Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lesson Three: Podcasts – A Review

Lesson Three Review: Next Installment of Learn About Social Media from Your Desk

Here’s a review of what we’ve covered to date about podcasts.

Lesson Three: The World of Podcasting (Monday, April 09, 2007)
First homework assignment: Set up an iTunes account if you don’t already have one.

Sampling a Short Podcast (Thursday, April 12, 2007)
Homework assignment: Subscribe to the Advertising Age "Why It Matters" audio show podcast and listen to at least two episodes.

Podcasting to Your Niche (Thursday, April 19, 2007)
Homework assignment: Find a podcast about a topic that interests you. One that is not work related.

Benefits of Podcasting (Sunday, April 22, 2007)

Understanding the Podcasting Listener (Tuesday, April 24, 2007)

PR- and Communications-Related Podcasts (Monday, April 30, 2007)

Six Lessons from Starting a New Podcast (Tuesday, May 15, 2007)

Podcast Resources (Monday, May 21, 2007)

Our next lesson – starting next week -- will be Delicious!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Are Newspapers Going the Way of the Dinosaur?

There has been a lot of discussion recently (and, really, for the last decade or longer) about whether or not the newspaper is a dying breed. Newspaper subscriptions have been on a downward trend for about 15 years, with many news junkies turning to radio, television and the Internet as their preferred sources of news. San Antonio Express-News public editor, Bob Richter, recently posed to his readers whether or not newspapers are dying, or rather, committing suicide. His reasoning for this question was based on a recent newsroom discussion begun when one of the paper's editors sent out a recent PBS article discussing the trend of many publications sending their readers online to get additional information or “the rest of the story.”

Richter goes on to discuss Internet access around the U.S. and the impact of directing people online. "Most studies of Internet penetration indicate that about 70 percent of Americans have access to it. A Pew Internet & American Life Project survey last year agreed with that figure, but cited others that indicate access isn't that high in South Texas, precisely: Only 33 percent of people 65 and older, 56 percent of Hispanics, 49 percent of those earning under $30,000 a year and only 36 percent of those who lack a high school diploma use the Internet, said the Pew survey."

Richter cites a complaint from one of his readers who doesn't have or want Internet access. His reader says whenever the newspaper refers readers to a Web site it also should provide an 800 telephone number for readers who don't have Internet access.

In a brief discussion with Richter about this topic, he pointed out that the newspaper industry has never really given their readers all the news. “We used to just leave it on the composing room floor,” he says. “Now we're trying to give readers more, but we're just insulting these old readers by letting them know what they can't have.”

Perhaps it’s not so much an issue of the internet cannibalizing on the newspaper as much as it is a generational issue. The 18-34 set doesn’t depend on the ink and paper version of the news that our parents and (to a much larger degree) our grandparents craved for their information. And, with so many other seemingly faster (and more timely) sources of information, perhaps the daily paper just isn’t “high-speed” enough for our on-demand world. If I can check the latest box scores on my cell phone, why do I need the sports section?

Besides, the black ink that rubs off on my hands doesn’t really go well with my new manicure (maybe I could pay extra for a laminated copy?). And, it’s so cumbersome to stretch out that huge newspaper format across my lap when I can just poke around on my Blackberry while driving 75 miles an hour down 281 on my way to work.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Other Communications-Related Podcasts to Try Out

Next Installment of Learn About Social Media from Your Desk

One of the difficult things about podcasts right now, is how hard it can be to find good ones. It doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. But there are soooo many that just don’t scratch your itch.

In an earlier post, I suggested some communications and PR focused podcasts to try out (see "PR and Communications-Related Podcasts" and "Sampling a Short Podcast"). Here are some more.

Across the Sound Podcast
by Joseph Jaffe

The Client Side Podcast
By Michael Seaton

Managing the Gray
By C.C. Chapman

Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast
By Mitch Joel

By Phil Gomes of Edelman PR

Better Communications
By Lee Hopkins

Better Desirable Roasted Communications Cafe
By Lee Hopkins and Allan Jenkins

PRWeek Podcasts

Forward: For new and upcoming PR professionals

Friday, May 25, 2007

Six Steps to Effectively Measure PR

I just got back from Los Angeles from the PRSA Travel and Tourism Conference where I served on a panel about public relations measurement with Katie Paine, of KDPaine & Partners and Cara Schneider, of Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing.

The session was moderated by Donna O’Daniels of the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission.

Afterward, I asked Katie to outline her Super Six Steps to Effective PR Measurement so that I could share them here, and she kindly obliged.

Super Six Steps to Effective PR Measurement

Online Videos by

  1. Define your objective(s)
  2. Define your audience(s)
  3. Define the metrics you will use
  4. Benchmark this against yourself or your competition
  5. Pick your measurement tool
  6. Analyze the results

The one that I find most critical is step number one. Too often the public relations campaign goal is media clips rather than business goals, like building relationships with key stakeholders, or driving sales. The question should be, “what keeps your big boss up at night?” And helping to drive that objective, whatever it is in your industry or organization, should be the focus.

This article is reposted from Communication Overtones.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

PRSSA at UTSA Has a New Name!

During the fall 2007 semester the PRSSA Chapter at UTSA will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Throughout those ten years there have been several faculty advisers, however only one continues to stand out because of his dedication to our Chapter. That adviser is Dr. Steven R. Levitt.

Steven R. levitt, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and current Faculty Adviser of the PRSSA Chapter at UTSA came to UTSA in the fall of 1991 to help create a new degree program in Communication. He was the principle author of the degree proposal that was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for implementation in fall 1994. He then served as Assistant Division Director for the Division of English, Classics, Philosophy, and Communication from 1997 until 2001 when the Communication Department became a separate department. He has served as chair since that time. Since the program began it has grown to over 800 majors with approximately 2/3 being Public Relations majors and added a Master's degree, inaugurated fall 2005.

Dr. Levitt served as adviser when the PRSSA Chapter was chartered in fall 1997 through 1998, during 2004 through 2005 and summer 2006 to the present. In all Dr. Levitt has served as the faculty adviser for half of the Chapter's existence. Dr. Levitt has been very influential in many of the directions that this Chapter has taken over the years, while allowing the executive board to act as a separate entity. During his different years as adviser our Chapter has been recognized by the PRSSA National Committee in several areas which is evident by the many plaques that hang in the Department of Communication office at UTSA. Dr. Levitt has been a true champion of the PRSSA Chapter at UTSA at times even providing opportunities for members through personal scholarships that he has donated.

Because of his dedication, in conjunction with our Chapter's anniversary, our executive board has passed a measure to honor Dr. Levitt by naming our Chapter the PRSSA Steven R. Levitt Chapter. In the fall we will be hosting a formal announcement in the form of a Roast of Dr. Levitt. This event will also act as a fund raising opportunity for the Chapter and we will be inviting members of the PRSA Chapter of San Antonio to participate. Please check back here and watch teh PRSA San Antonio Byline newsletter for upcoming details.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Podcast Resources

Next installment of "Learning about Social Media from Your Desk."

Here are four resources for you related to podcasts.

How to Listen to a Podcast
Heidi Miller walks you through using iTunes to subscribe to and listen to a podcast.

Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Podcasting
by Michael Geoghegan and Dan Klass
This book walks you through starting up a podcast and even includes the technical details in user-friendly ways. It became my key reference book.

Promoting Your Podcast: The Ultimate Guide to Building an Audience of Raving Fans
by Jason Van Orden
This is the book I’m currently following to kick-off a promotion campaign for my organization’s podcast. It has been superbly helpful.

How to Do Everything with Podcasting
By Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson
Of course, I haven’t seen this book because it’s currently on the presses. But knowing Shel and Neville, this one will be excellent. It’s scheduled to be ready in mid-June. Amazon is reportedly taking pre-orders now.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Get Well Soon

This one is personal, but you’ll understand why in a minute. I just heard from my dad. He went in for his six month check-up following a battle with esophageal cancer. This is the kind Ann Richards had. My dad has been cancer-free for four and a half years – and, thankfully, he still is.

The doctor told him that he sees a new case of this kind of cancer every week. My dad is one of his only two survivors. The other is a fireman who just made two years.

I am sharing this both as a celebration and because this week I’m also thinking of those in our midst who are dealing with the Big C. He/she/they probably are not reading this, but I’m sending my prayers and well wishes anyway. They’ll get where they need to go.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Reforestation in Second Life: An Oxymoron?

Not exactly.

For the price of 300 lindens (roughly equivalent to US $1) one can purchase and plant one of 10 species of trees on Second Chance Trees island and it will trigger Plant-It 2020, a non-profit organization founded by the late singer John Denver, to plant the same species of tree in the endangered rainforest to which it is indigenous.

So, after a bit of a hiatus, we will have a meetup of “Second Thursday in Second Life” THIS Thursday on Second Chance Trees Island to discuss how this is working out for the non-profit Plant-It 2020. (BTW, I do realize it is the third Thursday, but our speakers were busy last week). We plan to meet right after the weekly Coffee with Crayon, so grab your coffee then head on over to Second Trees Island (see SLURL below).

Rob Key, CEO of Conversion, will present on “karmiccommunication', environmentalism in Second Life and Converseon's approach to engaging with virtual world communities.

If you wonder what “karmicommunication” is, you aren’t alone, but you will have to show up to find out.

A hint: Conversion has partnered with non-profit Plan It 2020, a foundation dedicated to properly planting, maintaining and protecting as many indigenous trees as possible worldwide.


Date: Thursday May 17, 2007
Place: Second Chance Trees Island (SLURL)
Time: 6:30 a.m. Pacific (SL Time) | 7:30 Mountain a.m. | 8:30 Central a.m. | 9:30 a.m. Eastern (convert to other timezones)

For more information on the project, you can read the media release, visit the Second Chance Trees website and look at some pictures on their Flickr site.

It should be an interesting look into how a non-profit is using Second Life to deliver its core message and get real support in a virtual world. We will have a virtual tree planting, so be there!

Six Lessons from Starting a New Podcast

Next installment of "Learning about Social Media from Your Desk."

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve coordinated a new podcast series for my organization. We launched in September and are still very much in the early stages, but it’s coming along quite well. We’ve received positive responses, growth in listenership and even an award.

Naturally, I’ve learned a few things along the way. Since there’s tons more to learn, I’m going to share a list about getting started. And these are coming from the perspective of an organizational podcast.

1. Do your homework. Listening to a variety of other podcasts can help you decide which format and style is best for you. Plus, listening to podcasts about podcasting will help you learn about trends, what to expect, setting realistic goals and new technologies. You don’t have to know all the technical details, but it helps to know what to ask for.

2. Start with a plan. It doesn’t have to be 100 pages long. But the basics are important – purpose, prospective audience, etc. Plus, having the plan on paper can help you get support from higher up and the resources you need. I posted the outline of my plan a few months ago.

3. Getting outside expertise to get you started is priceless. This may sound contradictory to my first point, but do not – I repeat – do not wait until you know everything there is to know. If you wait for that, you’ll never get started. It’s ok to learn as you go. Our first episode doesn’t even have the intro music.

4. “Low barrier to entry” refers to money not time. It’s taking us about 10 hours to produce a 20-25 minute podcast every two weeks. This includes the time for planning and conducting the interview, editing, creating shownotes, writing corresponding web text and posting in online. And I haven’t even started spending real time on promotion.

5. Podcasting requires easy approval processes. It’s one thing to have several levels of supervisors word-smith a printed piece, but you can’t produce a podcast that way. My directors don’t hear our podcast until it’s online.

6. Integrate the podcast into some facet of the organization’s work. Don’t let it be your hobby at work. If you want it to last, it has to relate to the organization’s goals.

Several of these learnings have been advised by other podcasters, but now I can say I’ve experienced them firsthand.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Podcamp in San Antonio May 19

Speaking of podcasting… If you are even remotely interested in learning more about podcasting, this is an opportunity you cannot pass by. Podcamp San Antonio is a FREE “unconference” about new media. And it’s right here in our own backyard.

Don’t let the “unconference” label throw you off. I’ve never been to one, but I hear that since the participants decide what they want to learn about, the chances of you actually learning useful stuff are much higher than a traditional conference. And you don't have to be a podcaster to get lots out of it.

Check it out and be there. And then pleeeease tell me all about it.

I’m sorry to say I won’t be following my own advice. But I am thrilled to say that my family will be participating in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica in San Antonio that day.