Inside PR 3.57: Introducing the FIR Podcast Network

On this week’s Inside PR podcast, we have the second of a two part interview with Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, the co-hosts of one of the longest running podcasts for professional communicators, the FIR For Immediate Release podcast. Last week, we talked about the early origins of podcasting, what motivated Shel and Neville to become podcasters, the content they offer and their relationship with their community.

In this week’s interview, we talk about the launch of the FIR Podcast Network, what it is and what the future holds for it.

This autumn, Shel and Neville launched another initiative – assembling a series of other related communications podcasts into the FIR Podcast Network – a collection of podcasts offering an unequalled breadth and depth of coverage of topics and best practices of interest to the professional communicator. In the past two months, the podcasts now on the FIR Podcast Network have grown to include:

FIR, the Hobson and Holtz Report, the original flagship podcast in which Neville and Shel cover the news of the week and draw on the discussions occurring on the FIR Podcast Google+ community;

FIR on Strategy, Andrea Vascellari‘s weekly tutorial on the development and application of strategy to communications challenges;

FIR Presents All Things IC, Rachel Miller‘s monthly look at internal communications issues and practices;

TV@Work, Ron Shewchuk‘s look at how to use video to engage employees.

Linked Conversations in which Chuck Hester unlocks the secrets to effective use of LinkedIn as a business tool; and

Inside PR, in which Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley bring an agency leader’s perspective to the most important and latest developments in communications.

Gini, Martin and I are excited to be part of the FIR Podcast Network. We think it has the potential to turn into something much more over time. At a minimum, it’s returned some of the joy of discovery and innovation that was the hallmark of the early days of our social media journey together. And over time, it may well become a definitive source for communications news and tips.

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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 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 part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.56: Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, Pioneers of Podcasting for Communicators

Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson began their FIR For Immediate Release podcast, in January 2005. And they’ve been podcasting every week since then, making the FIR podcast one of the longest continuous podcasts featuring content for professional communicators. In fact, on the morning that I post this interview, Shel and Neville have just posted episode 732 of the FIR. That’s a lot of content. That’s dedication to the community.

This week on the Inside PR podcast, we have the first of a two part interview Joseph Thornley recorded with Shel and Neville. In today’s installment, we go back to the beginning to talk about how Shel and Neville first got into podcasting. We also talk about how they structure the episodes, pick their content and think about their audience as they produce programs. If you’re interested in what motivates two of the best podcasters and why they’ve kept going over the years, this episode is for you.

When you listen to this, you’ll notice that Joseph Thornley is doing the show solo this week. Gini Dietrich and Martin Waxman took at well deserved Thanksgiving break. They’ll be back in two weeks.

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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 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 part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.55: Agency or in-house? That is our question.

Here we are with our second show on the FIR podcast network.

And this week, we’re not talking about Toronto Mayor Ford’s – er…rather unique – approach to communications. That will come soon.

Gini introduces our topic, which she found via the Vocus content suite she’s testing out; a story about how Visa fired its PR agencies and took the work in house.

Is this a trend?
Gini hopes this won’t continue, but thinks there’s a chance it might. So she’s looking for more signs and wonders if other larger corporations will follow suit or not.

Joe references Dell’s experiment with a purpose-built agency that they started and then abandoned. He doesn’t believe the move to in-house is going to be a trend because agencies bring a broad outside approach, ideas and creativity that is a benefit for clients.

Martin agrees and says the external viewpoint offers a fresh perspective you may not have considered and gives the example that often times what seems like big news to a client may not be to the world and it’s an agency’s job to offer solid counsel and say the things you may not want to hear.

Agencies can also provide insights and analytics that help clients understand whether or not a campaign is a success and why.

We also talk about Twitter’s new Custom Timelines, content streams where you can follow a topic or hashtag and embed the feed on your website or blog. It’s something you could do on Hootsuite within the platform, but now on Twitter, it’s a publicly sharable feed.

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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 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.

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

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 354: PR Gets Native Advertising and Sponsored Content

In this week’s episode of Inside PR, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley talk about native advertising and sponsored content. Martin and Joe watched a smart panel of advertising and media people at the Mesh Marketing Conference talk about native advertising. We were struck by the absence from the panel of public relations practitioners. And that serves as a departure point for our conversation with Gini.

Also this week: Big news. Inside PR is affiliating with Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson‘s FIR Podcast Network. We talk about this initiative and what we hope will come from it. We hope that our association with Shel and Neville and the other smart podcasters in the FIR family will bring you even more great content that will prove to be of help to you as a communicator.

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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 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.

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

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.51: Twitter tries some new moves

In this week’s in episode of Inside PR, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and Joseph Thornley look at changes Twitter is making to its services as it approaches its IPO.

Other topics in this episode: Martin will be a mentor at SXSW in Austin and Mathew Ingram speaks at Third Tuesday.

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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 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.

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

Inside PR is produced by Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.44: Getting Creative at South by Southwest V2V

This week, we’ve got a special episode of Inside PR live from the South by Southwest V2V conference in Las Vegas. OK, live to digital audio.

Just before we recorded, I’d attended a high energy and insightful panel on creativity and brainstorming and invited the panelists to continue the discussion on the show.

Note: We’re in one of the speaker lounges so apologies for the sound quality and background noise. Next time, I’ll travel with my portable IPR studio, that is, I’ll find a quieter spot.

Our guests are:
Helen Todd, co-founder and CEO, Sociality Squared
Adam Marelli, artist and photographer based in NYC
Jim Hopkinson, fellow podcaster at the Hopkinson Report, author and principal of Hopkinson Creative Media
Jey Van-Sharp, business strategist and market analyst/editor at My Uber Life

Here are some highlights of our conversation:

Adam Marelli says one of the best pieces of advice he ever received on creativity came from a Zen monk who said do just one thing at a time. For Adam, no matter how long the to-do list becomes, he finds he’s most creative if he focuses on a specific task without distractions.

For Jey Van-Sharp, it’s all about prioritizing your priorities. He starts by thinking of the objective as a big boulder you can’t move very easily. Then he breaks it into smaller rocks and easy to handle pebbles, with each pebble being one task. Each day he picks several tasks to work on, knowing he can’t get through them all at once, but will accomplish the project over time.

Jim Hopkinson believes you should really know yourself and references a Paul Graham post on maker’s and manger’s schedules and how the two are often in opposition. Being creative means being a maker and it’s important to find clumps of uninterrupted time for your work.

Helen Todd agrees you need to block off periods during your day to cultivate your ideas. Her advice: avoid productive procrastination – where you work on administrative projects or answering emails because it makes you feel productive, when you should be focusing on the creative challenge at hand.

Final word goes to Adam who says, there’s an art to failure and you get there by practicing it; the separation between failure and success is very thin.

Do you consider yourself creative or in a creative job? What challenges do you have coming up with fresh ideas? Is creativity something you live and breathe or do you try to compartmentalize it? Any tips you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you.

You may also be interested in the interview we did with Festival producer Christine Auten.

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Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, 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. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.37: You can’t judge a presentation by its cover

June was a month of wall to wall conferences. And those conferences brought Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and me together in two cities – Austin and Ottawa – and pulled us to opposite ends of the continent.

So, you spend all that money and time to attend a conference. And now you’re sitting in a presentation and you’re deciding whether you made the right decision. What makes it worthwhile?

Gini applies the Chile Con Queso Test. She loves chile con quesos. And she judges a restaurant by their quality. If they’re great, she’ll keep going back for more. Gini’s Chile Con Queso Test for conference presentations? Does the presenter provide her with at least one idea for a blog post? “If I can go into your session and come away with a blog post idea, I’m going to think you’re the best speaker on earth,” says Gini. On the other hand, “If I can’t get at least one idea to create content around, I’m not going to think you’re a great speaker.”

If you’re a speaker, how can you deliver the goods for your audience? I saw Lee LeFever talk about this at the recent Fireworks Factory organized by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo. Lee, who is best known for the explainer videos he has produced through his company, Common Craft, says that you must start from a position of empathy for the audience. Focus on what we care about, not what you want to present. Frame your topic in terms to which we relate. Suggest a commonly experienced problem to which we all relate. You’ll know you’ve done this is you see our heads nodding. Once you’ve established the shared space, focus on “why.” Why does this matter? Why will you approach it in this way. And then, and only then, move on to the “how.” How do I do this. Think about the presentations you’ve seen recently. How many of them failed because the presenter plunged directly into the “how” section, providing minute detail of what they did, while you were still stuck at, “Why do I care about this?”

Martin calls this the importance of appealing to the audience’s emotional senses. He points out that this often can be achieved through story telling, in which a motive is established and listeners are drawn into identifying with the subjects and storyline. Gini agrees with the power of this approach, pointing to a 52N (five minutes to engage, a variant on Ignite) presentation delivered by Abbie Fink at the recent PRSA Counselors Academy Conference in Austin. Abbie’s presentation consisted of reading a letter to her recently deceased family dog. At the end, she left many in the room in tears and everyone considering the nature of relationships. A story that appealed to our emotions. That appealed to the pet lover in all of us. That didn’t explain the why, but relied throughout on it. (Pity the poor presenter who followed Abbie – Martin Waxman!)

I attended a presentation recently by a speaker who gave me not just one good takeaway, but nine. Nine takeaways in an hour long presentation. And that speaker was … Gini Dietrich! Perhaps because Gini listened for takeaways in other speakers, she deliberately packages takeaways in her presentations. “When I write presentations, I write them long form. But as I do it, I write sound bites that I know people can tweet. You have to think about the key takeaways. Is someone going to get enough to pass the Chile Con Queso Test? And are they going to be able to tweet about it?” If you achieve these three objectives, people will come away with something to think about over the long term as well as content that will prompt immediate tweets and conversation.

Finally, there’s one huge no-no for conference presenters. What makes the audience groan and flee the room in droves? Martin calls it the “You can’t judge a presentation by its cover” problem.” You  decide to attend a presentation on the basis of the description in the program only to hear the speaker lead off with the statement, “I’m going to talk about something different from the advertised topic…” Sadly, that’s not uncommon at conferences. Not just the small regional conferences, but even larger conferences. The kindest interpretation I can put on this it that because of the long lead time between the time that the conference topics were set and the actual presentation, the speaker decided that the topic was outdated and decided to offer more up to date thinking. The unkind interpretation is that the speaker just said yes to the organizers’ invitation and then realized that he didn’t really have anything worthwhile to say about the topic. Either way, it can be a real let down if you showed up keen to learn and discuss the advertised topic.

Gini sums it up: “We’re all busy. We all want to find value in the things that we are attending. We’re spending money to attend these things. And if we can’t get something out of it to bring back to our careers or organizations, then it’s not worth the time.”

So, after a month of conferences, these are our takeaways for presentations that are worthwhile. What are your thoughts? What makes a presentation worthwhile for you?

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Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, 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. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.29: Google Reader, Feedly, and the perils of a dominant competitor

We could call this episode of Inside PR, the “Joe goes on a rant about Google, Reader, single competitor dominance and the viability of RSS feeds” episode.

Google Reader’s pending demise is a big deal for us. Like many writers, we use RSS feeds to be sure that we don’t miss content that passes in the flow at times when we aren’t paying attention. Gini and Joe have shifted to Feedly. And what did we discover? That a Feed Reader could be much better than Google Reader, like switching to full colour from black and white. That the emergence of one dominant provider of any service does not foster innovation.

Joe also wonders what impact does the shut down of Google Reader have on the trust that Google’s most passionate fans have on the company.

Finally, for those who thought that RSS fees are dead, the reaction of the heavy users shows that there is a deep, dedicated user community.

End of rant. (And thanks to Gini and Martin for patiently hearing me out. :) )

Finally in this episode, Martin gives a shoutout to Daniel Davidson and his Pitchin’ Ain’t Easy video.

 

If you’re a PR person, watch it and have a chuckle.

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Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, 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 DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 3.19: Lots of news in the social space

In this week’s episode of Inside PR, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley talk about a number of things that caught our eye this week.

Google+ Communities

Google has added Communities to its Google+ Network/layer/thingamabobby. Think Yahoo Groups. Discussion groups you set up to discuss specific subjects.

We’ve set up a Community for Inside PR listeners on Google+. If you like the podcast and would like to suggest future topics or discuss each week’s episode, click over to our Google+ Community and join the conversation.

Twitter upgrades(?) with Filters on Photos

Gini Dietrich points us toward Twitter’s move to add filters to photos.

Both Martin and Gini wonder whether Twitter is on the right path – or undercutting itself by moving away from the universal publishing platform to one that emphasizes its proprietary solutions and services.

Facebook drops its commitment to user democracy.

Does anybody care? Was this ever a real thing or did Facebook’s thresholds so high that it simply fed a feeling of powerlessness from the outset?

Lots of questions in a great discussion.

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Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, 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 DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 270: We talk about Intranets and the changes to Facebook

In this week’s Inside PR, Martin WaxmanGini Dietrich and Joseph Thornley talk about Intranets and the recent changes to Facebook.

Joe’s company’s Intranet is built around a Wiki to host content, Present.ly to support publishing and linking to content and Windows Live Messenger to enable one to one video calls. He encourages people to use these three tools to divert content from emails (we all suffer from inbox glut) and to channel communications from broad publishing through to one to one communications via video.

Martin points out that we have so many “places to go,” so many channels of communication, that managing these different channels can become a challenge unto itself.

And then there’s Facebook. We received a comment from Liza Butcher, who suggested that, “With the changes made this past week, I believe facebook it is trying to be too many things in one space, and ostracizing generations of people that may not be as tech savvy as others. … Facebook was a place for everyone, and now it is becoming too technical for the masses.”

Gini and Martin talk about their impressions of the most recent Facebook changes. Gini points out that it will be important to decide what you want to include in your timeline. Sharing everything won’t be for everyone. And it’s important to be aware of what the timeline automatically shares so that you can filter out the info you wouldn’t want to see there. Martin suggests that we all should become familiar with the “view activity” panel that will enable us to remove content from our timeline. Other neat features: the cover photo we can add to our Facebook profile and the ability to add “milestones” to fill in our timeline.

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Reminder: Inside PR will be recording live from the PRSA International Conference in Orlando on October 16 and 17. We’ll also be interviewing speakers and participants. So, if you’re planning to be there, let us know and we will grab a sound bite with you.