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The Differences Between In-house and Agency PR Roles

After reading his interview in Bulldog Reporter, I quickly became “Twitter friends” with PR pro Ryan Greives. As Senior PR Specialist for subscription billing provider cleverbridge, he leads the company’s global PR and social media strategies. But before that, he worked at an agency, filling the shoes of Vice President of BLASTmedia’s B2B Practice Group. […]

4-Part Guide for Interview Preparation in a Pinch

You’ve reviewed the 7 Signs You’re Ready for PR and landed an interview with star business reporter after chatting them up at a networking event. Giggles dispersed, you now come to terms with the part that makes you panic: They want to interview you tomorrow!

You choose to

1. Feign illness (complete with faux coughing) while making the call to cancel.

2. Politely ask if the reporter would mind rescheduling (Until you’ve had enough time to build key messaging, prepare talking points, and buy the perfect interview outfit)

3. Accept with enthusiasm, kick it into overdrive, and nail down some strategic talking points stat. You’ll dedicate some extra time to building messaging after the interview so you’re more prepared the next time you hook one.

If you chose A or B, shame on you! When opportunity knocks, it’s in your best interest to answer the door. It’s fine to agree upon a different date and time than the one a reporter first proposes, but this should be due to scheduling conflicts, not your want for a generous amount of prep time.

If you chose C, great job! You have enough time to pull together talking points, and transform into the star spokesperson we know you can be.

The following 4-part guide is packed with ideas and tips for interview preparation when your time is limited. You’ll just need a trusted colleague who understands your messaging objectives and business goals and a few free hours to hash out a plan. Reserve a conference room and have at it!

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Spin May Suck, But Gini Dietrich Rocks

Have you ever had a moment in time where you’re thinking “wow, I’m on top of the world, I really know my $h!t” only to have your ego (rightly) deflated after a serendipitous brush with someone who, in actuality, is much more on top of it than you?

If that had ever happened to me, it would have likely happened when I came Twitter-face to Twitter-face with one Gini Dietrich.

Gini is the Angelina Jolie of the PR world IMHO.

She makes us all look like slackers. Just when you think she can’t possibly do ONE MORE THING a conversation like this happens:

Me: Hey Gini, whatcha doing?

Gini: Hi! So great to hear from you! I’m getting ready to speak on a panel in about 5 minutes on the future of PR.

Me: Oh geeez, should I call you back?

Gini: No, no, it’s totally fine. Right after that I have to jump on a plane and go to my book signing in New York.

Me: Oh wow, ok, well thanks for taking the time to speak with me.

Gini: No problem! It’s absolutely my pleasure. Can you hold for one second please…my husband is on the other line and he’s calling because my son is having this thing, and I need to conduct an emergency tracheotomy via satellite before I jump on stage. BRB.

Me: (Inner dialogue: I’m a loser) Sure, oh my God, no problem.

All (slight joking) aside, I caught up with Gini fresh on the heels of her Spin Sucks book launch…a book I highly recommend to anyone looking to get up to speed on this crazy PR evolution we’re experiencing.

Soak up Gini’s wise words, she’s a class PR act….

Rebekah Iliff: Let’s start with an simple one: What makes you so passionate about PR?

Gini Dietrich: I suppose it’s just from being in the industry as long as I have. I mean, what? I’ve only been out of college for five years. 🙂 Truly it’s because I don’t think we do a great job of doing our own PR. There are so many misconceptions about what we do (and don’t do) that it makes me a little nuts. I come from the line of thinking that if you don’t like something, you should do something about it.

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How PR is like sailing

Early this morning I sat on a dock in the Sausalito bay near my house and watched – not the clouds roll in, but rather – three elderly gentlemen go about their morning boat routines. One was probably 80ish years old, the other two likely in their 70s. As they curiously carried large rocks on […]

PR Hack: March Replay

In case you were too busy last month doing one of the following…

#1 – tending to client antics

#2 – chasing journalists around

#3 – attempting to disconnect only to find that (ironically) a phone call or email you’ve been waiting for only comes through once you’ve decided to walk away from technology for two hours

#4 – getting your nails done

Don’t feel bad, release those feelings of FOMO, because we’ve got you covered.

In a world where very few things actually matter, yet we believe that we are required to read, filter, and digest every RSS feed, annoying Facebook post, and breaking news story, we bring you:

News you can use.” Or you can just read it and disregard it, but in the very least it will give you insights into high level trends and prime exemplars of PR at its best – and worst.

Happy information consumption…


Data Driven Marketing Landscape

  • Great insights from Cision’s SVP of Digital Content, Heidi Sullivan, during The Hub Convene on March 31, 2014:

“We need to shift the thinking from PR as a cost center to PR as a profit center. In the cost center model we are using AVEs, social media followers and a variety of ‘vanity metrics’ with no real data. In the profit center model, we correlate PR efforts with sales, revenue, and metrics that measure awareness and action.”

Well Heidi, we just couldn’t agree more. Soft sell, check out our Analyst product.

3 Winning PR Moves

  • Virgin America literally ups their coolness ante by offering exclusive Humphrey Slocombe ice cream flavors in first class cabins. Additionally, any traveler can score a free scoop by flashing their boarding pass at either HS location in San Francisco through June 30th. NOM.

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When in doubt, say it with a GIF

They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. I say:

hell yeah

In a world where lengthy emails reign supreme, it behooves us all to recognize just how much a single image can convey. If storytelling is at the core of PR, than the ability to tell an entire bite-sized story in a few seconds is pure potency.

My favored type of visual content bridges the best of photo and video: it’s the GIF. Here are a few reasons why I’m gaga for GIFs and why we could all benefit from integrating them into our communication strategies:

  • Visual content is easier and faster to process
  • There are endless options to express yo’self
  • Does a better job of communicating a point than any acronym (LOL)
  • Keeps emails short, succinct and entertaining

Let’s shake up the monotony of text-only responses and inject some always-appreciated humor into our business relationships.

Below are the Top 10 GIFs for your clients and colleagues when there just.are.no.words.

NOTE: Not all of these are meant for public circulation. Some are merely an affirmation that you’re NOT losing your mind. 😉

1. When your super smart, hilarious client or colleague one ups you during an email exchange:

bear clap gif

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How integrating data fuels Optimizely’s potent PR

This week, The Holmes Report cited us in a post entitled: Are PR engineers the next big ‘thing’?

Growth hackers and data scientists step aside puuhleeease.

As fortuitous but somewhat strategic luck would have it, the journalist also cited Helen Phung of Optimizely in the article – who just so happens (let’s be clear though, nothing “just so happens” – #PRblackbox) to be our interview of the week.

Truth #1 – When Sharam introduced us a few months ago I was immediately intrigued by her “PR Prowess” and fundamental understanding of the nuances and nuisances of PR’s evolutionary future.

Truth #2 – We like totally stole her Twitter bio (PR Engineer) title and are now championing it like it ain’t nobody’s bidness.

Read on to find out why she’s the A/Bees knees and why Optimizely is making major PR waves.

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Why we should say “thank you” to PR pros

Publicists, like politicians, are an easy target for haterade gulpers and scorned skeptics; and frankly, I totally get it.

Both suffer from “death by association.” Meaning, the bad ones seem to magically rise to the top and ruin it for everyone else.

Lately, PR itself (not wanting to be outdone by their political counterparts) has been getting some…noteworthy press attention that is. For an industry whose job is defined by servicing the media with valuable, relevant, noteworthy information, this is an interesting turn of events.

[And it’s almost as ludicrous as a modern-day politician actually getting something done]

Case and point:

The New York Times ran this article on November 23rd entitled “Swatting at a swarm of public relations spam.” In it the author (David Segal aka The Haggler) airs his frustrations with public relations professionals and divulges the secret formula for journalists wanting to be removed from media databases like Vocus and Cision.

Ouch. But again, I totally get where The Haggler is coming from.

Those of us who believe we sit on the “problem solving” side of the PR equation – where we are doing everything in our technological power to minimize the unfortunate PR reputation for being a “black box” which consists of a bunch of blonde haired nincompoops who frequent parties and blast out spam emails to journalists – we also face our own issues with PR “innovators.” Some of these folks don’t quite understand the systemic issues well enough to comprehend the implications of “one-size-fits-all” or “quick fix” PR promises.

Read this article by our good friend Chuck Tanowtiz covering this topic.

This kind of stuff can really bring companies to new, lower levels of “PR modus operandi.”

BUT. Before you think I’m tumbling down the abyss of negative-nancy-dom during this week of giving thanks (and now, in an odd twist of calendar serendipity, Menorah lighting), fear not.

I am here to tell you that, despite all the recent “negative PR press” (I still find this ironic), at its core there are so many things for which to be grateful. In other words, if you are reading this, and you employ a PR pro or contract a PR firm that you like (dare I say “love”), here are a few things they do for you. For these things you should say “thank you” and be eternally grateful.


Happy Thanksgiving#1 – Journalists are a colossal pain in the ass.

There, I said it. And they know they are. Even for great PR people, with whom they have relationships, journalists are a tough bunch. They don’t mean to be – but by the very nature of their job they end up being this way. Breaking news, trending topics, bigger better stories that will captivate their dwindling readership numbers: all of these things are paramount to publications. So, even if you are the next best thing since sliced bread or you have circuitously reinvented the wheel, it doesn’t mean you’re getting a story.

Be grateful to the PR folks who put up with this B.S. on a daily basis, and who have spent years and even decades building these relationships. It’s a hard job. I repeat: IT IS A HARD JOB.

#2 – Building a narrative takes Pulitzer Prize worthy skill.

Oh, that’s right. A journalist from Forbes or FastCompany or The Wall Street Journal should naturally care about your new location-based mapping software for tracking migrating birds which you (the CEO, who graduated top of class at an Ivy League school) built a prototype for while on a “finding myself” trip to Costa Rica.

Incorrect. No one cares.

PR experts make people care. They make the press care, who then make your customers care. They take all those disjointed pieces of information that – on their own make you look like a privileged you know what – into a storyline that makes you look, feel, and exude rock stardom.

#3 – Taking bullets takes tremendous resolve.

There is a reason this saying exists: don’t shoot the messenger. Continue reading…