Tag Archives: PR

76: Spread the Viral Love

This week, our hosts talk about viral marketing and questionable PR practices. Paul’s new book, Secrets of Social Media Marketing, shipped from the printer this week. More than 20 reviews have already appeared on blogs, Twitter and the reviews section of the book site. The reason? Publisher Quill Driver Books distributed nearly 5,500 copies in print and PDF form in the two months prior to its release. Remarkably, most of the awareness spread by word of mouth. Paul notes that only 250 people registered for the free PDF, yet more than 5,200 copies were actually downloaded, a ratio of nearly 21:1. Was it a smart idea to give away a book that costs $11 in print? The jury is still out, but Secrets has been as high as 8,000 on Amazon before its actual release, indicating that awareness is high.

David has been writing for The New York Times, among other outlets. He tells the story of a Dutch auto company that ignored his repeated requests for an interview. Why a small company would turn down an opportunity to be featured in one of the world’s most important newspapers befuddles him. Paul has had similar experiences recently. Has traditional media lost that much luster? Paul and David doubt it. They think the level of PR professionalism is sinking.

Stick around for outtakes at the end of this program.

Download the podcast (19:10)


73: A Naked Conversation

Shel Israel

Shel Israel

When Paul and David were reporters working for major tech publications, they used to occasionally get pitches from a PR guy named Shel Israel. Israel’s been around the business a long time and knows the ins and outs of pitching reporters. He also understood very early that the rules were changing and that power and influence were moving into the hands of individuals.

In early 2006, Israel teamed up with superblogger Robert Scoble to publish Naked Conversations, the first book to dramatize the increasingly powerful effects that bloggers were having on markets. The book’s success catapulted Israel into the category of industry thought leader. Suddenly, people like David and Paul were calling up asking to interview him!

Which is precisely what they did for this episode. In an interview set up via the great democratizing agent called Twitter, our hosts spent a half hour with Shel Israel talking about the continuing evolution of markets into conversations. In a session that really is more conversation than interview, Israel spoke about the impact that Naked Conversations has had on his career, but more importantly about the changes that social media are engendering in the public relations field. It’s not a matter of if PR pros should engage with online influencers, he said, it’s a matter of how quickly they can rush to learn the new rules.

Shel Israel is brash, funny and very opinionated. This half-hour clip should give you an indication of why he’s become such a prominent voice in new media.

Download the podcast (30:58)

64: The Spinfluencer

Eric Schartzman

Eric Schwartzman

If you’re a PR professional, you can’t afford not to listen to On the Record…Online. For the past three years, this podcast has offered a steady stream insight on how journalists, marketers and new media innovators use the Internet to report the news and promote their businesses. Host Eric Schwartzman has anchored all 120 programs and in the process become a media influencer in his own right.

Paul came across On the Record…Online when he was writing The New Influencers and devoured program after program. He later devoted a couple of pages of the book to describing how the show had evolved from a conference promotion to become a staple of Schwartzman’s iPressroom service.

In this interview, Schwartzman talks about how On the Record…Online came into being, the impact it’s had on his business and how public relations is evolving in a world of fragmented media.

Download the podcast (27:39)

56: The Provocateur

Larry WeberLarry Weber didn’t achieve fame and fortune in public relations by spouting conventional wisdom. The founder of Weber Shandwick, the world’s largest public relations agency, Weber has a reputation for blunt talk, innovative strategies and a relentless focus on new trends. Since leaving the helm of Weber Shandwick, he’s wiped the slate clean and is building a new-media PR firm from the ground up. Not surprisingly, he thinks a lot of conventional PR doesn’t work any more. In this interview, he tells why marketers should think of themselves as media people, how influence is dispersing and why mainstream media just isn’t all that important any more. Weber books include Marketing to the Social Web and The Provocateur.

Listen to the podcast (22:51)

50: The Social Media Think Tank

Jen McClureThe Society for New Communications Research has been studying social media since before the term was created. Founded by veteran publicist Jen McClure in 2004, the nonprofit group known affectionately to its members as “snicker” now counts more than 40 futurists, scholars, business leaders, communicators and other new-media professionals as research fellows. Its signature event in the New Communications Forum, a multi-day multi-track conference that features top speakers and results of the group’s most recent research. It also hosts the New Communications Research Symposium, a more intimate gathering on the east coast each fall.

New Communications ForumJen McClure’s passion for new media is the fuel that drives SNCR. In this interview, she talks about how the group was founded, the four new research studies that will debut at the New Communications Forum in April and what value PR professionals are getting out of their SNCR membership.

BTW, Tech PR War Stories listeners can take advantage of a $100 discount. Just use code NCF08100 when you register.

Download the podcast (16:05)

49: Take it down!

It’s a public relations nightmare: Some blogger posts an angry rant about your company. A few other curmudgeons join in and pretty soon you’ve got a gripefest going on. Or maybe someone gets hold of an internal memo that’s not meant for public distribution and posts it for the world to see. What do you do?

In the old days, we had back-room procedures for handling problems like these, but bloggers and consumer advocacy sites don’t play by the old rules. In fact, your cease-and-desist notice is likely to become more blog fodder.  In the new world of crisis communications, protests and threats don’t get you very far. You need to negotiate, admit when problems exist and not take yourself too seriously. Not that that’s easy, mind you!

Download the podcast here (11:10).

47: Twitter magic

Many people’s first reaction to Twitter.com is that they just don’t get it. At first blush, the group instant messaging service looks like chaos: everyone is talking at once and some of them talking about nothing in particular.

But Twitter has inspired a passionate following. Some people make it their main online communications medium. It’s certainly changed Laura Fitton‘s life. The Boston-based presentations consultant uses Twitter to meet influential people, find business opportunities and answer everyday questions. Twittering as “Pistachio,” she’s amassed a following of more than 1,500 “followers,” who value her ability to stimulate discussions with provocative questions and comments that fit into Twitter’s 140-character format. She’s a poster child for a service that is revolutionizing the way people interact with their social networks.

In this interview, Fitton describes what’s unique about Twitter and how it can be useful even to people who don’t log on that often. She also touches on possible uses of Twitter for marketing and PR.

Download the podcast (23:27)

Creative commons photo by Doc Searles