Inside PR 395: The chat app is the medium

Martin here.

Happy New Year and welcome back! We hope you had a fun and restful holiday.

In 2015, we’re planning to reinvigorate IPR by making it more topical and dealing with an issue or two a week. Stay tuned…

We start by congratulating Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson on the 10th anniversary of For Immediate Release! Here’s (hears?) to many, many more! We’re thrilled to be part of the FIR podcast network.

We also have some sad news. Michael Herman, a senior PR agency leader we know from Counselors Academy, passed away suddenly on Saturday at his home in North Carolina. Michael was the consummate PR pro, received PRSA’s highest honour, the Gold Anvil award, taught PR and never stopped learning, asking questions and helping people. Gini shares a personal memory of Mike on Pinterest and how they used to trade recipes. Here’s a moving tribute from Peppercom founder, Steve Cody. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Mike’s family and friends. 

Now onto this week’s main topic. Over the break I noticed a number of what’s ahead roundups – including TechCrunchAdAge and GigaOm – highlighted the renewed interest in chat apps as a key way for people to communicate and connect.

Which leads to the question: how can professional communicators, who participate in public conversations, navigate in the world of chat?

Gini: A big issue is anything you post online can and will be used against you. In other words, private isn’t necessarily private, anymore.

Joe harkens back to the early days social media where you had people talking to people versus brands talking to people. Now that marketers are monitoring public interactions, he believes ordinary people, who may not trust commercial accounts, are turning to messenger apps as a way to communicate.

Private or public messages? Which will be your default in 2015? We’d love to hear what you think.

One last thing. Many of you listen to us on iTunes and it would be great if you could leave us a comment or rating. Thanks!

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 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.

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 2.74: On the road with On the Record Online

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We’re on the trade show of PRSA International Conference in Orlando talking with Eric Schwartzman – on a special joint episode with On the Record Online and Inside PR.

Like us, Eric also records his podcasts over Skype but prefers face to face interviews when he can. And he’s a veteran, who started in April 2005, just after For Immediate Release and around the same time Terry Fallis and David Jones began Inside PR.

Gini, Joe, Eric and I discuss the state of podcasting and Eric talks about his approach:

– He’s feature-oriented, as opposed to news focused, so his shows have a longer shelf-life.
– He continues podcasting because he likes to learn and finds when there’s a mic and recorder, he gets the best answers from experts.
– He sees which shows people love based on the stats, but doesn’t chase the audience; he does what interests him.
– He spends a good deal of time – about eight hours per episode – preparing, conducting interviews, editing and producing, writing and publishing show notes and publishing. It is a time commitment, but he gets nearly 1,000,000 downloads a year.

The discussion ends when a band starts up in the booth behind us.

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_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 2.43: Then meets now at PodCamp Toronto – the reunion show part 1

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Get ready for some familiar voices as Terry Fallis and Dave Jones join Joe, Gini and me for Inside PR, recorded before a ‘live studio audience’ at PodCamp Toronto.  #PCTO is Canada’s largest social media event, an unconference now in its fifth year.  Terry, Dave and I recorded episodes there in 2009 and 2010 and thought we’d get the (almost) whole crew together again. It’s a fun way to connect and reconnect with our listeners IRL.  And it’s always great to see and thank our talented and hard-working producer, Yasmine Kashefi!

This week, Terry plays ‘host’ after nearly a year’s hiatus and reminisces about our five-minute-before-the-show-planning.  He mentions PodCamp Toronto’s 5th anniversary and Joe notes PCTO has 1400 people registered.  Eden Spodek, one of the event organizers talks about how in 2007, its first year, there were 300 early adopters and people thought it was about podcasting, but it’s always been focused on social media.

Joe believes the quality of speakers and discussion further demonstrates that Toronto is not only a Canadian business centre, but also a digital centre second to none with many great events and a smart and engaged community.

Martin comments that attendance at PCTO mirrors the adoption of social media and asks Dave about ROI and potato chips.

Dave observes SM should be realistic about what you can accomplish: in year one it’s very much about recruitment and engagement followed by entertainment, activation and reward; building community over time.

Joe talks about Kobo and wonders if clients are developing a longer-term sense of value for social media or if the pressure is on immediate sales.

Jodi Echakowitz makes a comment about about integration and uses an example of how her client, Sympatico, helped increase Kid’s Help Phone’s database by supporting a community.

Martin asks Gini how she transformed her firm from pure PR into a social media agency.  Gini says she’s more of an integrated agency and talks about the need to educate clients on the fact that social media programs are a marathon. You have to built trust, credibility and relationships and that doesn’t happen overnight.

And that brings us to the end of part one of our #PCTO shows. We’d love to hear what you think and hope you tune in next week for part two.

Do you have comments? Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprc[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 me on Twitter.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Yasmine Kashefi.

Inside PR 2.38 – Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Comments? Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], visit the Inside PR Blubrry site, leave us a comment on the Inside PR show blog or message us @inside_pr on Twitter.

This week on Inside PR, Martin, Gini and Joe talk about the three questions that need to be asked before accepting a controversial client.

0:27 Martin opens the show.

0:49 Joe is recording from Calgary as he is accompanying C.C. Chapman on the Content Rules Third Tuesday digital media meetups across Canada.

2:04 Gini has been following along and recommends that everyone check out Joe’s blog for interviews with C.C.

3:27 Joe starts off this week’s topic: how to approach controversial clients.

5:01 Martin believes that everyone deserves to have their voice heard, however, he feels he has the right to decide which clients he wants his agency to represent.

6:43 Gini draws from experience earlier in her career on working with tobacco clients. However, she notes that as an agency owner, she has a say as to who she wants to work with and is in a unique position.

8:15 Gini adds that it’s also incredibly important to look at the entire organization when taking on a new client because you want to benefit the company as whole.

9:25 Martin feels culture and leadership are also important things to consider when taking on a controversial client.

12:01 Listening to your organization as a whole is important. Early on when Joe had first started his agency with Terry Fallis, they chose not to work with certain businesses for personal reasons. As the agency grew, there were other opinions to consider.

12:30 Joe recently wrote a blog post on three questions you need to ask before accepting a controversial client. He talks about them.

15:06 Martin closes the show.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Yasmine Kashefi.

Inside PR 2.35 – Wednesday, January 5, 2011

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Comments? Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], visit the Inside PR Blubrry site, leave us a comment on the Inside PR show blog or message us @inside_pr on Twitter.

This week on Inside PR, Martin, Gini and Joe kick off the new year by talking about what they think will be the next big thing in 2011.

0:24 Martin opens the show.

1:36 Following up to the previous episode on Inside PR, Martin mentions that this week, they will be talking about three things that may be on the next big thing in social media or PR.

3:40 Using the example of Facebook raising 500 million dollars from Goldman Sachs, Joe wonders if this trend will lead to companies rushing to sell rather than thoroughly develop their product.

6:16 Gini feels like it’s 2000 again with all the money being thrown around these days.

6:35 Joe hopes that government will go past the experimentation stage with social media and really embrace it.

8:05 Martin wonders if the WikiLeaks controversy will affect how governments approach open data.

8:55 Joe points out that WikiLeaks wasn’t the result of a social media problem, but rather a leaky employee problem.

11:05 Gini talks about the FCC’s decision on net neutrality and how there are two versions of the internet now.

14:00 On the CBC Spark podcast, Barbara Van Shewick was interviewed about internet architecture and innovation. Joe recommends listening to it as the interview explores interesting and complex issues.

17:15 Martin closes the show.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Yasmine Kashefi.

Inside PR 2.34 – Wednesday, December 22, 2010

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Comments? Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], visit the Inside PR Blubrry site, leave us a comment on the Inside PR show blog or message us @inside_pr on Twitter.

This week on Inside PR, Martin, Gini and Joe finish discussing the trends of 2010 in their final episode of the year.

0:30 Martin opens the show.

1:36 Joe continues on the discussion by talking about his next trend, the social networking darlings: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

3:32 Gini references a chart by Business Insider that demonstrates how Twitter is being used.

4:00 Joe cites two Canadian examples of how Twitter is being used as a newswire of sorts.

6:16 Gini brings up the next trend: The PR industry talks about measurement a lot but we don’t really seem to know how to do it.

7:31 Joe mentions a post by Jeremiah Owyang on the subject that he recommends checking out.

8:35 Martin doesn’t think algorithims can explain it all. We need a human perspective.

9:00 Martin talks about a new trend: Too many PR practitioners are focusing too much on broadcasting and not enough on building relationships.

10:06 Joe talks about his final trend for 2010: The drop-off of unique, interesting voices in the blogosphere. He mentions a blog post by Brian Solis on the state of the blogosphere in 2010 on the importance of blogging.

13:26 Gini fears another dot-com burst with all the Google-Groupon type deals taking place.

16:05 Martin announces the last trend of the episode: The reemergence of Wikis.

19:40 Martin recaps the trends discussed in this week’s episode.

20:35 Martin closes the show.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Yasmine Kashefi.

Inside PR 2.28 – Wednesday, November 10, 2010

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Comments? Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], visit the Inside PR Blubrry site, leave us a comment on the Inside PR show blog or message us @inside_pr on Twitter.

This week on Inside PR, Martin, Gini and Joe think back about what, if anything, they would change about their careers.

0:27 Martin opens the show.

1:44 Martin shares a comment from two listeners. The first comes from Victoria, a PR student. Victoria mentioned Inside PR as a podcast she really enjoys listening too.

2:09 Eden Spodek, who was mentioned in last week’s episode, shares the best way to approach bloggers to get them to talk about your client or their product.

3:34 Martin talks about a pharma conference he recently attended and wonders if social media and pharma policies go together?

7:07 This week’s topic comes from a comment posted on Gini’s blog. Rachael Seda asks “What is one thing you wish you could’ve done differently (or just done period) in the beginning of your careers?”

7:31 Joe doesn’t think he has any regrets.

8:43 Martin tells us what he would have done differently.

10:49 Gini wishes she realized how resourceful the people she worked with were.

12:48 Joe thinks young people need to realize the mobility they have in their careers when they were young.

15:52 Gini believes young people have a unique perspective on communications, one that they should be confident in sharing.

18:14 Martin closes the show.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Yasmine Kashefi.

Inside PR 2.27 – Wednesday, November 3, 2010

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Comments? Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], visit the Inside PR Blubrry site, leave us a comment on the Inside PR show blog or message us @inside_pr on Twitter.

This week on Inside PR, MartinGini and Joe talk rogue accounts and what, if anything, a company should do about them.

0:29 Martin opens the show.

1:53 Martin shares a comment from Daniel Davidzon. Daniel was wondering if Martin, Gini and Joe can weigh in on the proliferation of rogue accounts on Twitter.

2:40 Joe believes it should be a company’s responsibility to reserve their name on any social site and identify themselves as the owner.

5:15 A reporter had recently asked Gini if a company should own negative or derogatory names on social networking websites so others can’t use it  for bad purposes.

6:06 Joe thinks it’s a good idea for companies to do that.

6:52 Martin wonders if a company is doing a good job with their customers, does it matter when someone creates a “companysucks” site?

7:13 Joe and Gini believe it does.

12:28 Martin shares a comment from Eden Spodek and a question of his own that stemmed from it – how overt should PR people be when encouraging others to tweet or share about a client?

14:50 Joe thinks transparency is key.

18:57 Gini shares some thoughts about Follow Friday (#FF) on Twitter.

23:27 Martin closes the show.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Yasmine Kashefi.