Inside PR 442: Our tenth anniversary takes tips from Disney Creative

We’re  belatedly celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Inside PR podcast. Terry Fallis and David Jones posted the first episode of Inside PR on April 3, 2006. Back then the tag line was “Inside PR: Going deep on the state and future of public relations.” After recording 200 episodes, Terry and David decided that they’d said all that they wanted to say. But they didn’t retire the podcast. Instead they passed it along to Martin Waxman, who had been co-hosting with Terry and David. Martin, in turn, brought Gini Dietrich and Joseph Thornley in as new co-hosts. And thanks to Terry and David’s benevolence, the Inside PR podcast now has been running continuously for over ten years. That’s a record of longevity that we’re proud of. And we’re not thinking of stopping anytime soon.

Also this week, we give a shout out to original co-host Terry Fallis, who has just been shortlisted for the Leacock Medal for his novel, Poles Apart. Terry has won the Leacock award twice before, for his first novel, The Best Laid Plans, and for his fourth novel, No Relation.  The award winner will be announced on June 11. So check your Twitter feed on the evening of June 11 and send Terry your best wishes.

This week’s #IPRMustKnows:

Also this week, we talk about the Counselors Academy Conference that Martin attended in Puerto Rico. Martin’s big takeaway from the conference was the continuing trend for PR agencies to integrate design, video, paid media and other disciplines as the traditional silos of creative, advertising, PR and content converge.

While at the Counselors Academy Conference, Martin interviewed one of the keynote speakers, Duncan Wardle, Vice President of Creative Inc., Disney Parks and Resorts’ creative think tank. He offers some great advice for priming creativity in our own organizations.

We’d love to know what you think.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, 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.

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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 Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 438: The media world is spiky, not flat

Martin here. And we’re all back.

We start this week with three #IPRMustKnows:

Gini talks about Facebook’s new mobile app, Moments, that searches your camera roll, groups photos together and asks if you want to send them privately to the people in the shots. You can also create Moments for events, vacations, etc. (Of course, it’s not yet available in Canada 🙁 .)

Joe discusses Facebook’s Media Central studio in NYC that coaches celebrities on how to use the platform and live video. He says good enough video isn’t good enough anymore and we should take video streaming seriously, not just wing it. Soon FB will up the ante when they let people broadcast high-quality live video that can be integrated into their own studio control room.

I mention PRSA Counselors Academy. This year, I’m chair of the organization and our annual conference for independent PR agency owners and leaders is May 1 to 3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There’s a fantastic program on the business of agency PR including a keynote on creativity from Disney’s Duncan Wardle. Here’s a link for more information or to register.

Our main topic this episode centres on the concentration of digital media and is based on The Game of Concentration by Joshua Benton, a story we read in the Niemen Lab Blog. The author makes the case that journalism used to be spread across North America because you needed a local newsroom to cover local news. With digital, you’d think that would create an even more distributed news world, but the high profile new media companies seem to be clustering in major markets like New York, Washington, LA or Silicon Valley, or Toronto, if you’re in Canada. Which means the media world is getting spikier and not flat. And that’s a challenge to both journalists and PR pros.

We’d love to know what you think. 

  • What does the future hold for local media and PR practitioners?
  • Will people’s interest in the immediate world around them spark a resurgence of local stories and news?

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, 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.

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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 Joseph Thornley.

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

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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 [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 produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.36: Inside SXSWi – an interview with Hugh Forrest

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This is the second of the two shows, Gini, Joe and I recorded at PRSA Counselors Academy Conference in Austin – our annual must-attend agency leader event.

We’ve just watched Hugh Forrest, director of South by Southwest Interactive Festival – or as he likes to call himself, the community manager – present a keynote on SXSWi and how it’s grown to become a major social media and tech event.

Hugh was there from the start as the first employee of SXSW. He was hired by the organizers in the mid-90s when they heard you could migrate a database to a computer and asked him if that was possible. When he said yes, they asked if it could be housed on his computer – he had an early Mac – and a career was born.

The lesson? You need to have the right technology at the right time.

In an interview after his talk, Hugh tells us about how the acronym P.E.A.C.E. describes their approach to the growth of SXSWi:

Patience over profits. It took SXSWi five to 10 years to incubate and grow to where it is today.

Early buzz is good buzz. SXSWi is involved in a 10 or 11 month planning process that starts in July and they try to get people talking about the next year’s festival not long after the current one is done.

Acknowledge your mistakes. If there are issues (and there usually are), be honest and explain to the community that you understand there were problems and you’ll do what you can to do a better job next time. Whenever you’re innovating, he says, expect to make mistakes.

Customer service leads to customer advocates. WOM endorsement and publicity has always been important to SXSWi. They try to create customer ambassadors by communicating often, listening to criticism and establishing a two-way conversation with the goal of turning ‘haters’ or people who’ve had a bad experience into advocates. And that’s what they’ve done.

Encourage massive creativity. SXSWi is not a technology event, it’s all about creativity.

He mentions they’re starting a festival offshoot called SXSW V2V, August 11 to 14, in Las Vegas focused on startups and entrepreneurs. It’s going to be a smaller and more intimate event than Austin and they’re excited about the possibilities of extending the brand.

Gini, Joe and I discuss Hugh’s points and our take on community building, something Gini spoke about in her Social Capital keynote. Have a listen and let us know what you think.

Have you ever been to SXSW? What do you think about the event? Are you planning to attend in 2014? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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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 produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.

 

Inside PR 3.35: Take Original Photos for Your Owned Content

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We are all together for the second week in a row, this time for Counselors Academy in Austin.

There were bats, the weather was hot and humid, and Mark Wahlberg was staying in our hotel. Despite every effort to stalk him, I didn’t see him, but there was a sighting the last night of the conference, after I’d left. Clearly he was avoiding me.

As it turns out, we were there to actually learn. Because of that, I attended the pre-conference session about creating photos for your content.

As Joe points out during the podcast, most communicators use stock photos to clear a copyright, but it’s shocking how many use the same images as everyone else. When you create your own photos, the copyright belongs to you and they complement the beautiful content you’ve created.

The instructor, Paul M. Bowers, made a great analogy. He said you can write beautiful copy to describe a meal or a dish, but until you see it on a plate, you don’t fully understand how good it might be.

Photos appeal to all of our senses and, in his example, makes you want to eat what you’re seeing. The goal is to elicit feeling from your readers when a beautiful photo is attached to it.

He provided five tips:

  • The six inch rule
  • The rule of thirds
  • Negative space
  • Lighting
  • Foreground and background

During the foreground and background assignment, Martin served as my creative consultant. You can see the results (and other photos) on Spin Sucks.

As Joe says, “The world is full of interesting things. Why use an image everyone else is using from Creative Commons? Go out there and shoot something for yourself.”

Now armed with these tips, you can!

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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 produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.26: Get Weird with Counselors Academy

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It’s no secret Joe Thornley, Martin Waxman, and I are big fans of Counselors Academy.

During this week’s episode, we talked to this year’s Chair, Dana Hughens, about what to expect in Austin on June 9-11.

For those of you who are not familiar, Counselors Academy is a subsection of PRSA created for agency owners and senior members.

This year’s theme is WEIRD, which stands for wired, entrepreneurial, imaginative, and results-driven. It plays off the the “keep Austin weird” tagline of the city and is designed to help attendees increase creativity in their organizations and with their clients.

During the episode we talk about the types of things you can expect to learn, different activities in which you can participate, and a very cool pre-conference that is sure to fill up quickly.

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Send us an email or an audio comment to in[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 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 3.22: Looking at the year ahead

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Well, it’s January 2013 and we thought we’d start the year with some upcoming projects and a list of the conferences we’re planning to attend.

Projects:

Gini’s writing her second book, aptly titled Spin Sucks: The Book. It’s about the general perception that PR is made up of a bunch of spin doctors and what we can do to restore the industry’s reputation and perform our jobs ethically and honestly. In other words: how to ‘Fight Against Destructive Spin’.

Joe and the Thornley Fallis team are working on an ebook entitled, The User’s Guide to Social Media Listening and Engagement Tools, a marketing and communications industry resource. Twenty-two platforms will be reviewed and rated and individual sections will be published as blog posts.

Martin mentions he’s gearing up for the new University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Digital Strategy and Communications Management Certificate program. The first class, a Foundations course, starts on January 23 and is almost full. Future plans include offering the Certificate courses online. Stay tuned…

And speaking of online courses, Gini is one of the presenters in the Content Success Summit presented by Social Media Examiner.  And Joe and Shel Holtz are offering an Integrated Social Media Course through IABC beginning on January 17.

Conferences we’re looking forward to/speaking at:

BlogH.O.T., March 25 to 27, Los Angeles

PRSA Western District Conference, April 18 to 20, Phoenix

Ragan 22nd Annual Corporate Communicators Conference, April 29 to May 1, Chicago

Mesh conference, May 15 and 16, Toronto

PRSA Counselors Academy Conference, June 9 to 11, Austin

CPRS National Conference, June 9 to 11, Ottawa

IABC 2013 World Conference, June 23 to 26, New York

PRSA Digital Impact, June 27 and 28, New York

PRSA International Conference, October 26 to 29, Philadelphia

There are lots more places to learn and keep your digital and social media skills finely tuned.  We’d love to hear about what you’re looking forward to.

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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 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 2.97: Jazzing it up with Counselors Academy

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This week, Gini, Joe and I are all together at PRSA Counselors Academy’s annual conference for agency owners/leaders in New Orleans (and we all had our parts to play…). The theme is ‘Jazz Up Your Agency: Stylings from the Best in the Biz’ and we thought we’d recap our first day and a half.

Joe talks about the opening keynote – a one-two punch featuring Gini and Jay Baer. They interviewed each other and offered a primer in content marketing and how agency owners can build trust and their businesses by integrating certain aspects of their personal and professional lives. We may think otherwise, but we get clients based on people and not the company name.

In addition to an engaging talk, the attendees all received a copy of Gini and Geoff Livingston’s new book, Marketing in the Round.

We continued our focus on content marketing with our second keynote, Marcus Sheridan, a hilarious, in your face presenter, who transformed his pool business into a content marketing powerhouse that used the long tail of search to generate sales results. His takeaway is to think about all the questions your customers are asking and write content that offers helpful answers.

As an event geared to business owners,  Counselors’ other focus is to provide practical sessions that improve the way you run your agency. These range from profitability and processes to understanding and managing people and creating a culture. Joe did a roundtable on how to get your staff thinking about the business of the business and turning them into an army of entrepreneurs, based on Jen Prozek’s book and her 2011 keynote.

Next year, the conference will be in June 2013 in Austin Texas and Dana Hughens is the chair.  If you’re an agency owner or leader, we think you’ll find a lot of value and encourage you to check it out.  In the meantime, you can get a flavor of Counselors Academy from the Sharypic photowall.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 2.94: Matthias Lufkens on Davos and social media

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This week we feature an interview with Matthias Lufkens, former social media director for the World Economic Forum in Davos, who tells us about the organization’s use of social media.  We caught up with him at PRSA’s Digital Impact, where he was one of the keynote presenters.  Over the next few week’s we’ll be sharing more interviews from the conference.

Matthias has several takeaways from his presentation:

1. The number of visitors to your own website is less and less important; organizations now have to be everywhere, on all the social sites.

2. Start by sharing riveting content.

3. Being active in social media means ceding control and letting people comment and share your content.

4. Create communities and then engage and lead them.

He has an additional piece of advice for communicators: look at online communities as your friends and that will change the way you build relationships with them.

Joe cites a KPMG study on how much social engagement activity emanated from Davos this year and how social media really opened the gathering to the world.

Gini calls out Matthias’ comment about having a small team and says with social media, a few people who know what they’re doing can accomplish a lot.  She doesn’t agree with his point about traffic your site being less relevant and believes social channels should drive people back to your site.

Martin mentions Matthias’ point about thinking of customers as friends and having that inform the way we communicate with them by avoiding the hard sell.

Want to meet us in person? Gini, Joe and I are going to be attending the PRSA Counselors Academy conference in New Orleans – Gini’s a keynote presenter, Joe’s doing a roundtable and I’m conference chair. We’re recording a show at the conference and doing more interviews with some of the smartest entrepreneurs in PR.  And everyone who attends gets a copy of Gini’s new book, Marketing in the Round.  Hope to see you there.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 271: Complimenting Your Competition

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Last week we had a really good comment from Yasin Akgun.

He asked:

Hi guys. I was wondering whether you could answer my question in your next show:

I’m managing the Twitter presence for a B2B company and was wondering whether I am being naive in thinking that Tweets praising or being positive about other brands’ products is OK and good BR (business relations) as well as PR. For example “just seen the Incentive range from Rival Company, stunning stuff!”

I hope the question isn’t one of these where I go back and think “wow how naive was I”. I just believe in fostering good relations with other organisations regardless of the stereotypical negative business attitude of “us and them, theyre our rivals”.

So Martin Waxman begins the discussion by asking, “Should you be tweeting positively about your competition?”

The discussion is lively as we don’t all agree.

Joe Thornley has a point about the early days of social media and how we all shared freely…until we realized we could make money from teaching companies how to incorporate the social tools into their larger marketing programs.

He goes on to say the business world doesn’t see competitors as friendly and, when you give away too much information, they consider you naive. He said he’d rather be silent than compliment or diss them.

Gini Dietrich disagrees and says, while social has allowed her to gain credibility and thought leadership in order for Arment Dietrich to compete with the global PR firms, it was Counselor’s Academy that made her realize there are benefits in working with your competition, instead of against it.

And Martin balances the two by discussing the difference between friendly and cutthroat competition.

He also suggests that complimenting your competition online is really a business decision your company leaders need to make and not something you can do without discussing with them first.

We also touch on the Ragu “crisis,” which was created by some spam tweets and a few upset daddy bloggers. And we discuss the features and benefits of the new Delicious.

We also learned some very sad news. Barbara Nixon, a friend to all three of us, and long-time Inside PR listener, learned last week that her 22 year old son, Kyle, passed away unexpectedly. Our hearts go out to her and her family right now.

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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.

And, RSVP for the TweetUp on Monday, Oct. 18. The first drink is on us!

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Do you have an idea for a topic you would like us to discuss? Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pron 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.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.