Inside PR 404: Media just keeps on changing…

Martin here. And while this may be episode 404, we’re not sending you to a page like this…

Inside PR 404: Media just keeps on changing

On today’s show we talk about a couple of things: the ever-evolving media landscape and a new app that could turn citizen journalists into live TV reporters.

First – media: GigaOm, the tech analysis, publication announced it was shutting down. There’s been much written about them and why it happened. Here’s a quick recap:

That same week, the Toronto Star told readers it’s shuttering its paywall on April 1 and letting anyone access its online content free of charge.

We share our take on GigaOm, what it takes to run a business and how mainstream media’s trying to keep up.

Gini says it’s hard to figure out a workable paid content model and believes we’re on the brink of a content exhaustion point.

I suggest what we perceive success from the outside very differently than what you see when you’re inside and privy to the whole story.

Joe offers a business lesson and comments that venture capital doesn’t like slow and steady growth, but that you can build a business patiently and organically. He references Danny Sullivan’s post on Medium (shared above).

Then we chat about Meerkat, a live video streaming app where you send the feed directly to Twitter. In fact, Joe was testing it during our podcast but since the video is ephemeral, it disappears when you’re done, so you won’t find his feed.

Live streaming, of course, isn’t new. But the simplicity of using Meerkat means it could be a good tool for citizen journalists to witness events or capture breaking news. Have you tried it yet? What was your experience?

And what do you think about the state of media, social media and citizen journalism? We’d love to hear from you.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: if you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 403: PR Has an HR Issue

Yes, PR has an HR problem.

There are two things at play:

  1. A recent Bloom & Gross study shows there still is a salary gap between men and women in the PR industry…sometimes as much as $42,000 per year.
  2. A CIPR study shows there is a major threat to the PR industry because of the lack of digital skills at the very senior levels.

On the first, we are an industry that is female-dominated. It’s anywhere between 73 and 85 percent female. And yet…

Most of the most senior-level positions, particularly inside PR firms, are held by men.

As male business leaders, I challenged Martin and Joe to think about how they hire—and compensate—their female employees. It led to a nice discussion.

The other issue at play is the lack of evolution in the PR industry, particularly at the senior levels.

Paul Sutton shared the following screen grab in his blog post, “Experience Can’t Be More Than Skill in PR. Can it?

Proper PR

The industry, has a whole, has a very low barrier to entry. That’s a problem. It’s also a problem that anyone with a computer considers themselves a communicator.

And now we have to contend with the digital communications experts that all are younger than 30 years old because the most experienced practitioners haven’t learned the new skills necessary to take the industry to a new place.

The conversation gets a little heated—not because we disagree, necessarily—but because we are passionate on the topic.

What do you think?

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

We’d ask one favor of you. If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 402: Whither Google+

It was first suggested in the midst of an interview with Sundar Pichai and then was confirmed in a Google+ post by Bradley Horowitz. Google+ as we know it is coming to an end. All that we know so far is that it will be broken up into three products – Streams, photos and Hangouts.

So, where does that leave marketers and others who have cultivated communities on Google+ or published original content on it? Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I discuss these questions and what the broader meaning of the changes at Google+ for content marketers.

What do you think?

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

We’d ask one favor of you. If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

 

Inside PR 401: On citizen journalism and PR

You could be one, so could your neighbour, colleague and friend. We’re talking about citizen journalists and, on today’s show, we discuss their place in the news cycle and how that affects PR.

Gini starts by recounting the story behind the first photo of the plane that crashed into the Hudson River in 2009, when Janis Krums, a bystander who watched it happen, took a picture, uploaded it to Twitter and the image went viral.

Joe discusses the nature of citizen journalism and says the photo was a snapshot – a one-time thing. He believes there’s a distinction between the act of witnessing and journalism, which involves editing, curation, analysis and context. A journalist’s focus should be to help people understand what a story means and that requires a more in-depth perspective.

I wonder about how citizen journalism is changing the nature of the scoop. Maybe that’s beyond a journalist’s domain and they need to rely on crowdsourcing breaking news from people who are there in real-time.

In our paid, earned, shared and owned landscape, PR people have to be resourceful about finding new ways to get their stories out there and engaging influencers.

Gini says her team approaches earned media from three angles and that includes citizen journalists. They target smaller, mid-level and influential publications and tailor the story so it resonates with each.

Final word from Joe: Look for the person who has something to say, covers a subject on a consistent basis and moves on to being a contributor to larger and more influential sources. Build relationships early and never ignore an individual if they’re intelligent, credible, trustworthy and can stick to it.

Here’s an interesting post by Mathew Ingram with examples of citizen journalism working well.

What do you think PR’s role is – or should be – with regards to engaging both citizen journalists and traditional media? We’d love to hear from you.

What do you think?

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

We’d ask one favor of you. If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 400: The Social Media Mob

Just a little more than a year after Justine Sacco sent the ill-fated, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m White!” tweet, The New York Times Magazine wrote an in-depth piece on her (and others who have suffered the social media mob) to see where she is now and how this has affected her livelihood.

There has been a lot of subsequent coverage on the topic:

It’s an interesting look at the social media, whether the crime fits the punishment, and how we might all need to chill.

Jon Ronson, the article’s author, even researched how long it has been since society allowed public shamings in much the same way we ridicule online (the 14th Century).

The conversation turns from the social media mob and online lynchings to how we can use humor in our social media efforts without coming across as clueless and insensitive as the Sacco tweet.

Her point was that the tweet was so ridiculous, she couldn’t imagine anyone taking it seriously. She was making a satirical remark on the bubble we live in in North America. But what she learned is, unless you’re Louis CK or South Park, satire doesn’t work so well in 140 characters.

It’s an interesting world we live in. Many business leaders are scared of what happens when an employee doesn’t think and sends a tweet like this, or when a customer is unhappy and doesn’t get his way. There are, of course, ways to deal with critics, but Joe poses the question, “Does it make sense in some extreme cases to go completely dark?”

What do you think?

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

We’d ask one favor of you. If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 399: Don’t put a Target on your back

Target Canada got itself into big business trouble in Canada. And it got itself into even bigger reputation trouble with the way it is leaving the country.

It has become commonplace for companies to care about being seen to be responsible corporate citizens. And this involves both doing and being seen to exercise their corporate social responsibility. To make the communities in which they operate better places. To give back as well as to receive.

We expect that corporations will want to be seen to be doing more than the bare minimum they can get away with. And perhaps that’s why Target Canada has garnered so much bad media in the wake of their decision to pull out of the Canadian market. They were perceived as doing as little as the law required them to do in order to get out of the country.

Whether this was justified or not, the company seemed almost to be playing rope a dope, absorbing the blows without attempting to fight back.

Did Target give its employees, its suppliers and its partners a raw deal? Were they inept or calculating in their communications? Will this affect their reputation in the United States?

Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I explore these questions on this week’s Inside PR podcast. Give it a listen and make up your own mind. Does Target deserve the target on its back?

Context

Here is a selection of the media coverage and commentary around Target’s retreat from Canada.

Target closes all 133 stores in Canada; Seeks creditor protection

Target Canada owes more than 5 billion to creditors

Target Canada owes advertising, marketing and PR partners

Top Target Canada Managers get big cash payouts as stores close

More must be done to help laid off target employees 

Target closure causing crisis for independent pharmacies, owners say

Target Canada patient records sold

Ontario pharmacists fighting Target Canada

Target Canada liquidation sales draw crowds and mockery

 

What do you think?

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

We’d ask one favour of you. If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 398: Is blogging over or has it morphed into something else?

Martin here. On today’s show it’s Joe and me. Gini’s on the road but she’ll be back next week.

Our topic comes from a post by Mathew Ingram about the state of blogging and how it has evolved. We’ve noticed a number of people who were active bloggers have slowed down their output, moved away from the platform or started publishing somewhere else.

So is that a trend? Are we entering a post-blogging landscape?

Joe starts off by mentioning a series like Sherlock that looked edgy and new a few years ago, yet seems a bit dated today. He thinks the same may be true for blogs.

I always considered blogging more of a publishing platform rather than an unedited stream or conversation. And as a PR person who wrote for clients, I found my voice again when I started my blog.

Joe thinks blogging has become more of a place for personal journaling. It hasn’t gone away but now it has a specialized purpose.

Joe also noticed that for a number of years we were fixated on the river of news and that’s not the only way for information to be organized. New apps value content that doesn’t carry as much weight and that the search engines can’t grab and data mine.

It’s a bigger range of content. And it’s about distinctive voices – columnists. In many ways, it always was.

And before we go: I noticed, as I was listening to the episode and writing the notes, that I said, ‘The Snapchat’. Yipes. Honestly, I didn’t mean to. Let’s chalk it up my affinity for the old Triple-W… and (hopefully) leave it at that.

Is blogging simply publishing? Are you moving to something more ephemeral like chat? Do you want your ideas archived or would you like your comments to be delivered and disappear?

Many of you listen to us on iTunes and it would be great if you could leave us a review.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 397: The boss leaves and where does that leave you?

What obligation do creative agency founders and owners owe to their employees? Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I, all current or past agency owners, discuss this in the wake of a recent high profile creative company closing.

Teehan+Lax recently announced that the partners had accepted jobs at Facebook – and that Teehan would therefore be shutting its doors. Good for them. But what about the employees? Did the fact that dozens of creative people – the people who helped the partners realize their dream – were being left behind detract from the positives of this story? Are creative agencies simply the expressions of their principals? Or are they in fact the product of the entire team? And what does the move of agency principals inside a previously-client company mean about the viability of agencies in the era in which nimbleness must be married to creativity?

Gini, Martin and I kick around our views about the arc of agency life and the types of things that we and agency principals and agency owners should or may not consider when making the next move.

Martin points out that we have become used to employees moving frequently from job to job. Many creative people today base their happiness on the challenge of the projects they are working on today. What they did last week mattered last week, not this week. What their title is isn’t so important. Where they stand in the hierarchy isn’t their motivator. Challenging creative work drives them. And if they can’t get it where they are, they will quickly and without hesitation hop over to another company that offers that to them. And then they will move again after that.

So, should we be surprised if people who are founding and running creative agencies have the same approach to the world? Probably not. So, we shouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t the last time that agency principals proclaim, “We didn’t get into this to build a company to last. We got into it to be challenged. And the challenges are elsewhere. So, we’re shutting down our company to go and do something else.”

And good for them. But that still leaves the first question. What obligation do they have to the employees who believed in them and invested part of their own careers in the success of the founders’ dream?

Gini suggests that an employer’s obligation to the employees is real, but limited. “But you have to make decisions that are good for the business first, and for the founders second. Without the founders, there is no business. So, the founders have to take care of themselves. This is a difficult thing to do, particularly when you want to do what is best for employees.”

This leads to situations in which it is difficult to untangle what really happened in order to discern how an employer has treated employees. We may see the end result – people looking for jobs. But we cannot get the complete picture of the relationships between employer and employee. “There’s always three sides to the story,” says Gini. “Their side. Our side. And the truth somewhere in the middle.”

But at the end of the day, Gini believes, owners are entitled to put their interests ahead of their employees. “Sometimes you have to make a decision that’s not best for the employees. Sometimes you have to make a decision that’s best for you and your family.”

And that’s only half of today’s episode. In the back half, we move on to discuss the importance of communicating these changes clearly, honestly and transparently. We hope that you’ll listen to the episode and find something to think about here.

Context

If you want to get a fuller sense of the Teehan+Lax announcement and the conversation it occasioned, here’s a set of articles that provide an excellent jumping off point.

And Now, For Our Next Act, the Teehan+Lax partners announce that they are joining Facebook and shutting down their agency

David Crow reflects on the announcement and what it means for the partners, the local creative scene and the employees. Read the comments as well as the post to get a sense of the debates that followed in the wake of the announcement.

Brian Krogsgard throws attention on the fact that this isn’t good for everyone. What about the employees?

Jon Lay argues that that innovative design firms can still thrive.

Ev Williams reflects on when and why to sell your company.

 

 

Inside PR 396: Teens on Social Media

On Medium a couple of weeks ago, a teenager named Andrew Watts wrote a piece called A Teenager’s View on Social Media. To say it created a conversation is putting it mildly.

Matthew Ingram at Gigaom picked it up…and then he wrote a second piece after Danah Boyd, a sociologist who focuses on how young people use social media, wrote a retort in the comments.

She provided some criticism on how we (human beings) group people into buckets for marketing purposes. We like to generalize. There is a reason stereotypes exist.

During the time that conversation was happening, Andrew Watts published a second article on what teens think about some of the other social networks…the ones he didn’t include in his first piece.

The four pieces are the topic of our conversation today.

We talk about:

  • Storytelling and how this young man’s piece picked up steam because it was interesting and personal;
  • YikYak and the advantage of smaller social communities;
  • How communicators must be open-minded to how different generations use social media and do some testing of our own;
  • Whether there is a difference between a teenager and a college student (which Andrew Watts is);
  • Why it’s important not to generalize;
  • How social media allows us to find direct communication with like-minded people around the globe; and
  • Different perspectives from our own community among those who have teenagers.

Martin ends the discussion by leaving it in your hands. He asks, “Are we moving into the next phase of social media?”

Many of you listen to us on iTunes and it would be great if you could leave us a review.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR 395: The chat app is the medium

Martin here.

Happy New Year and welcome back! We hope you had a fun and restful holiday.

In 2015, we’re planning to reinvigorate IPR by making it more topical and dealing with an issue or two a week. Stay tuned…

We start by congratulating Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson on the 10th anniversary of For Immediate Release! Here’s (hears?) to many, many more! We’re thrilled to be part of the FIR podcast network.

We also have some sad news. Michael Herman, a senior PR agency leader we know from Counselors Academy, passed away suddenly on Saturday at his home in North Carolina. Michael was the consummate PR pro, received PRSA’s highest honour, the Gold Anvil award, taught PR and never stopped learning, asking questions and helping people. Gini shares a personal memory of Mike on Pinterest and how they used to trade recipes. Here’s a moving tribute from Peppercom founder, Steve Cody. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Mike’s family and friends. 

Now onto this week’s main topic. Over the break I noticed a number of what’s ahead roundups – including TechCrunchAdAge and GigaOm – highlighted the renewed interest in chat apps as a key way for people to communicate and connect.

Which leads to the question: how can professional communicators, who participate in public conversations, navigate in the world of chat?

Gini: A big issue is anything you post online can and will be used against you. In other words, private isn’t necessarily private, anymore.

Joe harkens back to the early days social media where you had people talking to people versus brands talking to people. Now that marketers are monitoring public interactions, he believes ordinary people, who may not trust commercial accounts, are turning to messenger apps as a way to communicate.

Private or public messages? Which will be your default in 2015? We’d love to hear what you think.

One last thing. Many of you listen to us on iTunes and it would be great if you could leave us a comment or rating. Thanks!

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.