Flash Intros revisited…

According to a story on MarketingSherpa (only available until Nov. 27) over 80% of respondents (the majority of whom were non-marketing professionals) in a recent survey preferred websites without Flash intros.

Seemingly there has a lot of negative feedback to MarketingSherpa over the results.

As many of you will know, I have my own little anti-Flash campaign going.

So here’s a re-cap, Flash intro’s are a bad idea because:

1) They delay your visitor accessing your web site

2) They serve no purpose other than thinly veiled advertising – and if the visitor has typed your URL then you already have them – let them in

3) They are in many cases self-indulgent design projects

4) It confuses visitors who expect to be able to navigate sites using standard HTML navigation

5) Your site becomes unaccessible to users who do not have or want Flash on their computer

6) You are being made fun of by fantastic parodies such as SkipIntro

7) Flash creation is expensive, where’s the ROI?

8) Shouldn’t the time and resources you spend on Flash be better utilized improving your site’s navigation, content etc.

9) The creators of Flash discourage it’s use for these Intros – and they should know – see point #3

10) Does it drive more visitors, help you capture more leads, create business opportunities? If the answer is no, hit the delete button.

Now before I get loads of abuse, of course Flash has useful applications.  It’s fantastic for creating demonstrations, tutorials, presentations etc. It’s just not good for guarding your webite or for website navigation for that matter.

Check out some serial PR offenders.


PR Blog Housekeeping

 Colin McKay’s excellent Canuckflack has moved to http://www.canuckflack.com and he’s now one of the growing population of Moveable Type users. I would if I could, but I can’t.

 Greg Brooks tackles the thorny subject of why journalists hate us.

 Robb Hecht over at PR Machine points to a fantastic short piece on branding that was published in Inc.magazine last year. Of course I think it’s great because I completely agree with it.  Branding is the sum of your audiences’ experiences with your firm – it’s not a logo, a color or a catchphrase.

 Phil covers an interesting survey which found that the quality of your employee communication directly impacts their performance.

 Phil Gomes at G2B Group points to a Network Computing expos�A> on the lying statistics technology vendors use to make their products look better!

 Jeremy at POP! PR bemoans the Microsoft-Google acquisition story (that wasn’t) from the NY Times.

 PR Fuel points to story from Entrepreneur magazine on why you need PR. You do you know.

 And last but not least, PR News in Miami covers Mickey Mouse’s 75th birthday!

So there’s a round up and I’ve managed to avoid mentioning Michael Jackson once… doh

The marketing of a presidential hopeful

Baseline magazine analyzes how the Howard Dean presidential campaign is successfully using technology to drive his nomination.  From his blog  to online community sites, Dean’s campaign is a fantastic story on how communication over the Internet is becoming more important for every sector.

“The marketing of presidents and even state and local political candidates may never be the same. By early November, the Dean campaign claimed 500,000 online supporters, up from zero at the start of the year. Only 4 percent of Democratic primary voters said in March they would cast their lot with Dean; now, he is backed by 15 percent of likely voters, according to an early November Zogby poll. That puts him ahead of every other Democratic candidate, by at least five percentage points.”

And he’s raised over $7.4 million online along the way. 

Forget your politics, this is an intriguing case study. 

Of course, traditional tactics remain vitally important, but the ability to effectively use the Internet for communications is becoming a critical element of every marketing campaign.

Jim Horton has some interesting thoughts on this very topic.

PR News round up…

 PR Week’s US Edition is celebrating its fifth anniversary and has published a special issue which includes a look over the interesting trends over the past five years. It has also re-published an interview with Walt Mossberg of the WSJ from April this year.

  Meanwhile PR Week UK looks at the changing mobile phone market and a look at the problem of spam.

 Slashdot is a phenomenon. One mention on it’s boards will send tens of thousands of visitors to your website. But PR beware, any meekly veiled attempts at ghosted PR postings won’t cut the mustard. LinuxWorld has an interview with Slashdot’s founder Rob Malda which tackles how companies can deal with the volume of traffic you get from a mention on Slashdot.  However, there’s also some interesting background on the site and Rob’s thoughts on the Internet and some tips on what stories get posted and why.

 Interesting story from Florida on the importance of PR fostering more diversity by encouraging minority groups to participate in the profession.

How are the PR agencies meeting client needs?

The Thomas L. Harris/Impulse Research Public Relations Client Survey, besides having a long title, is a hardy annual for PR statistics.

Now in it’s eleventh year, it tracks the satisfaction of PR clients and gives some interesting insight into trends between PR firms and their clients.  This year’s report includes responses from 1,263 internal clients.

The full report is available free online and is definetely worth a download and print.

Some interesting figures from this year’s report:

PR Firms’ Performance

Overall there’s great new for PR firms, whose performance (in the eyes of their clients) has increased by twelve per cent over the past twelve months with the greatest areas of improvement: creativity (+26%) media placement (+24%) and specialized services (+20%)

The lowest evaluations the firms got were: international capabilities (-41%) Internet capabilities (-44%) and fair compensation (-56%) – I think this reflects well on some of the mini-rants I have been on for the past two years and Rick Bruner will be in heaven!


The bad news is that PR budgets (including internal and external spending) were down this year – I doubt that comes as a shock to many of you.

(The report includes a lot more detail on budget breakdown)

PR Publications

Finally, PR Week, Advertising Age and PR Strategist are the most widely read PR publications.  Interestingly 38% of respondents don’t read any trade magazines – that’s high.

The fusion of journalism and hyperlinking…

Tom Mangan’s blog Prints the Chaff is a recommended read.

He has recently been discussing the marraige of newspapers and blogs in terms of delivering up to date (and locally relevant content) to the reader.

There’s been some interesting feedback to the discussion.

This interconnection, which takes the best of “traditional” journalism and adds the benefits of hyperlinking offered by the web and the speed of blogs is worth thinking about for every PR professional. This could work in designing a client’s website to provide visitors with better data and of course it could have implications for how PR people target features. Interesting…

By the way Tom also includes a plethora of links to other Editor blogs.


Some opinions on PR licensing, blogs, Internet PR and much more…

MediaMap’s ExpertPR newsletter typically delivers a very rich source of opinions on a variety of PR issues and the latest issue doesn’t disappoint.

 Richard Laermer on the idea of PR Licenses – he’s not an advocate… I’m not so sure.

 Marc Hausman on Competitive Positioning.

 Alan Caruba on Internet-driven PR.

 Naseem Javed on the importance of a well chosen corporate image.

 B.L Ochman on tips for pitching blogs.

 Corinne Brinkley and Rachel Volante on the differences between print and Web media.

 Finally Ashley Elpern shares some of the useful lessons from a MediaMap webinar on high-tech media relations held with Mitch Wagner and Larry Walsh.

Now that should be plenty of on the job reading for your commute / coffee break / lunch etc.

UK PR: A state of the nation

The UK IPR has released a 78-page report entitled “Unlocking the Potential of Public Relations: Developing Good Practice”.

The report, which was funded by the IPR and the UK Department of Trade and Industry, surveyed 812 professionals, of whom over 50% worked in-house and over 40% in agencies.

It’s a weighty tome and although it is specific to the UK, I think it makes interesting reading for practitioners in any country.

Thanks to the ever vigilent Richard Bailey for the link.

The Guardian looks at why journalism needs PR…

Today’s UK Guardian has an article on the inter-relationship between journalists and PR people.

The article won’t surprise anyone who has read any of the previous Journalist vs PR pro pieces, though the quote from the UK Sunday Times last May is a little on the shocking side:

“Hacks still naively pursue something they like to call the truth. Their problem is that it no longer exists. For truth has been destroyed by public relations executives, or ‘scum’ as we like to call them.”

The author, who is from the PR side of the argument addresses this view and comes to the conclusion that:

“But the uneasy marriage between PR and journalism is far from over. We need to spend more, not less, time together, and remember why we need each other in the first place.”

Which does make sense.  However I do wonder if we need to continue to highlight the extreme views on either side of the PR-Journalism debate.

Yes there are unprofessional, incompetent PR people

Yes there are ‘difficult’ journalists

Yes some industries do as a rule attempt to manipulate the media more than others (think Politics, “A-List” celebrities etc..)

However, the simple fact is that for all this hysteria, we have to work together. Everyone of the PR side of the house has to work harder to ensure we provide what journalists need and that we (and our colleagues) perform professionally. That’s the job folks.

(Thanks to Joanne Coffey for the link)