Inside PR 407: PR generalists versus specialists

Martin here and it’s a jam-packed episode this week. But first a milestone: it’s been nine years since Terry Fallis and David Jones started Inside PR and we want to give Terry and Dave a big congratulations and bigger thank you! And thanks to all of you for sticking with us. If you’re interested, head to the archives and listen to IPR #1.

Back to 2015…On today’s show, we talk about three things:

1. When to hire a PR firm – and when you should wait
Gini wrote a post about a startup client whose product wasn’t ready when they hired her firm, so any traffic the Arment Dietrich team drove to the site led to customer frustration since the business wasn’t ready for…um business. Moral: sometimes entrepreneurs need to put the brakes on their PR efforts until they have something to show, solid goals and can afford it.

2. PR generalist or specialist – where is the industry heading?
According to the Holmes Report Card, in recent years PR agencies have been hiring specialists over generalists, similar to the way things operate in the ad and marketing industries. However, data now shows the generalist may still have a role, especially as it pertains to developing strategy. Thanks to Shel Holtz for suggesting this idea.

3. LinkedIn buys Lynda.com – are jobs posting now going to be linked to skills training?
LinkedIn’s become a publisher, job source, networking space and virtual rolodex and now it’s moving into training with its $1.5 billion purchase of training site, Lynda.com. See a job you want but lack some of the skills. LI may have a training program for you. Thanks to Alison Garwood-Jones for suggesting this topic.

What do you think?

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.

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

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 406: All Things News

It’s been a big couple of weeks in the worlds of social media and journalism.

Periscope. Meerkat. Facebook hosting news sites. More snow in Ottawa. Oh my!

Facebook is in discussion with several media outlets to move their news into the social network. Facebook is clearly tired of people leaving their site to read news on other sites so they have gone to several news outlets to see if they can strike a deal to have content live there.

The New York Times is considering it for two reasons: They will gain new readers, even if it’s not on their own site, and Facebook has offered a revenue share from advertising.

It’s interesting, to say the least, but we are in disagreement about what this could mean and how it might affect readership, owned content, and access to data.

Nearly two weeks ago, Twitter launched a Meerkat competitor with Periscope. So, within the last month, livestreaming from your bed, the street, or your office has become an overnight sensation.

We’ve tested both while recording Inside PR. Martin has tried it from bed (accidentally). Joe has tried it from his office. And our mutual friend, Eric Tung, even tried it on the airplane.

Both subjects should be watched with careful consideration at what they mean for communicators.

What do you think?

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.

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

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 405: Starbucks Starcrossed

On this week’s Inside PR, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I talk about three issues: Starbuck’s #RaceTogether initiative, the change to Google’s search algorithm to penalize Websites that are not mobile-friendly, and another move by Facebook to make itself more inviting to advertisers.

Starbucks #RaceTogether

Looking back at  Starbucks’ #RaceTogether campaign, I can’t help but feel that, while laudable in intent, RaceTogether showed a remarkable lack of self awareness on Starbucks’ account. Martin and Gini disagree. They see more positive than negative in Starbucks’ initiative and its handling of the subsequent fallout.

Gini feels that Starbucks succeeded in getting us to talk about the issue. I think that Starbucks succeeded in getting us to talk about Starbucks – and not in a positive way. I think the issue came apart because of a lack of self awareness on Starbucks’ part. I see it as an unequal power relationship. A chain that sells premium-priced coffee to a well-heeled clientele asks its fairly low paid employees to raise a highly sensitive topic across the counter. Gini pushes back. She talks about her experience of her local Starbucks. Martin sees it as a grand gesture in the finest tradition of liberalism. Gini gets the last word. We’re talking about it. Starbucks had some success and she suggests they should not be timid about this type of social initiative in the future.

Mobile-friendly by April 21 or else

But that’s not all we talk about. We also point to the pending April 21 change to Google’s algorithm penalize Websites that are not mobile-friendly. Communications execs, make sure that your sites are up to date or be ready to see them disappear from the front page of Google Search.

Facebook entices advertisers

Finally, we discuss the disappearance of comments from corporate Facebook pages. Just one more step by Facebook to make Facebook a more attractive platform for advertisers.

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.

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

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 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.

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

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.