Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for August 2003

Good Blog Relations some examples

Laura Goldberg of Trylon Communications looks after Public Relations for Business 2.0.  She recently recieved high praise indeed from Poynter.org on how she was pitching them online. It looks like she was putting into practice the same theory she wrote about in her article for the PRSA on blogging.

Kevin Dugan provides some good analysis on the success of her pitch.

Then from proactive blog relations to the benefits of RSS and reading journalist blogs.  Phil Gomes provides a great example of why reading these blogs has immediate benefits for a PR practitioner.

Written by Tom Murphy

August 20, 2003 at 9:30 am

Posted in General

RSS 101 Getting up and running

There’s a lot of RSS-related opinions online this week with impacts for the PR profession, but I’ll get to that later.

Talking with some colleagues recently, it struck me that one of the inhibitors to adoption of RSS by PR practitioners is that people are unsure how to get up and running.

As a result I have put together what I hope will be a useful and easy introduction to getting up and running with RSS, from downloading a news aggregator to subscribing to RSS feeds.

If you aren’t already using RSS, why not take five minutes to find out how to get set up.

RSS 101 – Getting up and running

Feedback is very welcome. Now onto the RSS-related content.

Wired has an interesting piece on RSS and its impact, though I’d like to re-iterate that RSS isn’t going to replace e-mail!

Last, but not least, Dan Gillmor discusses the growing popularity of RSS.

“I wish public-relations people would get with the program, too. If they’d only start creating RSS feeds of releases, journalists and the public at large could see the material they want, and the PR industry would be able to stop blasting huge amounts of e-mail to people whose inboxes are already over-cluttered. Of course, there will continue to be a use for e-mail in PR, but the volume could be cut substantially.”  Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Written by Tom Murphy

August 19, 2003 at 9:30 am

Posted in General

The brand conundrum

Now I know many people will not agree with this posting, but hey you can always add your comment to it!

I have a problem with the commonly abused term “Branding”. 

As far as I am convinced a brand is the sum of a person’s experiences with an organization.

You can’t buy a brand, rather a brand is built over time through working with employees, customers, partners and other third parties.

It’s not about nice colors, it’s about good business practice.

Too often I have seen new CEO’s or VPs of marketing arrive and their first port of call is the company’s “brand”. To me it’s simply re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. If your company is broken, no amount of nice design and guidelines is going to save you.

The Internet start-ups all threw millions of dollars at “building a brand” and they proved for once and for all you can’t buy it.

My advice to any company is focus on your business.  I do agree that a company should have a common look and feel across locations, collaterals etc. but if your business is right your brand will follow.

Dave Jung over at B2Blog forwarded a link to a post on Fast Company’s weblog about Palm’s new “brand”. I think Kevin’s right on the money!

Written by Tom Murphy

August 19, 2003 at 8:55 am

Posted in General

Upbeat Tech PR story… natch

Also from G2BGroup a story in the Mercury News on the difficult environment for technology PR. Hey let’s look on the bright side at least it doesn’t have anyone talking about globalization!

“Before, if you could spell PR they wanted to see you,” said George Matthews, a recruiter for Career Consociates. “Now they want people whose r�m�are synonymous with the job description.” That sort of specificity has left a lot of people out of work.

Not unreasonable though is it?

Written by Tom Murphy

August 18, 2003 at 8:38 am

Posted in General

The importance of knowing your PR tools

We all know the Internet has created a host of new challenges in terms of how we communicate.  But sometimes we forget that technology that pre-dates the Internet can also cause us problems.

What about Microsoft Word for example?

The G2B Group points to a story in the New Scientist which reveals that an AT&T researcher has been able to take random Microsoft Word documents off the Internet and in a relatively straight forward process uncover deleted information and comments.

Of course that’s the hard way.

There’s a far more sinister mistake people often make in Word documents, which is forgetting to delete “Tracked Comments”.  Instead of removing them, users often just click the option to not show the comments on screen or in the printed document.

The problem is when that document is sent to someone, they can easily re-enable the comments.

Let me give you two examples.

In the past year I recieved a draft contract from a supplier in Microsoft Word document.  I checked the mark-ups – I do this as a matter of course now – and low and behold there were all the comments from people in the supplier’s company, including their negotiation strategy!

In a more public example, Alcatel published a press release in Microsoft Word format on their website which included a range of damaging internal comments. Read more about it here.

So, the AT&T research gives us another reason not to use Word documents in external collaborative projects.  Furthermore, you should never post Word documents online.  Use good ‘ole HTML which doesn’t include all this additional information.

The first thing I do when I get a Word document is to click on “Tools” “Track Changes” and then reveal any changes.  If you have to send a Word document, that should be the last thing you do before you hit send.  Either that or preferably send a Text or HTML document!

Written by Tom Murphy

August 18, 2003 at 8:19 am

Posted in General

The BBC Style Guide

The British Broadcasting Corporation is in my humble opinion the uncontested global king of quality broadcasting.

So when I found out they have published their style guide online I jumped to it.

Now allowing for local differences, namely the use of International English (and a section entitled “Americanisms”) it includes a wealth of tips and advice.

Worth the download.

Thanks to the ever wonderful I-PR mailing list for the link.

“One of the things that most exercises our listeners and viewers is our use of words and constructions which we are accused of slavishly copying from the United States.”

Written by Tom Murphy

August 15, 2003 at 9:08 am

Posted in General

SCO and the Nigerian 419 E-mail spoof

To put a smile on your face this Friday, have a read of the brilliant “SCO” version of the Nigerian 419.

Further proof (if it were needed) of the brilliance of the Internet!

Written by Tom Murphy

August 15, 2003 at 8:43 am

Posted in General