PR Misc – November 30, 2004

 Jim Horton has posted a full case study on a political campaign undertaken by  California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District to secure tax-based funding for any earthquake-related repairs.

 Richard Edelman discusses the importance of ethical behavior and outlines four suggested ethical pillars:

  1. First, we should not take on any client in the way that a lawyer can claim that every client deserves representation. We are not working in a court of law….
  2. Second, we need to be utterly transparent in our work methods….
  3. Third, we should demand a seat at the decision making table and not simply accept the role of mouthpiece for legal counsel….
  4. Fourth, our billing methods should provide the same incentives to client and agency….

 The Globe and Mail reports that CIBC is facing some significant PR challenges as it has emerged they’ve been erroneously faxing customer information to a scrap dealer…

 Interested in how the media may change in the future? Andy Lark links to an interesting potential verion of the future of media.

 It looks like a potential merger between UK PR group Chime Communications and Incepta won’t be happening after all., the self-styled PR agony uncle site created by former vice chairman of Edelman David Davis, has reported that it has handled 3,000 PR-related questions since the site was set up two years ago….

Blogvetorials… trust the audience…

Shel and Octavio have posted some interesting comments on my post last Friday regarding ‘blogvetorials’.

It’s definetely a grey area, but agreeing a “blog code of ethics” and then implementing it, would be probably impossible.

I think you have to put your trust in people who read blogs.  People are intelligent.  If a blogger is promoting products for cash, I’m fairly sure readers will spot it.  Maybe not immediately but certainly over time.

The Internet provides a fairly democratic environment. If your blog is credible, has interesting or useful content and is providing honest opinions then there’s a good chance you’ll get a readership – whatever the size.

As Octavio points out, you have once shot at credibility.  Should you lose it, then it’s gone.  That’s a very dangerous threat for any blogger tempted to plug products for payment.

On the other hand, Google has shown us that as long as advertisements are clearly flagged as such, then audiences/users have no problem with them.

So, if you want to make your first million from blogging (you probably need help) then by all means include advertising on your blog, and mark it for what it is.  You may find that the real cost of breaking your readers’ trust is far more expensive than any short-term revenue.

Blog advertising…

Shel Holtz reports that Marqui has done a deal with fifteen bloggers to insert mentions of Marqui’s “hosted communications management services” into their blogs.

“The bloggers will get $800 a month to mention Marqui with a link once a week in their blogs and post its emblem on a page. They’ll get an additional $50 per qualified sales lead they send to Marqui….But transparency and integrity are the order of the day, King said. Information about Marqui’s “Blogosphere Program” is posted on its corporate Web site, and bloggers are urged — but not required — to disclose the relationship.”

I think it should be easy enough to spot if any marketing bloggers are in this program.  I think it would be quite hard to subtly post an entry on “hosted communications management services” ­čÖé

On a more serious note, as long as the mentions are flagged as advertising, I don’ t have a problem with this.  Just as in the physical world where advetorials are highlighted, as long as these blogads are highlighted and the blogger is up front with their readership I don’t see why this should pose a problem. Of course if they’re not up front that’s a different matter….

New PR blogs and listening to the media…

Two more PR blogs and some interesting reports from media roundtables….

  • Bob LeDrew, another esteemed Canadia PR blogger, runs the FlackLife blog. He points to an interesting profile of San Antonio Public Library Pro, Beth Graham.


  • Steve Rubel has discovered another notable addition to the PR blogging ranks. Barbara Heffner of Chen PR has started a blog called Clark Lane. Barbara has an interesting report on a Businesswire panel on targeting online media:

“Paul Gillin, editor in chief for TechTarget, was a tad more direct: “In general, I advise you never to do exclusives in print or online. You give CNET an exclusive, and 10 minutes later everyone has picked up on it and you’ve got dozens of reporters pissed off at you, for a jump of 15 minutes that no reader notices.”

  • Maria Perez over at MediaInsider posts a report on the Publicity Club of Chicago’s recent lunch that tackled the subject of freelancers. If there’s one media group that is growing fast it’s freelancers.

“She urges PR people not to ├»┬┐┬Żtry to draw me into a web├»┬┐┬Ż that features only one client. Her editors trust and pay her to present a balanced feature and that can only be done with multiple sources. As a PR person herself in the health care industry, she writes mainly for trade publications. There is a crossover in content between her services; however, she uses a wider variety and different sources when she writes, and the information she presents is more flushed out.”

Naked Gun FT Style….

Drew and Andy (or should that be AndyDrew) both link to a story on SpinBunny about how FT Editor Andrew Gowers had a ‘Naked Gun’ moment at a recent FT gathering in Paris.

Following a speech to his fellow workers, he walked backstage (with his microphone still on) and made a phone call:

“Spies tell of a wholly embarrassing incident in which editor Andrew Gowers made a glowing speech about the success and planned future success of the esteemed publication. But then the daft bugger went backstage, forget to take his clipmike off and the whole audience heard him take a call on his mobile.

Amongst the tirade of abuse dished out as commentary on how the meeting had gone, he was heard to dismiss it as the usual load of bollocks and a waste of time.”


  • If the link to SpinBunny doesn’t work, please don’t give out to me, it doesn’t work for me either and I know for a fact the site isn’t being blocked by my employers, I have tried a whole load of ways to access the site with no success and the only way I get to read it is via bloglines.

PR Misc – November 24, 2004

Now before you head off for some R&R, here’s some reading for you….


Made to measure….

As I’ve written before, the lack of widely agreed metrics that attempt to measure how PUBLIC Relations programs impact an organization’s objectives is an issue for everyone in this profession.

PR Week (link courtesy to Shel Hotz) has an interesting article written by Claire Spencer, a fellow of the UK IPR.

She points out that measurement is a multi-dimensional discipline that needs to tie back to an organization’s stakeholders and audience(s).

Claire outlines five relationship concepts that could be used to reflect the success of any organisation:

  1. What qualities make people want to support an organisation? These would include integrity, ethics and values, financial strength and power, leadership, and that it’s competitive.
  2. What makes for a good organisational offering? These include products and services that deliver fitness for purpose, quality, durability, price/value and after-sales support.
  3. What stimulates demand for an organisation’s goods and services? Market availability, acceptance and desirability, strong brand attributes, distinctive marketing and promotion, good delivery and distribution mechanisms and responsiveness to the consumer.
  4. Does an organisation deliver for its employees in terms of internal communication channels, competitive pay, a good working environment, a record for health/safety, best practice recruitment policies, good redundancy handling and work-based opportunities.
  5. What makes a company good at managing stakeholder groups? It’s management of other (non-customer) ‘influencers’ in terms of recognition of their concerns, facing up to the issues, two-way communication and responsiveness.


Some other measurement-related reading:


Re-inventing the ad…

Ah yes, the emperor has new clothes.  They are lovely. 

Now repeat after me: “The emperor has new clothes”.

According to Chanel, the new (ahem) film that promotes Chanel No.5, on commerical television, where they bought the air time, isn’t actually an advert.

You see there you go with your presumptions again. 

Just because a company buys air time and plays a “film” in that air time, that promotes a product, that doesn’t mean it is an advert.  Oh no.  That’s soooo 1990’s of you.

No in the 21st century we call them films.

Have you ever heard such a pile of manure in your lives?

‘It’s a film, not an advert,” the Chanel publicist says, firmly.

“As he says himself, Baz Luhrmann doesn’t do adverts.”

Well I suppose in truth the film is not a advert it is a clever PR campaign. 

Chanel has got a lot of good ink from this “is it a film or is it an ad” rubbish. That has probably paid for the ad’s production in itself.

Clever marketing or artistic fervour it all adds up to column inches. Unfortunately.

PR Misc – November 22, 2004

 Dan Forbush over at PR Newswire’s MediaInsider has kicked off an idea for Global PR Wiki Day:

“Our “content mission” in this experiment will be to establish areas of consensus among 30 PR bloggers with respect to the  proliferation of micro media five, ten and 20 years into the future. This study will be led by an expert in scenario planning. The expert will give us a simple scenario to which we’ll respond on our own respective blogs on the same day. We’ll pull the 30 responses into the project wiki. Then we’ll all go into the wiki and evaluate Delphi-style the predictions made by our colleagues.”

 Steve Rubel has unearthed a great little online utility that will give you your website’s ranking on Google for any term you wish to enter. It’s called BlogPosition.

 Neville Hobson covers a new report on corporate reputation in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. So what are the most visible companies in the three countries? L’Oreal, Porsche and Virgin respectively. And while it’s a great illustration of the differences in European markets, it’s interesting that Microsoft is in the top four in each country. That’s an amazing performance.

 Richard Bailey tells us that SpinWatch has kicked off. It’s the UK equivalent of PRWatch.

 Alice Marshall gives everyone a timely reminder about the best format for e-mail. I always recommend that, given the diversity of the Internet, you should always cater for the lowest common denominator…

 On a related matter, Amy Gahan chides those who insist on hosting PDF press releases on their website. Amy has a great point. The best format for press releases online is pure old HTML.  I think it’s fine to offer a PDF version for printing, as long as the plain HTML is available as well.

 Darren Barefoot and Roland Tanglao recently gave a talk on building website with weblogs and RSS.  Their presentation is available online.

 Mike Manuel covers the re-launch of Release 1.0 post its purchase by CNET.

 Shel Holtz asks the question: which PR metrics are the best?

Really Simple PR….

I’m still a passionate believer in the potential of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Click to see the XML version of this web page. as a means of distributing, delivering and receiving online content, whether it’s press releases, opinion articles or technical updates, RSS provides a powerful means of keeping an audience informed.

Of course, the major drawback of RSS continues.  It is hard to measure and it’s annonymous.  For many PR people this is a problem.  How can you tell that someone is actually subscribed to your feed?

In addition, while blogging├»┬┐┬Żwhich is easier to understand and in many respects more entertaining├»┬┐┬Żgets all the headlines, RSS continues to proliferate behind the scenes.  Just look at some of the more recent news.  IBM now offers full RSS feeds of all their news, Yahoo! are ramping up their RSS expertise, the US Government is catching on to RSS and BusinessWire is now offering RSS access to its wire services.

Incidentally, we’ve been providing RSS feeds for over two years now and the numbers of subscribers are growing significantly every month.

Guillaume du Gardier has posted an interesting interview with Fergus Burns, CEO of Nooked, a company that is promising to simplify the process of distributing PR-related content as RSS.

“Given that PR agencies handle on a daily basis corporate communication material for their clients, such as press releases, media coverage, events, analyst coverage, etc, they are in a great position to provide a value added service by re-using this content.


The PR agency can manage their clients RSS channels, and provide the monthly RSS measurement information to demonstrate the business value of such an initiative to the client.


It also demonstrates to the client, that the PR agency is at the fore front of providing unique value added services, which can act as a differentiator in client pitches.”

I’m meeting with Fergus next week, so if anyone has any questions for him let me know ­čÖé

Some RSS Resources:


“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.”  Dan Gillmor