Monday, September 21, 2009

GR Press Does PR!

There was an interesting example of media convergence yesterday.

The Grand Rapids Press had promised a detailed map for Art Prize, the phenomenal art exhibit/competition/community promotion happening in downtown Grand Rapids. But the map that was delivered in print in the Sunday Press had errors--not all of the art venues were listed, and the "inset on D7" indicated on the main map was no where to be found.

There were complaints on the Art Prize Web site. There were complaints on Twitter, which is often fed to Facebook and vice versa.

But in those same fora, the problem was addressed. A pdf of the missing map info was posted to the Art Prize site. The GR Press--both as an organizational entity and via various individual reporters and editors, including Entertainment Editor John Gonzalez--acknowledged the error, apologized, fixed it, and let everyone know via Twitter and Facebook. This is textbook crisis management for such a situation. As one of the complainers, I had a post to my Facebook wall and an @reply on Twitter from Press staff.

They did all of this quickly, directly, and on a weekend!

What's really interesting is that the Press was so directly involved in the crisis and solution. It wasn't just Art Prize, or staff at Seyferth and Associates (who have done a great job garnering interest and involvement among artists, art fans and broader communities). No, the Press was doing PR. They did it quite well.

Social media is causing media convergence in new and interesting ways. Whether you are in PR or journalism, it is increasingly clear that you can't just push information out there. You have to know, engage, and be responsive to your publics.

Ohh, the irony is delicious!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why the News Media Are Not That Into You

If you ever wonder why the media don't seem to care about you, here's a real gem.

OK, that's a bad play on the name Wondergem Consulting of Grand Rapids. Kate Washburn and others at the firm produced this fun video as part of their workshop "They're Just Not That Into You" as part of the biennial nonprofit PR workshop sponsored by the West Michigan chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA). 

The video features a series  of clips of reporters and editors from most West Michigan TV and print media outlets, each sharing a reason why they get annoyed or frustrated by PR pros--or non PR people--pitching stories in less than ideal fashion.

It's funny. It's educational. It's right on. I'll be sharing it with a class or two in the future.

It's also a nice effort in brand building by Wondergem, demonstrating that media relations involves actually having relationships with the media, not just blitzing them with self-serving information. Put another way, not just anyone can do media relations well.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Firm Focus on Nonprofits in Economic Downturn

An article in the current Rapid Growth caught my eye when it said a new communications firm had a focus on nonprofits. As a practitioner with a background in nonprofits, I appreciate this. But the article also raised a few questions in my mind about the firm, DVK Studio

Primarily, what does "DVK" stand for? Would I trust my brand to a firm whose brand I don't understand? (It's a play on owners' names, but you have to dig to figure it out). Also, what exactly does it mean that the office design is like the Web site? Is it taupe? Does it have a navigation bar? The work displayed is nice, but seems to stress design--a brand is more than a logo and graphic identity. If a 25-year-old is 'seasoned' and a 35-year-old has 'years of experience', is a 45-year-old 'immortal'? A guy can hope. 

Kidding aside, I do like the 'learning, planning, creating' approach, which resembles the RACE process 'seasoned' PR pros and those with a degree in PR understand. They need to stress the Evaluation part more though.

I wish the new venture well. It's nice to see the West Michigan PR and Ad community expand. In the current economic climate, I hope the focus on nonprofit works for them, given the shrinking budgets in a sector that already had tight purse strings. Perhaps that's why DVK Studio, despite the Rapid Growth headline, is hedging by offering its services to "clients of all kinds," including small businesses and corporations. Which brings me back to the brand thing....