This week on Inside PR, Terry and David have a discussion about the PR stunt. They welcome comments from Julia Stein and Sallie Goetsch. They play Chris Clarke‘s comment for this week. Finally, Terry does his segment of Inside PRoper English.

Show Notes

00:27 David introduces the show. He invites listener feedback through email at [email protected], the comment line at 206-600-4741, or comment on the Inside PR show blog.

01:17 Terry mentions the podcast he recorded with Shel Holtz and released as an IPR Special Edition.

04:30 David talks about the Canadian Institute’s New Media for Communications conference, which is taking place November 28th and 29th. Terry and David will both be speaking at the event.

06:30 David introduces and Terry reads a comment on the blog from Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with sketch).

09:30 David introduces a listener comment from Julia Stein, a colleague of David’s from Fleishman Hillard. She asks two questions: one about writing, and the other about leadership.

12:10 Terry recommends not only writing a lot but also reading a lot to improve writing skills. David tells a story about his own writing.

15:15 David says that leadership is parts maturity, confidence, and experience.

17:20 Terry mentions that you can learn just as much from people who you don’t see eye-to-eye with than from those you consider mentors.

19:20 Terry tells a story about leadership from his time in university.

20:00 This week’s major topic for discussion: the role of stunts in PR. Terry thinks that stunts play a smaller role than most people assume in PR, and that they should be used as a tactic, not a strategy. Terry talks about a stunt he and David worked on many years ago.

22:40 David talks about the stunt as a means for a quick hit.

25:25 Terry points out that the public view is that the stunt is all there is to PR. He notes that the stunt is ususally what gets the most attention from the media, which makes the public view it as the only part of a campaign instead of one aspect of a campaign.

27:06 David advises to use stunts wisely. He also points out that award-winning campaigns often revolve around stunts, which he considers unfortunate.

29:13 David introduces and plays Chris Clarke‘s segment for the week.

34:20 Inside PRoper English for the week: tricky singular forms

36:00 Terry closes the show and invites listener comments: through email at [email protected], on the comment line at 206-600-4741, or comment on the Inside PR show blog. Also, they welcomes listeners to the Inside PR Blubrry site.

Music: our theme music is Streetwalker by CJacks, and is from the Podsafe Music Network; Roger Dey is our announcer.


  1. Hey, guys. Thanks for the tremendous compliment. It’s always good to wake up to flattery. 😉

    And now that I know my comments go through even if I don’t see anything saying “Your comment has been submitted for moderation,” I won’t have to type anything twice.

    I’ll keep an eye out for misuses of English that you might want to talk about on the show.


  2. You guys do get a lot of compliments on the Inside PRoper English segment. (Notice compliment and not complement, maybe that’s an example for you to use.)

    I’m amazed how much feedback I get on my weekly grammatical pedantic lesson on my blog (though it’s usually not weekly and more like ‘whenever I get around to doing it, including months later’).

    I think everyone likes to be a pedant every once in a while, or at least know something someone else doesn’t.

    Here’s some pesky usage vermin:

    Like v. As (This one always gets me)

    That v. Who (pl.)

    Due to v. Because of (again, gets me)

  3. Singular/Plural can be tricky. Sometimes usage rules are outweighed by context and particular house style.

    Take Rolling Stone for example.

    Should it be “They’re a great band”?

    Or “It’s a great band”?

    How about this one, then?

    “I love the Beatles. It’s great.” (vs. “they’re great”)

    Yuck, man. Yuck.

  4. Terry Author

    Great ones Owen! We may pick up one or two of them for Inside PRoper English. (“That” vs. “who” is definitely worth tackling…)

  5. Mary Ellen Armstrong

    Hello, my mellifluous former bosses – I’ve been catching up on some recent episodes. I was interested in the question you received from the guy looking to break into PR after 10 years in TV production.

    I found the biggest barrier to breaking into the agency scene – the fact you’ve not been weaned and brought up in agency-land – is the thing for which you’ll be most valued if you do break in. Dyed-in-the-wool “agency people” sometimes wear blinders, and outsiders with experience in other businesses can shake things up in a very valuable way.

    On the flip side, he’ll probably have to swallow a pay cut, and he’ll likely get a rung on the agency ladder that’s lower than the position he occupies in his business now. Maybe that’s true for all career-changers, I don’t know.

    Hope you’re both doing well. Let me know if you decide to have a “cool people” event sometime – let the geek dinner era fade away gracefully! (That means you, Dave.)

  6. I forgot to say before that your discussion of publicity stunts made me think of the Montclair Vet Hospital’s Pet and Wildlife Fund “Pet Mayor of Montclair” fundraiser. (Disclosure: MVH is a client, though I don’t do their PR.) Local businesses sponsor dogs and cats as candidates for “mayor” of Montclair Village, a subdivision of Oakland, California. Each vote costs $1: “Vote early. Vote often.”

    The people of Montclair (especially the owners of the mayoral candidates) love it, but the amount of time and effort involved for MVH takes a huge whack out of the money that’s raised. The primary value of the Mayor’s Race is therefore publicity and public relations, but MVH doesn’t really have enough staff to take full advantage of the potential media coverage.

    To me it’s an illustration of the high administrative costs that brilliant campaigns (in its first year, it won an award from the SF-AMA) can come with, and the difficulty of implementing projects like this if you’re a small nonprofit with limited budget and limited PR staff.


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