PR agencies are in a world of transition and leaders are re-defining roles as they move into unchartered territory. At the PRSA International Conference in San Francisco, heads of some of the top agencies in the nation sat down to discuss what the future holds and contribute creative ways the profession will need to adapt to address changing client needs.
One central theme is around becoming a Specialist instead of a Generalist in PR. Unique titles are emerging such as Creative Catalyst or Community and Conversation Analyst. At the same time, PR firms are hiring candidates with special skills including videography and even comedy writing.
Janet Tyler, co-CEO and founder of Airfoil Public Relations • The employee of the future will never look, act or think like another, they will understand the power of data is a connector and believe in the power of community.
Jack Martin, CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies • Talent function is the most important part of the business
Fred Cook, CEO and President, Golin Harris • Employees now go through an assessment process to uncover their strengths and passions which are furthered nurtured.
PR Newswire’s VP of Business Development on the agency vertical, Andrew Meranus talked on camera afterwards to Rob Flaherty, CEO and President of Ketchum and Peter Himler, Founding Principal of Flatiron Communications about these career twists and turns already happening in PR:
If you’re going to hold a Facebook sweepstakes, give away the sort of prize that will generate true fans to your brand. The common iPad giveaway was not the right choice for online jewelry innovators Stella & Dot. Social Media Director Amy Gilmer says instead they offer up the sort of sparkle their followers savor – a chic necklace or gold cuff.
Donning her own Stella & Dot estate necklace, Gilmer shared her secrets to leveraging key channels at the Social Media Strategies Summit in San Francisco.
“Our Facebook page has grown by 90% in the last year,” [with a zero advertising budget],” Gilmer told the audience. One of the biggest drivers is sweepstakes.
To celebrate reaching 200,000 Facebook fans in June, Stella & Dot gave away a weekly $250 shopping spree. Fans who could round up at least three friends to enter, received an additional prize — tripling the number of entries.
Anthony Holdsworth is a well-known San Francisco/Oakland artist who’s been commissioned to take part in an exhibition celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. SFMOMA Gallery will present a collection of tributes to this iconic structure in May. I had the good fortune of catching up with him as he embarked on the second in a series of three paintings he’s putting together for the show. For Holdsworth, it’s about ‘catching the right wave’. He comes to the water’s edge at sunrise and right before sunset to capture the most brilliant light of the day. He shared with me a little of what goes into making his pieces truly unique during the creation of his latest masterpiece. View Full Post
What better way to start off 2012 than to reflect on the pearls of wisdom from brilliant minds of centuries past? In the words of Emerson, …”then in a moment, and unannounced, the truth appears.” I embraced the first day of the New Year with a walk along Crissy Field and felt so much creative spirit along my path. Whether it was a bird sanctuary created by a child in the sand, dogs dancing in the ocean, power kiting or wind surfing, it was all poetry in motion. And how fortunate are we – the passers by – to grab a glimpse of the infinite spirit of those who dare to dream?
YouTube Analytics just launched a new interface to offer fresh insight into who’s watching your videos, what the impactful drivers are and an in-depth look into your own channel’s discovery pattern.
If you’re like me, you want to know how people find your videos and how long searches remain active. Just like with press releases, it helps to get a handle around which keywords or key phrases are being used to find your content — and how long it’s popular.
I maintain a YouTube Channel of original San Francisco travel videos that has generated slightly over 50,000 views over the last three years. One video on the “Wave Organ” (wave-activated acoustic sculpture in the San Francisco Bay) generated over 1059 views according to YouTube analytics.
I never thought to call it a ‘sea organ’ or ‘drum sculpture’, but those phrases led to viewers finding the video according to YouTube’s enhanced metrics; so I should include as tags. A video on a popular sax player at the BART station was found under “weekend player subway”. The word ‘weekend’ is certainly key to when he performs. But it was missing from my description.
One of the best kept secrets in San Francisco is docked down at Pier 45. The S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien‘s all-volunteer crew keeps this Landmark Liberty Ship immaculate and seaworthy. Liberty Ships were a critical part of the war effort, transporting everything from jeeps, trucks, food, medicine, weaponry and more to allied troops in Europe and the Pacific. The O’Brien is the sole survivor of the 6,000 ship armada that stormed Normandy back in 1944 — and still makes a handful of small voyages every year around the Bay. But this big ship has its sights set on a greater voyage. Many would like to see the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien go back Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019. For full post, click here wp.me/pGTPf-s6
Voted one of the top 10 blogs by Businessweek, Mashable has become the media darling – the top source for news and digital media. According to CEO Pete Cashmore, who was quoted in the New York Times this week, the site had 17 million unique visitors in September.
That’s no surprise to San Francisco Bureau Chief Chris Taylor, who thought they might have been on track to top 20 million when he spoke to an audience just last week. Taylor was part of a news roundtable hosted by Graffiti PR. He joined Aaron Pero, news director for KRON 4 TV, and Theresa Rodriguez, founder of sites TangoDiva.com and Jetset Extra, to offer up thoughts and impressions “behind the news and stories.”
Mashable measures its own content’s success in part through the same channels it covers – social media. A story has to have at least 1,000 shares on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Stumbleupon as a baseline benchmark for being a good read, according to Taylor. He says about a third of Mashable’s traffic comes from Facebook and Twitter, another third from Google, and a third from direct visitors to the site.
Whether it’s a story about artificial intelligence coming to the iPhone, or digital platforms poised to change the conversation in election year 2012, Mashable is on top of the trends. And Taylor gets pitched — a lot.
“I receive an insane volume of pitches,” he revealed; even more than when he was bureau chief for Time Magazine. He claims "a pitch a minute" is no exaggeration.
Mashable is a 24-hour shop run by about 55 employees, and the door is open to guest writers. Taylor says it’s not just for well-known names -- they cast the net far and wide. The bottom line is the ability to write concisely and briefly. If you can keep your copy to under 800 words, all the better, says Taylor. He offered up this insight to budding Mashable contributors after the San Francisco forum:
Sunday Streets 2011 promises to be the longest season yet – with the street party offering up a double dose of entertainment in September. It’s not yet on the website calendar, but organizers say September 18th will be the big day for Chinatown/North Beach. There’s also a city-wide ping pong tournament about to be officially announced.The big block party is now four years strong and is a fabulous way for neighbors to meet one another.
It’s the kiss that’s lasted 66 years. In the words of the late Edith Shain who claimed to be the nurse at Broadway and 45th — the photo embodies “hope, love, peace and tomorrow”. A 6-foot statue of that iconic image is now on tour and inspired many an embrace during a visit to the Wharf. The sculpture of the famous Times Square Kiss arrived in San Francisco to a waiting audience. Scores of couples grabbed the chance to try and match the famous dip and smooch. The S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien and the USS Pampanito jointly sponsored the viewing of the beautiful artwork. It’s one of many events to draw support around the Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive campaign. The day to celebrate our greatest generation is Sunday, August 14, 2011.
Source: Shani Higgins, CEO of Technorati, presented at the recent PR Summit conference.
Technorati CEO Shani Higgins raised a few eyebrows with her comments around pay-for-post at the recent PR Summit Conference in San Francisco. More bloggers are writing about brands than ever before, and the expectation is higher around compensation, she said.
"There is no longer a stigma around paid posts," according to Higgins as she delivered highlights from Technorati's annual blogger survey.
It was quite the buzz at my lunch table afterwards, and some veteran PR professionals expressed surprise.
"My concern is when brands do this, they're making bloggers into commercials," said Jeanne Alford of Alford Communications. "We need to have some framework of what's acceptable so the information the consumer gets is balanced."
It comes as more consumers turn to blogs to get the facts. According to Technorati's findings, 34 percent of consumers questioned said they take blogs more seriously as important sources of information.
And brands aggressively reach out to bloggers with a following. Some 50 percent of professional bloggers say they've been approached by a company to write about their brand, according to the survey.
To win blogger favor, many brands now embark on creative tactics, such as picking up the cost of registration to key industry conferences for bloggers as ways to turn the writers into "brand partners."
It is a changing landscape as journalism bleeds into blogging. "What's critical is that bloggers continue to build transparency so readers know what the relationship is to the brands they're writing about," says Alford.