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 [email protected], 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 [email protected], 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 381: 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 [email protected], 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.

 

Inside PR: Special show on SXSW V2V with Christine Auten

Martin here.

And today we have a special episode where I talk to Christine Auten, producer of SXSW V2V, the younger, brasher sister festival of SXSWi. I say that because V2V is held amid the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas and focuses on startups and entrepreneurs.

One of the key differences between this year and last is that each day starts and ends with everyone together.

Mornings are for keynotes. On Monday, Ari Horie, the dynamic founder and CEO of Women’s Startup Lab talks about opportunities for women entrepreneurs. On Tuesday, John Maeda speaks about creativity and bringing Design to De$ign. Wednesday has Brian Solis interviewing Shinola president Jacques Panis on the ‘Built in Detroit’ movement and how that applies to startups.

After that come a series of breakouts, panels, inspiring 20/20 vision talks, workshops and mentor sessions. And then back for the final session of the day followed by the social program. This year, there’s going to be a film screening, music performance and for the final party, a bowling tournament – bring your socks.

The content focuses on the intersection of startups and showbiz – and there’s a special room for convergence sessions including What Rockers Can Teach Startups – that is, what lessons startups can take away from the passion-driven world of musicians and artists.

What differentiates SXSWV2V from SXSW?
Christine says the biggest thing is the size. It’s an intimate event all in one space where you can meet and chat with everyone.  And when you leave, it feels like the people you met are not just connections, they’re more like a family.

What’s Christine expecting in 2014?
“We don’t know what the show’s going to be like till we get there,” she says. “The community makes up so much of the experience.”

Interested in more info? Here’s the schedule. Or follow the hashtag #sxswv2v.

And here’s a blog post on my Supercharged Storytelling for Startups session.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], 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.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Inside PR 375: During a crisis, don’t leave your customers in the dark

Martin here.

On today’s show, it’s Joe and me. Gini will be back in a couple of weeks. And throughout the summer, we’ll be having a few more two-handers when one of us is away – but we’ll keep recording!

We start off discussing the recent DDOS attacks on Feedly and Evernote that happened just before we recorded.

And we remark on how the two companies took different approaches when it came to communicating their situations to customers.

Feedly posted notifications on its Twitter feed and blog but nothing on Facebook.

Evernote updated its Twitter feed and used the same content on Facebook. But the company did not post on either of its two blogs.

Here are a few suggestions for communicating during a crisis that came out of our conversation:

  • Use your owned property – your blog or newsroom – to break the news and continue sharing regular updates there.
  • When posting updates on Twitter, link back to your blog to add details and context to the situation.
  • Personalize your message. Record a video or short series of videos to let people know what happened and the steps you’re taking to fix it.
  • By all means post on Facebook, but if you’re not buying ads, know that not as many people will see your news as on other sources.
  • Take a page from MSM and be consistent with your communications. Let people know when they’ll hear back from you. That way people will know you’re on top of things and more news will follow.

In the second part of the show, I offer my take on the 2014 IABC World Conference that was taking place in Toronto. One highlight was a talk by Leslie Quinton on the human side of crisis communications and how important it is to always remember your moral compass; that is, continue to ask yourself if what you’re doing is the right thing to do.

I also caught up with Shel Holtz who, if you haven’t seen him speak, is always a sharp, insightful and engaging presenter. He talked about visual storytelling and presented a strong case for why all communicators should move in that direction.

If you haven’t been to an IABC World Conference, it’s worth looking into because it offers you an opportunity to meet and learn from communicators around the globe. Next year’s conference is in San Francisco, June 14 to 17, 2015.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], 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.

Inside PR 3.73: Counselors Academy – Agency Lessons Learned

Martin here. This week it’s Gini and me and we’re talking about what I learned at Counselors Academy’s annual conference for PR agency owners and leaders.

We’ve mentioned #CAPRSA before – and as many of you know, it’s the place where Gini, Joe and I met in person, got to know each other and really was the beginning of the current IPR hosting team.

Over the years we’ve interviewed PR and social media thought-leaders and recorded live shows at Counselors. This time, I was there without my two compadres (Noooooo…) so it was up to me to give an update on the event.

Highlights included: keynotes by Shonali Burke and Steve McKee, a talk on creative storytelling by Rob Biesenbach and agency leaders like Brett Werner, Janet Tyler and Lynn Casey on strategies and lessons they’ve learned running successful firms.

And of course, it’s a wonderful opportunity to talk ideas with smart, articulate and friendly people and get re-ignited about agency life.

Congratulations to Tom Garrity, the conference chair, Chuck Norman, the co-chair and the entire conference committee. If you’re an agency owner/leader and you’re looking for a must-attend business event, we think Counselors is something you should definitely consider.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], 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.

 

IPR special edition: Rob Biesenbach on telling stories

Martin here. I’m getting ready to head off to PRSA Counselors Academy’s spring conference and thought I’d catch up with one of the presenters, Rob Biesenbach. Rob is a communications expert, speaker, writer and actor who is ‘fighting to end dull ordinary communications in our time’.  (But he doesn’t have a cape.)

At Counselors, Rob’s going to be talking about how to Unleash the Power of Storytelling to build trust and win business.

He says most people play fast and loose with the definition of story and don’t understand its distinct structure: a character, in pursuit of a goal, in the face of some sort of obstacle.

Stories aren’t a quote from Winston Churchill or a customer testimonial.

Rob likens our job as communicators with acting: both require you to connect with your audience, tell a story well and express yourself. Too many businesses compare themselves to other businesses – when they should be looking to and learning from show business, where the most powerful stories in our culture can be found.

Rob is also doing an Ingnite style presentation based on his new book, 11 Deadly Presentation Sins.

He talks about the three he thinks are the worst:

  • Failure to connect with an audience
  • Failure to focus
  • Doing a data dump rather than a story that’s filled with emotion.

And when it comes to PowerPoint, he cautions us that when you see ‘insert text here’ on a slide, it’s a suggestion, not a command.

Want to hear more? You can catch Rob at Counselors Academy or check out his website.

And if you’re interested in Counselors Academy and the other presenters, you can follow the hashtag on Twitter #CAPRSA.

Gini and Joe will be back next episode.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], 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.

Inside PR 3.70: Tom Garrity on PRSA Counselors Academy Conference

It’s Martin semi-solo, this week; Gini and Joe are off.

I’m here with Tom Garrity, president of The Garrity Group and chair of the PRSA Counselors Academy conference for PR agency leaders, which takes place in Key West, Florida, May 4 to 6.

Tom and I start off by chatting about how some PR specialists are also hot air specialists. Actually that’s not quite true. We got on the subject because Tom’s agency represents the Alburquerque International Balloon Festival, one of the more visually exciting events around.

If you follow Inside PR, you’ll know we’ve discussed Counselors Academy before – that’s where Gini, Joe and I met. We’ve been to the event many times, recorded a few episodes there and I was conference chair in 2012.

I’ve said this a number of times: CA is my one must-attend PR gathering of the year, a chance to meet and get to know a smart, friendly and lively group of PR agency movers and shakers.

Unlike other conferences, Counselors is focused on the business of running a PR agency and provides an opportunity to take part in top notch professional development and lots of idea-sharing over casual conversations, coffee or drinks.

This year, one of Tom’s highlights is the closing presentation at Hemingway House, with keynote speaker and ad agency owner Steve McKee, who offers insights from his new book, Power Branding: Leveraging Success of the World’s Best Brands.

Other keynotes include 9 INCH marketing founder Stan Phelps talking about branding and strategic marketing and Shonali Burke on successfully integrating research into your PR plans and pitches.

Tom’s also looking forward to the Bold Moves session – raw conversations about major changes agency owners made in order to transform their business. It’s a Ted X type format moderated by past Counselors chair and Mitchell Communications CEO Elise Mitchell. Speakers include Aaron Blank, president and CEO, The Fearey Group, Lynn Casey, chairman and CEO, PadillaCRT, startup entrepreneur Forest Featherstone and Janet Tyler, founder and co-CEO, Airfoil.

There’s a round of short Ignite presentations, breakout workshops, roundtables and a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Tom recommends Counselors because it always helps him improve his agency and fill in what he doesn’t know.

Here’s where to go for the schedule. There’s still a bit of time to register if you’re interested. Or you can follow the hashtag on Twitter #CAPRSA.

I’ll be there and will interview some of the presenters for upcoming episodes of Inside PR. Stay tuned.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], 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 Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 367: Reflections on SXSW and PressFriendly

Martin here.

When we recorded this show, I’d just returned from SXSWi and I offer my thoughts reflections on this year’s Festival.

There’s no doubt SXSW remains a one-of-a-kind event with a unique laid-back energy and excitement for all things tech and social. That’s something you see first-hand watching the featured speakers and keynotes and in many of the smaller sessions, too.

And while there weren’t any big new platform launches in 2014, there was a lot of big thinking.

SXSW is still a defining event. Yet with so many people and ideas in one place it can seem a bit overwhelming. Before you go, do your homework and figure out what you want to see and do and who you want to meet; the Festival offers such a friendly, open vibe, you can meet anyone.

And if you’re looking for a more intimate conference with the South-by feel, check out the second annual SXSW V2V in Las Vegas that happens in July.

You can read more about my SXSW highlights on the TFC blog.

Oh and here’s Kevin Bacon’s hilarious video explaining the ’80s to millennials.

In the second part of the show we talk about PressFriendly.

After receiving a pitch, Gini asked Laura Petrolino to test out the product and Laura wrote about it on SpinSucks. Essentially PressFriendly helps automate media relations. It’s aimed at startup entrepreneurs who are frustrated with the PR experience and want to try it on their own.

Gini feels they have the right thinking but that it’s difficult to automate relationship-building. She also wonders if reaching out to media and bloggers is the best use of an entrepreneur’s time or if they’d be better off hiring a professional.

Joe’s not sure building a media list should be handed to the most junior person or to an algorithm. That can lead to spammy pitches that hurt the reputation of the entire industry.

Finally, I mention that one of the students in my UTSCS hybrid Foundations Course produced a video, Joey Loves Water, and it went viral. It was part of her class assignment and as of this writing, she has nearly 200,000 views.

Joe notices the video has been picked up on a lot of cat sites as well as on Huffington Post. Once it got on the circuit, he observes, you can almost trace its virality by seeing which sites help amplify and pass it along.

The lesson? Ditch the corporate spokesperson and bring in a cat. Or…maybe not.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], 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 Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

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

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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 [email protected], 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.