by duty as a result of this to be accountable to the environment we live and work in. Everything you do should pass the gut test.

And if that isn’t enough to convince you, read this!

In reading articles and blogs in the last few months, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Increasingly, I see people differentiating “social media” press releases and “traditional” press releases. Traditional press releases are releases as they have always been written – inverted pyramid, catchy title, AP Style, etc. Social media press releases are those that are search-engine friendly, with the same characteristics as a traditional release, only with keyword-rich content.

Egads! Why, in 2010, should there be two different types of releases written? Why aren’t they one in the same???

Public relations professionals should ditch this way of thinking completely and relearn how to write press releases. All press releases should have keyword-rich content and be optimized for search engines to pick them up quickly. SEO-friendly press releases are more likely to be found by those seeking information on a client/company/product or service, improves rankings online and in News search engines, drives traffic and increases link backs to a Web site, and will result in increased media opportunities. It gives a news release an edge over just sending it out on a newswire and/or shooting it to a dubious Cision-produced media list with a zillion contacts.

If you aren’t writing a press release using these steps, you need to hit “delete” and start over:

  • Research keywords for your target audience: the subject, product, industry and/or service.
  • Make sure these keywords are written into the first 250 words of your press release.
  • Ensure a keyword or two is included in the title.
  • Write keywords into the news release copy.
  • Include keywords in links back to your site

Optimized press releases are ranked by search engines such as Google and Yahoo! These sites are updated regularly with new content less than 30 days old, ensuring that people will come across the news release.

Take an additional step beyond sending the release out on a news wire and to a media list by submitting the release to an online press release service. Pandia.com provides a list here.

And lastly, as an industry, let’s stop comparing how things were done before the Web became such an integral way we live, work and play, and simply adopt methods that work with it and make it work for us. PR professionals need to act in the present and look proactively to the future to best serve our companies and clients.

Are you a public relations professional overwhelmed with work and need to delegate some pretty important tasks, such as pitching story ideas to the media? It’s okay to let interns and junior staff take a stab at media relations. Just make sure you train them to do it right. Check out the piece I wrote for the PR Newsonline.com blog, PR Insider: Developing Junior Staff Into Media Relations Experts.