Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for February 2004

MediaMap's Expert PR Newsletter

MediaMap’s ExpertPR newsletter consistently publishes a range of useful PR-related articles written by practitioners.

This month’s content includes Getting Clients to Write, Press Conferences, Measuring PR and Tips on High-Tech PR Success in 2004 amongst others.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 27, 2004 at 8:33 am

Posted in General

Grumpy Old PR People…

RLM PR produces an entertaining monthly newsletter with their opinions on the PR business.  I regularly cover it here and often I disagree with some of their opinions, but I enjoy their writing all the same.  This month’s issue has a story by Erin Mitchell, RLM’s Director of Business Development, on the Melrose Place generation. In effect it bemoans many of the attitudes of our younger colleagues. It’s an amusing piece.

The article reminded me of an off-beat documentary on the BBC called “Grumpy Old Men” where a collection of high profile British men in their forties and fifies moan about how the world is changing for the worse.  It was fantastic series, very funny and illustrated how although we are living longer, healthier and happier lives, we’re getting grumpier at an earlier age.

I know this of course because I’m 33 and I know I’m getting grumpy already!

Written by Tom Murphy

February 27, 2004 at 8:26 am

Posted in General

The changing face of Public Relations

Michael Wolf, who works in the PR team for Microsoft’s XBox has a very interesting post on PR.

Michael is a former poacher turned gamekeeper and he shares his views on the PR business from someone, who like many practitioners, used to be at the business end of your PR activities.

“I know that I have a lot to learn, even after doing this for the last two and a half years. But I do have one leg up � I�m not constrained by the methods and tactics of an older generation of PR veterans.”

Written by Tom Murphy

February 27, 2004 at 8:01 am

Posted in General

The mysterious world of movie marketing..

If like me, the whole world of film/entertainment marketing is a complete mystery, here’s an interesting resource.

The Movie Marketing Blog covers the whole gamut of issues around movie marketing, it’s an interesting read.

If you’re interested in more on entertainment PR you should also check out this fascinating Vanity Fair feature from 2002 on Hollywood PR.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 25, 2004 at 1:53 pm

Posted in General

Trackable RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds are certainly growing in popularity. One of the problems with RSS feeds that it’s hard to differentiate between individuals who may have subscribed to your RSS feed and existing subscribers who are refreshing your feed in their RSS reader.

In effect, both the subscriber and the refresher are all accounted as “hits” or “page views” on your RSS feed.

To give an example, if my RSS feed link got 20,000 hits yesterday, that could be 20,000 people accessing the feed once, 1 person accessing the feed 20,000 times or more likely something in between. It’s not very accurate.

At the highest level of course you can track the absolute number and make assumptions based on the growth or decline of hits on your RSS feed link, but it’s not very accurate, making it unique in an online world where you can track content and visits far more accurately than in the “real world”.

So when I read that IMN Inc (formerly iMakeNews) have announced (PDF only) a trackable RSS feed service I was intrigued. A way of tracking RSS success.  Fantastic.

However, when I went to their site, and from the story in ClickZ it seems that all they do is publish your content to an RSS feed and count the hits.

“We’ve encoded all the links — usually with an RSS feed you get a subject of an article and a link. Every link provided is a unique trackable link. When you open up the feed we know it. Every time you refresh the feed we count it. And when you click to read a particular article we register that,” Goodwin said.

That’s not exactly pushing the technological envelope on RSS measurement then…. unless I am misunderstanding it.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 25, 2004 at 1:40 pm

Posted in General

It was all much better in my day…

We should all learn from the lessons of the past. That’s been written so many times it is practically a cliche.

I am always interested in discovering about how Public Relations was practised in the past.  I’m sure there’s a lot of knowledge that could be applied today and probably a lot that’s irrelevant.

Bringing together the best traditional PR practices with the latest communications tools and technologies is the responsibility of every PR practitioner.  Whether it’s communicating online via e-mail or using blogs, many new developments can help the PR process become more effective.

Two PR-related stories prompted this ramble.

First of all, Aaron D. Cushman a retired Chicago PR man who started his career in the 1940’s has published a book that’s part handbook and part biography. From the article in Chicago Sun Times is appears Mr. Cushman was first and foremost a publicist.

He bemoans the lack of creativity in PR:

“Many of the young people entering the business today can write, Cushman said, “but there are very few idea people.”

Though he was probably heartened to see Janet’s performance at the superbowl. Ah yes the age old publicity stunt.

And Mr. Cushman isn’t impressed by practitioners today:

Planned or not, a lot of the fun seems to have gone out of the public relations business in the years since Cushman’s exit. Now it’s a more buttoned-down, altogether duller affair filled with rote press releases, and many young practitioners who don’t seem to share Cushman’s zest for the business. Or his professional savvy.

Unfortunately, I don’t get much opportunity to have wildlife attend product launches….

But he does offer some sound advice such as.. “knowing columnists’ styles and deadlines, leveling with editorial contacts, and being scrupulously fair.”

All good right and true in my humble opinion.

Then I discovered a fantastic story in the Tallahassee Democrat on how new technology is influencing PR practices in the legislative process.

“If you’re not using the latest technology and every tool available,” says (Karen) Moore (of Moore Consulting), “then you are short-changing your client.”

Instant communication means lawmakers can be in constant touch with constituents, and lobbyists can see the latest tracking polls.

But for all of the technological advances, there is one constant that remains unchanged and critical to the success of any public-relations campaign, says Gail Stansberry-Ziffer of Ziffer Marketing & Communications.

“I think the human touch is much more important,” says Stansberry-Ziffer, who counts Anheuser-Busch among her firm’s clients. “It’s important to maintain that personal contact with people.”

I think that sums it up nicely. 

Our challenge, ladies and gentlemen, is to take the very best traditional practices of our profession and marry them with new technology that can help us to reach our audience(s) faster and more efficiently. 

There is still room for the PR stunts, creativity, structured analysis, strong writing skills and the art of oration. But today we also have a whole new toolkit to deliver that information. Now that’s good news.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 24, 2004 at 1:45 pm

Posted in General

A short primer on PR…

The Albuquerque Tribune has published a short concise overview on the benefits of PR.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 24, 2004 at 1:05 pm

Posted in General

Passionate PR (groan)

Whatever your feelings about the film itself, Mel Gibson forthcoming film, “The Passion of Christ” is utilizing a whole range of non-traditional entertainment promotion channels….

The Passion of PR Publicists (MSNBC)

Passionate PR (LA Times)


Written by Tom Murphy

February 24, 2004 at 1:04 pm

Posted in General

You charge how much per hour?

It looks like we have a winner in the most profitable lobbying account.

The Washington Post reports that a number of Indian tribes paid their lobbyist $45 million over the past three years.

Now that’s a retainer.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 23, 2004 at 1:05 pm

Posted in General

The perils of E-mail…

This is a subject we touch on fairly regularly.  The danger of e-mail when communicating sensitive information.

National Australia Bank has been having some problems recently around a Foreign Exchange scandal.  Obviously the company needed to address PR issues around the scandal, but what if the PR advice went public?

Here’s the e-mail from the Bank’s internal PR advisor to the its CEO… More analysis of the e-mail is here.

Written by Tom Murphy

February 23, 2004 at 12:59 pm

Posted in General