When bloggers attack, we, as trained communication experts, must be ready to respond, and must recognize bloggers as a new wave of reporters. Many are key influencers who can rally a community against you. Working with bloggers and responding quickly builds rapport and relationship. And gets you the bigger story—maybe even a more balanced story.
Even public relations web sites must be user-centered in design and content. Narcissistic, arrogant PR sites are counter-productive in the digital age of transparency, fault-admission, and altruism via shared information. Find out why Martha Talks is a web site failure from a usability and ethics point of view.
It used to be that advertising was king. If you had a product or service you needed to sell, you went to an advertising agency and developed an advertising campaign to get your item to the public. Then marketing joined the fray, and advertising became an extension of other things you were doing to market yourself, like trade shows or mailings. Eventually branding assumed center stage. Now everything you did to promote, market or sell your product or service, your company or even yourself emanated from the branding mandate. As it should be! The critical importance of strategically focused, consistently delivered messaging cannot be overstated.
A smart company understands that a favorable reputation improves its bottom line. From a PR perspective, a strong reputation acts as good will, giving you the benefit of the doubt with both journalists and the general public. To find out how strong your company's reputation is, it is helpful to compare it with the reputations of other companies, also known as benchmarking.
Employee engagement is certainly one of the hottest of the hot communication topics right now. It can be easily misunderstood as a new communication fad, given the attention it’s being given these days. But the truth is that engagement—winning the hearts and minds of employees—has always been the ultimate goal of effective employee communicators.
Nike v. Kasky, now in the U.S. Supreme Court, could determine whether or not public statements made by corporate executives, when acting as company representatives, are subject to the same rules that regulate the advertising business. As Allan Jenkins indicated in his article last month in Communication World, the outcome of the case will have a profound affect on business communications. And it could be positive.
CEO Blogs should be vastly superior to any other run of the mill blogs on the web. But in many cases, they're worse. Discover 10 common errors made by CEO bloggers and how to correct them. Plus, a link to a wiki-compiled list of current CEO blogs.
Read these 10 useful tips from Walter K. Lindenmann, Ph.D., an independent consultant specializing in public relations research, measurement and evaluation services.
This research examines credibility in the discourse offered on the corporate Web sites of 60 British, Danish, and Norwegian public relations (PR) agencies. This study’s purpose was to see whether the North European PR industry moves in the direction of convergence or divergence in their corporate self-presentations. The authors have done this by unfolding the rhetoric and language of PR agencies Web sites. In this process, this study tried to determine whether the rhetorical strategies they use to achieve credibility show signs across the industry of becoming more focused on the responsibilities, enthusiasm, and caring nature of corporations and less directed at communicating expertise. Thus, the study expected to show whether PR agencies seek to build credibility by way of much the same rhetorical strategies and language, or whether they pursue different strategies in trying to build unique images. In analyzing the data, it is found that PR agencies across the three countries assign similar relative importance to expertise, trustworthiness, and empathy, and interestingly also that they strongly prioritize explaining their expertise at the expense of expressing their empathy for clients. To begin to understand this reluctance toward incorporating empathy in discourse, the authors investigate the linguistic representation of this one central dimension to explain its complexity and to point to the potential of an untapped resource for strategically managing self-presentation in business communication.
Many companies continue to discount the power and potential of social media. Others are just beginning to flirt with the idea of using this new form of communication, while still others are in the process of developing social media policies to establish what employees can and cannot do. Then, there are those companies that have started allowing their communication specialists to engage in social media on behalf of the organization. But how many are teaching non-communication staff how to use this new media?
Most experienced editors have a love-hate relationship with press releases. They rely on releases (and the people who write them) for story ideas, facts and valuable sources. A good news release can be a lifesaver when it arrives just in the nick of time with an interesting story idea, an arresting headline, compelling lead, powerful quotes, maybe even a print-ready photo.
Social responsibility, in one form or another, has been on the minds of businesses for over 100 years. By running a business that the community, local and global, can be proud of, corporations are able to create a climate of compassion that could likely translate into consumer support. Some have argued that adopting CSR standards allows companies to build brand value by imbuing their brands with ideas, emotions and beliefs that appeal to consumers. The cost of building brand value with social responsibility initiatives is usually cheaper than trying to achieve the same effect through advertising and public relations.
There are ongoing debates about the reporting and working relationship between HR and internal communication, but one thing is certain: When it comes to systemic change, the kind required for effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) implementation, the two must work together in an inextricably-linked collaboration.
Few corporations would discount the value of positive press. You would never know this given the results of our recent usability study. In our study, 20 journalists attempted to use the press areas of 10 corporate websites to gather information for story assignments. Among other tasks, the journalists tried to find basic information about each company's financials, management, and commitment to social responsibility, along with a PR telephone number. On average, journalists found the answer to each of these simple questions only 60% of the time. If these sites were being graded in a U.S. school, the average grade would be no higher than a D.
Most of those who write about corporate social responsibility focus first and foremost on external stakeholders—responsibility-focused investors, workers in the supply chain, local communities, the press, governments or NGOs—and understandably so. These groups can undermine corporate reputations by publicizing perceived instances of social irresponsibility. Reputations may be intangible, but damage to them can cost real dollars.
Corporate resources available to journalists today are increasingly Web-based. Though most corporations still have human press contacts, journalists are relying more and more on corporations' 'online press rooms' for background information, quotes, photos, and other information. That same information is just as easily accessible to investors and consumers as well. With journalists' increasing reliance on online press rooms, however, come usability issues. Unless sites are kept current, press releases and other information easy to find, and contact names and numbers easily accessible, journalists are apt to simply give up seeking information on a corporation's site and look elsewhere. The following discussion will note the most common problems with online press rooms and will review relevant literature and the problems and suggestions it presents. It will also attempt to offer some prioritized guidelines of its own-involving, among other things, the use of more advanced technology.
Shoestring-budget heroes, rejoice. The Internet offers many inexpensive opportunities to deliver better public relations results in our broadband-driven universe. No doubt, emerging concepts such as corporate blogging, podcasting or immersive web content (like "advergames") can produce their fair share of angst. But let's not forget to explore simple web-based tools available to large and small organizations alike.
When considering the issue of employee engagement, communicators need to know what they are dealing with. Engagement is something that plays out on an organization-wide level, so communicators should understand what an organization is.
One of the primary concerns of public relations practitioners is reputation management. Traditionally, PR professionals measured the perception of their brand, products or services through media coverage; whatever was written or broadcast about a company was viewed as indicative of public opinion. The Internet has vastly changed the dynamics of how communicators assess and evaluate public opinion.
PR people have been in the business of giving away content to reporters for so long that the matter of who owns the content—or who may use it under what circumstances— hasn't much concerned us. But our thinking about content and copyright is beginning to change as we put a rapidly expanding range of content on the web.
Managers from Western cultures tend to assume that efficiency and profitability will drive the adoption of new technologies by multinational conglomerates. The present study shows that for non-Western organizations, the sector that the organization operates in (public or private) and its decision-making style are also relevant factors. The research employs the diffusion of innovation model to explore Internet adoption by public relations professionals in Saudi Arabian organizations. A survey of 354 public relations professionals revealed that 93% of the professionals in the private sector had adopted the Internet, compared to 83% of their counterparts in the public sector. Professionals in the private sector ascribed relative advantage as critical for adoption. Regression analyses revealed that authoritarian decision making and organizational encouragement were predictors of adoption.
Measuring the effectiveness of PR is critical to moving PR from a tactical function to a strategic component of your company's plan for success. But the old ways of counting clips just aren't good enough to convince today's management executives that their investment in PR and overall communications is paying off. Here are 5 Tips about how to measure PR in ways that will catch the CEO's attention and increase the stature of PR in any organization:
For the last couple of months, I’ve been developing an online list of major trends that are transforming public relations, with links to sites, articles and quotes that in one way or another prove the point and that I know I’ll someday want to get back to. It’s something like my own personal tagging system, maintained in a wiki.
Recent research tells us that 97 percent of all public relations departments are involved in media relations, and 88 percent evaluate their campaigns using media analysis. On one hand, industry leaders urge us to measure the results of our work via business outcomes; yet on the other, communicators are still asked to supply output results as 'proof of performance.' Is there some link between the two that can cover both? Here are some relatively easy ways to make your media results speak with numbers that management will respect and understand.
For all the talk about corporate blogs, there still seems to be considerable debate about their value. As of early June, though, those questions should have been put to rest. General Motors illustrated just one of the benefits of blogs—bypassing the media and taking your message directly to the public—in its response to a column that appeared in The New York Times.