Mentoring the Economist with press releases, SEO and a Vic-20

  • Voce Nation points to an initiative being kicked off by Marisa Staker, the new president of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at San Jose State, it’s a “a mentor program to match students with professionals, facilitating career development and better preparing students to enter the workforce”. Mentoring is one of most valuable practices, not just for students but for professionals, particularly in a business such as PR where experience adds so much value. Hopefully we’ll see some meaningful online mentoring emerge from the 350 PR related blogs that are now online.

    Just think about that for a moment… 350 PR blogs. That’s a lot of potential advice, discussion and wisdom. We should make use of it.

  • The Economist has published a favourable piece on Public Relations. This is a good thing. I consider myself a pragmatist. I passionately believe in the value of PR (you might have guessed that from the title of the blog), however I also understand that PR can’t do everything. The other elements of the marketing mix remain relevant and important. If we work hard and continue to strive for professionalism, then we have a great chance of further raising the significance and influence of PR – particularly with the growing fragmentation in how organizations communicate. However, let’s not lose the run of ourselves, there’s a lot more work to be done and let’s not forget PR isn’t the only answer.
  • Every single day we find online examples of why PR has a bad image. Yes there are unethical practices (most of which we never discover) but the sheer volume of stupid, ill-informed, intellectually challenged pitches that take place beggars belief. Merlin Mann (of the wonderful 43 folders site) is the latest to call foul. (As an aside: I love the term Interweb, it sums up a lot of things and always makes me smile and often laugh). People please stop and think about what you are doing. [Via David Parmet, Mason Cole and Eric Tatro]
  • Andrew Smith points to a document [PDF] written by David Meerman Scott on the “New Rules of PR”, which if I may roughly summarize, says that press releases can reach multiple audiences not just journalists. Eh? Just for the record this runs counter to the whole theme behind the “power of conversation”. Press releases absolutely serve a communications purpose (I really do NOT want to open that particular can of worms), but surely as we move into a more fragmented media landscape, there is a need for different types of communication, written in a more engaging, less structured manner in addition to our press releases. The press release isn’t dead but then it isn’t the only answer either.
  • The irrepressible Phil Gomes has an interesting post where he calls out that equating Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with PR is bad. However I feel duty bound to point out that it doesn’t mean that PR people understanding SEO is bad. In fact I passionately believe that if you are serious about online communication you need to understand how search engines work, and be in a position to advise companies how to improve their ranking. Let’s not leave it to the cowboys (any longer)….
  • Of course you turn you back on this blog thingy and all sorts of funny things happen, like Jeremy Pepper moving to the big agency world with Weber Shandwick [Kevin Dugan]
  • The folks over at Topaz Partners question whether PR practices are as unprofessional and incompetent as it often appears. They come to the conclusion that it’s probably only a tiny subset that’s causing the problem. It’s something I think I’ll come back to, it appears to me the problem might be worse than originally thought….
  • Given it’s Friday, Colin McKay has a great link to a movie of William Shatner promoting the Vic-20 – Games and a real computer keyboard for less than $300 – I want one now!.