Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for February 2005

Fired for no RSS…. don't be silly

Does anyone spot the irony of Robert Scoble‘s rant on RSS, which is probably the meme of the week so far?

Briefly, in case you missed it, Scoble makes the assertion that if you have a marketing website without RSS then you should be fired.  At the end of his post  Scoble admits that Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, has just added RSS feeds to its press room. Now if the world’s largest software company has only just added RSS feeds to its newsroom that probably gives you a good idea of the maturity of RSS.

RSS offers a wide range of benefits, which I won’t bore you by going into again (check out the links below).  It will ultimately be a tier-one communication channel for every company and individual, but it’s not there yet.

PR and marketing people are beginning to look at the potential of RSS.  Technology companies are offering RSS feeds in increasing numbers, but these are still early adopters. 

How long before companies outside the early adopters start using RSS?  It’s anyone’s guess but it will be a while. All new technologies require push and pull.

So don’t fret that you’ve missed the RSS boat, you haven’t.  There’s plenty of time and now is as good a time as any to start evaluating a technology that promises to make communication with your audience more effective.

If you work for a PR firm or a technology company then this is a reminder that you really do need to understand RSS and look into implementing it.

In the meantime let’s add some more reality.



Written by Tom Murphy

February 23, 2005 at 10:07 am

Posted in General

Blogging for cash…

Mike Manuel points to a great article by J.D. Lasica over at the Online Journalism Review which looks at the ethical challenges facing bloggers as weblogs become more popular and ultimately more influential.

“But credible publications always demarcate advertorial from editorial content. (Sony Style magazine would not fall under the umbrella of �credible.�) All reputable publishers require that such content be set off in a different typeface, and they put out the word that their covers and content are not for sale. In other words, you don�t need to read the fine print to know you�ve just read an ad. But Ratcliffe makes the important point that with advertorials, the advertiser controls the content of the message � something that doesn�t happen with the paid-bloggers program.

Wherever there are eyeballs there is money, and no matter how much starry-eyed blog purists may not like it, the power of the dollar sign is going to become a bigger part of the blog landscape.

I think the question here is credibility.  While you are reading a blog you will make a conscious or unconscious decision on whether the blog:

  • a) Is interesting
  • b) Is relevant
  • c) Is trustworthy

As soon as the writer fails to meet those criteria, readers will vote with their URLs. This is the challenge for bloggers. 

On a personal level, I have no problem with bloggers making the most of their site with supported advertising, where that advertising is clearly flagged and there is clearly no undue influence on the content. I also have no problem with bloggers promoting their clients or employers – again as long as that connection is clearly highlighted.

The Internet is a small, connected place. Writing glowing posts for back-hand payments is a sure way of growing your readership to zero. It’s blogger beware.


There’s an interesting example of this over at Tom Foremski’s Silicon Valley Watcher.

Tibco has become one of the first sponsors of the blog, and in return Tom has posted an advetorial on Tibco. It is effectively an advetorial.  At least Tom has flagged that Tibco are a sponsor of the blog, which should alert most people to the fact that what follows is an advertising message.

If I had one complaint, I think Tom should have flagged the post formally as advertising.

“We are very pleased to announce Tibco as the first of an elite group of Founding Sponsors of SiliconValleyWatcher. There will be others announced over the coming weeks, but Tibco stands out because it was one of the first to understand what we are trying to achieve: to deliver a high quality online business news magazine about Silicon Valley, featuring top journalists and enabled by the latest media technologies.

Tibco is a model company: the first Silicon Valley company–and only the third in the US after Disney and Qualcomm–to have achieved compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This is immensely difficult and it is an impressive achievement.”

Written by Tom Murphy

February 23, 2005 at 8:40 am

Posted in General

PR Misc – February 21, 2005

 There must be something in the ether… Morgan McLintic points out that Lewis PR founder Chris Lewis is now live and online with his own blog, Lewis on Global Spin. It’s great to see more CEO’s coming online to share their thoughts.


  I’ve been remiss not mentioning the latest release(s) of the The Hobson and Holtz Report. There have been two recent podcasts.  Podcast #7 includes an interview with Lo�Le Meur of Six Apart and covers Eason Jordan’s problems among other items.  Podcast #8 covers the public release of Paul Otellini’s internal blog, the issues around attempting to license PR practitioners and a look at the growing army of influential political bloggers.


  Andy Lark points to Edelman‘s 2005 Annual Trust Barometer [PPT] while Richard Edelman looks at the issue of trust.


 Tom Foremski provides the skinny on the Antenna Group‘s latest soiree in San Francisco.


Written by Tom Murphy

February 21, 2005 at 1:05 pm

Posted in General

New and notable blogs…

 I’m glad to see another PR CEO is up and blogging.  Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fifteen, whose agency portfolio includes Bite Communications, Text 100 and AugustOne, has a relatively new blog entitled Technology PR.


 Meanwhile Barry Reicherter from Porter Novelli has been in touch to let me know that they’ve kicked off a blog called The Thicket. It brings together PR folks in the agency with their advertising, interactive and broadcast brethren.


Written by Tom Murphy

February 17, 2005 at 10:11 am

Posted in General

Readers of the Irish Independent…

Written by Tom Murphy

February 17, 2005 at 8:59 am

Posted in General

Blog Relations… the gift that keeps giving…

Respecting the concept of ‘what goes around comes around’, most PR bloggers don’t name and shame the more inane PR pitches they get.  However sometimes it’s useful to critique them.  After all it’s always good to get a second opinion.

Jeremy Wright isn’t a PR guy, he’s first and foremost a business person and a blogger, and he has some interesting advice on pitching bloggers:

1. Make it personal

2. Make it applicable

3. Make it short and sweet

Good, sound advice.  [It should be noted he also praises a recent pitch he got from “Kevin” at Talon PR.] 

But what’s interesting is that those three rules are just as applicable to the world of media relations. Any decent media pitch should be attempting to emulate them.  However, blog relations isn’t necessarily that simple…

For example, Steve Rubel provides some useful comments on a recent pitch he recieved from a PR person acting on behalf of a software company.

“When pitching a blogger, however, the stakes are much higher. Someone can easily cut, copy and paste your email into a blog post and put it up on the Web lickity split – like I just did. Although not everyone will be as nice as I was in cloaking the identity of a pitch’s author. The lesson here is that the rules of engaging citzen journalists are in some ways similar to working with the pros, yet vastly different.”

Now while I’m not a huge fan of the whole “citizen journalist” theme. Steve makes a great point, there are a lot of similarities between good blog relations and good media relations – however there are also some distinct differences.

Some bloggers, regardless of your pitch will see you as an agent of Satan.  A dirty grubby press agent out to poison, spin and destroy their blog. Reading their blog over a period of time should highlight these “citizens” and their journalism is probably best avoided.

In addition, should you be having a bad day, some bloggers will take great satisfaction in holding you up as an example of why PR is bad, possibly including the entire text of your e-mail along with contact details.

These are the risks of blog relations.  While in the past poorly targeted pitches to “real” journalists were tossed in the bin, bloggers can be a little less unforgiving.

The secret of success is preparation.  Think before you click.  Some bloggers have a strong voice in the market.  Communicating with them, establishing a dialogue is often a great idea.  Just make sure you know who they are and what they stand for.

There’s loads of great, detailed advice on this topic around the “Interweb”. Here are a few immediate sources:

Written by Tom Murphy

February 16, 2005 at 9:18 am

Posted in General

PR Misc – February 16, 2004

 I must say that at a time when the PR business is under more scrutiny than ever, it speaks volumes for Edelman that their leader is willing to step forward and provide honest guideance on good PR practice. 

Richard Edelman’s posts may not be to everyone’s taste, but he is a lone voice in honestly addressing this issue while his cohorts hide behind ‘multiples’ and new HR initiatives. Of course it’s questionable on how successful he will be convincing the silent majority to adopt new ethical practices. Ethics is one element that could significantly impact shareholder value.


 Andy Lark gives us a great example of the perils of “internal” blogging.  Just like “internal” e-mail and “internal” memos there’s very little security. Intel’s President, Paul Otellini‘s internal blog has emerged in public and guess what… it deviates from the standard corporate line….


 Long time PR blogger Richard Bailey has a most interesting piece over at the IAOC blog on the continuing importance of media relations.


 Constantin Basturea has upgraded his blog (and it’s address).


 Robb Hecht points out an article by Bill Stoller on getting the media to open your e-mails.


Written by Tom Murphy

February 16, 2005 at 8:49 am

Posted in General