Richard Branson: Investing in PR Saves Millions in Advertising

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson is known around the world almost as much for his publicity stunts as his corporate (Virgin Airlines) pursuits, philanthropy and epic adventures. In a recent hour-long conversation in Australia, he described the need for all good companies to have a PR person: “The head of PR is perhaps one of the most important people in a company and a good chairman will have them by their side. They are critical for managing the brand and save millions in advertising; people talking about your company is much more important than anything.” Naturally, I agree.

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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.

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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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Men Gab More Than Women on Cell Phones

One new study reveals some interesting data about cell phone usage, particularly by men. Click here. The data reveals some interesting tidbits, particularly that men talk longer and speak faster than women. While this has huge ramifications for mobile commerce, it presents some interesting opportunities for marketers who want to attract and or influence mobile phone users. Perhaps all those gender based assumptions we make have been wrong all along! This presents an opportunity for PR people and numerous related tech businesses. What do you think?

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Selective Attention

A few years ago I was in the mode of shopping for a new car: a MINI Cooper. Suddenly, I noticed how many MINI Coopers were sharing the road with me. This concept, known to researchers as “selective attention,” refers to our brains hardwired tendency to focus on one thing at a time. A fascinating article in the Wall St. Journal discusses this idea further by relating it to listening in on select conversations during cocktail parties or even talking on the cell phone vs. talking to a passenger while driving an automobile. Relatively few members of the population are effective at multitasking (2.5 percent) and even students who are using Facebook in school classes are not learning effectively–which bring consequences when it comes time for exams. For marketers and PR people, it means we rarely have someone’s undivided attention. What does it mean for you?

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

Just finished a very interesting article from Atlantic Magazine, that not only has implications for marketers and public relations people, but perhaps is a more telling commentary on the state of human relationships. Naturally, the conclusion among researchers is that the technology does not make us more lonely, but it is how we use these tools. There is some fascinating research about social and human interaction that speaks directly to the issue of loneliness and the feeling of connectedness. I’m particularly interested in this subject since I have felt that Facebook legitimizes narcissism. What do you think?

Marketing and PR on a shoestring budget

When I started my business nearly eight years ago (March 2001), the U.S. was entering a period of economic stress, with unemployment rising and layoffs, many industry sectors were experiencing a downtown. Entering 2009, we’re in a similar position, arguably more significant, however the challenge to any business marketing and PR effort is the same: do more with less–or at least maintain in the face of economic gloom. In this blog, I’ll explore a few of these ideas in more detail so that your business can prosper & grow in spite of the lean times. For now, let me suggest a few tips:

Be resourceful- use existing resources, employees. Provide training where needed. Learn a new skill.

Research/survey your customer base – What do you really know about your best customers or the prospective customers you are trying to reach?

Targeted advertising – don’t waste your money on coupon clippers, yellow pages advertising or broad-based advertising. Use pay-per clicks, targeted e-mail distribution lists and reach out to your existing customer base.

Use Effective PR – this means using publicity techniques using time-tested PR tactics that deliver attention, buzz and more importantly customers.