- Member Type(s): Communications Professional
- Title:Vice President
- Organization:InkHouse Media & Marketing
- Area of Expertise:public relations
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Friday, August 9, 2013, 12:48 PM
An article headline yesterday stopped me in my tracks: “Did Google Just Kill PR Agencies?” In this piece, veteran reporter Tom Foremski discusses new rules issued by Google about links and keywords in press releases. These new mandates are intended to limit any “manipulation” of search rankings. You can read Google’s full explanation here.
Google is not killing off PR agencies though. PR existed before Google and it will exist long after these rules are in place for one important reason. PR is about telling stories, not manipulating search results. Press releases, too, existed before Google. As Foremski wrote, press releases are tools PR people use to interest reporters in writing about the news and we believe that is how they should be used (see our post with nine tips here).
Aside from the press release, PR has much to thank Google for – measurement is now possible, in part thanks to Google Analytics. Google Analytics lets us directly measure how the media coverage we secure, the content we create and the points of view we seed lead people back to our clients’ websites. Google News is also a huge asset to PR, keeping us abreast in real-time to the latest news.
With this new mandate, what Google has done is kill off the SEO press release. Google is now requiring that URLs and anchor text within press releases be converted to no follow links. That’s cool with us. We’ll still be able to see where PR content drives referral site traffic. Also, fortunately, the major news wires have already stepped up to the plate and are automatically converting these links.
And, before we bury it, let’s give the SEO press release some due credit. SEO optimization has actually forced PR to write crisper, shorter headlines. To stick to the facts, avoid the buzzwords, provide links to useful, relevant and timely content. All things we know that reporters value.
But, the real guts to this story are these: PR is about storytelling, not seeding links and boosting SEO.
To continue reading, please visit inkhouse.net/?p=5864
Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 11:24 AM
I’ve been working in PR for over two decades and, even to this day, nothing makes me happier than when I land a great piece of media coverage for a client. To me, this joyful moment happens when three elements come together in unison: a great pitch, a solid relationship with a reporter, and the right timing.
Once upon a time, great media relationships were built over lunches, press conferences, phone calls and in-person media tours. But times have changed and so has PR. Today, while phone calls still matter a great deal, in-person meetings are rare. The good news is that we now have Twitter and it’s a huge and, I think, untapped, asset for building relationships with reporters.
There are, in my opinion, four major ways PR professionals should be taking advantage of Twitter to help create media coverage opportunities:
1. Reporters are people too. They hang out on Twitter, tweeting about sports, music, where they are heading for the weekend, their kids/cats/neighbors/in-laws, movies and so on. So converse with them, just like you would anyone else on Twitter. All work and no play is dull. Get in there with some chitchat about common interests, opinions, the weather, the Red Sox, whatever. Have a dialog. Relate to each other. Make a connection. Be funny, engaging, useful and authentic, but not overly sycophantic.
2. Understand how your target reporters are using Twitter. For example, USA Today’s Jon Swartz (@jswartz) told me: “I use Twitter as a tip sheet/news wire service, and as a way to find sources I haven’t met.”
To read this post in full, please visit www.inkhouse.net/tweeting-your-way-to-me...
Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 12:48 PM
I love words. I’ve always been strangely attracted to them. I studied literature and foreign languages, semantics and etymology, drama and media, fascinated by the roots, meanings, power and influence of the spoken and written word. Fast-forward a couple of decades and words are at the very core of my profession in PR. Just as it is for fellow PR and marketing executives, bloggers and journalists, words are the currency of our careers.
One of my pet peeves is laziness in writing: when people select an easy word instead of searching for a more potent, concise or elegant choice. At the same time, I’m also a fan of plain language, saying something as it really is rather than forcing words into impersonal or clumsy corporate speak. After all, we’re just humans talking to humans, right? On that point, can we all promise to try a little harder next year—please?
After consulting with several reporters, friends in PR and Twitter followers, as well as reading the contributions to this recent WBUR Here and Now segment, the following are InkHouse’s words for the chopping block for 2013. It is worth noting that there are some repeat offenders that were on the list of words to retire in 2012—especially words commonly used in press releases. Why did we choose these words? Well, because they are unimaginative or impersonal, or overused and clichéd.
To read InkHouse's full post - and more words we'd like to retire - please go to: www.inkhouse.net/words-to-retire-in-2013...
Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 10:15 PM
You may be a media maven or a social superstar, an astute strategist or a canny writer, but in the PR agency world, this means little if the client ain’t happy.
I’ve been a PR consultant as well as a client so I’ve seen both sides of the fence. I know what it’s like to operate on the outside, trying to read the tea leaves to figure out what’s going on in my client’s world. And as an in-house PR manager, I’ve also experienced the frustration of my inherited PR agency not completely being on the same page as me (I corrected that quickly).
Walking in your client’s—or your prospect’s shoes—is an essential skill for any PR practitioner. It’s not something you can learn in a book. It’s a state of mind, a commitment.
It’s up to each of us to invest time every day to nurture our client and prospect relationships—to understand their universes, challenges and goals—so that we can contribute to their success. In March, Beth wrote that good PR is the careful balance of confidence and empathy, and I believe this applies to client service too.
There are many ways to make your client love you (and, quite frankly, vice versa). These are my cardinal rules:
- Be yourself: Be friendly, accessible and likeable (much like Jackie O?) Don’t just get down to business. Take a moment to ask your client how his or her weekend was. And don’t hide behind email; pick up the phone. Let your client hear your voice and get to know you.
- Be sensitive: Understand your client’s schedule. Be empathetic to potential corporate politics and how they may impact your client’s role… and mood.
To read the full post, please visit: www.inkhouse.net/putting-yourself-in-the...
Wednesday, December 14, 2011, 3:35 PM
Last year’s post about 10 words to retire in 2011 spurred so much debate among us PR folks that we felt compelled to update it with a throng of words that we firmly believe need a permanent “timeout” or a creative refresh in 2012.
Fellow communicators – we are wordsmiths at our core, so consider this a call to arms!
Let’s take some lessons and inspiration from the literary world to come up with better and more descriptive words. Unexpected, creative and imaginative words – and let’s not forget muscular verbs – will help our press releases, pitches, tweets and other content cut through the morass of bland, jargon-filled marketing content. Our prose needs to get the attention it – and our clients – deserve. After all, we want to write content that people will readand share.
Some of this year’s candidate words are still too corporate and vacuous. Many are overused, abused and lack substance, and some were hip in 2011 but have run their course. Without further ado, here’s our list.
- Excited/thrilled/delighted (should be stricken from all press release quotes – please)
- Web 2.0
- Just sayin’
- LOL, FML, OMG, Gr8
To read the full post - and add your suggestions of words you think need retiring, visit: www.inkhouse.net/words-to-retire-in-2012...
You can also tweet them using the hashtag #wordsweshouldretire
Thursday, November 10, 2011, 2:14 PM
This Brit is shocked and disturbed by recent stories in The Guardian and Mashable about how the British favo(u)r shutting down Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry in cases of social unrest, according to a recent survey. Apparently, 70 percent of British adults would support this!
As I wrote this summer, social networks were not to blame for the London riots and I’m sad that my fellow Brits do not appear to be on the same page. Now, I’m not one to get political but, to me, social media epitomizes the very essence of free speech and democracy. Social media empowers us with a voice and a conversation. The majority respects the opportunity that social media presents; inevitably a minority will abuse it.
To me, muzzling social networks during times of unrest is tantamount to censorship, pure and simple. Do you agree?
You can find my full post at: www.inkhouse.net/muzzling-social-media-d...
Saturday, September 10, 2011, 4:24 PM
Recently, I caught up with a pal who teaches a writing course to students at a local college. We were discussing whether the ability to write well is innate or if it has to be learned. We agreed that the answer lies somewhere between the two – some people have the natural ability to express themselves succinctly and elegantly, others need to be taught. I’m sure that maturity plays a role too.
Still, I am regularly frustrated when I read any written communication that is flowery, overly formal, or just plain lazy. By lazy, I mean grabbing the first word that comes to mind, rather than tapping into the brain’s vast vocabulary to extract “le mot juste” to perfectly express your intent.
To quote my friend, what writers need to apply is “the economy of words.” She describes this as the ability to use only the precise words needed.
This made me think more about the mindset I deploy as I write. The truth is that you don’t need to have formally studied the English language or have been trained in journalism and AP Style to be an effective writer. I wasn’t. Of course, when you work in the communications industry, you need to learn and apply the basics. If you are struggling to apply “the economy of words” to transform your writing from static words into prose that engages the minds, emotions and actions of your readers, maybe these rather unexpected tips could help.
- Read – A client once paid me the biggest compliment: he said my writing showed that I was “well read.” These days, I don’t get to consume much fiction, but I do feed my mental lexicon by snacking on articles online or via mobile apps such as Zite and Flipboard. Often, the words I read linger in my mind until I can find a natural place to apply them in my writing.
- Play – Yes, play! Scrabble. Boggle. Crosswords. Words with Friends. Hangman. In fact, any game that forces you to tap into your semantic vault. Surprise yourself with the expansiveness of your vocabulary. Challenge yourself to remember new words and use them in your next writing project.
To read the remaining tips, please visit the full post at:www.inkhouse.net/how-playing-reading-sin...
Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 3:15 PM
Like so many others, I was shocked, upset by and, yes, ashamed of, the violence and rioting that took place in my hometown of London and in other cities across the U.K. last week. The news reporting, videos, images, tweets and Facebook posts allowed me to follow each ghastly chapter in this three-night horror story that dramatically revealed the deep social unrest lurking beneath the veneer of our traditional British civility and good cheer.
But what I found equally troubling were the many newspaper, TV and online reports that purported that social networks were somehow to blame for the rioting and looting. To this I say “rubbish!”
Yes, Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger were the tools that assisted several troublemakers in fanning the flames – and for that, those people should receive due justice – but these social networks are also the tools that allowed for real-time reporting and civilian journalism. Tweets and posts alerted communities to where trouble was happening, brought us live-from-the-scene images and also fueled the cleanup efforts. In fact, several new Twitter accounts and Facebook pages were spontaneously created to recruit and organize the cleanup – check out @riotcleanup, @cleanup_london, LondonRiotsCleanUp and RiotCleanUp.
You can read my full post and why it's important not to confuse the messenger with the message at http://t.co/8F81Dsb
Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 11:00 AM
I couldn’t really call myself a communications professional if I didn’t have an opinion to offer about Google+, the newest kid on the social network block. Like the almost 10 million others, I too have been tooling around on the site, wondering if this – Google’s third attempt at the social scene – is … well, I’m not actually sure how to describe it. Not as the “answer to all our social networking problems,” as truthfully I think millions of us are doing just fine using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. But there are so many that are enthusiastic about the new service – and so many reporters, marketers and self-professed experts that are already dissecting, promoting and even parodying it – that I felt compelled to add my two cents.
- Can anyone say ubiquity? Google = Internet. Even a friend’s four-year-old asked her the other day to “gurgle” something. If the ultimate goal of a social network is to spread its tentacles across every Web citizen, then Google+ is the natural answer.
- Speed and user experience. Google is all about making the Web faster, easier to use. Look at Chrome, Page Speed and so on. Given this, hopefully there won’t be a Google+ version of the infamous Fail Whale.
- Traffic! A huge goal for any marketing and social media professional. Google+ could help good content spread fast and furious like measles in a preschool, contributing to soaring SEO and increased traffic and leads. I can only imagine that soon enough data and insights from Google+ will find their way into Google Analytics reporting, revealing the holy grail that so many other social media monitoring and measurement tools still struggle to report in one seamless fashion – ROI.
To read more about why 'no' and 'maybe' might more that way you feel about Google+, you can find my complete post at www.inkhouse.net/google-yes-no-or-maybe/
Monday, May 2, 2011, 1:31 PM
I have a confession. I’m an app addict. On the Web, on my iPhone, on my iPad. I can’t get enough of them. Without my apps, I wouldn’t be able to calculate how much to tip at a restaurant, get my news fix, check-in to wherever I am at, or share photos, news and updates on Facebook. I was wondering whether this app addiction was my lone penance or something common to other PR/social media types. An informal poll of my InkHouse colleagues confirmed that it is indeed an addiction we all share.
So what does this say about us? To read my highly unscientific conclusions, please continue to" www.inkhouse.net/16-apps-that-pr-pros-ca...