Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And the Winner is…The Event Center at Plaza Lecea

First in a Series on Award Winning Programs from the 2010 PRSA Del Oro Awards
Award Recipient of El Bronce Award of Excellence – Web Design

It is no doubt that we are an Internet-driven society. Whether it is reading the news, searching for the right gadget or even buying cars, we go to the World Wide Web as our first reference. For many companies and organizations it has meant revamping their marketing strategy to include a website that is both dynamic, diverse and user friendly.

When The Event Center at Plaza Lecea needed to market to more corporate and business clientele, they brought the Ashford Davis company (AFD) on board to determine how its website could be redesigned to attract weekday event clientele. Their weekends were quick to book with weddings and anniversaries, leaving weekdays and week nights available for other events.

The Event Center’s website wasn’t user friendly and the wedding product line received all of the emphasis. AFD established three main goals: increase functionality, establish conversion ratio goals and increase search engine visibility. “Much like any campaign, a website must be built around a strategy, says AFD owner Ashleigh Davis. “All too often people build websites “because they need one.” The only true approach is to first determine what it is you want your website to do; how you want your website to help you achieve your goals. Only then will you be able to accurately determine and implement the functionality necessary to make your website work for you.”

With the new site structure, each product line received the attention it deserved by funneling traffic efficiently. In order to monitor ROI and watch traffic patterns, AFD established separate “Requests for More Information” with goals defined in Google Analytics. These new goals will allow Plaza Lecea to decipher precisely from where converted leads are coming – referring websites, specific keywords or CPC campaigns. Functionality had increased by 26 percent, and new visitor traffic had grown by 140 percent..

Ashleigh Davis launched AFD in November 2008 with the intent to bridge offline marketing strategies with emerging Internet visibility initiatives such as search engine optimization and social media marketing. After only one year in business, AFD has received several awards including the El Bronce Award of Excellence for Web Design. Davis was pleasantly surprised. “Receiving the El Bronce Award was truly an honor. I never imagined I’d be receiving recognition for the work I completed my first year in business!”

By Trisha Box, PRSA Board Member and Director of Development at the Winston School San Antonio

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

PR News Round-Up – June 29, 2010

From BusinessWired via Ragan’s PR Daily
4 reasons your press releases won’t make Google News
A worthy argument against the “die, press release, die” crowd is search engine optimization — press releases help drive a brand’s Google ranking. But what if your press releases aren’t appearing on Google News? BusinessWired blog, a part of Business Wire, offered four reasons why this might happen and how you can fix it. Read more.

From Bulldog Reporter's Daily Dog
Highlights from the PRSA Counselors Academy 2010
BurrellesLuce's Johna Burke interviews Tom Gable, APR, Fellow PRSA, CEO Gable PR, LLC, who discusses key takeaways from his presentation on strategies for agency success. View video.

From Richard Edelman’s 6 A.M. blog
The Third Way--Public Engagement
I am speaking this morning at Edelman’s fourth New Media Academic Summit, jointly hosted by New York University and Syracuse University, attended by more than 100 professors from 10 countries. My bold assertion is that there is a Third Way for companies to communicate, beyond paid and earned media, by embracing Public Engagement. Read more.

From Fast Company via Ragan’s PR Daily
New study says social media triggers ‘generosity-trust’ chemical in our brains
Looking for ways to justify social media to your boss? Now, you have science on your side. A Fast Company article describes how a neuroeconomist has discovered — for the first time — that the chemical oxytocin in our brains, which is responsible for empathy, generosity, and trust — can be increased simply by tweeting! Yes, folks, you have to read the story — it sounds too good to be true. — Matthew Royse. Read more.

From Communications Conversations via Ragan’s PR Daily
The people have spoken: Winners feted for PR Readers’ Choice awards
On Friday, PR pro Arik Hanson announced the winners of his 2nd annual Readers’ Choice awards for PR blogs. The big winner: Chicago-based PR pro Gini Dietrich. Her blog, F.A.D.S. (The Fight Against Destructive Spin), won the award for PR Blog of the Year. Check out the other winners. Read more.

By Bill Sweetland via Ragan’s PR Daily
7 ways to stop CEOs from boring the audience
How to bring out your executive's human side. Read more.

From PRNewser via Ragan’s PR Daily
Survey: Majority of people place more trust in companies with Twitter feeds
Need to sell Twitter to upper management? Here’s a compelling case for it. According to the 2010 Digital Influence Index, a seven-country survey of 4,243 people by Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive, “75 percent of people surveyed said they view companies that [tweet or post status updates to Facebook] as more deserving of their trust than those that do not,” according to the survey. Read more.

By Adam Holden-Bache
7 More B2B Social Media Tools You Haven’t Heard Of
Read story.

From Public Relations Matters via Ragan’s PR Daily
5 ways to stay current on PR trends and news Read more.
You’re busy. You hang out with your family and friends and think, “How do I have time for a fulltime job?” Then you’re back at work thinking, “How do I have time for family and friends?” In this environment, staying on top of industry news and trends often hits the backburner. But there are ways to stay current without investing too much time, says PR professor Barbara Nixon. She offered five suggestions. (One way is to subscribe to PR Daily. Definitely agree with that.) Read more.

Vocus buys Help A Reporter Out: What can subscribers expect?
Don’t worry, subscribers to Help A Reporter Out (HARO), nothing is going to change. On Thursday (6/10), PR software-maker Vocus bought HARO, and the question bouncing around Twitter was how the acquisition will affect the free service. “There will be absolutely no difference,” HARO founder Peter Shankman told “I’m still running HARO; the editors are still running HARO. And we will never charge—it will still be free.” Read more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hear from the Communicators' Point of View in the BP Oil Spill Crisis

There’s naturally a lot of conversation online and off about the BP, federal agencies, the President and anyone else who is or could be involved in the clean up of the Deepwater Horizon oil mess. There’s the environment angle, the coastal resident livelihood angle, the worker safety angle, the regulation of oil drilling angle, etc., etc. And for readers of this blog, there’s the public relations and communications angle.
Interestingly, there are a couple of podcasts that have interviewed communicators who are in the middle of the crisis.

The For Immediate Release podcast by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson posted an episode on May 15, 2010 where Neville interviews Neil Chapman, BP Head of Refining and Marking Communications.

The On the Record Online podcast by Eric Schwartzman posted an episode on June 4 titled: “BP Oil Spill Crisis Communications: Inside the US Government's First Attempt at Using Social Media to Communicate a National Disaster.” Eric interviewed U.S. Navy Public Affairs Officer Jim Hoeft, who is coordinating communications at the Official Site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command for the Joint Command Center in Louisiana.

The On the Media NPR podcast by Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone had a story on June 04 about the Coast Guard, BP, and media access to the Gulf oil spill.

And then there’s the PR critic, “Leroy Stick,” who started a Twitter feed, @BPGlobalPR, in order to poke fun at BP and its “BS” PR statements. He has no connection to BP. Advertising Age landed an interview with him that you can read online. Whether or not you agree with his tactics (e.g., brand-jacking), he does make some thoughtful points.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Print Media Learning Readers Have Value

Print journalism may not be dead, but print media is going the way of the railroad. That was the message from Bill Conroy, of the San Antonio Business Journal at the June PRSA luncheon. In the years before social media, according to Conroy, media dominated one way communication. Conroy noted that Marshal McLuhan’s mantra “the medium is the message” served to reinforce the power of the press. He referenced this relationship as the hypodermic syringe model, a painful one for the audience to absorb.

Now with Facebook and Twitter and thousands of other social technologies dominating our lifestyle, everyone has journalistic power in the new two way communication model. This is difficult for media companies to accept, but Conroy was confident that the money stream will catch up to social media because they are perfectly poised to deliver quality content.

Conroy told the audience that print media still draws advertising revenues and cited some statistics that show health in his own paper, but said that the ad revenue structure is still changing. He suggested that media outlets “have to have a message that makes you a must-read.”

Offering the gamely suggestion that objectivity has been used by the media as a smokescreen because they owned the conversation, Conroy believes that a more symbiotic relationship with audiences was needed. He even went so far as to say that “the people that matter most are the readers, and frankly, we forgot that in the arrogance of (wanting to) dominate the market.”

For public relations practitioners who have always struggled with this arrogance, it seems like a fairytale ending that local print media actually acknowledged the power of readership. Conroy continued by saying that media need to have a more symbiotic relationship with audiences, giving them stories in the form they want it. And he even suggested that media will need to offer “less lecture and more dialogue.”

One thing Conroy said will not change for print media are the principles of fair reporting, honesty and lack of bias. This is an important statement to public relations practitioners who often suffer at the hands of newer, citizen journalists who don’t play the rules of the game between news media and PR folks. Time-honored principles like full disclosure, embargoes, conflict of interest and ethical behavior have not necessarily been adopted by the online community in the devotional way to which the public relations community has grown accustomed. It’s anyone’s guess if some of those principles will carry on in the new world of journalism.

Friday, June 11, 2010

PR News Round Up ~ June 11, 2010

From This Just In/PR Tactics
Grocery Rivals Funding Stealth Campaigns Against New Wal-Mart Stores
As Wal-Mart has grown into the largest grocery seller in the United States, competitors threatened by proposed new Wal-Mart locations have often hired a company called Saint Consulting Group to secretly run antidevelopment campaigns against the retail giant, The Wall Street Journal reported this week. Read more. (Related on PRSAY: A Glimpse Into the “Dark Side”)

From Social Media Examiner
Top 5 Social Media Myths Debunked
As with any new technology, social media has spawned its share of misconceptions and myths that keep people from interacting. It’s time to debunk the big myths that are keeping business owners and marketers on the social media sidelines. Myth #1: My Customers Aren’t on Social Media Wow, if I had a dollar for every time I heard [...] Read more...

By Lee Odden (via Ragan)
5 steps for building a marketing strategy on Twitter
Engagement with your target audience is crucial, so follow these guidelines. So you want to succeed with Twitter, eh? Before you run off and chase shiny butterflies and little blue birds, take a seat and collect yourself. Then read the following tips on creating a potential Twitter marketing strategy that will help you become more productive and successful using Twitter for business. Read more.

From MediaShift (via Ragan)
How 6 big summer films are embracing social media marketing
Just as corporations and small businesses alike are experimenting with social media, so are Hollywood studios. “Facebook is rocket fuel for word-of-mouth and studios are experimenting with how to best engage users in order to convert those who ‘Like’ a movie to someone who purchases a ticket,” writes Nick Mendoza, the director of digital communications and ad firm Zeno Group. He explained how six big summer movies are using social media. Read more.

From BusinessWired (via Ragan)
Study: Only 13.5 percent of PR pros put links in press release
Scary statistics on press releases from a study by Business Wire's blog, BusinessWired. It asked 268 PR pros if they include links in their press releases; 85 percent said they do. However, BusinessWired then looked at roughly 1,000 press releases and found that a mere 13.5 percent contain links. Oops. So, what’s the advantage of including links in your press releases? “Relevant, timely hyperlinks in your press release … can amplify your message, help increase your search engine optimization, and drive traffic to your website or other relevant sites,” according to BusinessWired. — Susan Young. Read more.

From TVNewser (via Ragan)
Report: CNN close to dropping Associated Press
If the report is correct, and CNN drops the AP, then the 24-hours news network will operate without a wire service — it dropped Reuters in 2007 — instead opting for its own in-house wire service, which CNN has reportedly nurtured as a potential revenue source. Read more.

From The Christian Science Monitor
Study: Web tools cement local communities
Social-media tools are helping people to renew their ties to their local community and to forge stronger relationships with their neighbors, according to a new Pew Internet and American Life study. Web users are substantially more likely to meet their neighbors offline, the study found. Regardless of Internet use, the study found that knowing neighbors' names was the most important factor in increasing community engagement. Read more.

From The Christian Science Monitor
Primary voters used Twitter to learn about candidates
Confronted by intimidating 80-page voter-information pamphlets, primary voters in California and other states have been using Twitter and Facebook to find out about the candidates. Peer recommendations help voters cut through the clutter and get the information that matters to them, say political-media experts. Read more.

From USA Today
Ford trades auto shows for Facebook
Ford Motor's latest Explorer model won't be introduced at a glitzy auto show -- instead, it will make its debut on Facebook. The company will launch the car with a campaign that focuses on drivers' real-world experiences, rather than glamorous TV ads. "We live in a 140-character society ... When we have people's attention, we want to make sure it sticks," says Scott Monty, Ford's head of social media. Read more.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

There’s Definitely a Business Case to Be Made for Public Relations…

by PRSA Chair & CEO Gary D. McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA

I recently had the opportunity to ring the opening bell for the NASDAQ – a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I clearly had never placed on my bucket list. Even more curious, it was done for an organization that is not a listed or public company. I was there representing a professional association of public relations professionals, which represents a multibillion-dollar global industry.

So how did this happen? It was the result of an advocacy program for public relations launched by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) to outline the value and impact that public relations has on an organization’s success – The Business Case for Public Relations™.

Many don’t understand the essence of our business. Stylized notions of celebrity publicists and Beltway spokespeople pervade the news and popular culture, and the term “PR” itself has become common shorthand for the impression – good or bad – that organizations create.

That’s why PRSA developed The Business Case for Public Relations. The program showcases the role of public relations and the professional value it delivers to essential business outcomes:
  • Distinct skills provide services like crisis mitigation, reputation and brand building, wealth creation and consumer engagement.
  • More than other communications and marketing disciplines, public relations engages all stakeholders of an organization, identifying and delivering impacts that are strategically aligned with concerns of the boardroom, employees, customers and investors.
  • Public relations skills are critical to restoring waning public confidence in government and financial institutions as well as being essential to define, develop and maintain the transparency that consumers expect from the companies with whom they choose to do business.
Today more than ever before, companies and organizations need the value that public relations can deliver. As consumer engagement grows through social media, companies will need to outline an increased ability to manage the relationship and conversation that impacts their success in the marketplace. But companies need to engage a public relations professional that understands how to research, plan, execute and evaluate based upon the organization’s defined objectives in order to achieve value.

If your public relations activities are focused on business output and media clips instead of business outcomes, then you are coming up short in a return on your investment. On the other hand, your investment in public relations will garner attention when you can show how that investment delivers value in financial performance by generating sales, revenue and profit; improves your brand equity and reputation; allows for stronger and more efficient employee recruitment and retention; and increases the support you seek for policy decisions or achieving market position.

I hope that you will take time to find out more about the value of public relations on an organization’s performance by visiting Moreover, I hope that you find and define the value that public relations is currently delivering or can definitely deliver in your organization.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

PR News Round Up -- June 8, 2010

From Brian Solis
Rules of Engagement in Social Media
As social media continues to evolve, establishing not only policies and guidelines but also defining the “rules of engagement” will encourage thoughtful interaction as it benefits the business, brand, customer, peers, and prospects at every touchpoint. In the end, we earn the attention, relationships and business we deserve. Following is an outline of best practices to help you craft a practical set of rules that guide representatives as they engage… Read story.

From Pew Internet and American Life Project
The State of Online Video
Seven in ten adult internet users (69%) have used the internet to watch or download video. That represents 52% of all adults in the United States. Moreover, video creation has now become a notable feature of online life. One in seven adult internet users (14%) have uploaded a video to the internet. “We are seeing a surge in online video watching that is driven by a combination of broadband access, the increasing use of social networking sites, and the popularity of video-sharing sites,” explains Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and author of the report. “To tap into these trends, untold numbers of websites now showcase online video as part of their content.” More.

From Web Worker Daily via Nonprofit Online News
6 New Terms to Use When Measuring Social Marketing Efforts
I'm normally pretty disgusted when consultants (such as myself) make up fancy new hyped-up terms for well-established concepts in order to draw attention to themselves and create anxiety-based demand in their market. But these 6 New Terms to Use When Measuring Social Marketing Efforts actually seem pretty useful. Plus, they are not named in that annoyingly cutesy way that many firms use to glue the terms to their own brand and marketing. The six terms are Attractions, Participations, Interactions, Actions, Transformations, and Transactions. Not all of these apply to every campaign or program, but I encourage you to familiarize yourself with them. Using them will lead to better designed and managed social media efforts. Read story.

From Social Media Examiner
How to Make Twitter More Useful for Your Business
If you’ve been using Twitter, you’ve likely checked out an app or two to make your Twitter experience more robust, or even just a bit easier. TweetDeck, Twitpic and Tweetie are all examples of Twitter apps. What if I told you there was a magical place that could easily be your one-stop shop for all your Twitter needs… Read more.

From PRBreakfastClub
At GM, four communicators oversee the Facebook page
PRBreakfastClub recently spoke with Christopher Barger, GM’s director of global social media, who mentioned that four employees have direct responsibility over the company’s Facebook page and its roughly 90,000 fans. Six employees, on occasion, tweet from GM’s Twitter account, he also said. Check out the full interview with a whole lot more about GM’s social media efforts. Read story.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

PR News Round Up - June 2, 2010

From Mashable
42 new guidelines for social media added to AP Stylebook
Not sure how to correctly write acronyms and phrases related to social media? The AP Stylebook has you covered. Mashable reported this morning that the Associated Press released new social media guidelines, which includes 42 definitions, use cases, and rules for writers to follow. “Among the more interesting changes — at least from a grammar and style standpoint — are separating out ‘smart phone’ as two words, hyphenating ‘e-reader,’ and allowing fan, friend, and follow to be used both as nouns and verbs,” according to Mashable. Read story. Read the guidelines.

From Reuters
BP taps former Department of Energy PR chief as its new spokesman
Over the weekend, the oil company announced that it hired Anne Kolton, the former head of public affairs at the Department of Energy and one-time aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, as its chief of U.S. media relations. As you might imagine, the PR team at BP is a bit … overworked. “BP's media team has been overwhelmed by press and public attention since the Deepwater Horizon rig … The company has flown in staff from London to help deal with media requests, but has also been forced to put its media hotline on voicemail to process the many calls — some abusive — that come in,” reports Reuters. Related Hullabaloo One blogger thinks the hiring of Kolton is a bad PR move. “They think they can do anything if they have the right public relations — but they can't even do that right,” he wrote. More

From iHealthBeat
4 hot summer trends in healthcare social media
Are you keeping an eye on what’s happening in healthcare social media? It’s a lot to wrap your brain around, from HIPAA regulations to the latest techniques for Flip cams. But there are four other trends you should be paying attention to. Here is one: Engaging e-patients. “E-patients can provide feedback not only on improving hospital websites, but also as participants in quality improvement within the health system,” iHealthBeat says. Read story.

From Bulldog Reporter
Video interview: Todd Dezen- March of Dimes and D S Simon Productions Win Big Apple Award
Doug Simon, President and CEO of D S Simon Productions spoke to Todd Dezen, Associate Director, National Media Relations, March of Dimes about how winning the PRSA-NY Big Apple Award for Use of Broadcast, can serve as a platform to help March of Dimes combat premature births. See short video interview. Read post.

From Mashable
More than 90 social media resources
This list is like the Library of Congress for social media advice — or at the very least it’s like a really big Barnes & Noble. Read story.

From PRNewser
PRWeek publisher calls it quits at magazine
Julia Hood, the publishing director and former editor-in-chief of PRWeek, is leaving the magazine to become president of the Arthur W. Page Society, a professional organization for chief communications officers, reports PRNewser. Read story.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Social Media Workshop for Non-Profits

Confused about where to go next with social networking sites for your nonprofit? Does your organization seem to have more barriers than pathways? Explore solutions with colleagues and social media professionals at Smooch SA (Social Media Opportunities for Charities); coffee hour and workshop tomorrow at the Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health. RSVP here. Participants will get a chance to explore current organizational barriers and start to develop solutions. It's free!