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I know Nancy captured the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni, a terrific read.
But Hosseni offers an even more gut-wrenching narrative in his third novel, "And the Mountains Echoed." Definitely causes one to reflect on relationships with siblings, parents and friends.
2 weeks, 2 days ago on Read a Book Day is September 6
Great interview Frank.
This line from Steve- "The better information you provide, the more people know you as an expert, and shorter the sales cycles" captures the essence of content marketing (some would say it captures the essence of B2B marketing).
2 weeks, 3 days ago on Off Script #9: Steveology on PR, Content and Net Neutrality
Thanks for highlighting my Mom's interview and the positive words. I was pleasantly surprised by her definition of public relations (though it meant no amusing moment at the start of the video). Fortunately, she hasn't heard of Google AdSense.
4 months, 1 week ago on A Classy and Creative Mother’s Day PR Pitch
Great topic Frank.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on The Brand Hashtag Hijack isn’t the Problem
I'm glad you tackled this topic. You offer good counsel on a topic I've been thinking about as well.
It's hard to go wrong if one sticks to the rule of relevancy (henceforth known as "ROR").
Certainly, the site itself housing the guest post offers one indicator of relevancy.
I'm far from an expert when it comes to the inner workings of Google,
it seems logical that the algorithm would also take a cue from behavior.
In other words, does anyone click on the darn link. And if they do
click, are they immediately jumping off the page. Both seem like good
indicators when it comes to relevancy.
Back to your
example on the insurance company, it would have been interesting to hear
from the webmaster if his/her site received any referred traffic from
the link. My guess would be no which in turn prompted Google's
interpretation even though your blog and content obviously meet the
threshold of quality.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Google Beats a War Path for Guest Posts; PR Needs to Listen
Agreement is not "good TV," but I agree with all your points. Sometimes,
you can get to the right place for the wrong reason(s). I can't figure
out why someone didn't point out to Marcus -- before he hit the send
button -- that someone will leak the memo and he needs to craft his
words with this in mind.
7 months, 1 week ago on Internal Communications Lessons from a PayPal Fiasco
Great list Frank. I hadn't heard of Benson, Sugarrae, and ViperChill. Personally, I'm a fan of Moz.
Your line, " ... it requires consistent study and experimentation" cuts the crux of matter. I think PR professionals can get intimidated by the technical side of SEO. Instead, there's logic in looking at organic search as a natural extension of PR.
Because the foundation of both comes down to content that serves the target audience(s).
7 months, 2 weeks ago on Social Media Gurus and the Foolhardy Trend to Bash SEO
@Frank_StrongThe topic does touch a nerve. No blogger including me wants to toil in obscurity. For the longest time, I couldn't understand why other PR blogs with dull (or worse) content attracted tons of readers and I struggled to reach beyond my Mom's mahjong circle. The irony isn't lost on me that it took a good three years for me to figure out the "product" is only part of the equation.The marketing, defined broadly to include social, is just as important. I hate to say this but I'm convinced great marketing will bring readers to a mediocre blog, but great posts go no where with mediocre marketing.
One last point--
You've earned the right with your readers to periodically stray into topics other than PR. If you feel strongly about something, the hell with the clicks. Share your point of view. Even if the traffic is modest, such posts go a long way toward shaping your voice.
8 months, 2 weeks ago on Reflections: 5 Lessons Readers Taught Me in 2013
I enjoy and learn from your blog. There are
literally hundreds -- perhaps even thousands -- of blogs that address
the communications industry. In short, there's vicious competition vying for
I don't think the key to success lies in
pleasing the reader. I think the key to rising above the "noise" comes
down to offering fresh takes with writing that's easy on the eyes.
That's what you do.
Fortunately, sustaining one's "fresh
voice" over time will result in a growing readership. While this goes
back to your point on relationship building, it's also a byproduct of
organic search. Bastardizing a Woody Allen line, the mere act of
publishing will add traffic, again over time.
but not least for bloggers in the trenches like the two of us, social
shares can generate huge swings in attention. It's not just the volume,
but the "who" as well.
After establishing a quid pro quo
with Steve Farnsworth, I've seen a 20% jump in traffic. Obviously, this
has nothing to do with writing better posts that resonate with readers.
It's about exposure and that crazy concept called marketing.
Wishing you more readers in 2014.
I hear you Howard, but to take a given campaign and ask the PR team to brainstorm visual assets for the campaign isn't such a big project. It's more a case of PR pros being conditioned to think in terms of words when it comes to narrative.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on Six Digital Media and PR Lessons From 2013
Enjoyed the post Martin. While I agree with your point on transmedia storytelling, the concept can sometimes overwhelm the PR team. Simply embracing visual #storytelling and thinking in terms of visual assets can make for a good first step.
@LynnMcConaugheyThe question of morality in regards to an agency taking on a client is a tough one. As you put it, these things are rarely "black and white." One could argue that even Russia falls into the gray area.
We ran into a situation earlier in the year when an online company that facilitates infidelity approached our Asia Pacific team for PR support. Our AP head called me to say the management team had decided to take a pass. A check around the region showed no one was comfortable working for this company.
That's not a bad litmus test. If people who are intrinsically curious and always up for a challenge say "this doesn't feel right," it's probably not.
11 months, 4 weeks ago on Ketchum and the Putin OpEd Create Disclosure in Media Relations Debate
Gini, I agree with your broad point. But I also think it's
reasonable to hold journalists accountable for framing their stories
Rewinding the tape to the Burson whisper campaign on behalf of Facebook, yes the firm should have been transparent and shared the name
of the client. However, until Christopher
Soghoian posted his exchange with the BM rep on the Internet and Daily
Beast blogger at the time Dan Lyons connected the dots, many journalists used the same information from BM to write their stories ... without
the context of knowing who was footing the bill for BM’s work. I
suppose this dimension didn't get any play because laziness doesn't make
for good copy.
As a more recent example, the New
York Times ran a story a couple weeks ago called the "Boy Genius of Ulan
Bator." There's no question in my mind that MIT's communications team
placed this story as part of its thought leadership campaign around
MOOCs. For 99.9% of readers, they simply see a feel-good story (with the
MOOC "medicine" sugar coated). Would their impressions from the story
change if they knew MIT placed the story. Probably. At the very least,
the reader becomes guarded in absorbing the information.
@Frank_Strong One message I took away from the treatise is the inordinate emphasis Google puts on fresh content. I have noticed this but didn't put any thought into it until now. I thought my blog moving up from searches like [storytelling techniques] was a byproduct of gaining "authority" over time. In retrospect, it seems to be a benefit from new stuff.
1 year ago on Google to Clamp Down on Press Release Anchor Text
Gini, Glad you wrote this post. Tom Foremski like many good journalists likes to provoke, but his track record as a prognosticator of the PR industry is a bit spotty. When the economic model of publishing started to crater Tom predicted doom for PR agencies with fewer people/publications to pitch. Fast forward to today and the opposite has happened.
I completely agree with your point- Google is doing us a favor. "It’s making us better" (though I'll miss those "cheap" links).
1 year, 1 month ago on Don’t Die PR Agencies! What the Recent Google Changes Really Mean
@Frank_Strong Now, I get it. Thanks.
1 year, 1 month ago on Reading: Indie PR CEOs Frown on Omnicom-Publicis Merger
I suppose it's natural that independents would take the position that girth does not equal good.
Many of the media stories shared Gini's view that the scale would help the merged entity when it comes to the purchase of media from the Facebooks and Googles of the world. I must be dense because I don't get this point.
@martinwaxman Sorry about that. I suppose getting the first consonant right only takes me so far.
1 year, 1 month ago on Community Management is the New PR
@martinwaxman Mark, it's interesting that you used the word "humor." For the longest time, we tried to push clients toward the H word with mixed results. Since changing to "levity," our success rate has improved. The way one client explained to me, levity = amusement while humor = laughter which in turn makes the levity bar much lower (and less scary).
When I first read the holy grail is "community management" I'm thinking that's a leap worthy of Evel Knievel. Yet, you lay out a pragmatic road map for getting there.
I think there's a "killer app" in not only swearing off the corporate speak, but bringing levity to the table. Because this type of communications scares so many companies, there's even more of an opportunity to stand out.
Enjoyed the post Lindsay.
The effort that Spin Sucks puts into guest posting shows in the quality of writing/thinking that comes your way.
1 year, 2 months ago on The Top 10 Guest Blog Posts of 2013 (January – June)
Enjoyed your post Cameron.
Great to see HootSuite have the storytelling religion.
Your point about how we talk about our children is a keeper (I might "borrow" this one).
And you're right Red Bull is a poster child for the power of owned media. Actually, wrote a post on Red Bull a couple years ago www.ishmaelscorner.com/2011/06/16/revisiting-the-debate-on-paid-media-versus-owned-media/
1 year, 3 months ago on Social Media and Storytelling Part 1: Why Storytelling?
Appreciate the pragmatic advice.
And somewhat encouraged to see the average time on my own blog is similar to Spin Sucks (I thought readers were just "fast" with me).
1 year, 3 months ago on Three Data Points to Measure Your Blog Efforts
@Howie Goldfarb That's a fair point though I think it's fair to say people gravitate towards people they like ... which brings us back to the chemistry variable.
1 year, 4 months ago on Guide to Hiring a Digital Agency
I agree that chemistry should be part of the decision-making process. But figuring out chemistry through a few interactions can be a challenge. Everyone tends to be on their best behavior during a review process.
It still surprises me how few companies make onsite visits to their short listed agencies. Just through "sheer osmosis," you gain so many cues that play to the chemistry question.
Of course, sometimes this isn't practical, particularly when you're based in a different city that the agency. Still, I bet not even 10% of the companies kicking our tires build in an onsite component.
I think Laura hit the nail on the face with the "J" word.
It's easy to fall into the "jealous" trap. More than a cultural thing, seems like a human thing.
1 year, 4 months ago on The Success Trap and Regrets of the Dying
You had me at "start drinking at 10 am."
Seriously, I enjoyed your post and appreciate the reminder to "love thy client."
1 year, 4 months ago on Mad Men: Ad Agency of the Future
Thinking on your last point, it is rather odd that properties like Mashable, TechCrunch, etc. haven't reported on Triberr.
But I'm not sure there's anything nefarious going on.
Packaging the Triberr story for mass consumption is not for the squeamish. As they say in the movies, "it's complicated." I like and use the platform, but am still figuring out the functionality myself.
Also, while I can appreciate getting the product right is all consuming for any new venture, the company might benefit from PR help (internal or external). We did a study a couple years ago that showed one if the first moves by any journalist considering a story is to search on [name of company + press room]. Doing this for Triberr doesn't lead to the company's press room. Perhaps the company doesn't have a press room.
It's possible that Triberr has made a conscious decision to depend grass-roots communications. After-all, the people using it are writers ... right? It just could be that underpinning such an approach with basic building blocks like a press room would amplify the grass-roots effort.
1 year, 6 months ago on Triberr: Blog Building for the Magic Middle
@yvettepistorio That's true although the short cut of asking the person to answer via email does save time. Then, the writing is akin to shaping clay. On the other hand, this approach doesn't allow you to probe a question on-the-fly which can lead to content gold.
1 year, 6 months ago on Six Benefits of Interview-style Blog Posts
This is a dynamite post. I'm not sure why more bloggers (even of the corporate variety) don't use this technique.
You're right that the blog as a platform opens doors that otherwise would be shut.
A perfect example is I reached out to Jonathon Green, a lexicographer. With his dictionary just hitting bookstores, I thought he would make an interesting interview on language. He was kind enough to agree to the interview but if I had asked him for the same access for "the company's website," I'm sure the answer would have been no,.
@ginidietrich I heard a little "Jack Black" in your first line. Seriously (yes I'm capable), I agree with your point ... which is where his communications team could have helped.
1 year, 6 months ago on The Risk of Earned Media without a Communications Professional
After watching the NYT/Tesla debacle, I was reminded that the very traits that cause CEOs like Musk be successful are the same ones that cause them to be hoisted on their own petard.
They have incredible strength of conviction, particularly when it comes to taking on "The Man."
The New York Times represented "The Man."
So when a crisis arrives at their door step, they automatically default to "I know best," relegating the communication professionals to a secondary role.
@Sean McGinnis @ginidietrich Thanks Sean. I hadn't considered that point.
1 year, 6 months ago on Do News Releases Have SEO Value When Distributed Via a Wire?
@ginidietrich And I think the same dynamic takes place with news releases. Otherwise, why would books like the Journal and NYT stockpile news releases. Now, some of them will whitewash the links before storing the content which makes the discussion moot.
Here's a subset to the question--
Take a heavyweight media product like Reuters. Does the Google search algorithm have a way to distinguish between syndicated content and real journalism? Both hang off of www.Reuters.com.
This ends up being a big deal because Reuters isn't the only major media property to stockpile news releases.
My own read -- with the caveat that I do not have SEO guru status -- is these links end up being incredibly valuable because of the "juice" from the property.
And you're a copywriter too.
Tell me you're lousy at badminton.
1 year, 6 months ago on Yahoo! Letter: Was Their Communications Team Consulted?
@ginidietrich I was afraid you might ask that question. We did secure 40+ interviews. One month later, we resigned the account, a happy ending from my perspective.
1 year, 7 months ago on I Hate PR People: The Rules of Pitching Bloggers and Media
Oh, and happy birthday Lindsay!
Love the "Rules of Pitching."
One more variable to throw into the mix is called the client.
I think David Ogilvy had a line to the effect that "clients get the advertising they deserve," meaning if they micro manage process they get mediocre ads and if they let the pros do their job they get great stuff.
You could apply the same concept to PR.
Don't get me wrong. Nothing excuses the damning anecdotes you shared in your post.
But an ignorant client can definitely cause the wrong gravitational pull. We just went through a situation at CES in which the client only cared about one thing, 40 interviews. That's what he promised the Board and that's what the Agency needed to deliver. Crazy. Not one word about generating coverage and cultivating relationships with the right influencers.
@ginidietrich @LouHoffman Just follow the yellow brick road (sorry, couldn't resist)
1 year, 7 months ago on Creativity in PR: Three Ways to Feed the Inner Beast
The one quality I would add to your list is courage.
By definition, creativity means thinking of something outside the norm which can be scary, even for senior folks. It takes a certain amount of bravery to put yourself "out there." I also think agencies should be considering how they build an environment that makes it as easy as possible to people to be brave.
P.S. You ever notice not only are there sitcoms about advertising agencies, but they always work in cool buildings.
P.S.S. I'm now ready to watch the Wizard of Oz
That does happen.
As journalists and journalism increasingly get measured by views, there's added pressure to "provoke" more attention.
I always chuckle when BusinessInsider runs its periodic inflamatory story on the PR industry.They know they can count on a spike of clicks because communicators communicate.
1 year, 8 months ago on Yum Brands Bad Publicity in China, Or Is It?
Totally agree that silos must come down. I affectionately call this issue fiefdomville (no relation to Farmville).
The question of what we call ourselves is a tough one. I applaud you and Bliss for taking the plunge.
Given how many RFPs get categorized as "PR," even if it's a blended assignment or the prospect is open to a blended approach, we're hanging onto the PR moniker for the time being.
1 year, 8 months ago on The Future of PR: Beyond Media Relations
Now that gets my New Year off to a good start. Thanks.
1 year, 8 months ago on Nine Quasi-Crazy Predictions for the Communications Industry in 2013
@foremski I hear you Tom. Journalists set a high bar when it comes to "funny." :)
@Tinu You're right. Posted on this topic today. Even high-brow publications like The Atlantic seem willing to camouflage sponsored posts for incremental revenue.
Thanks and a Happy New Year to you as well.
I suspect this means next year's post on communications predictions for 2014 ain't going to happen.
It comes down to the people.
That's at the core of the experience.
The founder of the Four Seasons was on Charlie Rose a few weeks ago. It was a fabulous interview as he delved into how the Four Seasons cultivates employees who care.
1 year, 10 months ago on A Fantastic Starbucks Customer Experience Story
@ginidietrich @LouHoffman It's been our experience that a news release crafted the right way (journalistic style, keywords, etc.) still generates link lift. An announcement on our new U.S. GM prompted a post on the topic, "The News Release: Friend, Foe, or Link Builder" at
www.ishmaelscorner.com/2012/05/15/the-news-release-friend-foe-or-link-builder. The upshot is our "tame" announcement got syndicated on Reuters which produced valuable backlinks since search algorithms don't distinguish behind syndicated content and original reporting on media properties. It would be valuable to see the stats from the various news release distribution services on syndication in blue chip media properties (like Reuters) as well as correlate what drives the syndication. All the news release services like to tout syndication, but in overall terms. A zillion no-name properties have little impact on SEO.
1 year, 11 months ago on Using Twitter to Disseminate News Without a News Release