Tuesday, October 26, 2010

'PR in Practice': International PR

In this episode of the "PR in Practice" project, I spend some time with PR professionals at Amway.

The global corporation with headquarters in Ada, Michigan does business in 58 countries. PR professionals at headquarters work with colleagues in each of the various markets around the world to better relate to media, government officials and other publics in each country and culture.

The video features interviews with two of the U.S.-based PR pros as well as one of their colleagues from China who happened to be in the US for a six-month opportunity to get to know and represent corporate headquarters better. Students will appreciate his advice to them at the end of the video.

If you are interested in learning more about international PR, see the PRSA International Special Interest Section.

A reminder that all "PR in Practice" videos are on my YouTube Channel, always accessible by clicking on the icon at right. Subscribe to the channel if you want to catch future episodes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Twitter Papers -- Multiple Applications


I've recently started using a free service called paper.li that allows users to create "newspapers" by aggregating content from Twitter. Papers can be created for any user, list, or #tag.

Here's an example of my paper, the Penning Ink Daily.

I set it up to take content from my users. I follow a lot of nationally known PR gurus, West Michigan PR pros, PR professors from around the country I've met at conferences and through social media, and a wide variety of news organizations. So my daily is useful as an aggregator of my Twitter content, in newspaper format. But, it is an aggregator--i.e. using a formula that grabs what appears to be the most interesting and relevant of the tweets that had links to text, photos, or video. So, I am surprised sometimes at the content of my own paper.

But, it certainly has its uses. I can scan quickly the days "top stories" with links to key hashtags, such as #pr, which opens up another whole range of stories tagged as such. If I don't have time to be on Twitter frequently on a given day, this is a great way to review things quickly, and in an online paper format.

I also have the ability to promote it, which I do in the hopes that students and colleagues might find it an interesting read. Although, in time, everyone may have their own paper and only the ones who have taken the time to curate the right people to follow or targeted lists or hashtags will have many users besides themselves.

To that end, here are some good uses of paper.li that I have seen or thought of that go beyond a personal aggregator:
  • Education--Dawn Gilpin, a PR professor in Arizona, built a Twitter list of her students and has them post with links. Her daily paper is a project for her 'JMC 310' class;
  • Conferences--make a paper.li daily of the official hastag of a professional conference. It automates the "if you missed the conference" web site and crowd sources blogs and other commentary and recap of the best sessions;
  • Businesses--make a list of key employees, managers, vendors, industry thought leaders and be the focal point of commentary on your industry on Twitter (note: not all about you);
  • PR Firms--make a list of clients, media you work with regularly, a hashtag of issues you are working on, or a list of key industry trades etc. PR Firms are increasingly becoming "publishers"; this is another way to do it;;
  • Newspapers--duh. Yes, newspapers and other "mainstream" media have web sites, apps, and reporters on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. But here is another way to aggregate content and serve readers and potential readers in another channel and method.
When TIME magazine was started in 1923, founders Britton Hadden and Henry Luce said in their prospectus that people were overwhelmed with information and there was a need for a weekly summary of news content, a news magazine. At the time people were "overwhelmed" with newspapers, tabloids, magazines, and a new technology called "radio."

Today, the case that people are overwhelmed is even more obvious. Paper.li is just another way to handle the flood of info. Only this time, it will not only be journalists who can do so.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'PR in Practice' : Travel PR

In this installment of "PR in Practice" I talk to Janet Korn, VP of Marketing for Experience Grand Rapids.

My interview with her happened the same week as the former Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau rebranded itself "Experience Grand Rapids" with its "GR Tweet Elite" event and launch of its new Web site.

Learn about the reason for the rebrand, how social media is a key aspect of "destination" PR, and other aspects of this special category of PR. Students and professionals alike can also learn about travel PR from PRSA's Travel & Tourism Professional Interest Section.

Remember: all "PR in Practice" videos will be on my Penning Ink You Tube channel. Click on the YouTube icon at right to go to the channel, see other videos, and subscribe.

Friday, October 15, 2010

TIME List Won't Be Major Help to Amash

It is no doubt a publicity coup to be named to TIME Magazine's list of 40 under 40 civic leaders, which is the case for West Michigan's Justin Amash. The question is, from a political PR standpoint, will it move numbers for the young congressional candidate a few weeks before the election.

The answer is, yes and no. You can see what I mean just by looking at the comments accompanying the Grand Rapids Press article about the list. The publicity didn't affect the partisans. Amash supporters utter praise, detractors make accusations. Neither positive or negative comments are really about the TIME list, because that list merely points out youth; it does not address political ideology or issues.

The publicity splash does help in some ways. Just like a yard sign, it helps with name recognition in the district. It adds some national credibility to a candidate who some may have been seen by potential West Michigan voters as just a young local man. In that sense, it may excite some who were on the fence about going to the polls, and it may move some independents to consider Amash.

It is true that elections are won in the middle, not on the margins where hard-core beliefs are rarely changed. But in this election season in particular, being on a national list is far less important than addressing the list of local issues and being consonant with the political worldview of the majority of constituents in Amash's district. There's an old adage attributed to former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill: "all politics is local." That's something to keep in mind when weighing the value of national publicity for a candidate whose public is entirely local.

Monday, October 04, 2010

'PR in Practice' -- Corporate PR

In this installment of the 'PR in Practice' project, see what recent graduate Sara Heins does in her job as marketing and communications specialist at Shape Corporation in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Her work has her handling everything from internal communications to creating collateral materials for international trade shows. She also developed the company's first social media plan. Be sure to listen to her good advice for students aspiring to jobs in corporate PR at the end of the video.

You can see the video embedded below. Also, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel (click on logo at right) to see future installments in the 'PR in Practice' series.