Bite sized, stackable articles

Ran across a post about a Business Insider article that was revealing, critical and insightful about the agency process to create a single tweet for a new client. It may surprise or enlighten you about the careful and often bureaucratic method an organization follows to produce the perfectly crafted tweet. More on the article here.

Hopefully your organized isn’t mired down in such bureaucracy and process that you overlook the most useful part of social media: SPEED!

 

 

12 Tips for PR Graduates

  1. Develop a humble  attitude. You are not entitled to a job; you must earn it.
  2. Be a continuous learner. Graduation doesn’t signal the end of learning to communicate. Practice your writing skills and learn to use new tools.
  3. Choose face-to-face communication. Eye contact is important! See this recent WSJ article.
  4. Volunteer. Help a colleague on a project or be on a committee. You will win friends and influence people.
  5. Read, Read, Read. The best way to stay on top of current events, trends, popular culture, politics, art, international affairs, the environment–and improve your writing–is is to develop a love of reading. Note: Now that you’ve graduated, you’re not stuck reading textbooks so it’s time to branch out.
  6. Write everyday. Whether it is to your boss, your mother, your best friend or your own journal. Develop the habit of writing every day. At least 500 words. Start a blog and give your opinion. No, I don’t mean Facebook posts.
  7. Make time to meditate. Take a break from technology each day. No cell phone, tablet, PC, TV, Internet, radio. Ponder your family, career, life goals and what you can do for others.
  8. Get a hobby. It’s best if it’s physical and you interact with people.
  9. Develop a solid work ethic. Be early to work. On occasion, stay late until the project is finished.
  10. Travel. This is a lifelong education.
  11. Be curious. Learn from people from other cultures. Develop an interest in new subjects.
  12. Be a good listener. Effective listening means asking good questions.

In the spirit of graduation, I offer up these tips to PR graduates. Congratulations on making it to this point and I wish you all the best.

Run, Hide and Fight

In grade school,  teachers taught us to “Duck, Cover and Hold,” in response to the common earthquakes we experienced in California. For children in the midwest, assembling in hallways, basements and getting low to the ground and away from windows during tornados is essential. For today’s adult workers, I ran across a workplace tips newsletter that offering this sobering advice about a disturbing new trend: violence in the workplace. Unfortunately it’s becoming a common occurrence for U.S. businesses to experience a violent incident. When it does happen, employees must be prepared to immediately “Run, Hide or Fight.” An organization must also prepare for emergency communications and have a plan in place. For public relations professionals, it’s essential to have a plan in order to respond quickly and appropriately to employees and various external publics–particularly the news media. Many proactive organizations prepare for crisis situations with written plans and practice drills. Nowadays, crisis plans must include preparation and response to employee violence.

Run Hide and Fight

New Roles for PR Professionals

Ask a PR professional to explain what he or she does for a living and you’re likely to get some very different responses. The reason is that PR professionals wear so many different hats that on any given day, they could be involved in very different activities. This recent article from PR Daily explains four new roles for PR Pros: Blogger Relations, SEO, Crisis Mgmt and Metrics. It also implies some interesting changes about where the perceived value of PR professionals exists. What do you think is the biggest value of having a PR professional on your staff?

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Career Opportunities: Decline in Reporters Spurs on PR Professionals

A recent news article listed jobs that are on the decline such as Desktop Publisher, Reporter, Semiconductor Processor, Insurance Appraiser…and more. Instead of these four job functions, alternative careers include: Graphic Designer, PR Specialist, Database Administrator and Cost Estimator. For PR professionals, the outlook is good. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the PR field is expected to grow 23 percent between 2010 and 2020. Thanks to the Internet revolution and the growth of social media in particular, the need for communications professionals to be proactive in dealing with bad news or spreading good news is critical. A bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas is the typical entry path: public relations, communications, journalism, English or business.

PR Pro

Success in the Workplace

I came across a very interesting piece in Talent Magazine that included tips on how to be wildly successful in the workplace. Interestingly, it describes workers in terms of three categories: Takers, Matchers and Givers. These three personality traits describe the characteristics needed to succeed in the workplace. The three trends that shape our relationships and personal reputations are the following: project-based work, the knowledge or service economy and the rise of online social networks. All of these elements combine together for a more interconnected workplace and one in which we must put the team first. This may not be a surprise to most employees, but the achievement of long-term success can now be attributed towards our attitude of working on groups and how we act as either a Taker, Matcher or a Giver? How do you measure yourself in terms of servant leadership?

Servant leader

 

Read to Write Better

I love to read. Just about any subject. I’m one of those people who can find something interesting to read from the magazines in the dentists office and the hair salon. Whether it’s Ladies Home Journal, Guns and Ammo, Reader’s Digest, The Wall Street Journal or The Economist, I’ve developed the life-long habit of reading. From monthly book club choices to new reading Apps on my Kindle and iPad, I could simply read all day long – even if I wasn’t paid to do it. One of the best ways to cultivate your writing ability is to read regularly. As I was reading this recent post, I thought this advice was not simply valid for PR and Marketing folks, but for all business people. Besides writing regularly, how do you continually improve your writing skills?

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One-third of World Uses Internet: U.S. Ranks 28th in Percentage of People With Access

The statistic of U.S. users is interesting, but perhaps more relevant is that although English is the most widely used language, Chinese will surpass it in just two years. Also, according to recent information from the International Telecommunications Union (part of the United Nations), 2.25 billion people are now online with 1 billion of them using mobile broadband connections. This fact has tremendous impact for PR professionals and for business and consumers everywhere. For the full text of the article, read it here. Perhaps as Internet connectivity increases, particularly wireless and broadband connections in all of the developing countries,  global trade opportunities will continue to increase. A Google executive predicted recently that all of the world’s information would be accessible online by 2020. Imagine the possibilities…

Africa

PR is no substitute for bad products

Two very interesting articles in today’s Wall Street Journal. The first one discusses the recent poor financial performance of McDonald’s. Interestingly, the company’s response is to encourage franchisees to provide better service with a smile. It identified the top customer complaint as “rude or unprofessional employees.” Customers apparently have found service chaotic and it described the average drive-thru order wait time of 188.83 seconds. I suppose a three minute wait time for your order must feel like forever in an idling vehicle, but that still sounds awfully fast to me. The company is even remodeling and sprucing up restaurants to appear more appealing, but one major area of emphasis seems to be missing: the food. It’s awful. Nutritionally lacking, poor tasting, lukewarm products are the problem. And, have you actually tried a milkshake? It tastes more like flavored foam than actual ice cream. The burgers are disgusting no matter how many condiments are used to either drown the ugliness or spice up the bland mystery meat. Clearly I’m no fan of McDonald’s food, but I don’t think it’s just me. What do you think is the problem at McDonalds?

Unknown

The next article does not bode well for the future of traditional computer sales. Apparently the rapid growth of iPads and tablet PCs have sharply decreased the demand for personal computers, including laptops and desktops. In separate reports from IDC and Gartner, both respected industry research firms, estimated a decline of 14 percent and 11 percent respectively in world-wide shipments. Adding to the problem is the latest operating system from Microsoft, Windows 8, that has failed to take off. In fact, it has been shunned by so many I.T. professionals as an inferior product to its predecessor, Windows 7, that many companies are choosing not to upgrade. The problem: Windows 8 has at best, missed the window of sales opportunity or is simply a bad product. It has certainly failed to deliver on the long-promised user experience with features many hoped would make the transition from desktops and tablets an easy, uncomplicated and glitch-free experience. Ask any IT professional what they think about Windows 8 and if this is the case of a bad product.

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Follow the Frog

What can you do as a business person when you have a limited budget, want to change the world and affect daily human behavior? Create an educational video. Make it humorous. Poke a little fun at yourself. Two examples: The brilliant “Follow the Frog” campaign is an educational effort by the non-profit Rainforest Alliance to reduce the destruction of rain forests. In this brilliantly creative video, it hits the mark by first showing you what you won’t do as a consumer and then showing you what you can do to make a difference. It’s funny because it addresses right up front some of the stereotypes about environmental activists in a funny way and then proceeds to teach us in an unpretentious way how small, daily actions that fit into our regular lives can make a real difference for the planet. Watch it here and let me know what you think.

Follow the Frog

The second innovative video is from the “Will it blend?” campaign. It is a series of funny company videos by BlendTec, to promote its industrial strength blenders. After initiating the marketing campaign a few years ago, sales skyrocketed. See sample videos here.

Will it Blend