Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for June 2004

Half-baked Public Relations leaves a bad taste….

“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.”  
Leonardo da Vinci   

One of the problems for Public Relations practitioners (and Marketers) is that everyone thinks they can do your job.  This is certainly a very prevalent theme in the technology business.

The obvious intellectual barriers to entry are sufficiently low to the uneducated and as we all know, everyone loves to give their advice on how you could improve your programs and your results.  Sometimes this advice can spark great ideas, but often it’s just part of the drudgery of everyday Public Relations.

One of the results of these perceptions is that often pressure is put upon PR practitioners to “get things done” regardless of whether it is the right course of action, regardless of whether the program is ready or if the timing is right. Often in our desperate need to please management we allow our better judgement to be over-ruled by such interference. But as we become more experienced we push back.

I consider myself a pragmatist when it comes to Public Relations.  I won’t rush a half-baked program or announcement, while at the same time I won’t wait for a program to arrive fresh from the ivory tower. I believe that both approaches as wrong.  Going with a program too soon means you are unprepared and will most likely be unable to sustain it in the medium term.  Waiting too long runs the risk of missing the opportunity.

Understanding the happy middle ground is something you learn over time.

By way of illustration, allow me to recount a conversation I had in the past week with a former colleague of mine. She was approached by a software start-up who were looking for a PR expert.

My former colleague was perfectly qualified and in my opinion would have done a fantastic job for them. However, in their first meeting, the enterpreneur informed her that he had previous experience of PR at other companies and that he wanted a US media and analyst tour planned and executed in less than three weeks and XX number of stories placed in the same time period.

He assured her he had “contacts” in the analyst firms that would smooth the process. His company however had no messaging, no materials, no previous media exposure and no infrastructure to support a PR program such as customers etc. My former colleague tried to explain that whilst such activities could be attempted it would be wiser to delay a little while to make sure proper preparation was made.

He hired another practitioner who agreed with his timeline. I await the results with interest.

As you know, Public Relations is not about one-off meetings or one-off news stories. It is about building relationships and communicating effectively. You get one chance to make a first impression and you better make sure that it’s a good impression. Setting up a meeting and then not delivering is worse than doing nothing at all. IMHO.

The start-up’s perception that all that was needed was a press and analyst tour (and a press release) is a common misconception. What if the tour was successful and the company created some interest from the media or analyst community, would they be able to service that interest? Would they be able to build momentum? I doubt it.

Pragmatism tells me that you should hit the green button once you’ve all the major pieces in place. But it also tells me that you shouldn’t go before you’re ready.

This rambling observation was prompted by my former colleague’s experiences and an editorial in Communications Convergence magazine this month.

Editor-in-Chief, Rick Luhman writes:

“Anyway. Food for thought, vendors.  Initial press contact is fine and dandy in almost any and all formats; just make sure you can dish it out after you’veworked so hard to jerk us around to your company.” 

 

Written by Tom Murphy

June 30, 2004 at 9:28 am

Posted in General

Whisper it… the IT market is improving..

Another indicator that things in the technology world are recovering is research just released from IDC which finds that the application deployment software market, which includes applications and middleware grew by 4.4% last year to just over $7 Billion.

“IDC believes that in 2004 the overall application deployment platform software market will grow almost 4% from 2003. This forecast is based on interviews with over 1200 IT managers conducted in North America in October/November 2003.”

Footnote:

Thanks to Alice Marshall for the link.

The press release on the research findings is here.

Written by Tom Murphy

June 30, 2004 at 8:43 am

Posted in General

PR Survey reminder…

Thanks to everyone who has already completed the online “State of Public Relations” survey, the response has been fantastic.

If you haven’t already visited the survey, why not complete it today, it’ll only take a couple of minutes.

Written by Tom Murphy

June 30, 2004 at 8:27 am

Posted in General

Some much needed comic relief…

The one thing missing from most of the world’s blogs is humor. Whilst everyone is writing earnestly about the issues of the day, there are very few blogs to make you laugh.

“Bill Gates'” new Microsoft Digital Diary (MDD) a.k.a blog offers some much needed relief. 

The other perennial favorite is the world’s dullest blog.

Footnote:

Thanks to Phil Gomes for the link.

Written by Tom Murphy

June 30, 2004 at 8:12 am

Posted in General

Don't forget your RSS…

The recent deluge of content being generated about every conceivable aspect of blogging (is anyone getting bored yet?) has been pushing poor RSS into the background.  Anyone who reads PR Opinions regularly will know my penchant for RSS, which in many ways can be more useful than blogs for every day research.

One of the particular things I’ve noticed is that the choice of an RSS reader is incredibly personal and subjective. 

While many (Windows) people swear by Newsgator which adds RSS feeds to Outlook, I wouldn’t use it in a fit.  Outlook is busy enough already with 1,000 spams a day thank you.

Some people prefer reading their RSS feeds in their browser or online reader and others prefer a desktop based reader such as FeedReader. If you’re interested in RSS feeds I recommend you try a whole range of readers and see which type you prefer.

One example of an online version is the Rocket RSS Reader. It’s relatively new, free and is worth a look if you like reading RSS online.

Written by Tom Murphy

June 29, 2004 at 8:44 am

Posted in General

New PR blog and some PR blog tips

I should say from the outset that although the last few week’s postings may suggest otherwise, PR Opinions is not a blog about blogs but rather a blog about Public Relations. It just so happens that the avalanche of blog-related content seems to be taking over the world at the moment.

It’s a little like a blog bubble, though hopefully when it bursts we all won’t return to hand coding web pages….

 The UK Guardian had a story last week on the Terrifying power of bloggers*. It makes for interesting reading.

Fortunately in most other sections of the media, attitudes towards blogging – and online journalism in general – couldn’t be more different. Not only are major news organisations rolling out blogs of their own, but in the past 12 months the influence of bloggers over their print, television and radio counterparts has grown massively.”

 A new blog on Tech PR has joined the growing ranks. Matthew Podboy, a colleague of Mike Manuel has started a blog called Active Voice.

 Meanwhile, Beaupre & Co. provide five tips to get blogging into your PR programs.

“Blogs equipped with RSS (real simple syndication) feeds provide a great alternative channel for distributing corporate information out into the world. RSS, sometimes called a �webfeed,� is an easy, low-cost mechanism for publishing snippets of content which people can subscribe to.”

Footnote:

Thanks to Philip Young for the link to the Guardian story

Thanks to Trevor Cook, Steve Rubel and Mike Manuel for the other links.

* The Guardian now requires free online registration, however I’ve included it because I believe that if you’re reading content online then you should sign up for free registrations to the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times and the Guardian at the very least! 

Written by Tom Murphy

June 29, 2004 at 8:33 am

Posted in General

PR Survey… give me your PR opinions…

As you probably know by now, preparations for Global PR Blog Week 1.0 are well advanced.

As part of my session on the “State of the PR Profession” I am hoping to include results from a brief online survey.

The survey will only take a few minutes to complete and I’m happy to share the results with respondents directly and as part of my session during PR Blog Week.

Thanks in advance!

Click here to take survey

Written by Tom Murphy

June 28, 2004 at 2:07 pm

Posted in General