Inside PR 390: Throw Away Your Crisis Communications Playbook

You didn’t think we’d not do a show about Jian Ghomeshi, did you?

Though he was a CBC Canadian star, his crisis evolved beyond the borders and certainly hit the United States as we all watched in wonder to see what would come of it all.

If you are like me and have never heard of him, the story goes that he was abusive to some former girlfriends in the bedroom. His story is that it was all consensual. The side of the women is that it wasn’t so much, particularly when he punched one of them in the face.

There, of course, are always three sides to a story (his side, her side, and the truth), but what has been interesting to watch is how Ghomeshi has handled the crisis, from a communications perspective.

The moment he was fired from the CBC, he wrote a long explanation to his fans on his Facebook page. Then he filed a $55 million lawsuit against the media company. Because he was a union employee, he cannot file a lawsuit, but speculation is he did it so he could tell his side of the story in legal documents that couldn’t be held against him later.

Then things got really hairy. His high-profile crisis firm dropped him and he “fled” to California. The case is ongoing and it certainly hasn’t died down because he stopped being vocal.

We discuss how he and his team framed the issue, what they did extraordinarily well, but also what they forgot to include, based on the flamethrowers on social media. Joe brings up a good point about how this also relates to Gamergate and how, in social media, people begin to define the issue themselves.

We’d love to hear what you think about how crisis should be handled in 2014/2015 versus 1990.

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.

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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 389: Copyblogger, SlideBatch, and More

On today’s Inside PR, we have three topics: The Vocus/Cision merger, Copyblogger shutting down its Facebook page, and a cool new tool called Slidebatch.

Vocus and Cision

As it happens, I was in Washington, D.C. for the PRSA International Conference. I attended the happy hour with Vocus and Cision to learn of their new name and what their plans are, now that the merger is complete.

They will keep the name Cision and will be headquartered in Chicago (which makes me happy), but it sounds like Cision clients will now have access to Vocus tools (PR Web and HARO) and Vocus clients will now have access to Cision tools.

But it is an interesting look at what is happening in the PR industry. Joe asks if we’re shrinking and what that could mean for our livelihoods.

Copyblogger and Facebook

Then we tackled the big announcement from Copyblogger that they shut down their Facebook page, even with 36,000 fans.

We talk about whether this is a publicity stunt (that clearly is working because everyone in the industry is talking about it) or just a really smart decision.

Though the algorithm at Facebook has changed and engagement, reach, and comments are down across the board, it still drives a significant amount of referral traffic for each of us.

It would be interesting to see if Copyblogger lost a significant amount of referral traffic when they did this.

Slidebatch

SlideBatch is going to change the look and feel of your newsrooms forever.

No more manual updates to the newsroom every time a story runs.

Instead of every time a story runs about your organization or about one of your client, you have to create an image, write a couple of sentences to entice people to click, and then link to the original story, you can create a Batch.

We talk about other uses for it and why we think it’s a nice tool for every PR pro’s toolbox.

We’d love to know what you think about these topics!

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.

P.S. I was riding my bike (stationary – not outside!) while we recorded this, which is pretty evident when I listened to the show. Oy! I won’t do that again.

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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 388: The Evolution of Media and Media Relations

While I was in the air for the recording of this podcast, the conversation Martin Waxman and I had about the layoffs at The New York Times launched the conversation he and Joe Thornley had today.

While it’s a focus on Canadian media, it shows a very interesting trend: There is an ongoing march of media consolidation, which could very well continue to affect the way communications professionals—particularly those who focus on media relations—do their jobs.

In the news, Post Media acquired Sun Media and they are suddenly the largest print publication in Canada. Martin suspects they have 100% media market in cities such as Ottawa and Vancouver. While they’ve said there won’t be layoffs, we surmise they don’t really need multiple news bureaus in every city so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

There continues to be a consolidation of newsrooms and the disappearance of beats—PR pros today outweigh journalists four to one—which means we have to continue to evolve.

And speaking of evolution, Martin and Joe spoke to an interesting tactic Jesse Brown is taking with Canadaland.

For those of you who don’t know (I didn’t), Jesse Brown was an early podcaster with Search Engine. A couple of years ago, he turned that into Canadaland, which is a media watchdog of sorts.

He has broken big stories, such as the policy the CBC had that allowed Peter Mansbridge to be on the news every night and also get paid to speak at events for organizations that were in the news. Because of the Canadaland investigation, the CBC changed their policy.

But Jesse is facing something many content producers face and that is he’s not being paid to spend the necessary time to break news like this. So he has asked his supporters to become patrons of sorts…and it’s working!

Martin and Joe wonder if this could be a new trend, particularly for brand-new content producers.

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.

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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 387: Is another tech bubble about to burst?

Martin here.

This week, it’s Gini and me – as Joe was under the weather. (And you can hear from my voice that I’m just a tad jet-lagged…)

We spend the show talking about a couple of recent news items that caught our attention, and especially the notion that we may be headed into another tech bubble.

There certainly are a few signs. First, the New York Times announced it’s laying off 100 people from its newsroom staff. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com and founder of The Downtown Project in Las Vegas, announced he was stepping down as project lead and then laid off 30 people. And VC Marc Andreesen feels tech startups are burning through cash at a rate similar to the 1999 tech bubble and that’s a cause for worry.

Martin references Clay Shirky’s Last Call post on Medium about the impending demise of print.

Shirky offers three pieces of advice to journalists to help reposition themselves and Gini thinks they apply just as well to communicators.

  1. Get good with numbers – we’re in an age where we need to be focused on how the content and communications work we do becomes an investment, not an expense.
  2. Learn to use social media tools to get ideas for stories. That’s something we’re good at already, but we need to continue to test and learn.
  3. Collaborate – that is, integrate paid, earned, shared and owned programs and understand how the pieces fit together.

What do you think? Are we heading into another tech bubble? How will that affect the landscape for journalists and communicators? Can we redouble our efforts to adapt and retrain ourselves? 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.

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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 386: Wearable Technology

A couple of years ago, a study was released that showed how bad sitting at your computer is for your body. So bad, in fact, Google has claimed the phrase: Sitting is the new smoking.

This research helped launch wearable technology and now, with the new Apple watch, we have personalized and customized data available to us that makes us smarter about our health, nutrition, and overall well-being. It helps you understand just how little you actually do move during the day, particularly in our industry, and it helps motivate you to get up and move.

I have a pretty strong opinion about wearable technology and how it not only helps us live better lives, but how it helps communicators target more specifically our messaging. We also discuss it from the perspectives of fashion, function, and plain old cynicism.

Do you agree with Joe and look askance at it? Do you agree with Martin that it’s all about fashion? Or do you agree with me, the technology and geek hound?

We’d love to hear from you. What do you think about wearable technology? What do you think the future is? How can we use it in communications and across cultures? Is it cool or scary to get this kind of data about about ourselves? Can we use that data to improve our lives? Or is really just about being a wearable fashion hound?

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.

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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 385: Twitter “Buy Now” and Social Advertising

Twitter is slowly rolling out a “buy now” button to users, which promotes the ability to buy directly from the social network.

As Twitter continues to try to figure out how to make money, and brands want to figure out a return-on-investment that translates directly to the bottom line, it will be interesting to watch and see how (or if?) this works.

Pinterest certainly has been able to figure it out…maybe Twitter is taking a page from their book.

We discuss the implications and pros and cons of social advertising and then move to Apple Pay.

Apple Pay is offered on the new iPhone 6 and provides a way for you to pay without cash or credit card (and is my dream because I hate carrying a wallet and I hate carrying a purse).

We debate the merits, whether it’s bad for small business, whether it could be disastrous for some, and whether it’s made only for enterprise organizations.

Martin tells a story of his local coffee shop—Snakes and Lattes—that is a true neighborhood destination. He worries a business like that won’t be able to afford the infrastructure needed to accept Apple Pay. I, however, share a story of how local boutiques in my neighborhood all have iPads at the counter to accept Belly, a local loyalty card.

Who is right and who is wrong is yet to be seen, but we’d love to hear what you think.

Will the Twitter “buy now” button help brands increase sales? Will Apple Pay be devastating to small business?

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.

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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 384 – It’s Spin Sucks anniversary – and we celebrate with blogging tips

Martin here…

It’s a big day for us at Inside PR – well, a big day for Gini, but we’re celebrating with her! Spin Sucks turned eight. And that’s a milestone.

Gini looks back and talks about her first post and how…um…disappointing it was. She said it was just a blog introduction without any links (though there were footnotes), but with a few references to some guy named Ray (they’re not sure who that was) and it had no images or optimization…

Back then they didn’t have a clear vision of the kind of content that would help them achieve their vision to improve the reputation of PR.

Gini took it over in 2009 and worked hard and consistently to create the type of content that built and engaged a community and made it into the runaway success it is today.

A big congratulations from all of us to Spin Sucks!

Joe says it’s not easy to keep up Gini and her team’s level of commitment and production and mentions a post by Darren Barefoot, who says he’s no longer doing most of his writing on his blog. Rather, he’s publishing on other platforms with bigger audiences so more people see and interact with his ideas.

In the second part of the show we ask Gini, who recently spoke about advanced blogging at Content Marketing World, to share some of her tips. Here are three:

  1. Follow trends and lists to discover fresh, relevant ideas.
  2. Imagine and reuse your content and turn a blog post into a podcast, video and other sharable social objects.
  3. Syndicate and distribute content beyond your social networks to build momentum.

Do you have any to add?

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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.

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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 383: Making LinkedIn work for your business

In this week’s Inside PR podcast, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I talk about LinkedIn as a publishing platform.

LinkedIn has been pushing itself as a publishing platform, promoting links to new content and providing publishers with additional data on the performance of their content. LinkedIn’s efforts seem to be an illustration of “if you build it they will come.”

From the number of alerts I receive when I open LinkedIn, it appears to me that more and more of the people with whom I have connections are in fact publishing content to LinkedIn.

Martin, for one has been drawn to LInkedIn more often as the amount of fresh content has increased. However, while there is more content that he can find there, he observes that a large portion of the content is repurposed content that originally appeared on a blog.

Gini agrees with Martin that cross posting content from blogs to LinkedIn seems to be common. The question she asks is, what is the right strategy? Post on the blog first and then cross post on LinkedIn? Or do it the other way around. Which will give her the greatest engagement on both of her platforms?

The question for publishers remains, “Is it worth the effort?” Gini has a practical, hard-nosed answer. She points out that our job is to drive traffic to our websites, where it can be converted to benefit our business. Publishing to LinkedIn is valuable if it contributes to that.

We also talk about Chuck Hester’s approach to LinkedIn. Chuck, who hosts the Linked Conversations podcast on the FIR Podcast Network (Inside PR is also a member of the FIR podcast network.) Chuck relies primarily on LinkedIn to connect with potential clients. To do this, he publishes a post or updates his profile at least every week or so. He has observed an uptick in the number of people looking at his profile after each of these events. When new people do look at his profile, he sends them a message asking if they’d like to connect. And this has generated new business opportunities. (You can hear Chuck describe this approach to Sarah Lane and Tonya Hall during an appearance on TWiT’s The Social Hour podcast.)

We like Chuck’s approach and think it is worth exploring further. We plan to reach out to him and ask him to join us in a conversation on a future episode of inside PR. To set up this discussion, Gini plans to emulate Chuck’s approach to see what types of results she can achieve. And in a month, after she’s done this, were going to invite Chuck to a discussion with us about this approach and how others can pick it up.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

How do you use LinkedIn? Do you publish content on LinkedIn to provide people with a reason to click through to your profile? Do you watch your LinkedIn stats so that you can reach out to these people? Has this provided any benefit to 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.

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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 382: Considering Native Advertising

This has been the summer of native advertising. More and more of it is showing up on more and more outlets. And it’s even broken through to our consciousness via mainstream media, thanks to John Oliver.

This week on the Inside PR podcast, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I talk about native advertising and the questions that have been raised about it. Is native advertising simply “disguising your ads to make them look like new stories?” Is it something insidious? Is it something with a short lifespan or a permanent fixture of the new media economy? How do we do it in a way that preserves the integrity of the news organization and the trust that we can place in it?

Yes, this week we’re all about native advertising on Inside PR. We hope that you’ll listen to and enjoy this full episode discussion.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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 3.81: Penalties for bad reviews and questions about online privacy

Martin here.

This week, the gang’s together again…and we start by talking about a business that charges customers a penalty for negative online reviews.

Whaa?

In case you missed it, a hotel in upstate New York said it would levy a fine of $500 for bad reviews written by guests.

The company has since recanted the story claiming it was a joke that harkened back to a long-past wedding and they never removed the policy. Gini likens this to businesses that pay for positive reviews and says you can’t dictate what people say about you online good or bad. You just have to provide the best experience and customer service you can, listen and address issues. Here’s a link to the story for details.

We switch gears and discuss a study on online privacy by Craig Newmark and others that offers some insightful results. One of the main findings is that two-thirds of us either skim or don’t bother to read the terms of service. Which means we don’t know what we’re agreeing to or what rights we’re signing away.

Gini, Joe and I did a straw poll and it turns out the three of us all fall in that 66 per cent majority.

That’s not a good thing…

Joe links this to news that when Google receives a request under Europe’s right to be forgotten legislation, it has been informing webmasters about it before it takes down the links-in-question.

According to the WSJ, Google claims that alerting publishers to impending removals is the only way they can respond with their side of the story.

Joe’s concern is that we’re giving a private company the ability to make decisions about our privacy and rights based on its commercial self-interests.

I think the situation is similar to one we’ve always had with media: they have their own agendas, yet we trust them to filter stories and news.

It’s certainly a complex issue.

What do you think? About penalizing or paying for reviews? About reading terms of service, about the right to be forgotten…

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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 LeCompte.