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Active Voice



Thoughts on hi-tech public relations



Updated: 2007-02-20T09:33:01-08:00

 



Another Web 2.0 Explanation

2007-02-20T09:33:01-08:00

A friend of mine just sent over this video explanation of the Web 2.0 internet phenomenon. It's been circulating like crazy and may be old news to many of you but I found it interesting and entertaining. It reminds me...

A friend of mine just sent over this video explanation of the Web 2.0 internet phenomenon.  It's been circulating like crazy and may be old news to many of you but I found it interesting and entertaining.  It reminds me of a similar video called Epic that I first saw in January 2005 at the NewCommForum conference (by the way, the next NewCommForum event is next month in Vegas. There is a great line up of speakers and if you can, I strongly suggest you find a way to get there).




AlwaysOn Media Conference

2007-02-02T10:21:47-08:00

A few of us attended the AlwaysOn Media conference this week in NY. We were only there for one day but it was long enough to know that Tony et al. pulled together an impressive group of influencers to discuss...

A few of us attended the AlwaysOn Media conference this week in NY. We were only there for one day but it was long enough to know that Tony et al. pulled together an impressive group of influencers to discuss the ever-changing media landscape, and the technology that’s changing it. We were tied up in meetings and weren’t able to join any of the conference sessions, but the AlwaysOn folks do a great job placing screens all over the venue so you can see what’s being discussed from various locations. They also provide webcast access to folks who can’t be there in person.

There is something fun about being in NY to discuss new media trends. It’s always interesting to me when a large contingency of Silicon Valley folks show up somewhere else around the country or world. AlwaysOn occurred on the heels of the World Economic Forum where technology trends were a large part of the discussion agenda. Some of those folks hopped the pond and went directly to the AlwaysOn conference to continue the discussion. I know there are no geographic boundaries to technology and the world is flat, but it does send a powerful message when technology issues and many of the same tech leaders are together for a concentrated period at the beginning of the year – from CES to Davos to AlwaysOn to next week’s RSA show in San Francisco. This year is no different than last, or the many years before it, but I always feel a technology saturation level develop in the early part of the year that will set the agenda for the coming months. And by the way everyone is talking at these various venues, it should be another interesting year for our industry.

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Active Voice 2.0

2006-08-17T14:31:40-07:00

There's a great site out there that'll help you create a "Web 2.0"-looking logo. Check the new Active Voice...so 2.0...

There's a great site out there that'll help you create a "Web 2.0"-looking logo.  Check the new Active Voice...so 2.0...

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Ouch! Spam pitches are a no-no

2006-07-26T11:12:09-07:00

Check out this article from Paul McNamara/Network World about a spam pitch he came across. Normally I don't like it when journalists stop to call out PR folks. Many journalists are incredibly difficult to reach and despite asking us to...

Check out this article from Paul McNamara/Network World about a spam pitch he came across.  Normally I don't like it when journalists stop to call out PR folks.  Many journalists are incredibly difficult to reach and despite asking us to contact them via email, don't ever reply to email pitches - even to say, "No thanks."  So when they stop and highlight a PR pitch by email, even a bad pitch or one sent to the wrong person, I generally think it creates unnecessary tension for what should be a good professional relationship.  But this pitch is just awful and should curl the toes of all the PR professionals out there.  I came into this profession during a hot market and made many mistakes as I learned the rules of engagement with journalists.  The market is heating up again and more PR folks are out there trying hard to get their clients noticed.  I'm all for it.  PR trench ware fare is good for the soul, but if you're getting ready to send an email like this, please take the time to ask a colleague for their advice.




Hey, doc, lemme ask you something...

2006-07-24T21:20:19-07:00

A colleague just sent me the link to Ask Dr. Z, a (I hesitate to call it a blog since it doesn't have a running discussion) community site from the folks at the Chrysler Group. The design is great and...

A colleague just sent me the link to Ask Dr. Z, a (I hesitate to call it a blog since it doesn't have a running discussion) community site from the folks at the Chrysler Group.  The design is great and the interactive demo is engaging.  I liked Dr. Z right from the start.  It's RSS enabled and tags just about everything.  The goals is to provide a Q&A forum for Chrysler automotive products.  Seems simple enough.  Ask a question, get an answer.  I'm not a Chrysler owner at the moment but it's nice to have another resource.  I don't own a GM car either and still enjoy the FastLane blog. 

Anyway, I did what you're supposed to do at Dr. Z, ask a question.  Before it would take my question I had to fill in a form box that included name, address, email and phone number.  That's a lot of info for a quick question about a car.  I entered the info to give it a try.  It's been about 15 minutes and I haven't received a response and I just checked my junk and spam email folders.  The site did point me to questions similar to mine where I found my answer so I did get what I needed.  In the end though, the registration process is a deterrent.  I'd tell this to Chrysler if they were a client: keep the road as wide as possible for as long as possible.  There is no need to impose processes, guidelines or rules that could stifle community growth.  Make is easy.  Don't give any excuses for not trying it.  Don't make me give you my address, email and phone number so you can send a car brochure to me the next day.  I came to the site.  Be happy with that.  If I come back and stick around for a while, guess what? I'll become a fan and maybe one day an advocate and maybe one day after that I'll become a customer.




Notes from PRSourceCode panel

2006-06-28T12:54:46-07:00

This morning I attended a PRSourceCode panel at Jacob Javitz in NY held in conjunction with C3 Expo. The panel line up included Dave Berlind/ZDnet, Mike Vizard/ZiffDavis, Paul Taylor/FT, Keith Shaw/Network World and Heather Clancy/CRIN. Steve Smith and his team...

This morning I attended a PRSourceCode panel at Jacob Javitz in NY held in conjunction with C3 Expo.  The panel line up included Dave Berlind/ZDnet, Mike Vizard/ZiffDavis, Paul Taylor/FT, Keith Shaw/Network World and Heather Clancy/CRIN.  Steve Smith and his team at PRSourceCode do a great job hosting these panels.  For a PR professional it's an opportunity to listen to some of the industry's best explain how journalism is changing, how their publications are adapting to these changes, and how best to work with the PR community.  Below are some notes.  "I'm going to lay this out there, if you like it it's yours, if you don't, send it right on back" (quote from what movie?). 

Berlind: They say that blogging will kill journalism.  I think blogging will kill journalists (in reference to the increased workload and time commitment)

Vizard: The new model is going back to the old model - you need to have a relationship.  Releases are two sentences long, including the headline, so get to it.  The trend is that news dailies are becoming news weeklies and the content will be news features.

Shaw: Tell your clients that it's more powerful when my online story comes out.  You should be asking me, "When does this come out online?"

Vizard: Understand the "arch of the story" - what is the shelf life of the story and what is the potential for follow up stories?

Clancy: "Top 10" stories and lists are great - list trends, make predictions, etc.

Asked to comment on the top five issues they are covering -

Vizard: security, open source, processors (Intel vs. AMD), Apple, careers

Clancy: all those mentioned above and profitability, SaaS and Linux

Shaw: security, VoIP, storage and wireless

Taylor: security, convergence, social networking, media content/delivery, and compliance

Berlind: net neutrality, DRM, disruptive technologies (wikis, blogs), mashups, and mobility




I am your PR sherpa

2006-06-28T12:28:37-07:00

I'm currently on a press tour and found out that this blog has been named MarketingSherpa's best blog on the topic of PR. This is quite an honor considering the other blogs/bloggers nominated. Mike and Dave were quick to point...

I'm currently on a press tour and found out that this blog has been named MarketingSherpa's best blog on the topic of PR.  This is quite an honor considering the other blogs/bloggers nominated.  Mike and Dave were quick to point out that my Bangalore click fraud investment paid off.  That's a good one.  With PR bloggers working hard to out-blog each other, it's nice to have readers outside our circle who also read MarketingSherpa and I'm flattered that they took the time to vote.  I do think that the blogging PR professionals have helped raise our game and deliver better results to our clients, partners, employees and employers.  And for that my hat is off to all those sharing their knowledge and improving our craft. 




Bud will not advance in the World Cup

2006-06-12T15:46:45-07:00

Over the weekend my father asked me what I thought about the Budweiser uproar at this year's World Cup event in Germany. I had to confess that I didn't know what he was talking about. Apparently, folks in the host...

Over the weekend my father asked me what I thought about the Budweiser uproar at this year's World Cup event in Germany. I had to confess that I didn't know what he was talking about. Apparently, folks in the host city are upset that Budweiser is the official beer sponsor.  My dad asked me in the context of how could Budweiser, one of the world's most recognizable brands, make such a PR/marketing blunder.  As we talked it was easy for us to appreciate the German's reaction.  We all know that German's take great pride in their beer and even my father, a die hard nationalist and Bud man, admits that Bud doesn't stack up to German brew.  How would we like it if a foreign bought the rights to passing out a new kind of apple pie on July 4?  So I found this story about the situation.  It's quite a conundrum.  Bud is the beer sponsor and McDonald's is the food sponsor.  So the folks watching Cup games are eating and drinking two huge American brands whenn American sentiment isn't, shall we say, at an all time high.  I'm not a huge soccer fan but I know that it's an extremely prideful event for most of the world and the host city takes it seriously.  I'd have a hard time if another country bought the rights to distribute food and beverages at the Super Bowl or World Series.  You'll see in the article that Bud didn't know where the Cup would be hosted when it bought the beverage sponsorship rights.  So where is the line in the sand and who crossed it? Is FIFA trying too hard to commercialize the Cup? Should Bud not force itself into events that are more popular outside it's home country? Or should soccer fans in Germany take the opportunity to expand their palate for a few weeks and focus on their team's Cup performance? 




Girlie-Man PR

2006-06-05T14:14:11-07:00

One of our pro-bono clients, Girls for a Change (GFC), is working to re-educate public figures who have used the term “girlie-man” to perpetuate inaccurate stereotypes about women. The GFC Steering Committee is made up of high-school girls from 15-17...

One of our pro-bono clients, Girls for a Change (GFC), is working to re-educate public figures who have used the term “girlie-man” to perpetuate inaccurate stereotypes about women. 

 

The GFC Steering Committee is made up of high-school girls from 15-17 trying to get in front of local politicians, reporters and the general public. If this is something you'd like to support, here is an online petition that will only take 30 seconds to complete. 

Thanks for your support.




Doing it right

2006-06-01T14:27:27-07:00

Wow, two posts in two days. I've got to admit that my post yesterday about not finding the time and motivation to post anymore was an attempt to kick my own butt into gear. Like admitting to a friend that...

Wow, two posts in two days. I've got to admit that my post yesterday about not finding the time and motivation to post anymore was an attempt to kick my own butt into gear.  Like admitting to a friend that you aren't working out as much as you should.  The cathartic effect is usually a revamped workout program.  And so here I am writing a second blog post in two days.   Watch out PR blogging hacks!

Last night I read an article in PR Week titled, "Where digital initiatives succeed" (subscription required).  It's about successful new media programs and one of the organizations profiled is IBM.  My friend Chris Barger is one of the folks running their social media program.  I recently met with him to learn more about it and was quite impressed which the effort put into providing a new communication platform for IBM employees.  Chris and his colleagues are slamming the new media kool-aid  in Armonk and they are quietly building - from what I've seen anyway - one of the better examples of a social communication program. 

What I also like about IBM's program is seeing a tech legend that helped give birth (really, I don't want to get into this debate) to the PC - step up to the front of the industry by adopting some of the latest communication programs.   You may be in the mainframe group at IBM and still feel as hip as any Web 2.0-Silicon Valley-wannabe by using the social communication network they've created.  This is another example of using the new communication tools to invigorate employees and step on the innovation gas pedal.