Showing posts with label PR Newswire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PR Newswire. Show all posts

Friday, January 9

Defining Communication: Real-Time Over Social

If anyone needs more evidence that 2009 will be the Year of Communication, consider the upcoming 'Real-Time Communications Conference' will lead with a keynote presentation about embracing social media and online community building by Pfizer Vice President Ray Kerins.

Following Kerins will be a panel discussion moderated by Sarah Milstein, author, Twitter and the Micro-Messaging Revolution. The panel will include: Paul Gennaro, senior vice president & chief communications officer, AECOM Technology Corp and David Sacks, founder and CEO, Yammer, Dave Armon, president, PR Newswire, and Morgan Johnston, Corporate Communications manager, JetBlue. There are also two roundtable sessions.

The conference will be held on Jan. 14 at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York, but portions of it will be broadcast live via a PR Newswire/MultiVu Webcast. So what's on the agenda for business besides positioning "social media" as a subset of real-time communications?

• Case studies of leading organizations that embrace real-time communications.
• Real-time communications to build communities with customers and prospects.
• Analysis of leading organizations on how they can manage and defend brand reputation.
• Maintaining core values and principles while maximizing flexibility for unforeseen events.
• Integrating crisis communication when challenged by real-time events online.
• An overview of the tools and technologies that today's communicators need to know.

Lewis Green, L and G Business Solutions; Francois Gossieaux, Emergence Marketing; and Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent (to some extent); have all expressed concerns that the social media expert crowd might be disconnecting themselves from business.

We also mentioned the trend several times last year, first following up on some comments made by Ted McConnell, general manager-interactive marketing and innovation at Procter & Gamble Co., and again in response to the overemphasis of conversations even knowing that neither might be popular. Right. For all the fun of following what is hot and what is not, businesses are moving right along without those who profess to know.

Does that mean businesses will make mistakes? You bet they will. But even if the tone of the new Wells Fargo-Wachovia blog (hat tip: Shel Holtz) seems a bit off, the social media crowd might have to accept that most customers don't care what comes first or last as long as companies move in the right direction.

Friday, December 28

Making Messes: News Release Resolutions

With the fast approaching New Year, it’s no surprise that New Year's resolutions and predications are among the hottest topics across the wire.

Sure, some journalists scramble for such tidbits because their readers expect it, doubly so when the space between Christmas and New Year's seems painfully short. But that’s hardly a reason to force a media release into a prediction or faux resolution piece, hoping it might get picked up as mainstream filler.

Here are five of my favorites, but not because they are true.

• released that quitting your job might be a good resolution because 77 percent of its visitors are dissatisfied with their jobs and are planning to look for a new career opportunity.

You think? If they were satisfied with their jobs, they probably wouldn’t be on to begin with.

• Transitions Lenses released that keeping New Year's resolutions is a matter of perseverance. “To stay true to your resolutions, experts recommend choosing realistic goals, like visiting your eye doctor yearly,” they say.

Geesh. If you're going to lower your expectations that much, there isn't much point in making a resolution in the first place.

• The Texas Society of CPAs came up with a boatload of “helpful hints” for meeting financial goals, including “paying off debts” and to “start saving.”

Sure, it’s pat advice. So pat, I can tell you that without being a CPA.

• A Body Worlds 2 (an exhibit in the Bay area) release suggests: everyone “Get fit. Drink less alcohol. Quit smoking. Spend more time with friends and family. Visit cultural events. Seek out educational activities.”

While the exhibit looks pretty neat, these tend to be the six most common resolutions people make every year anyway. Yawn.

• Sixty-two percent of respondents to the Turnaround Management Association's annual Trend Watch Poll said that homebuilders will face the "greatest financial and/or operational difficulties" next year.

Hmmm. Maybe the housing market will continue to be in a slump as long as experts continue to tell us it’s in a slump. (Hat tip to Wells Fargo for releasing the slump will not be as bad as some fear.)

Well, if you can't beat them, join them. I have a resolution suggestion too. Public relations professionals might resolve to save their clients about $400 per wire submission in favor of releasing ... drum roll ... relevant news. Releases like these leave big messes in the morning.


Wednesday, May 16

Shifting For Social Media: PR Newswire

One of the most significant changes in news reporting and public relations was somewhat missed by the general public. PR Newswire, the global leader in news and information distribution services for professional communicators, did what most public relations professionals seemed unwilling to do just a few months ago: embrace social media.

Releases sent over this popular wire service have been employing social media elements inspired by SHIFT Communications (just a bit more streamlined), include RSS feeds, Technorati and Digg links. The benefit is this news distribution model makes it even easier for social media to select stories that interest them, just as mainstream media outlets have done for years.

There is still some room for improvement — the "blogs discussing this news release" is linked to a headline search instead of combined keywords — but these are minor issues that will eventually be modified. The change is admirable and a badly needed first step that levels the playing field (even if it is somewhat responsive to some bloggers suggesting they can create online public relations distribution platforms too).

There also seem to be a few side effects that are becoming more noticeable and pervasive: the quality of the news releases from a journalistic perspective are being buried with colorful leads, non-news, and increased puffery. It's the kind of stuff some bloggers might grab up because they don't have to rewrite it.

But for a journalist, it can be a bit maddening at times to look for buried news while trying to beat the deadline and field calls from public relations specialists asking if the release they sent was received. Here are a few random leads from releases distributed by PR Newswire today:

"Hiring an ad agency can be a scary thought. I mean who wants to deal with those egos? Or even scarier, who wants to see that agency invoice?"

"To a room filled with close to 200 advertisers and media, the 2007 GolTV Upfront got off to a great start."

"Canada, the world's second largest country and number one "foreign" destination for Americans, is tired of hearing that it's too nice, too pretty, too pristine and too safe, let alone too similar to the U.S.A."

I'm not saying any of these leads are "good" or "bad" as much as I'm saying this is what is — new releases are trending to be much more editorialized and I'm not so sure that's a good thing. Worse, in some cases, companies might even be tempted to release padded news, knowing that citizen journalists (some mainstream journalists too) are a bit lax on fact checking.

Personally, I think a crisp news release is still the better communication tool. It's more credible and can be picked up just as easily by members of the social or mainstream media. It also makes me wonder what the future might look like if more and more companies turn toward editorial releases instead of solid news. Hmmm... the word wacky comes to mind.


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