My Top 5 PR Blogs Revealed

As a new blogger, i have been trolling the blogosphere for inspiration and guidance from the most popular PR blogs.  There are hundreds of blogs dedicated to PR related topics.  Many public relations firms have their own company run blogs that serve as a platform for disseminating information about their clients products and services.  While these are interesting to read about new product launches, i am more interested in blogs that offer tips and strategies geared toward seasoned and new PR professionals.  Below i have compiled a list of some of my favorite and most influential PR blogs that everyone should be familiar with.  Since the fashion industry remains my primary interest, i have sprinkled in a few fashion PR blogs throughout this list.  Get to reading folks!!

My Top 5 PR Blogs:

  • Footprints –  A shoes-off, barefoot blog, aiming to help public relations students and young professionals find their paths in the industry.
  • PR Couture – One of my favorite PR blogs, PR Couture explores the ever-evolving role of public relations, marketing and social media in the fashion industry.
  • Pierce Mattie – This blog attempts to stimulate “fuel for thought” about the luxury lifestyle industries and those interested in public relations, branding, new media, marketing and event planning. Their goal is to give bloggers access to the same content and attention that we give mainstream media.
  • PR-Squared – Written by Shift Communication principal Todd Defren, this blog explores the business side of social media and marketing as well as changes in communication strategies.
  • The Future Buzz – The Future Buzz is a digital marketing and social media blog run by communications professional Adam Singer and updated by the entire site’s community of contributors. This blog will help you become successful in spreading buzz online for whatever you’re doing on or off the web. Readers are inspired to think creatively about leveraging the web for their business, art or clients.

For a comprehensive list of the top 100 PR blogs visit Blog Rank.  For a short list of fashion related PR blogs, visit PR Couture.

I Need A Job! Can Social Media Help?

If you are anything like me (young, about to graduate college, ready to have a career instead of a series of go-nowhere jobs) then you are actively looking for a job in your field of choice.  In fact, this is my primary objective for the next 6-12 months – to find a PR/Social media specialist position within the fashion or entertainment sectors, preferably based in New York City.  We have all heard horror stories about record unemployment and continued lack of job opportunities for young people (see CBS News report – Lack of jobs spawning the “Lost Generation”) so it is no wonder that me and my classmates exhibit some stress when thinking about our next steps after college.  Luckily there are new opportunities being created for social media “experts” spanning many different industries.

Social Media Experts/Specialists –

It is clear that social media has become an integral part of our lives on a global scale.  Although mostly used casually as a way to connect with friends and acquaintances, more and more businesses have a presence on social networking sites than ever before.  They use these sites not only to connect with customers and promote new products/services, but also to field customer complaints and monitor the blogosphere for negative statements about their brand.  Using social media adequately can help a business increase brand awareness and many celebrities have discovered this function and used it often, sometimes to their detriment (Ashton Kutcher anyone?).  Having an expert manage your company’s online presence helps ensure that the brand is being represented in all relevant arenas and that politically incorrect  and other potentially embarrassing statements do not get made.

There is a growing debate online as to whether social media experts are worth employing or not.

Peter Shankman, author of a blog post entitled Why I Will Never, Ever Hire A “Social Media Expert” on Business insider.com argues that social media experts are just online marketers that do not see the big picture.  He claims that most of their job equates to simple common sense and that an integration of traditional marketing methods with social media and word of mouth is the best formula for success in conveying a client’s message.  In an interview on techcrunch.com, all around businessman Gary Vaynerchuk  opined that “99.5 percent of social media experts are clowns” which obviously created a big stir.

Many bloggers and businessmen came to the social media expert’s defense, extolling the merits of their work.  Rand Fishkin, co-founder and CEO of SEOmoz.org shot back with a lengthy blog post detailing the importance of experts as business consultants.  According to Fishkin “Facebook has 600 million users; Twitter’s at nearly 200 million; LinkedIn is over 100 million; Blogs have hundreds of millions of readers and tens of millions of publishers; Tumblr alone has 250 million pageviews in a day and Disqus reaches 500 million visitors each month. Social’s driving an increasing proportion of the web’s traffic, conversions and value. How can anyone logically proclaim that experts are worthless?” He also includes a chart that shows the ‘spheres of social media expertise’ further demonstrating the need for staff that understand the many levels of social media/networking. (Click on the chart for a clearer view)

As part of her blog response to Gary Vaynerchuk’s comments entitled Are Social Media “Experts” Worthless, Sonia Simone, co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media, gives her own list of best practices for social media specialists called ‘How to get into the .05%’.  Simone suggests that understanding content marketing strategies and direct response copywriting will help differentiate good social media specialists from the rest.  Also partnering with others who have the skills that you lack helps create a well-rounded team.  As always, being well educated on the newest and most efficient tools and developing specific strategies tailored to the clients needs is key.

I believe that the need for Social media expertise is a great opportunity for young people and college grads with an interest in communication to land a great job.  After all, young people like me have been on social networking platforms like Facebook and Myspace for years and are the earliest adopters of new sites/services like these.  We follow, and more importantly create, trends and know what is hot before the rest of the population discovers it.  HIRE US!!

Check out the links above and be sure to read the comments at the end.  People are really passionate about this subject.

  • What is your opinion on the Social Media expert influx?
  • Do you agree with Gary Vaynerchuk’s opinion that “we are going to live through a devastating social media bubble”?

Online Resources for PR Professionals

With the rapid development of new technologies, it is no wonder that PR professionals have been seeking new tools to help them communicate and maintain relationships more efficiently.  A quick Google search yields many websites and services that the modern PR professional must not only be aware of but well versed in too.  Many of these sites offer their services for free.  Culled from web searches, articles and blog posts on the subject, here are a few of the websites that I believe are most useful:

issuu.com

This free website allows you to create digital look-books, portfolios and media kits with magazine quality.  You can publish your work on the website and browse other publications as well.  issuu.com puts an end to creating and downloading large PDF files and allows you to share your creations on social media sites.

pitchengine.com

Create and distribute pitches for your clients.  This site allows you to add multimedia to your pitches, convert them into a mobile format, and share them on social media websites. According to the company “Your sales flyer, press release or announcement will ooze class. It’s like sexy, stylish business attire for the modern communicator.”  Click on the link to watch a short and informative video about the merits of this site

rapportive.com

Rapportive.com allows you to view your contact’s latest information accross multiple platforms including recent Tweets, Facebook posts and the like.  This description comes directly from Rapportive’s website:

Rapportive shows you everything about your contacts right inside your inbox.  You can immediately see what people look like, where they’re based, and what they do. You can establish rapport by mentioning shared interests. You can grow your network by connecting onLinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more.  And you can record thoughts for later by leaving notes.  Imagine relationship management built into your email. For free.

Do you know of any other good PR websites and resources?

Please check out the following articles for more useful websites:

5 Free Digital Tools No Fashion PR Should Be Without

10 of the Best Social Media Tools for PR Professionals and Journalists

Further info on Twitter and PR

This week my CPR 590 partner and I gave a presentation on micro-blogging and its function with respect to public relations.  For this blog post I wanted to add some additional information and links that were not included in that presentation.

Although micro-blogging has become a very popular form of social media thanks to Twitter, it is not only used for fun interactions with friends or following your favorite celebrities and news outlets.  Twitter and other micro-blogging sites are being used by PR professionals to monitor their brand perception, identify and solve customer service/product issues, and to interact with their customers.   Because this is still a relatively new PR outlet, many practitioners are not sure how to use this tool most efficiently.  Mary Fletcher Jones, PRSA member and the owner of Fletcher Prince, a social media consulting firm, wrote a best practices guideline for PR practitioners using Twitter and other micro-blogs.  The most important points that I gleaned from her blog post were:

  • Keep focused on your message by posting only relevant updates
  • Respond to customers complaints, comments and praise
  • Post links to articles and blogs related to your industry/product/expertise
  • NEVER post negative comments
Mary Fletcher Jones has several interesting blog posts related to PR.  Follow her posts on the PRSA-NCC Blog
Here are some more links to interesting articles outlining how and why to use Twitter for business purposes:
-Nyasha Kimoy-

The Myth of Cyber Privacy

A very sad event placed social media into the news spotlight last week.  According to news outlets including CNN.com,  a couple was murdered and their bodies left hanging from a bridge in Mexico for supposedly denouncing violence and illegal activities being perpetrated by Mexican drug cartels.  A threatening hand written message was found near the bodies warning of further violence to those who use social media outlets to speak negatively about them.  Although law enforcement has been unable to confirm exactly what the couple had posted online that made them a target, the murders underline an important thing to consider when using social media; Privacy.

The appearance of anonymity on the internet can unleash the beast in many people.  How many times have you read gossip blogs or other types of blogs that contain false or misleading statements about a celebrity or other public figure?  I have read more pregnancy rumors surrounding Beyoncé and Jennifer Aniston over the years than I can count!  What about the mean spirited comments left on these blogs by readers hiding behind an avatar and a fake name?  Because they do not believe that they will be held accountable for their comments, libelous and defamatory speech is wafting across the internet like a bad odor.  (Check out CNN’s take on ‘The Scourge of Internet Anonymity‘)

Although you may believe that whatever you post on the internet cannot be traced back to you, the undeniable truth is that there is no true internet anonymity.  Whenever you initiate a transmission on the internet it leaves a trail that can be followed right to your computer.  Every time you hear of some crazy (or not so crazy) crime that has been committed, you can be pretty sure that the police have confiscated the suspect’s computers for analysis. After all, even when you drop that file in the recycling bin or delete your browser history, almost everything you have ever done on that computer can be retrieved.  In many ways this is a good thing.  Remember when Dateline NBC was running constant installments of the ‘To Catch A Predator‘ series?  A government task force would hunt down pedophiles in chat rooms and other internet forums by posing as underage kids and engage in sexually explicit exchanges.  They would use these chats to set up meetings between the pedophiles and the fictitious kids and then arrest them when they arrived at the designated meeting point.  In the case of rampant pedophilia, or other egregious felonious behaviors, I am glad that there are ways of identifying the seemingly anonymous on the internet.

But what about cases in which, like the two unfortunate victims of the Mexico killings, the lack of privacy leads to danger?  There are tools on the internet that can track where you are in the world using your IP address and mapping software.  Accounts you thought you disabled years ago still show up in web searches.  Cyberstalking has become a serious and dangerous issue due to the wealth of personal information that can be found about an individual online, much of which is posted by that person themselves on various social networking sites!  Could the killers have tracked this poor couple down using sensitive information found on their profile pages?  Who knows?!

While we cannot be deterred from standing up for what we believe is right by the murderous drug cartels, overreaching governments or others who seek to silence us, it is important when using the internet to protect yourself at all times.  For tips on avoiding cyberstalking visit privacyrights.org.
But first, go ahead and Google yourself, and don’t forget to check Google Images as well.  What you find might freak you out. . .

-Nyasha Kimoy-

Did Social Media Kill the PR Star?

A topic of debate for many a PR professional is whether Social Media has rendered public relations obsolete.  I recently came across a video posted by Kara Swisher, a technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal and popular internet commentator, regarding a panel held in San Francisco to address this very question.  The panel was in response to Jason Calacanis, Robert Scoble and Michael Arrington, three controversial bloggers who had stirred the pot by suggesting that,
with the advent of social media sites, pr is no longer a necessary field/tool.  The conclusion that the panel ultimately came to was that times change and pr tactics change with it.  Of course a room full of pr people are not going to make a statement that their industry is dead, after all it is their bread-and-butter, but there is evidence to support their conclusion.

In an article entitled ‘The Nine Lives of Public Relations’, Don Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, who is a professor of public relations at Boston University and editor of PRSA’s peer-reviewed PR Journal, mentioned to the author in 2009 that he estimates about 70% of all social media programs are driven by pr professionals.  One can only imagine that that number has held steady or even increased over the years.  Remember, public relations professionals are the guardians of the all-important message, and their purpose is to get the message, whatever it may be, to the right people in the right way.  The benefits of social media with regard to public relations is that it allows one to bypass the traditional media outlets and disseminate a message directly to one’s target audience.

I believe social media will cause public relations professionals to become even more creative in how they operate and will produce even more employment opportunities for the tech savvy among us.  15 years ago companies were not concerned with hiring young professionals to exclusively manage their image online image.  Now they are employing more and more young people as social media managers, essentially hired to tinker about on Facebook and Twitter for a living (of course their roles are more involved than that but you know what I mean!).

Social Media certainly hasn’t killed the PR star, in fact it may have given it new life.

-Nyasha Kimoy-