Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for September 2005

Lies, Damn lies and reseach

Blog Relations a UK-based “content consultancy” run by two business journalists Matthew Lynn and Hugh Fraser, have published the results of an informal survey they undertook on Blogging and PR with sixty respondents. You can read the full report there, it’s a small sample (ten respondents) though one finding that caught my eye was that 14% believe blogs don’t pose a threat.

Meanwhile Jessica Morris at Boston University is currently undertaking her thesis project on PR and Blogging. She’s looking for online participants to her study. If you have a few minutes why not help out by taking the study here.

Finally in the online research area, Roger Signer is conducting an online poll on weblogs as a marketing tool, you can participate here.

I recommend you take a couple of minutes to participate. These studies can add to our understanding of how these new tools will impact the profession.

Written by Tom Murphy

September 27, 2005 at 7:57 am

Posted in General

The PR Hype Cycle

As part of the Global PR Blog Week I have contributed an article entitled Pragmatic Public Relations which suggests that we, as a profession, need to take a long look at how we undertake PR programs today and how that might change over time based on our audience and the tools and channels that are becoming available.

As anyone who has read this blog in the past will know, I’m not shy coming up with advice 🙂 But as part of the preparation for the article I started trying to see how I could map the intersection between all our existing tools and the newer developments.

I came up with the idea of using Gartner Group’s Hype Cycle. Gartner put this graph together to illustrate the maturity of any technology in a given market. I thought it might be a useful, if very subjective way of looking at the technologies PR practitioners will be using today and tomorrow. This of course is terribly non-scientific and very subjective….

I’m very interested in getting people’s thoughts on it. Is it a waste of time and space? Is it accurate or irrelevant?

Gartner Hype Cycle

Here’s the empty hype cycle

There’s a couple of things to note:

  • New technologies start on the left hand side of the graph and typically travel from left to right.
  • Following their introduction tools can be subject to unrealistic hype bringing them to the “Peak of Inflated Expectations”. Once reality sets in these tools then fall into the “Trough of Disillusionment” before emerging at the right hand side where they finally begin to deliver some of the benefits that were originally promised
  • Not everything travels the full cycle, some new technologies simply reach their peak and then disappear without trace
  • It’s not sequential, some new technologies move along the cycle faster than others
  • Finally some technologies will remain at a given level forever

The PR Hype Cycle

So based on that here is the PR Hype Cycle:


The first thing to notice is that our traditional tools such as press conferences, press releases, telephones etc. are mostly collected on the right hand side of the diagram in the Plateau of Productivity section. They all provide well understood features and returns and are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

Some traditional elements such as message control or the fax machine are in all probability becoming less important for many practitioners however they do still exist and can be more important for some practitioners than others.

On the extreme left of the diagram you’ll see a whole host of new tools that many believe will have a fundamental impact on Public Relations. These include Citizen Journalism, RSS, Podcasts, and Wikis. As previously mentioned this is where you’ll begin to see differences between industries, for example in technology PR blogs are probably further to the right.

It may surprise you that I’ve put well established tools such as e-mail and databases only emerging from the trough of disillusionment but I have my reasons – we still don’t use them effectively.


So does it make any sense? Is it of any value? There have been a couple of comments so far, I’d be interested to hear what you think.

Written by Tom Murphy

September 22, 2005 at 7:44 am

Posted in General

Remember why you blog…

With all the content being generated around blogging – from debates on how blogs are going to replace the media to why blogs are a fad, and everything in between – I fear that people are losing sight of why the blog could be an important addition to corporate communications – namely it provides a better means to building relationships and providing better customer service.

There was a fantastic example of this with the re-launch of the new look UK Guardian newspaper last week.

As you may know, the Guardian has been at the forefront of offering their readers new innovative online services and they were early adopters of editorial blogs – but in the past week they’ve showcased how to incorporate blogging into your core business.

The re-designed Guardian (which includes a new size) has been well recieved and the editors have used their blogs to give an interesting insight into the preparation for the launch of the new format.

However, there was a small problem. Due to the paper’s new size a couple of the traditional items at the back of the paper were dropped or replaced. One such omission was the Doonesbury cartoon. The editors through talking with readers and research had found little objection to removing it. Unfortunately a large number of readers felt differently. And there was a lot of discussions on the Guardian blogs last week with readers calling for its return. And following all this blog-led pressure, the editors have listened to their audience and Doonesbury has returned.

Now I realize this is very small beer in the bigger scheme of things, but it’s a useful reminder that having a corporate blog is all good and well, but if it’s not integrated with the rest of the organization and if you’re not willing to engage in dialogue and act on feedback from your customers then it’s of limited value. The Guardian’s editors have listened and have acted – that’s good blog relations.

Thanks to Fergus Cassidy for the story.

Written by Tom Murphy

September 20, 2005 at 8:02 am

Posted in General

Global PR Blog Week Kicks Off

The second annual global PR blog week kicked off yesterday. There’s twelve articles already posted covering mostly blog-related topics from building communities to blogs for non-profits, executive blogging and much more.

As always it’s a recommended visit and read!

Written by Tom Murphy

September 20, 2005 at 7:57 am

Posted in General

Global PR Blog Week

Morning all

Well Global PR Blog Week 2.0 is less than a week away. It kicks off next Monday (the press release has gone out so it must be true!) and continues all week with even more content that last year. So it’s definetely a recommended visit for anyone with even a passing interest in PR.

This year’s event has contributors from Argentina, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States and there are over seventy articles being published, which for a volunteer, non-profit event is a staggering achievement.

My only gripe is that to pull off an event of this size takes a lot of hard work from a lot of people and I don’t think they are getting full credit for their work. Hopefully they’ll step out from behind the curtain!

I know posting has been terribly slow, however things like vacation, new job etc. have intervened. I’ll keep you posted.

Written by Tom Murphy

September 13, 2005 at 7:41 am

Posted in General