Hiatus until November 4, 2003

I’m sure there will be much weeping of tears and gnashing of teeth at the news that I am on vacation until November 4, 2003 and won’t be posting to PR Opinions… well maybe not.

I’ll be back refreshed and ready to post. 

In the meantime, visit the excellent PR blogs on the right hand menu for your daily dose of PR news….


Avoiding E-mail crisis

e21 Corp. has published a new article on avoiding e-mail crisis which looks at recent e-mail-related PR snafus and offers some basic tips to try and avoid similar issues.

The single best ways to avoid e-mail hell is to update your virus checker, seperate your contacts from your e-mail client and always delay the delivery of e-mail.  Instant delivery is the number one cause of e-mail embarrasment – I know this from personal experience.

On a related note.  As I mentioned previously, spam continues to thrive.  Most of my delete decisions are based on the subject line. It’s made me think a lot more about how I use subject lines.

The best means of avoiding instant delete is obviously to create a compelling line but also include some sort of identification. If you regularly write creative subject lines such as: “Hi” or “I thought you might be interested”, the likelihood is the recipient never even seen it.


New association for online communicators…

A new association has been formed called the International Association of Online Communicators.

Its mission is:

“The International Association of Online Communicators (IAOC) is dedicated to promoting and preserving the open and free communication that has been the foundation of the Internet community. Its purpose is to provide a network through which practitioners and educators can share knowledge and ideas. The Association is a place where Internet content creators and publicists can join together to define and advance their roles in this emerging professional arena.

It’s in its formative stages but is an interesting project.

My biggest question is what will this organization provide that isn’t already provided by well-established groups such as PRSA, IABC etc.

Online communication is increasingly important, of that there is no question, however the IAOC will have to define and demonstrate their value to succeed.  Having said that, a quick glance at people who have expressed an interest in joining the group makes for impressive reading.

Thanks to Phil for the link.

New Media Paper shows impact on PR

The Media Center at the American Press Institute has published a “thinking paper” entitled “We Media” which looks at how journalism is being affected by new Internet technologies which are bringing the media’s audience to their in-box.

I wanted to take the time to read the document which weighs in a over sixty pages before I posted and I finally got around to it today.

Written by Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis, this paper is a must-read for anyone who works in media relations.  Any trends that are impacting journalism also have a direct influence on media relations practitioners. And there are a whole range of trends.

It’s not only the arrival of weblogs, but discussion groups, audience generated content, collaborative publishing, peer-to-peer technologies and RSS.  All these same technologies also have major implications for the PR profession, indeed this paper underlines just how connected our professions are.

We face many of the same challenges in understanding and using these new channels of communication.

“We Media” calls these changes Participatory Journalism and define it as:

“The act of a citizen or group of citizens, playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.  The intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires.”

If you haven’t already done so, download this document today and spend some time reading it. It’s worthwhile and a useful manifesto on the changing environment that affects us all.

More PR-related comments on “We Media” are here: Phil’s Place, G2B Group.

Spam an alternative solution

Spam is an increasing problem for business today.

E-mail is a vital tool for most business people.  Although it has its downsides and it is regularly abused, e-mail still provides a fast and easy means of communication and a vital tool for sharing information.

I don’t know about you, but Spam is still on the rise, I am now getting anywhere from 200 to 400 spams a day.  It’s taking over my mornings at this stage.

I’ve tried a whole range of different anti-spam products but to be honest all of them have significant flaws.  Increasingly I am seeing people using these services where they respond to your e-mail with an automated response that asks you to click on a link to verify that you are an authentic sender, but as a PR person I don’t think making it harder for journalists to contact you makes any sense whatsoever.  It’s for that reason I am opposed to any anti-spam solution that blocks spam at your mail server – how do you know if a legitimate e-mail has been bounced?

So my new solution is Reverse-Spam.  This is where rather than trying to extricate spam from your inbox, you extricate the good e-mail, leaving the spam in your inbox.

It’s simple when a real relevant e-mail message pops into your inbox you apply a rule that moves it to a dedicated folder.  Anything left in your inbox is spam and can be deleted.  At the current rate of Spam growth I assume that for most people spam messages far outnumber legitimate e-mail. Of course this approach also gets around the problem of you adding senders to your spam list by accident.

Since I thought of this idea, a quick search on Google has revealed this is not a new idea at all. I’ll let you know how it goes, though the quote from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War which accompanies that last link sums it up nicely:

“Subduing other’s military without battle is the most skillful.”  

Postscript: There is a God, California have just fined a spammer $2 million. I feel the stress slipping away….

PR and Industry Analyst Relations

In the technology business, industry analysts play a very important role in the definition of new markets and helping end-user organizations understand new technology.

Analysts represent a vital audience for every technology firm, and Technology PR people spend a large slab of time communicating with them.

Elizabeth Albrycht has been discussing some of the difficulties involved in working with analyst firms.  She details the difficulty in getting to talk to analysts through the often byzantine scheduling process.  The tight economy has of course exacerbated the problem, every briefing request is a potential sales lead and the Analyst sales people are all over it like a rash.

The tougher question is the divide between church and state.  There’s a new generation of small boutique analyst firms emerging, who focus on a tight industry segment and can quickly build a reputation as an expert on a given area.  Some of these firms are about as ethical as Al Capone.

One recently told me that, to be included in their reports, discussions with the media etc. we had to take a full subscription to their service.  End of story.  Needless to say we refused, blackmail is not something I’ll countenance.  Furthermore this firm has a wide variety of competitiors who are just as focused and don’t have the “advetorial” policy. I’ll be working with them thank you very much.

One thing that can ease the pain of Analyst Relations is personal relationships with given analysts, which can help you sometimes to side-step the sales process, but it’s not easy.

Ok so PR blogger Jeremy Pepper is walking the walk so to speak, and is pitching bloggers on behalf of a new client of his: fe77 Software who are marketing a service for PR practitioners where they will host your press room online and also provide a range of content management tools.&nbsp