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    1. The Separation of Powers in Today’s Media Landscape

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      As the countdown to the inauguration continues, I thought it would be fun — and hopefully a bit interesting — to have a little Government 101 refresh while simultaneously prompting you to think differently about the media world and all its various players.

      Let’s start with a flash back to grade school. Remember learning about the three branches of the U.S. government?

      There’s the legislative branch, which makes the laws; the executive branch, which carries them out; and the judicial branch, which decides if the laws in place are indeed in line with the Constitution. It’s all about checks and balances, just like the media world. Or at least, it should be.

      • The legislative branch is analogous to “companies” in that those organizations have specific agendas (stories) which they want to (hopefully) share with the world.
      • The executive branch echoes PR and communications professionals responsible for the tactical execution of those stories.
      • And the judicial branch is not unlike journalists, the gatekeepers of which stories make it to the public.

      Granted, the rise of “owned media” shifts some of that power into our own hands and the companies we represent. In this sense, public relations has undergone a bit of a revolution. But it doesn’t change the fact that getting a stamp of approval from a reputable journalist is the ultimate validator in the business world.

      And despite the fact that an increasing number of brand-published stories are blowing earned media hits out of the water, it’s a good thing that journalist-penned articles still get our C-suite leaders giddy. Journalists set the bar high, and this is a good thing.

      No, the media landscape is not always easy to navigate. Neither is politics. But in a perfect world, it sure is democratic.

      [Infographic inspired by USA.GOV]

    2. 5 Tenets of PRTech + 2015 PRTech Awards Recap

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      Last week in New York, #TeamAirPR hosted the 2015 PRTech Awards to honor the leading minds in PR, Marketing, Technology and Media. Needless to say, the brainpower gathered in one room was staggering. (You can peruse a few snaps of the mind meld here.)

      Everyone in attendance was there to acknowledge that our industry is at a great point of convergence and the future has never looked brighter for PR. The individuals honored were nominated because their innovative work is propelling the PRTech ecosystem forward at an unprecedented pace.

      2015-PRTech-AwardsBesides having an excuse to throw a great party (isn’t that what PR pros do all day anyway?), this was also our opportunity to show gratitude to the folks who are bringing greater visibility to all the opportunities that exist in the PRTech space.

      This is not just about the work AirPR is doing. It’s about recognizing that the work we do wouldn’t be nearly as impactful without all the other amazing companies who surround and complement us. As our sage Chief Strategy Officer astutely quoted (the African proverb), “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

      And we want to go far…really, really far. Which means we are committed to going together.

      In order to ensure everyone is properly equipped to tap into its power, we’ve recapped the 5 main tenets of PRTech below. These are are meant to reinforce the importance of this conversation and cement your adherence to this movement.

      Let’s do this.

      5 Main Tenets of PRTech

      1. Technological Innovation

      Technological innovation is ushering in some of the most exciting shifts the PR industry has seen and we should embrace this paradigm shift that helps us all be more strategic in our communication efforts. Instead of fearing or being overwhelmed by tech, we need to commit to researching new platforms and learning new skills that help us communicate better and measure PR smarter.

      The PRTech ecosystem is quickly becoming STACKED with amazing tools to help PR pros do their job better, so dive in. Every tool in the ever-growing ecosystem is waiting to take PR to the next level.

      2. Access To Data

      PRTech is raising the industry’s “accountability bar” by demanding that PR professionals use data to drive and optimize their efforts. The best part? By tapping the tools and services that stem from technological innovation, PR has more data at its fingertips than ever before.

      Though the volume of data can overwhelming at first, it’s when data becomes the foundation of PR’s decision making process that everyone sits up and takes notice. Data-driven decision making is the key to establishing PR as a significant piece of the digital marketing puzzle and a key driver of business.

      3. Data Literacy

      The ability to read, create, and communicate data as information (aka data literacy) is another key pillar of PRTech. It’s not just about accumulating data, it’s also finding and communicating meaning in the numbers. Luckily, there are number of resources in the PRTech ecosystem expressly devoted to helping PR pros tell stories using data.

      What good is data if you can’t communicate the findings in a compelling and sharable manner? With more tools and resources available than ever, PRTech is rife with opportunities for PR pros to apply quantitative insights to their qualitative work. The future of PR depends on storytellers who can also look at data and infer possible outcomes.

      4. Metrics That Matters

      PRTech shifts the paradigm of the PR silo from “cost center” to “profit center” as the industry begins to have solid metrics to prove the true impact of PR beyond mere brand awareness. PRTech is providing companies and publishers insights into what is working in terms of content and messages. Access to data is allowing PR pros to capture user behavior, engagement, web traffic, and specific interactions across various digital properties.

      Furthermore, PRTech is uncovering what really matters versus the numbers that make the ego feel good but don’t actually provide any true insight. In other words: let’s work smarter not harder.

      5. Relationships

      There is tremendous opportunity in the PRTech ecosystem, but the one thing we can never lose sight of is that relationships are, and always will be, at the heart of PR. Data can provide feedback on what works, but at the end of the day it’s always about people and how they think and feel.

      Jennifer Hirsch, founder of Marked Point, put it best, “PR is a human discipline. Even if you never see your customers, you are having a very real impact on people making decisions. Use your intuition and emotional intelligence to walk in their shoes and then connect to them in real human ways.”

      Data is empowering the industry to tell better stories, prove our value, and reach further. Measurement is providing robust audience insights that are invaluable to content production and social engagement. PR is moving fast and gaining ground and now is the time to harness the power to technological innovation to propel PR into the driver’s seat.

      Buckle up. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

    3. Getting First Dibs on the Future of PR and Media

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      When a writer for Fast Company agrees to write a “first dibs” article for your company blog, it is all at once flattering (OMG! She’s gonna do that for lil’ ol’ us??), but also – ah hem – kind of scary.

      Because…what if…everyone likes her better?

      Inflated egos notwithstanding (and in true entrepreneurial fashion) this week we are thrilled to take the risk of Wendy Marx eclipsing us so that you…yes YOU…can gain interesting insights from one of the PR industry’s finest.

      Read. Enjoy. Tweet. Discuss. Comment. Re-post. We promise not to be offended or to take it personally if this goes viral:

      Getting First Dibs on the Future of PR and Media

      By Wendy Marx

      Want a peak into the future of PR and media?

      Expect to see in the coming years a more ballsy, diverse PR profession that is less obsessed with scoring a big hit in old-time media than capitalizing on niche and non-traditional media. And expect to see a reimagining of media storytelling tools and tactics coupled with a new PR-journalist alliance.

      At least those were the prognostications of some seers of PR and journalism at a PRSA Tri State District event titled “PRX: The Future of Media.”

      One fact is patently clear: PR and its first cousin, journalism, are in a whirlwind of evolution of redefining themselves.

      What’s ahead and how do you succeed? These PR and media crystal ball gazers articulated a roadmap of the future. Here are ways they recommended to get your own toehold on the future:

      Shed the veneer of sameness

      Decrying the commoditization of PR practitioners who are spit out of the PR factory in the same mold, Fred Cook, President and CEO of global PR agency Golin, urged the mostly female audience to dare to fail and keep more balls (or ideas) on the table. “Failure is the best way to success in your career,” said Cook, who regaled the audience with his failures as a doorman, chauffer, tennis player, and school teacher as chronicled in his book, Improvise: Unconventional Career Advise from an Unlikely CEO.

      (more…)

    4. Serena Ehrlich from Business Wire sets the record straight

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      DON’T FORGET: The 5th Annual PR Summit in San Francisco is 1 month away! Be sure to buy your tickets. Here’s 20% off because we love you: http://bit.ly/1iXXuWE

      Back in the fall of 2013, I wrote this blog post where I equated the press release to that annoying guy nobody wants to invite to a party, but for some reason everyone feels obligated to invite.

      This type of behavior (inviting unwanted guests) entirely eludes me – probably because I’m not nice. Or something like that.

      Truth be told, however, being nice has its distinct advantages. Namely: you tend to have a higher quality of life and meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet. These people, the ones you may have otherwise ignored while clinging for dear life to your bitchy resting face, can end up being great advocates for you…if you take the time to get to know them, understand where they’re coming from, and ultimately relinquish your propensity to thinking “hey, I’m usually always right.”

      In a moment of weakness, niceness, and extroversion, I accepted an invitation to a PR gathering in San Francisco hosted by Paul Wilke (whom I adore), the founder of @UprightComms. While there, over an assortment of wine and charcuterie, I met a woman by the name of Serena Ehrlich – who just happened to be the very friendly Director of Social and Evolving Media at Business Wire.

      Oh, and she was also named the “top 25 women in mobile to watch”, “25 women who rock social media”, “best social media blogger for PR”, and a various assortment of other titles that tend to intimidate-slash-excite me.

      In true social media culture fashion, we spoke to each other briefly in person at the little gathering but quickly launched a rather heated Twitter affair – which is entirely appropriate given her skill sets. We have serendipitously run into each other at PR-related events over the past year, the last of which was the “PR News’ PR Measurement Conference” in Washington DC – where Serena graciously gave me her perspective on why newswires are still relevant (despite Google’s algo updates and my seeming disdain for press releases) and how we can measure their impact more effectively.

      (more…)

    5. 4-Part Guide for Interview Preparation in a Pinch

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      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!

      (more…)

    6. AirPR & YEC team up to increase PR opportunities for entrepreneurs

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      Editor’s Note:

      This blog post is touting a partnership AirPR has recently launched to promote the benefit of our Marketplace. So, yes, we are going to talk about ourselves.

      But I think it’s relevant to where the PR industry is going (content marketing, publication partners, branded content, etc.) plus we interviewed the co-founder of our partner organization, and he has some VERY interesting opportunities for entrepreneurs.

      Read on, after the jump!

      (more…)

    7. PR Hack: February Retrospective

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      Ohhhh, so much March Madness happening!

      Tech, music, film (SXSW), basketball (NCAA championship), Irish things (St. Patty’s day), CMOs getting cozy (Adobe’s SUMMIT) and probably a few other random things I’ve missed.

      But before we jump the gun and get all excited about the next 25 days, please enjoy our February 2014 PR Hack, where (much like the Oscar Awards for 2013 are given in 2014) we report February news in March.

      #SelfAware.

      PR Hack February 2014

      (more…)

    8. Quantitative and Qualitative walked into a bar

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      Last week we kicked off the rolling, invite-only, stealthy, somewhat clandestine launch of our next product, which measures the ROI (aka assumptive value) of PR unlike any other solution on the market.

      [Watch our video to learn more] 

      Geoff MooreAs part of these activities, we hosted a speaker series last Friday in San Francisco where technology investor and author Geoffrey Moore (Crossing the Chasm, The Gorilla Game, Inside the Tornado) gave a keynote on the future of PR. The most “tweetable” sound bite from his presentation was the following:

      “We have to have a quant front-end and a qual back-end. Because life is still about storytelling.”

      Amen.

      The PR folks in the room were nodding vigorously and tweeting with wild abandon.

      If quantitative data were the only kind in existence, the world would be a very flat, ultimately unfulfilling place. To be sure, we’d know the exact traffic patterns required to efficiently get us from point A to point B in record time (great, so we’re at the movie theatre 37.4 minutes early. Now what?), and perhaps the number of minimum licks it takes to get to the center of a lollipop (so we can lick vigorously as we wait for the movie to start)…but we’d be bored as hell.

      B-O-R-E-D.

      Qualitative data on the other hand, which can also be thought of as anecdotal or observed data, requires a level of creativity and inference that give “color” to the equation. Quant gives us the fundamental truths, but Qual brings those truths to life and makes the actions digestible. (more…)

    9. 7 hot tips for maximizing the value of media coverage

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      Generally speaking, there are fewer things I despise more than conferences. The only thing I despise more than conferences is, well, specifically…PR conferences.  Mostly because I find them filled with stuffy corporate communications folks who are still trying to figure out if they should spend 400k or 500k on PR for the year.

      That must be a nice quagmire.

      One Shaun Saunders, however, has of late eclipsed my original thinking about PR conferences. Mr. Saunders, who I describe as a fabulously dressed, fast-talking, PR renegade of sorts, is the founder of the PR Summit. I’m not sure exactly how he’s created the hip and cool slash utilitarian version of the PR conference, but he’s managed to do it, fashionably.

      As we gear up for this year’s conference (July 30 & 31 in San Francisco), Shaun and I have interviewed a couple of folks who have some thoughts and advice about PR, media, relations, social media, and so much more.

      This week we’ll start with an interview Shaun conducted with Murray Newlands (TheMail) and next week I’ll be posting an interview I did with Greg Galant (MuckRack) in New York a few weeks ago. And yes, they…in all their “hipness and coolness”… will be speaking at the PR Summit.

      7 hot tips for maximizing the value of media coverage

      [Shaun Saunders interviews Murray Newlands]

      With an ever-increasing number of businesses engaging in content marketing, PR, and media outreach, getting media coverage is progressively more difficult as journalists are pressed for time and chased for attention. I asked Murray Newlands, founder and editor of www.themail.com, how to best maximize the value of media coverage when given the opportunity.

      Once you get great press coverage, what’s next? Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of that media coverage and ensure that you are invited back, or if you’re lucky, be referred to other publications.

      1. Make a positive comment and encourage fans to do the same: Remember, it’s normally much better to promote content that someone else has written about you than content you’ve created. If someone else comments on it, then engage with those comments.

      2. Share it on your Facebook page and in relevant groups that you belong to: Why not make that a paid/promoted post as well? You could do the same on Twitter and make it a promoted tweet. Don’t forget to promote it on LinkedIn and Google+, too, if it’s relevant. If you have fans that have their own followings, ask them to do the same. You could even pay for them to do some promotion on their profiles or fan pages. If you’re clever enough to regularly cross promote with other businesses, why not pay them to do a promoted post on their fan page and agree to do the same for them when the time comes?

      3. Share it on your site: Write a short introduction to the piece and link to it. After all, why would you want to create content that your audience can’t find? Regardless of where it’s posted, always make sure that your network and your audience knows about your content. (more…)