Wednesday, November 14, 2007

PR 2.0 :: Strategies for the Global Era

Get ready. What I’m about to share will save you a lot of time. If you’re in one of my classes or a close business associate, you know I’m very pumped following the Center for Communication’s recent "Global PR" seminar, attended by more than 200 students and media professionals from throughout the tri-state area.

Overall, Fall 07 has been a professional development extravaganza! I always revel in how much NYC has to offer. Word to the wise, soak up all you can—and never think you’re too experienced to learn something new. You’ll find leadership is cultivated by honing your skills over the years.

CenCom’s Global PR Panelists said many “traditional ad folks” don't just try stuff … they evaluate and wait. The world is changing very fast and that’s what makes the integrated marketing communications arena so exciting! Speakers encouraged us all to rev up our game in order to get results in today’s splintered marketspace. PR pros are often known for our ability to maximize resources and act fast.

Everyone was encouraged to develop new niches and create unique connections. Just like Craig’s List and Ebay have siphoned off business once the domain of newspaper classifieds! There are tremendous gaps opening up, creating new communications models. Panelists challenged the audience to own online periodicals with journalistic integrity and create new understandings and relay non-traditional points of view. In sum, original content is queen and can definitely trump what was once king (traditional media)!

And, PR pros are no longer only dealing with the media. They’re communications specialists who tell stories—and help everyone in their organizations tell compelling stories that resonate in the minds, hearts and heads of communities. These communities range from important niche markets with hundreds of citizens to global communities with a vast, diverse network of millions that span a few continents.

Mike Moran wisely encourages us to “do it wrong quick … as we build your capital and credibility” on the web (you’ll learn more about him later). Act on what follows and you’ll be surprised how you can optimize results, project responses and rewards!

Personal Marketing & Professional Development Tips

> For full speaker and moderator bios, visit

> See recommended reading list at end of this post (one is a free download)

> Under the direction of Catherine Williams, the Center for Communication is an independent media forum that offers excellent panels on a wide range of topics

> Whether you’re 16 or 60, update your bio with new interests, promotions, new projects and other newsy tidbits

> Check out the moderator’s award-winning blog, then start your own! It’s never too soon to build your own unique network of power and influence. You two can become an industry leader!

Peter Himler (PH), Founder & Principle, Flatiron Communications, moderated the Global PR panel and did a great job (FYI, he’s also President of PCNY/Publicity Club of New York. He and I go way back to our days at Hill and Knowlton; we knew each other before we had kids :) While our sons are now teenagers, in college and young working professionals – we’ve kept in touch. Always know the power of your network and allow those you know to expand your circles of connectivity. Today’s colleague can be a future client or new business referral.

Okay, here’s what you’ve been waiting for … Millynneum Insight (MI) and panelists’ perspectives on the digital world …

Nicco Mele (NM)

> Founder of and creator of’s authentic celebrity blog (whatever you may think of Rosie O’Donnell, check out her blog which is fantastic); the beauty of it is that Rosie actually writes and uploads info herself, making her creativity and unique perspective shine through—rule #1 in the blogosphere

> Internet strategist for Howard Dean’s Presidential campaign

> Due to various forces, the industry has changed from a traditional to digital world

> You may treasure old techniques (read magazine or newspaper placements), but as a PR professional, you must figure out when, where and how select audiences want to be reached, and where they are migrating to

> Today’s tech tools offer individuals the luxury to be publishers, advertisers and advocates

> Technology redistributes power … he encourages anyone with a computer, especially a communications major, to “take that power and run with it!”

> It’s more difficult for PR pros to succeed, because the media has lost some control in this age of “citizen journalists”

> Always listen and be mindful of where there’s energy and excitement on the web and particularly in the blogosphere

> Today’s conversations and the marketing that supports them are like a “fast-moving train”

> Be very curious … try things … it’s such a new space

> Experiment with videos and blogs while you’re a student, begin to build your skills and resources; those skills can be useful to a potential employer

> There aren’t established career routes or professions … you can take a circuitous route

> New channels of communication are being created on a daily basis

> Communications professionals must manage and monitor these “virtual communities”

> “Our varieties of media experience are radically fragmented” (what a great quote); NM stressed that in years past, an audience of 200 would share readership / viewership of certain media (think New York Times or Nightline). Today, he estimates you can’t find one media outlet shared by a group of 200 individuals.

> According to NM, social networking is about mapping offline and personal relationships

Mike Moran (MM)

> Dubbing himself the “resident propeller head,” Mike is a former IBM engineer

> Author, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes Old Marketing Rules

> Calls the web the best direct marketing tool full of opportunities if you pay attention and take note of audience responses

> Like the title of his book, Mike encourages marketers to “do it wrong quickly”

> Says traditional ad folks are “risk adverse” … scheduling meetings on end

> Encouraged audience to lower their fear factor – and just do something!

> Companies are trying things at a very rapid pace

> The big winners are usually those that get to market first with an idea

> Always have a feedback loop so you can fine-tune your campaign

> In the old days, when I used to work at IBM, it used to be “focus groups”

> Now, the web has “democratized” things … information is out there for the taking, without much expense

> You can obtain nearly free market research to help you, via a survey, using tools such as (one of many free or low cost online survey tools)

> There used to be a few media voices … now you don’t have to be a big company to have a voice!

> Consultants and professionals have their own networks, via social networking sites like—it makes total sense

> “Before, we consumed stories, now we consume a lot smaller stories, which results in the business of PR expanding enormously!”

> Everyone is now searching for “who understands my problem, my point of view”

> It’s incumbent on PR professionals to write helpful content that helps people solve problems

> PR pros have to know how to tell stories and connect the dots

> Told everyone to keep trying, experiment and persevere

> Keep iterating, trying, educate your audiences

> Always have a story to tell

> Think about “what blows you shirt off” … carve out a niche … know and share all you can about that subject

> Now that we’re in an election season, MM encourages students and professionals to look at the “selling techniques” of candidates

> It’s an “artificial” arena where they have to make the sale now and there is one clear winner … there’s a lot of desperation, thus, it’s the perfect incubator for communications techniques – fascinating stuff!

Cuban, Sorkin & Fast Reaction

:: Backstory ::

For example, here’s a quick story to put these thoughts in perspective and show the power of blogs and the world of citizen journalists. PH shared a story about a not so favorable article written about Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban by Andrew Mark Sorkin, mergers and acquisitions editor of the New York Times.

PH saw the story at about 7 AM one morning and fired of a quick email to Cuban to alert him. According to PH, within 30 minutes, Cuban had posted the entire unedited transcript of the interview on his blog,, complete with comments from his perspective under the headline “Why Sorkin’s Story Was Wrong.” Mark Cuban has been known to be a maverick and a man of fast action. Take note of his business acumen, and use the power of the click to your benefit.

MI: the business model is no longer brick and mortar … it’s click and shorter info blurbs to meet the needs of today’s info age consumers. That’s the power of the blogosphere. That’s the power “You Too” can leverage on behalf of your blog, your business or your clients! Blogs provide an individual or collective voice for an issue, in a new medium whereby you can bypass the filter of journalists and speak directly to consumers. All agree, these are exciting times! Now, back to business.

Michelle Horowitz (MH)

> Vice President, Corporate Development, PR Newswire

> MH explains PR Newswire has expanded their repertoire to include much more than just news distribution. The company has evolved over the past 50 years to meet the demands of the fast-changing communications profession

> Armed with an MBA, MH has a strength in emerging technologies and works directly with the CEO of PR Newswire on ways to grow the business

> She explains, PR is a rapidly changing field and her organization must “constantly work to provide better tools”

> Text, video, photography … wherever info wants to flow … if it’s Times Square then that’s where PR Newswire and other nimble organizations will be

> MH suggests PR professionals must always do research to determine bloggers, for example are “who they say they are”

> “Due to the transparency of the web, you will eventually get caught!”

> While there is “no delete” button on the web, MH cautions against AstroTurfing (see below) and other attempts to “veil” conversations

> She also advices students to selectively study their favorite websites and bloggers

> Always be on the lookout for how you could make the conversations more authentic

> Also, pay attention to solutions offered to corporate challenges

> She cited Marriott as a CEO blogger/website that does an honest job, not veiled as a senior executive who is not crafting his own dialogues with consumers or investors

> Start asking why, why, why … and start to answer those why’s with responses!

Whole Foods’ John Mackey

:: Backstory ::

> MH shared Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey’s foray into the blogosphere which purportedly affected the stock price of Wild Oats Market, a company it sought to acquire this summer

> Mackey pretended to be someone else in his online conversations, a big “no no” in the age of transparency and authenticity

> To form your opinion, visit

MI editorial note: Whole Foods is among this publisher’s favorite haunts in NYC! I often stop into these savory food markets during my long walks to and from Brooklyn. Overall favorite: 59th Street/Columbus Circle; New favorite: Houston Street, Lower East Side; Presentation … A+; Quality of Food … A+; Associates’ Attitude & Helpfulness … A+; Overall grade: A+.

Moral of the backstory: Despite web drama, CEO or Federal Trade Commission (FTC) actions – if you focus on your core product (fresh food) and customer service (I always get smiles), then your customers “stick” to your site. In this case, a website OR brick and mortar store!

David Bradfield (DB)

> Senior Vice President and Partner Fleishman-Hillard (F-H) New York

> Know this: there is a “social media function” at leading agencies

> He estimates that nearly 40% of time at F-H and other firms is spent researching clients, competitors and monitoring “conversations on the web”

> “The game has changed and the sandbox continues to shrink”

> You must retain a “sense of the digital culture” … “determine and influence who is driving the conversation” … “we’re only at the tip of the iceberg … PR pros can help determine what’s underneath it”

> F-H was a founding partner of WOMMA, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (below)

> Depending on your training, experience and mindset … agencies and professionals have varied ways of looking at interactive, advertising, PR and marketing … as well as how all industries impact and intersect with each other

> If you can figure out a way to promote tech in your organization, along with a clear understanding of interactive vehicles and PR capabilities, you have a leg up on the competition

> “With ad people, it’s all about control. PR people are on the ‘uncontrolled side.’ It’s raw, you can reach people on an innate level … help craft the stories … tell stories in new ways … create digital communities and channels … become social media experts.”

> DB encouraged audience to become subject matter experts and thought leaders, working behind the scene to impact and influence

> Quoting a F-H colleague, DB says, “the riches are in the niches!”

> Now, with communications, there is a layering strategy, allowing for different points of few

> The old model offered a narrow point of view, told via select outlets – now there are multiple ways to deliver your message, resulting in a lot of excitement!

> The goal is to make clients more relevant; connect to people differently

> And, remember to always leverage your “branded assets”

Dell Computers & The Buzz Machine

:: Backstory ::

> PH relayed a story about Jeff Jarvis, publisher of Buzz Machine and his displeasure a few years back with Dell Computers

> Due to Jeff’s loyal following, his blog traffic created a lot of buzz, resulting in a near customer service crisis for Michael Dell and his computer company

Check out Jeff’s fantastic blog

> Then fast forward to this year, and see how “relationships” can bear fruit

> Supposedly, Dell is contributing a chapter to Jeff’s forthcoming book

> Hence the power of PR, buzz and the brilliance of sharing your point of view!

> Tip, stick to the facts and don’t fabricate

> Pay close attention to the About Me | Disclosures section of Buzz Machine; it show’s Jeff’s connection to sound journalism tenets—which are always in style, much like the AP Stylebook!

Naptime @ Comcast

:: Backstory ::

Now this one is funny, if you haven’t heard about it. A once-obscure cable repairman (now a celeb) working for Philadelphia’s Comcast Cable, tries to fix a computer problem … but inadvertently falls asleep.

Mistake. The world is 24/7; no time to sleep in the digital age.

The customer snaps a photo, it’s on You Tube, and there are more than 2 million downloads, resulting in a mini customer service issue for Comcast in Summer 06.

Embarassing, yes. Free publicity, yes. Consumers decide. But, as PR pros, we must craft the message, or help manage the fallout.

> PH notes that anyone now has these tools at their disposal.

Ernst & Young—First to Market … Risk and Reward

:: Backstory ::

Traditional Ernst & Young, recently revamped their standing with college grads, by being the first employer to establish a Facebook page, repositioning their perception as a stodgy accounting firm to “the” place to work. Since then, Motorola, AT&T and others have joined suit, but there’s nothing like being first.

Remember, first to market, usually reaps untold rewards!

Check out this glowing endorsement of their strategy from Steven Rothberg at “On balance, I believe that this is a brilliant move by E&Y. College students and other members of Gen Y reward employers who embrace transparency. This is a big step towards E&Y becoming more transparent. It also sends a powerful message to students that E&P is listening to their needs, wants, and desires. Recruiters who tell highly qualified candidates that they must apply through traditional channels will lose those candidates if those candidates want to connect through newer channels such as Facebook because those candidates have options and they know it.

Ernst & Young recruits where the college kids hang out—Facebook

© Los Angeles Business Journal

March, 2007

By Jabulani Leffall

A passive employee is only one bad workday away from becoming an active job applicant. Likewise, a tech-savvy college graduate is one job removed from a room at mom's and dad's.

Such was the thinking when Ernst & Young LLP shed the stodgy image often conferred on accountants and stepped into the uncharted realm of online social networking, becoming the first company to sponsor a page on specifically aimed at attracting young talent.

The firm wants to hire more than 5,000 interns and entry-level workers this year and so far, career strategy experts applaud the move.

"Good for Ernst & Young," said Kristen Fennelly, a recruiting consultant with Administaff Inc., a provider of outsourced human resource services. "It's fitting as old school approaches are long gone."

Ernst & Young's Facebook profile is a no-frills display complete with slideshows and video testimonials from evangelistic interns, various career tips and links to the firm's corporate sites. The firm's recruiters observe user activity and respond casually to visitors.

Nearly 6,000 users have signed up as "members" of the Ernst & Young page on Facebook, which claims that 85 percent of an estimated 8 million college students use its Web site.

While some see this as a good thing for businesses and job hounds, privacy remains an issue.

Companies can use these sites to weed out candidates, based on the content of their individual member profiles, warns Kristen Todd, career development adviser at USC's Marshall School of Business. "We try to tell employers that kids think of this as their private space and that both parties should keep that in mind when logging in to networking sites," she said.

To help temper these concerns, this spring Facebook and Jobster Inc. plan to launch a secured site enabling regular Facebook users to create more formal job seeker profiles that employers can access. Fox Interactive unit MySpace recently formed a similar partnership with

Meanwhile, Ernst & Young remains cautiously optimistic about tapping into social networking in general and Facebook in particular.

"We know (Facebook) is not a controlled environment, so we did lose a little sleep over pushing the envelope," said Dan Black, the firm's Americas director of campus recruiting. "But we've found the rewards have far outweighed the risks."

COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group

Tech Tools & Trade Secrets

The Big G … Google!

:: Backstory ::

> All panelists agreed that Google’s AdSense was about the best on the block to help make your website “sticky” and attract repeat customers/eyeballs

> Panelists indicated that there really isn’t a better deal out there, with a conversion cost of 45 cents to attract a qualified lead, as compared to about $10 for direct mail

> MM revealed Google has won the search engine war, making founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page billionaires with no ads, they did it all via “word of mouse”

> Learn, listen and lift their successful online marketing techniques!

> They approached things in a cool, different way … using a model that resonates with information economists

To Start a Blog



> Takes 10 minutes or less, voila, you have an internet presence

> And, it’s fun!

> Befriend other bloggers

> Make your site sticky

> Advocate for a cause you believe in

> Use “word of mouse” to spread the word!

To Enhance Your Blog

> NM recommends you spend about 2 hours, invest about $20 and buy a few Google keywords

Learn from the Masters

> MI (Lynne Scott Jackson, author of Millynneum Insight) recommends you invest in yourself, take the time to read everything Google has to offer

*Learn about Google Analytics

*Learn about Google AdSense

*Learn about Google Keywords

*Learn how Google Documents can expand capacity and create cache for your work team or “for impact” (nonprofit) organization

*Learn how Google Alerts can effortlessly alert you to what others are saying about you or client companies on the web (in PR you always have to stay ahead of the pack and keep tabs on what’s being said)

*Create an iGoogle homepage and effortlessly organize what you need to know

> Learn, earn … eventually, make millions!

Discipline & Direction

> Like MM, discipline yourself to blog everyday

> Your site is timely, you can change “the feedback” loop to real time

> MM even wrote portions of his new book online!

Why is Facebook in everyone’s face?

> Reaches 85% of the college audience

> Represents the coveted 18-24 consumer demographic

Why is important?

> Original blog search engine

> Tracking 111.7 million blogs

> Monitoring over 250 million pieces of tagged social media

Why make an

> Yahoo’s impressive search engine marketing tool

What’s a tag?

> A tag is a word that defines content

> Makes it easier for a search engine to trace

What makes so sweet?

> Social bookmarking tool that organizes networks and communities in a way that makes sense for you and your friends

What’s an SEO news release?

PH explained he recently did a SEO (search engine optimized) news release for a travel education/study abroad client. The beauty of this type of news release is that it is specifically developed to be found by journalists on the web. Chock full of “key word density,” the release is specifically developed to be found on Google and other search engines (yes Frank, Google isn’t the only game in town).

What’s on the horizon?

> Panel: video tags for blogs, allowing consumers to capture all the live video currently on the web … it’s the new frontier!

> According to MM, in about 2 years, there will be another technological revolution, allowing more visuals to be tagged, monitored and retrieved online

> NM predicts videogames will be bigger than music … “we’re poised to enter the golden age of videogames,” which currently offer a wide opportunity for product placements and the like (think

> MH says there will be a shift of customers who track more video and photos, as opposed to text; companies will become more adept at reaching consumers on the run, on their mobile phones and portable laptops than ever before!

Mine & Mind the conversation

> PH encourages PR pros to “mine” the conversation, just like you mine for data

> Further, MI encourages you to always create mind share and “mind your business” by incorporating tech tools and fresh ways of thinking to expand opportunities

> Several panelists urged the audience to pick a sampling of credible/reputable sources, say 20-30 blogs, and count on the industry leaders to keep you informed (this prevents info overload

> MM suggests adding to the conversation—and amplifying the message via your unique voice

Practice “Link Love”

> PH advises that you should always check out key websites in your areas of specialization and encourage traffic back and forth by reading and posting comments

among your leadership groups

> Tip: always link to the “permalink” in a blog, which is the long URL in the header; this generates a track back and makes your site stickier

The 411 on RSS

> Rich Site Summary or

> Really Simple Syndication

> This handy service is revolutionizing way we search for content on the Internet

> Benefits: web searchers don't necessarily have to check back to a particular site to see if it's been updated; all you have to do is subscribe to the RSS feed, much like a newspaper subscription, and then read site updates, delivered via RSS feeds, in what's called a "feed reader"

> Streamlines info process, allowing the “gatekeeper” to be removed

The following excerpts are from Wendy Boswell’s RSS column on

> RSS feeds benefit those who actually own or publish a website or blog, since site owners can get their updated content to subscribers fast by submitting feeds to various XML and RSS directories

> These are basically simple text files that, once submitted to feed directories, will allow subscribers to see content within a very short time after it's updated (sometimes as short as 30 minutes or less

> Content can be aggregated to be viewed even more easily by using a feed reader

> Allows for maximum optimization/capture of websites by online communities

> Results in maximum viewership of your site, or website hits which can be tracked for clients/customers who pay you for results

> Most experts agree an RSS feed is critical for optimum website/blog viewership

“Astroturfing” :: Stop or go at the info-zone?

From Wikipedia: Astroturfing is is a neologism for formal public relations campaigns in politics and advertising that seek to create the impression of being spontaneous, grassroots behavior. Hence the reference to the artificial grass AstroTurf.

The goal of such a campaign is to disguise the efforts of a political or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event. Astroturfers attempt to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals, by both overt ("outreach," "awareness," etc.) and covert (disinformation) means. Astroturfing may be undertaken by anything from an individual pushing their own personal agenda through to highly organized professional groups with financial backing from large corporations, non-profits, or activist organizations.

Do you AstroTurf or do you play by the rules? You decide as you craft your career.

WOMMA/Internet Marketing Code of Ethics

> Review WOMMA’s guidelines to learn more

> According to DB, the CEO of Fleishmann-Hillard dedicates at least one post per week to the subject of internet ethics and is firmly on the “ethical bandwagon”

> F-H is a founding member of WOMMA

Market Research

> Survey Monkey, one of many free or low-cost online survey resources

New Titles, Areas of Expertise for the Savvy Communications Professional

> Director of Blog Relations

> Manager of Microbrands (blogs, influential online communities & networks)

> Online / Interactive Engagement Specialist

> Develop your strengths; create a title that suits your specific skill set … it just might just grab the attention of an on-point creative director, account manager or human resource associate—separating you from the pack!

PR 2.0 Global Strategies :: Recommended Reading

> Conversations with Robert Graves, by Frank L. Kersnowski and Robert Graves

> The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture, by John Battelle

> Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell

> The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell

> The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki

> The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, by Thomas L. Friedman

> The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott

> We the Media, by Dan Gilmore (free download)

> Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

> The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, by Chris Anderson

> Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message, by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba

> Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force by Ben McConnell, Jackie Huba, and Guy Kawasaki

Coming Soon!

> Grassroots to Global PR: How to Excite and Interact with Today’s Mobile Consumer, Lynne Scott Jackson & Kevin K. Derricotte

MI motto: Nouveau niches—Internet riches!

To learn more, check Millynneum Insight often and check out the April 2007 post featuring comments from Derek “DJ” Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer of

>> MI