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Fresh Ideas from BurrellesLuce. Although we’re at the forefront of PR - leading innovation in media monitoring and measurement - we don’t know it all. That’s why we are out there exploring and learning alongside you. Fresh Ideas from BurrellesLuce gathers our resident experts and industry insider guest bloggers to share their thoughts on media, public relations, and marketing and provide you with a place to share ideas about what matters most to you. Together we can ensure breakthrough communications.
Updated: 31 min 47 sec ago

Broadcast Copyright Case Headed to Supreme Court

Mar 11, 2014

flickr user dbking under CC BY license

There’s yet another news aggregator copyright case to keep your eye on – and this one will be in the Supreme Court. In 2012, ABC (American Broadcasting Companies, a consortium of television broadcasters) filed suit against Aereo, a service that transmits over-the-air TV signals using tiny antennas that allow users to watch online streaming broadcasts. Aereo subscribers pay a monthly fee, but Aereo has no paid licensing with broadcasters.

ABC v. Aereo seems like another of the many publisher-versus-aggregator news appropriation cases we’ve covered, only this time it’s broadcast television. The case has been going on for a while, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on April 22.

The most recent press has been full of support for ABC; both the U.S. copyright office and the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief stating that Aereo is infringing on broadcast copyright. Add to that two of the nation’s foremost legal experts on copyright law, UCLA School of Law professor David Nimmer and UC Berkeley School of Law Professor Peter Menell also filed a brief in support of the broadcasters. And then add the amicus brief filed by the National Football League and Major League Baseball, who receive about a hundred million dollars from broadcasters for licensing from cable in addition to potentially billions of dollars in retransmission fees for sports rights.

One would think things were looking good for ABC, but keep in mind that in the initial case in March, 2012, the judge ruled in favor of Aereo, a ruling that was upheld in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Without delving into all the legal rules and technical precedents, this is an interesting case because while it looks like classic publisher-vs-aggregator, the fact that it’s broadcast (which has had to deal with the advent of Beta Max, VCRs, and DVRs) and not written-word news content makes this an entirely different ballgame.

What does that mean for the PR pro? It means that despite the abundance of copyright cases and rulings, copyright is still a convoluted issue, and it’s still of the utmost importance to understand not only fair use, but other copyright implications as well. It’s also yet another reminder that though licensing may seem expensive, it’s important and vital to our industry that relies so heavily on media content and the continued success of media outlets.

It will be interesting to see how the case plays out and how the Supreme Court rules, but either way, the ruling could spell out a new future for broadcasting and copyright.

U.S. Copyright Compliance Eyes Asia-Pacific

Mar 10, 2014

A sweeping 12-country free trade agreement that is now being negotiated is much more than an attempt to open markets: It also has a significant copyright component. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in addition to opening the markets, represents an aggressive U.S. push to close the gaps in the intellectual property (IP) copyright and distribution protections.

The TPP’s IP/copyright agreement being negotiated could expand U.S. copyright standards to Asia-Pacific. It seeks to adopt US copyright restrictions on digital content for nations like Canada, Australia, Japan and North Korea. Ultimately, it could cover 40 percent of the world’s economy. TPP means PR pros face a future of an aggressive U.S. government push on copyrights internationally.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, is fully behind intellectual property rights in the TPP. SIIA encourages U.S. trade representatives to make the copyright portion of the agreement a priority, “Permit[ing] cross-border information flows, while ensuring that privacy and intellectual property rights are protected.”

The Intellectual Property Rights Chapter of TPP would have wide-ranging effects on publishers and internet providers. The TPP requires signing countries to protect a work, whether photographic, performance, or phonogram, for 70 years after the death of the person who created that work; for works by a “non-natural person” (whatever that is), the copyright be protected for “95 years from the end of the calendar year of the first authorized publication of the work.” Why does this matter to PR professionals? Because it extends the copyrights of intellectual property internationally, indicating just how seriously the U.S. government takes copyright issues.

Maira Sutton of Electronic Frontier Foundation says “copyright protections in the TPP would [also] empower internet service providers to police users’ internet activities [on behalf of publishers]. Therefore they could block or filter or even spy on users’ activities to supposedly enforce copyright.”

The Obama administration included part of the Stop Online Piracy Act legislation in the copyright chapter of TPP. SOPA, which meant to expand the U.S. law enforcement to fight online copyright infringement, was postponed by Congress in 2012.

If completed, TPP would remain open for any other country to join. Former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has welcomed China’s participation. “The area of ‘intellectual property’ is the key to billions of dollars in exports to China,” Kirk said. And China has already started indicating interest in TPP. Chinese participation would be game-changing not only because of the size of their market, but also because their poor track record on intellectual property.

Copyright compliance is a major issue in media monitoring and news aggregation. Content curators like BurrellesLuce that provide copyright compliance as part of their service will only continue to grow in importance.

The international IP developments around the TPP might also mean that recent domestic and cross-border copyright infringement cases will increase and will have more legal enforcement teeth behind them. In January, Dow Jones & Co. sued London-based Real-Time Analysis & News Ltd., a financial news aggregator service known as Ransquawk, for illegal distribution of the Dow Jones content without publisher consent. This case shows that copyright enforcement activity is not only confined to the U.S. information industry, but also crosses international jurisdictions.

The Dow Jones & Co. v. Ransquawk case looks very similar to the AP copyright infringement lawsuit against Meltwater, which AP won in May of last year. In recent years, Dow Jones also filed and received large settlement claims from other “hot news” misappropriation lawsuits like that against Cision.

BurrellesLuce – a curator, not an aggregator – of content has been a long-time supporter of making commercial use of news content with licensing agreements that pay publishers royalty fees. For close to 30 years we have worked with publishers to provide copyright-compliant content. We launched our turnkey compliance program in 2008. We strongly believe that news outlets must be fairly compensated for their content.

With our industry-unique service, our clients never have to worry about whether their access and use of media content is compliant or not. Thanks to our agreements with AP and thousands of other publishers, our small copyright royalty covers PR pros so they can legally share and use our digitized print clips and online news clips.

How are you protecting yourself and making sure you are on the right side of the expansionist U.S. copyright law? Do you think the TPP will bolster U.S. intellectual property rights?

This Week’s Shot of Fresh: Ninjargon Masters, Epic Oscars Selfies, Customer Fealty, and Get Hired

Mar 7, 2014

flickr user Mycael under CC BY License

Shot of Fresh is our roundup of this week’s Fresh Ideas content.

Branding and Engagement Lessons From the Oscars

You may not have heard, but there was this selfie that broke Twitter … some famous people were in it? That and more insights into some things the Oscars did right – and not so right – on the branding and engagement front.

Create Goodwill to Gain Brand Advocates

“Discount Tire deprives of things to complain about. Fortunately, there are still politicians.” – My  dad. Aim to provide solid service and a great experience and watch your customer loyalty skyrocket.

PR Career Tips: Get Screened IN, Not OUT

You’re either in or you’re out, so best be in. Tressa Robbins shares tips from recruiters and PR pros from the PRSA St. Louis Career Development Day.

Jargonology Episode 8: Ninjargon

Tune in to the Jargonology season finale and determine whether you’re a ninjargon, or whether you just cause severe cases of ringage.

Jargonology Episode 8: Ninjargon

Mar 6, 2014

When I attended the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia last October, I was not even two months into my time here at BurrellesLuce, and just over three months out of my job as a magazine editor in Beijing. Attending a lot of those conference sessions – informative thought they were – left me a little unclear as to what the speaker had been talking about: Scale? Big data? Social media ROI? To my newcomer ears, industry jargon sounded like just that – jargon.

Yada yada yada, Jargonology was born. In every industry jargon, while meaningful internally, sounds ridiculous externally. So we decided if you can’t beat ‘em, coin ‘em.

Which brings us, of course, to today’s season finale of Jargonology and this week’s word: ninjargon. Take a 30-second break, put your feet up, and enjoy the newest word to add to your jargon jar.

Most influenzers and advocados seek to become master ninjargons, however when they fail they end up becoming over-emojinative, require high rates of hashtagectomies, and/or causing severe cases of ringage exacerbated by socialocity. Ninjargons are found in high concentrations in narcissystems.

Got a new Jargonology concoction? Leave a comment or tweet us at @BurrellesLuce

See this on our YouTube channel

Cabinsketch font by fontsquirrel


Jargonology with BurrellesLuce.

Today’s word is ninjargon. One who uses industry jargon in so stealthy a manner that its use goes almost unnoticed. Ninjargon.

How would one use that in a sentence? Like this:

The keynote speaker was such a ninjargon that I didn’t even notice my ringage flaring up. Ninjargon.

Jargonology: If you can’t beat ‘em, coin ‘em.

PR Career Tips: Get Screened IN, Not OUT

Mar 5, 2014

For the fourth year in a row, I had the pleasure of participating in the annual PRSA St. Louis Career Development Day (formerly known as Pro-Am Day) on Friday, February 28. PRSSA chapters, as well as PR, communications and mass media students within a few hours’ drive, were invited to join us for this phenomenal professional development and networking event. Of the more than 100 attendants were students representing 11 different universities from both sides of the Mississippi River—and from as far away as Murray, Kentucky!

Prior to the luncheon and the afternoon PR pro industry roundtable discussions, the day kicked off with a panel of PR talent and recruiting professionals:

The panel was moderated by Sandi Straetker, APR, who posed some basic but essential questions before taking questions from attendees. There was a ton of good information and I was writing so quickly that my notes are nearly indiscernible, but here are some highlights.

  • Agency and corporate recruiters alike are looking for real world experience. This can be in the form of internships, student-run firms and volunteer activities.
  • Gerli advised researching and knowing the company’s culture so you may follow the appropriate path. For example, a publicly held corporate environment or large global agency atmosphere are going to differ from creative shops.
  • Duke advised clear, concise but effective explanations on resumes. She also stated there should be NO typos, and good use of white space—not too ”busy.” This is especially important where an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is used.
  • Cockrell suggested focusing on accomplishments and results versus just descriptions.
  • Wolford added that your results should be metrics-driven. She recommended you build a bridge between what you’ve done in the past and the position for which you’re applying.
  • Sargent stressed that both your cover letter AND resume should be customized to each position. NOTE: This is especially important when ATS is utilized—your resume should include the key words/phrases from the job description, where appropriate. Never lie!

Many PR students choose to double major or minor in journalism, mass media, advertising, creative design and other communications-related areas, so we asked Cockrell to briefly discuss how students and pros alike may showcase samples of their work. There are so many sites and tools out there it would be impossible to name them all but he suggested WordPress, Wix, Blogger and SquareSpace as relatively simple options with pre-created templates to choose from. However, if you’re leaning to the creative and design side, Behance offers the most customization (no templates). Cockrell suggested CodeAcademy as a great resource to learn basic coding. He noted that this skill will also give you a leg up on those candidates who have no coding knowledge.

Even if you have no real-world experience, you have options. You could create a made-up campaign and build a portfolio around it. (NOTE: Always disclose if it’s made-up work!) However, Sargent suggested an even better option would be to volunteer for a non-profit organization in event planning, media relations, social media, marketing creative, digital content—wherever you can get some relevant experience.

Finally, all job seekers should be aware of what can be found about them online. The HR professionals on the panel stated they do look at LinkedIn profiles but not a candidate’s Facebook page, as people are entitled to their personal lives—and they are prohibited by law to access any information that could be used in a discriminatory way. However, they admitted that personal and professional lines are now blurred so be careful and use good judgment about what you’re posting, and be very cognizant and diligent about your Facebook privacy settings. On the other hand, many hiring managers do vet job candidates through social media and indicated that business-appropriate Twitter (and Google Plus community) sharing and participation is encouraged.

Do your job hunting experiences jibe with our panelists’ advice? Do you have additional advice to offer?

PS – I told you there was a ton of great information! And this was just from the opening panel. Stay tuned for some personal branding tips and statistics from the keynote speaker in my next post.

Create Goodwill to Gain Brand Advocates

Mar 4, 2014

With the propagation of innovative content and target marketing, e-newsletters, and social media outreach, it’s easy to overlook the brands that nurture and build their brand base through good old-fashioned upfront, in-person investment.

It’s a pretty simple scenario: give a small service for free and create goodwill to nurture a returning, loyal customer.

It’s a sinking feeling to walk out to your car and realize you have a flat tire, and I experienced that special feeling on last weekend. I changed my tire the following and expected the worst when I took it in to Discount Tire. I anticipated more sinking feelings to surface when it came time to pay the bill; instead, I walked out only an hour later with a patched tire and no bill.

Discount Tire didn’t charge me for the time and labor it took to repair and reattach the tire; they just smiled and asked that when I need new tires, I come to them, which I certainly will.

I didn’t walk out of there happy just because I didn’t have to pay a bill – I felt satisfied because Discount Tire seemed to be a brand that’s not just aiming for transactions, but aiming to foster goodwill and make all the special car feelings a little less frustrating. Instead of seeking transactions for small services they could charge for, they take the long view that happy customers make repeat customers.

I mentioned this to my dad, an admitted curmudgeon and the one who told me to go to Discount Tire, and he told me: “Discount Tire deprives me of things to complain about. Fortunately, there are still politicians.”

In an age where people take to Twitter to complain about brands, it’s a huge achievement to provide a complaint-free experience, and immensely notable to provide a positive one. I didn’t tweet Discount Tire (until publishing this blog) because as a marketer, I feel that experiencing positive programs warrants something more substantive than 140 characters.

While it’s impossible to make everyone totally satisfied all the time, Discount Tire shows that their business model is centered on the customer experience and leaving a positive impression, and it’s come back to them many-fold. Forbes lists its 2013 revenue as $3.7 billion and it’s number 118 on the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

It’s not every organization that can give away a product or service for free, but there are plenty of great examples: Sephora’s rewards program is a classic loyalty program that stands out because they give out high-quality samples the customer can choose after a certain attainable spending threshold. Trader Joe’s provides free coffee – a real perk when you’re shopping after a long day at work.

Capturing brand loyalty can seem like a formidable task in a time when everyone’s throwing out lower prices, more deals, and more rewards programs. But it’s important not to forget the simple act of treating your customers with goodwill and creating a good impression – because that goodwill will return to you in the form of their business and their brand advocacy.

Branding and Engagement Lessons From the Oscars

Mar 3, 2014

Like many longevity brands, the Academy Awards faces the ongoing challenge of creating a classic but youthful image. Yet last night’s Oscars showed that connecting with a younger demographic doesn’t mean pulling weird stunts and packing the stage full of young people – in fact, by curating a balance of classic and up-and-coming, the event was a glittery case study in branding and engagement. Below, three of the evening’s many takeaways.

If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014

Ellen Breaks Twitter

Host Ellen DeGeneres managed to crash Twitter with her celebrity-packed selfie that garnered a record 2.7 million retweets and took down Twitter. DeGeneres prefaced the whole selfie incident by stating that she wanted to set a record for retweets and of course, the fans obliged. This was hands down the most successful social media stunt the Oscars has ever pulled – DeGeneres (and the masterminds behind the ploy) not only asked for retweets, they made a whole schtick out of taking selfies and posting them to Twitter. I wonder how no one thought of it before – though the stars aligned with Samsung as a sponsor and a TV host with a huge fan base.

Interestingly, Ellen’s “most epic selfie of all time” didn’t feature a gaggle of young starlets (23-year-old Jennifer Lawrence is the youngest), but a sampling of some of the most established stars in Hollywood. The average age of those in the photo (excluding Lupita Nyong’o’s brother, Peter, whose age I couldn’t find) is 43, showing that being “epic” is no longer quite as contingent as being in one’s 20’s.

What they did right: Stated their goal of getting the most retweets ever, made taking selfies an interactive process, added humor, got a host with a large fan base and loyal online following to give it a push (I can’t imagine working with past hosts like Seth McFarlane or James Franco and Anne Hathaway).

What didn’t work out so well: Twitter wasn’t ready for the traffic, Ellen tweeted a backstage photo from her iPhone.

Engagement takeaway: State your goal and make the process fun. Doesn’t hurt if you can get nearly a dozen big celebrities, and it’s not only young people who resonate with young people.

Bringing Back Classic Stars

The evening was supposed to be a return to tradition and the classics, as evidenced by appearances from Kim Novak, Sidney Poitier, Liza Minnelli, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and John Travolta. I have to admit, I found Midler’s performance of “Wind Beneath My Wings” at the In Memoriam section a bit of a head scratcher. For a brand like the Oscars that so plainly pursues a younger demographic, it seemed weird to me to have Midler, who was at the height of her fame decades ago, sing in what is possibly the most emotionally moving spot of the evening. However, it seems it may have been a good move since one of their goals was to consolidate their base (women) and there were a lot of positive reactions on Twitter, even though it seemed counter-intuitive to the goal of projecting a younger image.

What they did right: Going out on a limb and choosing a star who isn’t young but is classic, nailing a balance between old and young Hollywood, Pink’s excellent cover of “Over the Rainbow” gave a new take on a classic song, symbolically passing it down to the next generations but maintaining the power of the original.  The right way to do a tribute.

What didn’t work out so well: Not having Minnelli involved the tribute to The Wizard of Oz, in which her mother, Judy Garland, starred. It’s entirely possible that Minnelli didn’t want to sing, but regardless of the circumstances, a lot of people on Twitter thought it was odd that Pink would sing the tribute while Minnelli was feet away. If Minnelli didn’t want to sing, she should have at least introduced the number so that it wouldn’t look like she was being slighted. And if she was being slighted, they made it super apparent.

Branding takeaway: It’s not always the wrong move to choose a spokesperson who is classic, as Midler is, so consider whether that person will resonate with the audience you’re most doggedly pursuing. Strive for a balance between reviving classics with new faces and bringing back the originator. Also, remember to consider appearances – examine something from all angles to make sure it doesn’t look like you’re slighting someone.

Introducing #MyOscarPhoto — your chance to see yourself on the red carpet at the #Oscars! — The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 25, 2014


ABC and the Academy announced their Twitter initiative, #MyOscarPhoto, in which users who followed @TheAcademy  (and who signed a practically hidden online release) could Tweet a photo of themselves using the hashtag, and then during the red carpet pre-show, a celebrity would take a photo with a TV screen showing the photo the Twitter user had submitted, and some photos would be shown on TV. It was, at best, awkward in on-air execution; when the model and red carpet host Tyson Beckford modeled the first example, it looked forced. ABC only aired one more instance of #MyOscarPhoto, but clearly they got some traction, as their Twitter feed has over 400 tweets of stars posing stiffly with a television screen.

What they did right: Sourced user-submitted content and made non-celebrity fans feel like part of the event.

What didn’t work out so well: Execution was awkward, they only showed two photos (including the introductory example) so it seemed to dwindle quickly. Maybe they needed a hastagectomy. Also, if people need to sign a release, you should probably mention that in your explanatory tweet.

Engagement takeaway: Don’t let engagement initiatives fizzle; if you say you’re going to air photos, air a bunch of them, and publicize the release well ahead of time.

This Week’s Shot of Fresh: Maintaining Your Modern Rolodex, Shirt Skirts Copyright Issues, and You Probably Have Ringage

Feb 28, 2014

flickr user Flavio~ under CC BY license

Shot of Fresh is our weekly roundup of Fresh Ideas content.

Networking: Keeping Contacts as a New Professional

The Rolodex may have gone the way of the cassette tape, but young professionals still need to keep their contacts organized. Tressa Robbins shares tips for networking and maintaining those hard-won connections.

Good PR or Copyright Landmine?

A rapper named after an article of clothing writes an article about himself under the byline of a New York Times writer, constructs a site that’s a dead ringer for the real Times site, and reclines as the attention pours in. Brilliant PR move, or quagmire of copyright issues?

Jargonology Episode 7: Ringage

Do you have a slight ringing in your ears? Do you read PR blogs and attend PR conferences? If so, you probably have ringage.

Jargonology Episode 7: Ringage

Feb 27, 2014

When I attended the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia last October, I was not even two months into my time here at BurrellesLuce, and just over three months out of my job as a magazine editor in Beijing. Attending a lot of those conference sessions – informative thought they were – left me a little unclear as to what the speaker had been talking about: Scale? Big data? Social media ROI? To my newcomer ears, industry jargon sounded like just that – jargon.

Yada yada yada, Jargonology was born. In every industry jargon, while meaningful internally, sounds ridiculous externally. So we decided if you can’t beat ‘em, coin ‘em.

Which brings us, of course, to this week’s word: ringage. Take a 30-second break, put your feet up, and enjoy the newest word to add to your jargon jar.

Ringage is modern workplace hazard for PR pros, aided in part by socialocity. But the desire to engage can lead to an increase in being over-emojinative and a higher rate of hashtagectomies. Members of a narcissystem may be common causes of ringage, and an influenzer or advocado may be especially susceptible to ringage.

Got a new Jargonology concoction? Leave a comment or tweet us at @BurrellesLuce

See this on our YouTube channel

Cabinsketch font by fontsquirrel


Jargonology with BurrellesLuce.

Today’s word is Ringage. The feeling of tinnitus brought on by the overuse of the word “engage.” Ringage.

Common symptoms of ringage?

1. Reading too many PR blogs

2. Attending PR conferences

3. Getting down on one knee

How would one use that in a sentence? Thusly:

The conference was very informative yet left me with a slight case of ringage.


Jargonology: If you can’t beat ‘em, coin ‘em.

Good PR or Copyright Landmine?

Feb 25, 2014

A screengrab of Shirt's site

Earlier this month, a rapper named Shirt wrote an article about himself, but he did it under the byline of Jon Caramanica, a New York Times critic and hip-hop point man. He also selected snippets of text from previously-published articles, rounded it out with his own, and posted on the site, which was designed as a pretty good doppelganger for the real Times site.

Not only did Shirt, who did the site design himself, use the Times masthead and design, he also used the Times’ headlines, content preview, and photos. Of course, it doesn’t look completely identical –  among other things, the margins are different, the text isn’t as clear, and in his article, he made the style guide faux pas of writing “e-mail,” not “email.”

The homepage is a giant hyperlink to the real Times site, but is that enough to make up for using the New York Times proprietary design, not to mention the reporter’s name?

In the context of achieving his goal – getting attention – Shirt’s stunt was successful. But where is the line between great PR and breach of copyright? And is it a breach if he linked back to the Times? As with all copyright issues, it’s a murky one at best, and terms like fair use and parody are likely to come up if action is pursued.

We’ve discussed before that the FTC does not like ads disguised as editorial content, but that is in the context of paid native advertising, which this is not. So in building his own version of the New York Times online, did Shirt skirt the issue?

Like most brilliant PR moves , Shirt’s article got him a lot of press attention that he hadn’t previously received (including this insightful article from NPR about the struggles of hip-hop musicians trying to get noticed and about how Shirt operates). Getting noticed is the underlying directive of PR campaigns, which Shirt obviously did successfully, but the other question is, when the conversation moves on, will the few weeks of media notice make any difference?

Yes, it was a pretty good stunt. But PR pros know that good PR is a continuing dialogue, not a one-off shout into the ether. It will be interesting to see whether there are any aftershocks from Shirt’s article, or whether it disappears.

Where do you think the line is between good PR and copyright breach?

Networking: Keeping Contacts as a New Professional

Feb 24, 2014

flickr user klynslis under CC BY license

You studied hard, joined PRSSA, did multiple internships, networked, graduated, networked some more and got a job. Phew! Now, you no longer have to worry about your LinkedIn activity, participate in that Twitter chat or attend local industry events, right? Wrong!

In case you haven’t already figured it out, the PR industry is like a big small-town. There aren’t six degrees of separation, in many cases there are barely three. It seems everyone knows everyone (or knows someone who knows someone). This tight-knittedness is capable of swinging the pendulum in your favor–or not. The choice, really, is yours.

How do you hold on to that network you’ve worked so hard to build? How do you continue to build that network, and make it work for you?

1. My first suggestion is to not just attend your PRSA chapter meetings, but volunteer and get involved. As current president of the PRSA-St. Louis Chapter, I can tell you that having new pros on our committees are just as important as having senior pros. You provide a different perspective, and we need all viewpoints represented. In addition, You will work side-by-side with seasoned pros, who will get to know your solid work ethic first-hand and meet people you may have not have had access to otherwise. Volunteering is work, and creates work experience.

2. Participate in Twitter chats. Not just #NPPRSA, but other industry-related chats, such as #PRprochat started by Carrie Morgan, or the #SoloPR chat spearheaded by Kellye Crane. Not only may you meet your next recruit, but many senior pros participate in those chats as well. Doing this keeps you in front of your network, expands your network, and may even provide informational content you can later expand into a blog post!

3. Join applicable LinkedIn groups and participate in the discussions. Don’t feel like you can’t contribute if you don’t know the answers–ask questions, there may be others with the same question.

4. I’m sure you have certain industry-leading blogs to which you subscribe. Don’t just read those posts, comment and reply to other comments. Add value to the community. Warning: be careful to not over-do it; you don’t want to comes across as a stalker.

5. Finally, swinging back to #1 – involvement in your local PR organization. You should at least set a goal of attending one event per quarter (4 per year).  And don’t just attend; make a point of introducing yourself to at least three new people at each event. Then, within a couple days of the event, connect with them on LinkedIn—reminding them where you met and thanking them for the conversation, then follow-up. The follow-up doesn’t have to be often but does need to be pertinent and professional.

A case in point: a while back I wrote a post on mentoring for BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog. In it, I mentioned that Lori George Billingsley, director of issues communications at The Coca-Cola Company and past PRSA Multicultural Communications Section chair, claims her mentor has been instrumental in helping her secure all of the PR jobs she’s held.  That’s a pretty powerful testament to her networking, diligence and professionalism!

There’s no doubt that social media makes it much easier to keep in touch with people. However, no matter how much you keep in touch electronically, nothing beats face-to-face conversations to build your network!

Share what you’re doing to build and strengthen your network in the comments below.

This post originally appeared on the blog PRNewPros.

This Week’s Shot of Fresh: Skills for the Job Hunt, the Harsh Facebook Reality, and Over-Emojinative

Feb 21, 2014

flickr user wwarby under CC BY license

Shot of Fresh is our weekly roundup of the latest Fresh Ideas content.

PR Job Hunting Skills: Tips From the Recruiters

If you were thinking about wearing flip flops and chewing gum at your next job interview, you should probably hold off on that. Guest blogger Debbie Friez shares some job hunting skills from a panel at Minnesota PRSA.

The New Reality of Facebook

What once was free is now … not so much. Facebook’s algorithm changes are all but forcing business pages to pay to boost posts or post ads. The only one receiving this news well is Facebook.

Jargonology Episode 6: Over-Emojinative

☠ ლ(ಠ益ಠლ). If that makes sense to you, you’re either a Millennial or you’re over-emojinative, this week’s new Jargonology word.

Jargonology Episode 6: Over-Emojinative

Feb 20, 2014

When I attended the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia last October, I was not even two months into my time here at BurrellesLuce, and just over three months out of my job as a magazine editor in Beijing. Attending a lot of those conference sessions – informative thought they were – left me a little unclear as to what the speaker had been talking about: Scale? Big data? Social media ROI? To my newcomer ears, industry jargon sounded like just that – jargon.

Yada yada yada, Jargonology was born. In every industry jargon, while meaningful internally, sounds ridiculous externally. So we decided if you can’t beat ‘em, coin ‘em.

Which brings us, of course, to this week’s word: over-emojinative. Take a 30-second break, put your feet up, and enjoy the newest word to add to your jargon jar.

Though it’s possible that on social media emoticons may spur a bit of socialocity, being over-emojinative can detract from credibility.  Too many emoticons can result in an increased need for hashtagectomies, however there is no shown correlation between emojis and being an influenzer, advocado, or member of a narcissystem.

Got a new Jargonology concoction? Leave a comment or tweet us at @BurrellesLuce

See this on our YouTube channel

Cabinsketch font by fontsquirrel


Jargonology with BurrellesLuce.

Today’s word is: Over-Emojinative.

Of or describing a person a person who uses far too many emojis or emoticons in Tweets, texts, emails, or other digital messaging. Over-emojinative.

An example sentence? You bet.

☠ ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)


Her emails are so over-emojinative I just want to pry the colon and parentheses keys off her computer.


Jargonology: If you can’t beat ‘em, coin ‘em.

The New Reality of Facebook

Feb 18, 2014

flickr user mkhmarketing under CC BY license

By now you’ve probably heard about the changes Facebook made to their News Feed algorithms in December. These changes brought a negative impact to a substantial portion of Facebook users marketing their content and promoting their business. The change was implemented to allow what Facebook deemed “high quality content” (mostly news articles) to feature more prominently over “meme photos.”

For Facebook to want our News Feeds to be of higher quality seems like a noble cause, but what’s happened is that businesses that rely on Facebook to promote themselves find that their posts are reaching only a fraction of the people their posts used to, resulting in fewer fans seeing and engaging with their posts. Food blogger and cookbook author Stephanie Stiavetti publicized this issue back in December, when she noticed her engagement had nearly halted and that barely more than 1 percent of her followers were seeing her posts. An analysis by Ignite showed that organic reach declined an average of 44 percent, and sometimes as high as 88 percent decline.

What does Facebook have to say? Officially, not much. But in a post on Business Insider, Nicholas Carlson spoke with an anonymous Facebook source to shed light on the situation. Apparently, “Facebook has changed its mind about brands. It has decided that users do not really want to see a News Feed full of updates from brands.”

Another lesson: The number of fans you have is not and never has been the number of people who will see your message. Perhaps most importantly is that we all have to deal with the new reality of Facebook. This means our messages are in direct competition with major publishers who spend a lot of money on professional, journalist-vetted content.

So now that the reach of Facebook posts has diminished considerably, what’s a marketing or PR pro to do? Facebook would certainly like you to pay to boost your post or post an ad. This can be circumvented or reduced if your posts already garner a lot of engagement in the form of comments, likes, and shares, but that’s a pretty special case.

This means Facebook marketing is going to have to get a lot more targeted and relevant in order to garner the engagement necessary for people to see messaging, and content will have to be that much more compelling. And since it’s in direct competition with content created by organizations with big production budgets, messaging must be even more timely and viral-ready. It may also be worth targeting specific audiences through selective posts boosting and measuring results from that. Ultimately, we need to know our outputs/posts are driving a business initiative, or we need to retrench no matter what the algorithm.

Businesses for which Facebook is the main source of messaging are going to have to reevaluate. Putting all your eggs in one messaging basket isn’t a great strategy anyway, so it’s the ideal time to diversify and spread messaging on other channels. The appeal of Facebook was the higher engagement rate, but with that gone, will another channel rise up? Or will Facebook adopt the Google model of constant algorithm calibration, which can improve results depending on the alteration?

How will you change what you share on Facebook? Have you noticed a drop in reach, and how are you strategizing to compensate for it?

PR Job Hunting Skills: Tips from the Recruiters

Feb 17, 2014

flickr user photologue_np under CC BY license

Professional skills are important for landing a job interview, but Kathryn Duncan of CLICK Talent says when it comes down to it, you need to be a good fit for the organization’s culture. Agencies are looking for people who are professionally smart, not just people with a long list of skills.

Last month, Minnesota PRSA sponsored a panel of recruiters to demystify the recruiter/PR professional relationship. The panel, which also included Gillian Gabriel of Gillian Gabriel & Associates, Elizabeth Laukka of Elizabeth Laukka Recruiting, and was moderated by Rebecca Martin of Beehive PR, emphasized that job hunters need not be afraid to engage a recruiter. Recruiters are paid by the employer, and are always looking to increase the pool of recruits. It is best to engage a recruiter before you actually need one.

Here are some recruiter tips for creating a resume:

  • Demonstrate how you moved the business forward.
  • Articulate how you are a thought leader and a strategic thinker; don’t just say you can do strategy.
  • Show what impact you made; don’t just create list of tactics.
  • Remember to include your clients’ names.
  • Be sure to emphasize and illustrate high-demand skills like measurement and SEO.

Remember to be nice and build relationships with hiring managers and recruiters. It is still important to write thank you notes.

All the recruiters use LinkedIn extensively, so be sure to have a profile and keep it fresh and complete. If you list your LinkedIn and Twitter pages on your resume or business card, be sure to post professionally. All panelists agreed Facebook is not a professional recruiting tool.

Use common sense and don’t:

  • Chew gum at an interview
  • Counter a job offer with a text – call!
  • Use your phone at the interview
  • Wear flip flops – wear a suit and professional shoes

Have patience. Employers are cautious with hiring and will tend to wait until they find the perfect person, says Gabriel. As with all of PR, finding a new position and networking is about relationship building, so to the best of your ability, remain patient, optimistic, and don’t neglect your networking.

Debbie Friez serves as tech editor for the Capitol Communicator and is also a consultant. Previously, she worked as Vice President, Major Accounts for BurrellesLuce. She originally joined BurrellesLuce at their Minnesota Clipping Service affiliate.

Friez was a senior account director for West Glen Communications, a broadcast PR services company. While at West Glen Communications, she was a frequent contributor to the DC Communicator newsletter.

She has a broad understanding of the technologies that are transforming the marketing and communications profession. She serves on the advisory board for the Capitol Communicator, the membership committee for the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the national marketing committee for the Association of Women in Communications, and is a member and past president of Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR).

Friez is a graduate of the University of North Dakota. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her husband Paul Croteau, their two cats, Smokey and the Bandit, and Gus, the dog.

LinkedIn: dfriez Twitter: @dfriez

This Week’s Shot of Fresh: Big Data in Da House, reddit Right, and Narcissystem

Feb 14, 2014

flickr user John Revo Puno under CC BY ND 3.0 license

Shot of Fresh is our (mostly) weekly roundup of the latest Fresh Ideas content.

Is Big Data Better Data?

Big data may be the big buzzword, but unless your organization adjusts its culture to value fact-based decision making and real-time feedback, big data investments could turn into big GIGO investments.

How to reddit: Marketing Through the Anti-Social Feeding Tube of Social Networks

A lot of the web’s viral content gets filtered through reddit, but since it’s not a social network and doesn’t have the intuitive user-friendly interface of one, how can marketers and PR pros use reddit to their advantage? Here’s a primer on how to reddit.

Jargonology Episode 5: Narcissystem

Enough about what we think about our content, what do you think about our content? The latest word to add to the jargon jar is narcissystem, and chances are, you’ve dealt with one.

Jargonology Episode 5: Narcissystem

Feb 13, 2014

When I attended the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia last October, I was not even two months into my time here at BurrellesLuce, and just over three months out of my job as a magazine editor in Beijing. Attending a lot of those conference sessions – informative thought they were – left me a little unclear as to what the speaker had been talking about: Scale? Big data? Social media ROI? To my newcomer ears, industry jargon sounded like just that – jargon.

Yada yada yada, Jargonology was born. In every industry jargon, while meaningful internally, sounds ridiculous externally. So we decided if you can’t beat ‘em, coin ‘em.

Which brings us, of course, to this week’s word: narcissystem. Take a 30-second break, put your feet up, and enjoy the newest word to add to your jargon jar.

The continuous nature of social media feeds into narcissystems, to which socialocity can be a big contributor. It hasn’t yet been proven that narcissystems have a higher number of influenzers and advocados, but for all they talk about themselves, it has been proven they have a higher rate of hashtagectomies.

Got a new Jargonology concoction? Leave a comment or tweet us at @BurrellesLuce

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Jargonology with BurrellesLuce. Today’s word is: Narcissystem.

1. A group filled with narcissists.

2. A method of communicating with narcissists.

An example sentence? This way please.

I knew it was a narcissystem when the manager said, “Enough about what I think about me, what do you think about me?”


Jargonology: If you can’t beat ‘em, coin ‘em.

How to reddit: Marketing Through the Anti-Social Feeding Tube of Social Networks

Feb 11, 2014

reddit has earned a high-profile reputation for viral content; even President Obama answered questions on the Ask Me Anything subreddit the day before his State of the Union Address last year. At first look reddit can be off-putting to the uninitiated.  It does not have the slick, user-friendly layout of Twitter or Facebook, and it’s reminiscent of the old pre-social media message boards.

reddit and Twitter

When Louis CK self-released his Live at the Beacon Theater comedy album and posted it on Twitter, two hundred thousand of his over three million followers downloaded it for five dollars each and made him a million dollars immediately, proving the value of Twitter. On the other hand rock journalist Chuck Klosterman told the Trip City podcast that Twitter does not work, because when he tweeted about his new book, I Wear the Black Hat, his sales actually went down. He said he feels the ever-vigilant young techies on Twitter saw through his tweet as a “commercial.” About figuring out what works in general creatively and what doesn’t, Klosterman says he has learned that “there is no metric and trying [to figure it out] makes it worse.” Perhaps with Twitter Louis CK was just better at appearing like he was not trying.

Twitter tends to be an excellent resource for a personality or institution that already has a place in popular culture. It’s also a tool for reaching fans immediately with information about events. Trying too hard, as Klosterman puts it in his example, seems to leave followers a bit weary. The reason may be that there is a blurring of the lines between friendship and business on social networks, and despite what telemarketers may be taught, most people do not want their friends acting like salesmen, or vice versa.

So how does one gain popularity on Twitter without already being popular? Vetted content. Those who do not market on Twitter are obsessed by finding something undiscovered and evaluating it. They are young, tech savvy, but not yet financially successful. They go to reddit for raw content. reddit worked for me when promoting posts on different platforms, to which I still get clicks, and in the case of a music gear post I did, I still get referrals seven months after posting it from people interested in equipment. Warning: Even on a relatively successful post like the one I just mentioned, not all comments will be pretty.

One answer to the question “Why does reddit work?” may be that it works because it is not a social network. redditors go there to vet content, not to make friends.

How to be successful on reddit:

Up-votes (akin to Facebook likes) make you visible. Comments seem to be mostly irrelevant. Of course, overwhelmingly negative reception can have a detrimental effect, and a completely positive reception can theoretically create an instant hit, but this is rare.

Find the subreddit most relevant to your content. A subreddit is what the pages on reddit are called. You will see a menu on the homepage with the most popular ones, but there are thousands. Think of any topic and write it in the url after If no one started that page, you can. Keep paraphrasing the topic, as in or until you find one that serves your purpose. The more popular a subreddit is, the more up-votes you will need to get higher in the queue of posts, and perhaps get in the “rising,” ”controversial” or even “hot” categories. The more specific the subreddit, the less popular it is likely to be, but you will need fewer up-votes to be seen.

It’s a balancing act. For a list of the 5,000 most popular subreddits, go to Interesting note: When I promoted a brainwave therapy MP3 download that I produced for one of my clients, the post received no up-votes or comments, yet the posting resulted in sales. This is not the norm, but it does happen.

Post when few people are on. Then very few up-votes will go a long way. Once you’ve done that you can post on the larger, less specific subreddits before everyone gets on at 7pm EST, but your post may get trampled by an avalanche of content when traffic spikes.

The most important thing is that the title gives redditors an accurate idea of the content at the other end of the link. The title of a successful reddit post has to act like a skilled tour guide—it has to point at things and know their names. It’s not the same as creating an SEO-friendly headline, it’s about being clear what the content is.

Data scientist Randal Olson has posted an in-depth statistical analysis of reddit on Business Insider Australia, which includes a word cloud of the most popular words in reddit titles. Cross post (x-post) is the most popular one, and it means that you’re posting something that has already been posted. It is important to let redditors know that you’re doing this, or they will down-vote you.

Once you become familiar with the workings of reddit, it can be a great place to help drive traffic to your content and reach an audience you can’t reach through traditional social media. How does reddit fit into your content marketing strategy? What results have you seen from interacting with reddit users?

Is Big Data Better Data?

Feb 10, 2014

What do you think when you hear “Big Data?” If you’re anything like me, you hear some syllables that conjure up an image of lengthy Excel sheets. If you’re more precise, you know that it’s all that data that organizations and computers collect on a daily basis.

But is bigger data better data? There are a lot of factors that determine whether investing in big data will actually help your organization and its efforts.

The biggest issue is that big data can easily turn into GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out. You may be pulling in gobs of data every day, but if you don’t know how to use it, don’t get to see it, or don’t know what your most important metrics are, that data is all but useless.  Harvard Business Review has an excellent article (registration required) tracking seven case studies of companies that used their data, how they did it, and whether they used that data effectively or not.

The gist? Using big data – and even small data – effectively takes a lot of preparation, implementation, and adjustment. In many instances, it won’t pay off to jump right into big data if you don’t yet have a grip on your small data. Here are some key takeaways, whether your data is big or small:

Start small

Start by learning to use the data to which you already have access. Most existing CRM or ERM systems obtain a lot of useful data, but many organizations don’t know how to access and/or use it. According to Kapow’s survey, only 23 percent of respondents think their big data initiatives have been a success. So before you go investing in big data, think about what you’d like to do with that big data once you have it. Whether its reforming processes, reorganizing, or restructuring, use the data you already have to start small reformations.

Dedicate resources wisely

Be prepared to dedicate a significant portion of your resources to coaching and training. HBR found that the most important factor in successfully becoming a fact-based decision-making organization was consistent, continuous coaching aimed at improving performance of every individual, especially those who are decision-makers.

Provide real-time feedback

Start providing daily feedback before trying to implement new big data changes. Determine one key metric to focus on (the metric will be different for different departments and different levels) and provide the department with the updated metric every day. HBR found that this not only helped managers determine how to best spend their time, but caused those at lower levels to increase precision and efficiency. Just make sure it’s the right metric; it may take some finessing.

Shift the culture

An organization will not magically change by virtue of investing in big data. HBR found that if the organization had a tradition of fact-based decision making, performed engineering and research functions or was web-native, then it was poised to gain the most from big data.

So don’t just look at the shift to big data as an investment and software issue; instead, organizations need to consider it a major shift in company culture. Like any major culture shifts, it will take a while. Give it time, and allow any revised data processes the leeway to produce flawed data – it will improve, and those involved with the data will, with the proper coaching, seek to improve that data.

According to the Kapow survey, 85 percent of business and IT leaders agree that big data helps make intelligent business decisions and foster a data-driven organization. And for organizations that are data-driven and fact-based decision makers, there is a lot of potential in big data.

Last month I attended the Big Data in Motion Summit, where the speakers were Jack Norris, chief marketing officer for MapR Technologies; Pat Pruchnickyj, product marketing director at Talend; and Clarke Patterson, senior director of product marketing at Cloudera. All speakers expressed enthusiasm for the impact big data can have on organizations. And little wonder – they all work for companies that provide big data solutions.

The conference was intended to educate attendees about big data’s potential, results, and myriad of advantages, though the speakers mostly talked about platform options and advantages of their own services. Patterson pointed out that 64 percent of organizations invested or were planning to invest in big data in 2013, so of course, getting the down-low on services is pretty necessary.

Norris explained that the need for big data is driven by three V’s:

Volume (by 2020 enterprise data volume will be four times higher than it was in 2009)

Variety (data is both structured and unstructured and gathered from a myriad of devices, processes, and sources, and stored in different ways)

Velocity (large organizations produce massive amounts of data. Facebook gathers 100 terabytes per day, WalMart has 1 million transactions per hour)

There are plenty of organizations that stand to gain from big data if it’s implemented wisely, but it’s not the “big” part of data that provides benefits – it’s learning to use data big or small in the correct way. No matter the size of your data, you still need to know your key metrics and how to base decisions around those metrics. The opportunities data provides come down to leveraging the data you have into powerful insights and harnessing it in an efficient, fact-based way.

This Week’s Shot of Fresh: Statues, Socialocity, The Loop, Compelling Content, Groundhog Day, Advocados, Quoting Accurately, and Lawyer Up

Feb 7, 2014

Squared Splash by flickr user derekGavey used under CC BY

It’s been a busy two weeks here at Fresh Ideas. This week’s Shot of Fresh rounds up our Fresh Ideas content for the past two weeks:

Get Thee to a Lawyer: What You Need to Know About Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

Almost every commercial email falls under purview of this law, so if you have affiliates, headquarters, clients, or leads in Canada, there’s a lot to do before July 1.

Issuing Citations: How to Quote Wisely and Accurately

Friends don’t let friends misquote. Misquotes shift the focus from your message to your mistake – here are some tips to quote someone accurately.

Jargonology Episode 3: Advocado

Don’t be an advocado – that’s what fact-checking is for. Don’t know what that means? Check out the video for your latest jargon jar addition.

Five PR Takeaways From Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is still just once a year, but PR lessons from the movie are forever.

How to Build a Brand Using Compelling Content

It’s the age of content marketing but that content needs to be compelling and contagious in order add to the brand. Check out the three E’s of contagious content.

The Loop: A 360° Approach to Public Relations – Registration Now Open

Know a PR student? Then they should attend The Loop, a PRSSA conference in downtown Chicago early next month. Plus, our own Tressa Robbins is a speaker.

Art Discourse, or Community PR?

When an ultra-lifelike, nearly naked statue of a sleepwalking man appears on the Wellesley College campus (a women’s college), is it PR stunt, or glaring misread of the audience?

Jargonology Episode 4: The Story of Socialocity

We’ve all witnessed socialocity firsthand – the rapid-fire pace at which an offensive tweet is shared, the traffic and comments a fan base can bring – and let’s face it: We all want to be on socialocity’s good side, even if it means performing emergency hashtagectomies, quarantining our influenzers, or reforming advocados.

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