London: Delivering the New PR

London: I arrived into Heathrow this evening (BMI) for the third "Delivering the New PR" event. Of course we had the usual Heathrow delays and hassles, which combined with the heat and a driver who drove me around in circles made for a stressfull trip.

Of course it's been worth it to catch up with Chris, Elizabeth, Neville, Philip and Nicky.  Unfortunately Stuart isn't arriving until the morning.

Earlier in the day I was at the first All-Ireland CSR conference.  They got a great turn out and it was fantastic to catch up with a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while, but I think there could have been more content and sessions.

Blogging on WordPress

Well after listening to Neville Hobson evangelizing the wonders of WordPress I decided I had better give it a try.

My daytime blog uses MoveableType on my own web server, but to be honest I am afraid to touch it in case it falls over.  I’m proud to say I installed it myself but every time I try and change something it all falls over.  I don’t have time to go diving back into the morass of templates and configurations. 

Instead I’m trying out the free hosted service from which has the drawback of offering limited configuration but the benefit of not requiring me to waste a lot of time.

Of course there’s a strong chance that it will die of neglect or suffer sporadic posting but then that’s probably no different to the majority of blogs 🙂

We’ll see how it works over time!


The site is now running WordPress on a dedicated server!

Speaking and Ranking…

I’m in full time parenting mode this weekend, so with my heir in bed, I’ve been doing a lot of blog catch up and it’s very very busy out there.

I’m looking forward to next week and the third and last planned event in the University of Sunderland’s “New PR” series. It’s taking place in London on May 12th and it’ll be great to catch up with Elizabeth, Stuart, Neville, Philip, Chris and of course Nicky and her team. You can find out more about the event here.

Another thing that’s been on my mind: the PubSub PR list.

It’s a little confusing, I don’t understand how the ranking works. [Now given that there is as much ego as altruism involved in this blogging lark, I imagine a lot of people take a sneaky peak from time to time]. Sometimes when I haven’t blogged in ages I move up, sometimes when I do blog I move down. I always knew I moved in mysterious ways but with the PubSub list….. I thought it would be interesting to look at the latest stories from the PubSub Top Ten on May 5th:

#1 – Kami Huyse: Discussion on PubSub’s Rankings!

#2 – Alan Weinkrantz: Discussion on PubSub Rankings!

#3 – San Antonio Byline Blog: The Rewards and Risks of Blogging [Collaborative Blog: Gregory Frieden, Christie Goodman, Kami Watson Huyse, Paige Ramsey-Palmer]

#4 – Steve Rubel: Blogger Spared from Lawsuit

#5 – Brian Oberkirch: BrainJams New Orleans

#6 – Richard Bailey: The rise of PR and Sponsorship

#7 – Andy Lark: Bloggers not rushing to blogs

#8 – New PR Wiki

#9 – Eric Eggertson: Damn Spammer Only Has to Pay $4 Million

#10 – B.L. Ochman: Benny Goes To Broadway and Beyond [Don’t ask :)]

So what does this detailed scientific analysis tell us? Absolutely nothing, but I’m sure we’ll keep peaking at it.

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PR Miscellany – May 5, 2006

Some reading and listening for the weekend…

  • As always For Immediate Release continues to be an informative and enjoyable PR podcast. The boys (Neville and Shel) are now on #134 (or is that 133? 🙂
  • The latest Edeleman Earshot has been released (#5)
  • Brian Oberkirch has released a podcast from a roundtable on PR 2.0 with Mike Manuel, Josh Hallett and David Parmet.
  • The Economist has published a really interesting story on New Media.
  • For the UK readers out there, Simon Collister has just completed a round-up of three UK PR magazines: PR Week (UK Edition obviously), PR Business and CorpComms.
  • As you may have seen elsewhere the BBC and Reuters have published a report on Trust in the Media (PDF) [Thanks to Neville Hobson]
  • Jeff Treem has a summary of the recent Makovsky 2006 State of Corporate Blogging Survey – Fortune 1000 companies aren’t inside the tent [Thanks to Niall Cook]
  • Trevor Cook has a link to three interesting college articles on Ethics in PR from three students in DePaul University
  • Yes, yes, yes… I’ve caved in on the tag rubbish… for the moment anyhow 🙂

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A book for all the Tech PRs…

I realize I’m coming to this quite late, but a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of HackOff earlier this week. [I notice BL Ochman had a post on it back in September last year.]

HackOff is a fictional novel about the apparent suicide of the CEO of a start-up that goes public during the bubble. It’s available in blog format, you can also download it in PDF format or buy it from Amazon.

Now I’m only a couple of chapters into it, but for anyone who was intimately involved in the tech business pre-, during and post- the Internet bubble, this is a fantastic read. It does a great job of recreating the mood and atmosphere of the time.

It’s worth the click…

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Taking off the hob nail boots..

Gary Goldhammer is absolutely correct, his criticism of my last post is justified, I should have “slept on it” before pushing the publish button, so I send my apologies to Daniel.

You can mark it down to fatigue, a knee jerk response to hyperbole. To make amends here’s a more balanced exploration of some of the more common chestnuts one reads….

Blogs are a killer app…
This is something I’ve argued against for years. Blogs are a tool. That’s it. They’re not the cure to the ills of the world, they’re not going to single handedly destroy traditional media, they’re not going to destroy PR. They are simply an easy way to publish web pages with links and great additional features like comments, trackbacks and of course RSS. Is that to say blogs are not exciting, interesting or valuable? Nope. Blogs foster a new type of conversational communication but anyone waiting for blogs to change the world will be disappointed. Chant with me: “You have no clothes on, you have no clothes on…”

PR is Dying/Dead/Doomed
I think Tom Foremski’s comment on Daniel’s second post sent me over the edge. [He wrote: “Blogging is a killer app, it is killing PR as we know it. Which is probably a good thing since the “old” PR as we know it, is full of inefficiencies and out dated practices but, it does have a business model…”] Oh Lord.

If we’re saying Web 2.0 is all about conversations and organizations getting better at communicating with their audiences, then how can the profession with all the communication skills be doomed? With all due respect, the individuals promoting this vision seem to have a limited knowledge of PR – normally reserved to e-mailed press releases, telephone pitches and press conferences. The fact that these individuals believe that’s all PR is about, means they’re simply speaking from ignorance. PR encompasses staff, investors, local communities, regulators, civil servants etc. etc. it’s not just about the media – though they remain important. It’s not just about news announcements – though they remain important. It’s a whole lot more than that.

If anyone seriously things face-to-face communication or any of the traditional PR skills such as good oral communication, good attention to detail, analytical thinking etc. aren’t relevant in the world of “Web 2.0”, they are sadly mistaken – they’re more relevant. And while some new tools, techniques and channels are emerging, they are an adjunct to our traditional tools, techniques and channels – not a replacement.

Web 2.0 = Death
Web 1.0 was all about the death of existing media, retail stores, consulting services etc. etc. [delete as applicable]. The reality is that the dot com entrepreneurs sold us a simplistic revolutionary vision (that we all bought) when the reality is that the Internet is about evolution. The proponents of Web 2.0 (with really annoying TLA’s such as MSM) are selling a similar proposition. Web 2.0 isn’t about the death of anything, it’s about extending the online experience and allowing us to do more things better. It doesn’t mean we’ll be spending the rest of our lives in our pyjamas sitting in our bedrooms staring at computer screens – well not me anyway.

PR Blogs are all about now
Most bloggers measure their success on visitors. When you post a story you track if anyone is reading, linking or commenting on the story – it’s an immediacy thing. After a while you forget about that post and move on. This immediate gratification behaviour may reflect the immaturity of blogging. Think about this…

Let’s talk just about PR for a moment. As more and more PR people come online and participate in blogging (through writing, reading, commenting or debating), a massive rich ecosystem of PR knowledge is being created. With the improvements in search technology people can find relevant information and knowledge in seconds. While keeping up with your favourite blogs will remain important, a growing volume of blog traffic will begin to come from your archives – or as our Web 2.0 proponents would say: The Long Tail.

Let’s not try and restrict PR people from blogging, instead we should be encouraging more and more PR people to participate in the blogging phenomenon so that we can all learn from each other. Yes there may be opinions we disagree with (oops) or information that might be irrelevant, but we’re still creating an amazing PR resource.

Furthermore, the more PR people who blog, the better understanding our profession will have of the tool.

So, Daniel please accept my apologies. However my advice remains the same.

Step away from the Kool Aid and think about how these tools will help you communicate more effectively on behalf of your clients and possibly increase your professional knowledge and expertise. Anything beyond that is excess.

The opt-in PR lobotomy…

I’ve pointed out many times before that whilst blogs have performed a fantastic public service by democratizing people’s ability to share their opinions, it’s an awful pity that more people haven’t heeded Mark Twain’s advice that it’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear ignorant than open it and remove all doubt.

That’s one of the thoughts that came to me while I was catching up on my blog reading yesterday evening. It’s interesting to see what a bit of distance can do for your perspective.

The idea that we should look at some sort of “quality control mechanism” for PR blogging is an idea looking for a lobotomy.

Really I have to wonder. Kids if you have nothing interesting to say… No let me re-state that, if you have nothing to say that makes the slightest bit of sense, or adds no value, then surely your own theory on quality rules yourself out of writing that crap in the first place… I hope you’re still with me on this.

My second thought was this. At least the poor unfortunate above had the cojones to stand over their opinion. Anonymous blogs deserve anonymity. No links, no engaging in comment wars. If you want to share your opinions then step up and show yourself, hiding your identity is the coward’s chosen path.

[Daniel: While it’s great you’re getting involved in the “conversation”, there’s an old adage that I think is appropriate: when you’re in a hole, stop digging. Step away from the spade. There are 450 PR blogs, I’d like to see 6,000. Think of the bank of PR knowledge and experience that would create. The quality of information and opinions online is self-regulating, those who have valuable insights will garner the greatest audiences and vice versa. I’d love to see some PR person regulate this blog….]

Clickable: Stuart Bruce, Mike Manuel, Eric Tatro, David Parmet, Morgan McLintic, Phil Gomes, Shel Holtz.

In retrospect this post was a little harsh… read the next post.