Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for July 2005

PR Miscellany – July 13, 2005

  • MarketingProfs have an interview with long-time Marketing maven Philip Kotler looking at the relative merits of PR and Advertising.

  • Dr. Moira Gunn over at IT Conversations has a live chat with Tom Standage, science and technology editor at the Economist. Required listening for anyone looking to get a better understanding of one of the world’s most unique and often influential magazines. [Thanks to Colin McKay]

  • Steve Broback over the Blog Business Summit has published some ad hoc research on the number of times the word “blog” appears on the websites of many of the largest PR firms. It’s interesting but I’m not sure it’s relevant. Some of the firms with a zero word count actually have live blogs…

  • ZDNet’s Steve Gillmor has an interesting post on the changing face of journalism and publishing. I think it’s always interesting to read these views. However, I still remain on the side of the argument that says there a balance will emerge between between traditional media outlets and online channels such as blogging. Of course there could be a lot of tears before that balance emerges… [Thanks to Andy Lark and Elizabeth Albrycht for the linkage]

  • John Wagner ponders whether you might be better advised not to pitch bloggers. John makes some good points, however I think it’s a mistake to ignore bloggers, the secret is preparation, research and your approach.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 13, 2005 at 10:21 am

Posted in General

This is London. We've dealt with your sort before.

Bernie Goldbach points to a fantastic response to last week’s bombings from the London News Review.

I travelled over to London on Friday and it never ceases to amaze me how resilient Londoners are in the face of adversity. This is a city that has experienced more than its fair share of terrorist attention, yet those appalling acts only seem to reinforce their determination to keep going. It’s a trait that deserves our respect as we send our condolences to the victims, their friends and their families.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 12, 2005 at 10:15 am

Posted in General

Call for Corporate Sponsorship Online

Pete Quily [link] was in touch with me about the British Photo Blog We’re Not Afraid which has been inspired by the London bombings and is inviting people to submit their photos:

“Show the world that We’re not afraid of what happened in London, and that the world is a better place without fear. Email your images to pics@werenotafraid.com”

Unfortunately due to the huge demand on the servers the site (which is run by volunteers) is regularly falling over and they are looking for individuals or corporations who would be willing to sponsor the bandwidth costs.

Here’s a chance to do some good. You can contact Alfie Dennan the guy behind the web site via his blog.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 12, 2005 at 9:14 am

Posted in General

PR Miscellany – July 11, 2005

Well, well, well. Looks like we’ll need to keep a damp cloth nearby today with all the mud slinging that’s going on…

Written by Tom Murphy

July 11, 2005 at 1:42 pm

Posted in General

A Blogger Evangelizing Mobile Products is a Moron

Now that’s an interesting headline for Monday’s RSS readers. Of course I took a liberty with it because I’m sure that most bloggers evangelizing mobile products aren’t morons but one of them is borderline.

Now as the few poor regular readers of this blog know, I am never shy calling foul on silly, ignorant or mis-guided attempts at PR and/or blog relations. On the other hand, I also strongly believe that when someone makes ill-founded criticisms of our profession those criticisms should be addressed.

That’s the subject of this rant.

Russell Beattie is a self-proclaimed saviour of the blogosphere. He is on his crusade armed with nothing more than ignorance in his left hand and irony on his right.

Russell tells us in his post last Friday that:

PR People are Morons

“Russell the brave” tells us:

“But arrived they (PR people) have and now the signal to noise ratio seems to be skyrocketing in the wrong direction. I mean, the great thing about blogging is we were finally able to cut out these morons and get to the opinions and ideas of the people who actually contribute to the world! Yet now these bullshit artists are sort of weasling their way back into the conversation somehow and it’s annoying. And don’t misunderstand, these people aren’t trying to participate in the conversation, they’re trying to “influence” it.”

He continues:

“But beyond these morons, are the PR Bloggers who claim to “get it” or at least understand blogging in general and are now spewing uninformed idiocy out onto the world. Follow the links on these pages and it’s essentially, a how to guide on how to manipulate bloggers, or how your company should start a blog and how that would in turn help you manipulate your customers and media. These blogs aren’t worth the kilobytes they’re taking up on some hard disk somewhere.”

Now let’s start at the end.

Ladies and Gentlmen, I am a PR blogger and I have been blogging for over three years. In those three years and thousands of posts I have never, ever claimed that I “get it”. In fact reading other PR blogs in the intervening period I don’t recall any of the hundreds of PR bloggers claiming they “get it”. But Russ (pronounced Russ) never let’s the facts get in the way of a good post.

So here are some salient points for Russ, unfortunately he’ll never read them because visiting this URL would only soil Russ’ clean and ethical browsing experience:

  • Who appointed you keeper of the blog flame?
  • If you took the time to step out from your rash generalizations and (shock horror) did some research you’d find that most PR people share your sentiments regarding untargeted pitches and the sometimes uneducated practices of other PR professionals.
  • Clearly from your post, you believe that you “get” blogging. To be honest that’s hardly a claim to intellectual superiority is it? I mean there are twelve year olds who “get” blogging – it’s not very hard Russ
  • Why is it that you believe that people (not very different to you) working in PR can’t “get” blogging? – Were you bullied when you were a PR intern at IBM? – Were YOU a moron then? Are you a recovered moron now? Were you just not very good at your job?
  • According to your very detailed resume, you are currently an evanglist. Doesn’t that mean your are peddling your employer’s mobile services and products for a living by communicating with people? How exactly does that differ from PR? How is what you are saying more trustworthy?
  • Have you told your colleagues in the PR department that they are morons? Are you a popular co-worker?

OK Russ here’s some reality for your little blog ivory tower:

  • PR has its problems, you can read about them here and on any of the many blogs on the left hand side of this page. We address those problems regularly and constructively.
  • Good PR people are getting involved in conversations. They are helping companies to communicate effectively with their audience(s) using a wide array of channels from internal communications, to face-to-face meetings, to analysts, the media and sometimes even blogs.
  • There is no barrier to entry in blogging. There is no intellectual challenge in starting a blog and sharing your opinions. To insinuate that your world of blogging is superior to someone else’s based on their career is crass and stupid
  • There are many examples of ham fisted attempts by PR people at pitching blogs – there are also examples of PR people who have done a good job building conversations with people via blogs – at least the PR people who write blogs acknowledge these things
  • If you are going to “delete e-mail from PR people and not link to their sites, does that constitute building a conversation Russ? I link to people I agree and disagree with. I don’t typically have my head that deep in the sand.
  • Finally, given you are paid to “evangelize” your employer’s products and services, can you explain to a simple-minded PR blogger how what you are saying is more relevant, trustworthy and interesting than anyone else paid to promote products and services on behalf of their employer?

I don’t expect a response Russ, I am a PR blogger. In your world that means I am a moron. Unfortunately we morons have opinions too and just like you, we can post our ill-informed nonsense on the Internet. This blogging thing is a real bummer isn’t it?

Evangelize that

Written by Tom Murphy

July 11, 2005 at 8:12 am

Posted in General

Blog Relations… it's time to grow up..

It’s fair to say that the PR blog authors you see listed on the left hand column of this page, regularly defend our profession against claims that we are unethical, lazy, unprofessional and dim. This blog often takes a stand to try and educate people that PR isn’t all about spin and Tom Cruise. It’s often a difficult pitch.

For as long as I can remember, and that’s quite a long time, journalists have bitched and moaned about the inadequacy of Public Relations. They are inundated with badly written, badly pitched, irrelevant stories and ideas. No matter how much they give out however, it never seems to change. That’s not to say there aren’t fantastic pitches taking place every day – there clearly are – but there are just as many poor pitches.

As blogs continue to proliferate, it should be no surprise that the art of poor pitching has migrated to the world of blog relations. We regularly read bloggers giving out about poorly thought out pitches. Furthermore, these inept PR pitches are potentially far more damaging than their media counterparts, because bloggers often name and shame the perpetrators – wouldn’t that fact alone make you think twice? Obviously not.

Anil Dash has written about a recent episode and has provided some guidelines on how to pitch a blogger effectively. It would be great if we all took the message on board, unfortunately I imagine the only people who will listen were the same people who would prepare a proper pitch in the first place. Maybe we should encourage an environment of name and shame?

Steve Rubel, David Parmet and BL Ochman have commented further on Anil’s post.

For anyone interested, here are some assembled links to more guidance on how to pitch a blogger:

Written by Tom Murphy

July 7, 2005 at 11:06 am

Posted in General

Analyst Relations Extra…

Following yesterday’s post on changes to Gartner’s Magic Quadrants, ARmadgeddon has posted some thoughts.

While we’re on the subject of analysts, Alice Marshall points to research firm CMS Watch who cover the content management and enterprise search markets. They guarantee vendor neutral research and advice by their committment:

To retain our independence as a vendor-neutral analyst firm, CMS Watch works solely for solutions buyers and never for the vendors we cover.

It’s an interesting departure. Research Firms would be well advised to re-evaluate their business models and how well those models are serving their customers – be they end-users or vendors.

In the past,James Governor at research firm Red Monk proposed the idea of Open-Source Research.

Written by Tom Murphy

July 7, 2005 at 10:55 am

Posted in General