Leinster – Heineken Cup Champions 2009

Following my previous post on the subject, it’s good to see that my absence is proving a catalyst for unparalleled achievement in Irish sport.

Whatever about an Irish grand slam, Saturday’s result with Leinster winning the European Cup proves beyond doubt that I am a talisman of doom for any team unlucky enough to be the subject of my affection…. I’ll have to stay away a bit longer :-)


It’s also very bad news for the Mariners….

Interesting PR related online things…

Welcome to Friday, we even have sunny weather in this lovely part of the world.

A few things bounced across my browser, RSS reader and e-mail over the past couple of days that I thought I’d share.

Ford – Online Fiesta

Ragan has a really interesting report on Ford’s new US social media project to promote the new Fiesta car.  They undertook an online recruitment program to find 100 “agents” to document their experiences with the new car via social media from Twitter to blogs and YouTube. According to the company they won’t censure the agents’ feedback.



Mashable has published a journalists’ guide to Twitter.

He often puts his questions on Twitter at the start of the day, and then his followers (more than 2,200) help him come up with angles, or chime in with their opinions. Rather than interviewing random people on the street, he’s able to get more targeted feedback from people with relevant life experience.

Tell your own story, your own way..

Not exactly breaking news, but in case you missed it… Chevron decided to address a critical 60 minutes report by going on the offensive.


Another approach to funding online media…

In an environment where publishers (online and offline) are working hard to drive revenue, Seattle’s TechFlash is taking a new option by providing sponsored posts. The posts are clearly flagged as “sponsored”  and have a different colored background from editorial posts (see below) but appear in the “news flow”.  I imagine we’ll see other approaches in the coming year.


Traditional media needs to take ownership of its future

I have always been of the view that while traditional media is clearly under pressure, it is not going away, rather we are seeing a re-balancing of media consumption.

The oft floated idea that traditional media is “dead” and that all media will be ‘user-generated’ is flawed in my opinion because people are busy and therefore want trusted filters on what’s going on in the world. Oh and many of us are inherently lazy.

I believe that the traditional media can find a profitable future in that role, whether its in print, online or over the air waves. 

However, to thrive they need to be focused on adding value to their audience. This can be through news gathering or great opinions and content amongst other things, but trust is absolutely key.

Any ten year old can cut and paste content off the web.

I’ve written about Wikipedia before, but if traditional media are going to lazily do an internet search, cut and paste what they find and publish it as editorial, then maybe the future of traditional media isn’t as healthy as I imagined.

Today I read about how the UK Guardian newspaper included a quote from Wikipedia in an obituary of French composer Maurice Jarre. The only problem was that the quote was made up by a 22 year old student in Dublin and posted online.

Siobhain Butterworth, writing on this snafu for the Guardian pointed out that:

Wikipedia editors were more sceptical about the unsourced quote. They deleted it twice on 30 March and when Fitzgerald added it the second time it lasted only six minutes on the page. His third attempt was more successful – the quote stayed on the site for around 25 hours before it was spotted and removed again.

She adds:

The moral of this story is not that journalists should avoid Wikipedia, but that they shouldn’t use information they find there if it can’t be traced back to a reliable primary source.


While I am a passionate advocate of “social media”, I am equally passionate on our society’s need for a strong traditional media.  However, to survive and thrive, traditional media and journalists needs to take ownership of the value they can offer their readers.

Of course this was just a mistake, and mistakes happen, we’re all human, so let’s not blow it out of proportion, but I think it’s a great reminder of how important it is that traditional media focuses on the value it can deliver.

That “value”, in my humble opinion, isn’t mastering internet search and cut-and-paste.

How are PR budgets, people and agencies faring?

The New York Times story below referenced a study by University of Southern California Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center on the impact of the recession on PR budgets.

Clearing my inbox I realized that I had meant to blog about this study back in February… ahem!

There are some interesting findings on how PR is doing in the current economic environment….


  • 40% of the 200 organizations surveyed have had their current year budget reduced – with 27% reporting an increase in budget.
  • 41% attribute this to the economic downturn (6% believe it has nothing to do with the downturn – they probably don’t read the papers);
  • The average decrease was –18.8% the average increase was 16.2%
  • 51% report year-on-year budget reductions (average –19.3%) – 18% report increases (average 14.2%)
  • Overall PR budgets among the 200 companies have fallen 10.8%

Agency Spend

  • 69% are planning to reduce agency fees and 28% have already done so

PR Staff

  • 63% do not expect to reduce full-time headcount  – 15% will increase headcount

Staff Compensation

  • 93% do not expect to reduce compensation while 39% expect pay freezes

You can get a copy of the results at:


PR is dying… oh no it’s not..

There was a strangely fluffy story in the New York Times yesterday questioning whether PR is in a “downward spiral”.

A recent study by the USC Annenberg Strategic Communication and P.R. Center at the University of Southern California, involving 200 U.S. companies and other organizations, showed that they had reduced their P.R. budgets by more than 11 percent this year.

Public relations spending is relatively easy to cut quickly, executives say, because many companies employ their P.R. agencies on a project basis; advertising deals tend to be for longer terms.


Which concludes:

As the center of economic gravity shifts from financial capitals to the political kind, the business of public relations is following. P.R. agencies benefit in two ways: Governments need outside help to communicate their new, larger role in the economy, as do lobbyists looking for a share of the action.

In other words, the business of spin — as one of its practitioners might put it — seems well-positioned for recovery.

Of course the irony is that its practitioners are probably the only ones who wouldn’t refer to it as spin.

Social Post: Social Crisis, Tips for Social Marketing, and check your Social ID

Greetings from a grey Cambridge, Massachusetts overlooking the Charles river.

In something that is very timely, Shel Holtz has posted the slides and audio from his recent presentation on Social Media and Crisis Communication.  I will be listening to the audio on my flight home.

Here are ten tips for Social Media marketers from Paula Drumm via Todd Defren. The only thing I’d question is the line: “It doesn’t take a big budget to get started in social media marketing.  In fact, much of social media marketing is human capital.” – I know what she means but the human capital cost is often the biggest challenge for companies looking at social media.

Got your brand signed up online? Check the availability of your brand across a plethora of social media tools courtesy of Knowen (many of which you’ll never have heard of).  The danger of these type of tools of course is that it makes it easy for hi-jackers to do the same… so get going. <Link via Brian Solis>

Congratulations to Philip Young and David Philips on the launch of their work on the second edition of PR in Practice: Online PR.

I seemed to have missed Wikileaks a site that encourages you to post leaks about your company, government, whatever.  I’m not convinced that this would provide any value other than to the army of online conspiracy theorists. But I could be wrong… wouldn’t be the first time.  <Tim Dyson>