Posts Tagged ‘efforts’


2010 PR News Media Relations Conference: Mark Phillips, USO, interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the PR News Media Relations Conference. I’m joined by Mark.

Mark, will you please introduce yourself?

MARK PHILLIPS: Hi, I’m Mark Phillips. I’m the vice president of communications for the USO.

BURKE: Mark, I know that you have a great campaign and a great effort of tying your business results to your PR efforts. Can you share some of the secrets of that?

PHILLIPS: Well, you know, anybody who works in this business knows that it is both an art and a science. The science is getting better, but there’s still a lot of art to it, as well. Some of the things that we try to do to capitalize on the science part are being very rigorous about clearly identifying what our goals are, our communication goals as well as our operational goals, making sure that there is a logical connection between the two, that one supports the other, and then making sure that we dedicate the resources to accurate research before we plan, good planning, execution, and then good follow-up research to determine whether or not we were successful both achieving our operational goals and our communication goals.

BURKE: That sounds like a great plan and a good practice for all of us to follow. Mark, where can people find you on Twitter?

PHILLIPS: Easiest way to find me on Twitter is @mark_phillips, P-H-I-L-L-I-P-S.

BURKE: Great, thanks so much.

PHILLIPS: My pleasure.

Newspaper Apps Changing the Way Audiences Consume News

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Lauren Shapiro* 

Rumors of iNewspaper, the new iPad application, have begun taking center stage with Internet chatterboxes. With its new app, Apple would create digital versions of publications by selling subscriptions on behalf of the publishers (and taking a cut of the profit, for sure!). However, the iPad friendly newspaper is not a new idea by any means.

Flickr Image Source: Byrion (Byrion Smith)

Flickr Image Source: Byrion (Byrion Smith)

The biggest names in publishing have already established themselves on the iPad including the New York Times, BBC News, Wall Street Journal and AP News. Some downloads, such as the Wall Street Journal, are even free; however for access to exclusive content, a subscription purchase is required. According to PCWorld.com, WSJ users can even create a custom “watch list” of their stocks and funds.  For BBC iPad readers, you can view articles in several languages including Spanish, Russian and Arabic. But, the real niche of online news subscriptions is the customization options. BBC News allows users to personalize the content they view based on interest. While offline, the application will search and locate stories for the next time you turn your iPad on.

Will the iPad subscription based model help drive revenue to electronic publications? The answer is, probably, yes – especially as free views of online articles become more limited by publishers. But the momentum and accessibility of online publications will likely urge readers away from the classic hard copy publication (e.g., commuters who rely on a good paper to read while taking a bus or train to work).

The trend toward an iNewspaper product is a sign of the times as the world becomes more reliant on the Internet than ever. Apple seems to have found itself at the forefront of this technology and has placed itself comfortably in the middle (as publishers learn how to better monetize their content) likely allowing Apple to earn quite a few pretty pennies in the meantime.

As a communications professional, do you think that e-publications will ever take the strength away from hard copy publications? How do you think this will impact your public relations, marketing, and advertising efforts? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. 

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*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Paid Content vs. Free Content, Apple vs. Google, Web Browsers vs. Apps…as we enter a new phase of digital media who will emerge victorious?

Monday, September 13th, 2010
paperboy

Image: www.aftermathnews.wordpress.com

In March 2009 I wrote my first blog post, here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas, about how emerging technologies and platforms were changing the way we consume news – supported by input I gathered from a media summit I had attended that featured panelists such as Joe Scarborough from MSNBC’s Morning Joe and BBC’s Rome Hartman.

I wrote, “And with the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ and this ‘Pro-Am’ partnership that is developing with media, the panel agreed that consumers will have a stronger need for trusted brands, filtering, and editing to help navigate the media.” A year and a half later, the cream seems to be rising to the top in this fragmented media universe.

Today the “trusted brands,” such as The New York Times, are beginning to abandon the old business model of offering free content in exchange for paid advertisements. They are instead looking to generate additional revenue by putting their text, audio, and video behind pay walls or by offering their content as an app for a small fee. “I think we should have done it years ago,” said David Firestone, a deputy national news editor commenting on the NYT’s decision to put some of their content behind paywalls beginning in 2011. “As painful as it will be at the beginning, we have to get rid of the notion that high-quality news comes free.”

The Times Co. Chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. added, “This is a bet, to a certain degree, on where we think the Web is going…This is not going to be something that is going to change the financial dynamics overnight.”

In fact, no one is sure where the web is going; this undeniable shift away from free content will certainly make life more difficult for the Googles of the world who rely on free content to fuel their search engine. Consumers may turn to company’s like Apple for their media, who adopted the “paid content” model early on by making content available for small fees through iTunes and more recently showing consumers how convenient it is to access a magazine or newspaper digitally for a small fee on their iPad.

 Fox News this week launched its new iPhone political app, available through iTunes for 99 cents. “The idea is that this is your essential guide to daily political news,” says Chris Stirewalt, Fox News digital politics editor, “to put power into peoples’ hands to give them the opportunity in this history making, nation shaping election, to have the tools at hand so that they can really understand and add to the depth of their experience.”

With more people opting to have their media pushed to their smart phones and iPads rather than retrieving information over the Internet it will be interesting to see how this affects web browser traffic. As free content slowly disappears, news websites and aggregators such as the Drudge Report and the Daily Beast may have a tougher time filling their sites with the hyperlinks that contain the raw material that drives much of their sites traffic. Instead the eyeballs will be looking in other directions – with more people willing to pay for content this may ultimately prove to be the antidote that saves a hemorrhaging newspaper industry.

It appears we are on the verge of coming full circle on how we get our news. We’ve gone from relying on newsstands and subscriptions to searching and accessing free content online, only to return to paying the publishers directly once again for their content through app fees and online subscriptions.

Paperboys and newsstand operators may be on the verge of extinction; however, content providers like newspapers, network, and cable TV and movie studios may have the final say in how their product is consumed after all.

As public relations and marketing professionals, how are you getting your news? How do you think the evolving media landscape will affect your ability to successfully conduct media relations and assess the value of your efforts?

Online Media Monitoring: An Essential Part of Listening

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Online Media MonitoringIs it really necessary for companies to monitor social media in order to interact with their customers? Or is there a better way to observe and report on your client base?

Rick Mans believes this to be so in his blog post entitled, Why Companies Should Not Invest in Online Monitoring, featured on Social Media Today. He writes that “If companies really cared about what was going on, they would have invested in such a social infrastructure that complaints/news about their products and services would come to them in no time.”

He goes even further by stating “…monitoring tools are a poor man’s solution to engage with your audience… when you are in touch with your audience and your audience can find you and you have created a group of loyal people (brand ambassadors / evangelists) around your online presence, you won’t need monitoring tools to discover complaints.”

This runs counterpoint to a contention of the modern business age that all social media must be monitored in order to truly be in touch with all of your customer feedback.

However, I believe the point Mans attempts to make is that if the proper feedback infrastructure is created internally, then the monitoring of online media will only be redundant. Moreover, no news should be breaking in the world of social media that you shouldn’t have been made aware of and are already working towards either finding a solution or a way to profit from it.

In a perfect world this may be so. Even if companies create their own customer feedback rail network, they still must possess the ability to anticipate the response in the social media world in order to best deal directly with their client base. After all, if a customer truly cares enough, they will vent or praise in their preferred online outlet (be that Facebook, Twitter, or some other forum) regardless of whether a company maintains a presence there or not.

Thus, it is imperative that we do both – monitor online media and genuinely listen to and engage with constituents. That is why BurrellesLuce is working even harder to create even more tools to help you listen, manage, and respond to the activities taking place in both traditional and online news, social media, and broadcast. Stay tuned in the coming month(s) as we unveil new ways for you to effectively take charge of your WorkFlow.  

In the meantime, what do you think? Is it critical to incorporate online monitoring into the larger engagement funnel or is it merely a show put on by companies? How are you using online monitoring in your public relations and marketing efforts? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of Fresh Ideas.

Relationships and Referrals: Making the Most of Your Two Most Important Business Assets

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Early on in my career I received a phone call from a client who began the conversation with, “Hey Valerie, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine…”

I very much enjoyed and respected this client and was thrilled that he wanted to introduce me to his friend. In my mind I fantasized about his intentions. Perhaps we would all go out for dinner, or maybe he was setting me up on a date… my thoughts were interrupted by the words “director of corporate communications” and “in charge of media monitoring.” My heart began to pound as I realized what was happening. I was getting my first referral!

Today I regularly receive such phone calls, but the thrill has yet to go away. While Relationships and Referralsreferrals add up to quantitative results of your efforts to build relationships, they also offer bona fide proof that your relationship is one of trust and confidence (Cue Sally Fields, “They like me, they really like me!!!)

In order to earn new business, you’ll need to invest both time and resources and maximize your opportunities in the most efficient manner. Below are 5 steps to help you become more strategic in your relationship building and increase the number of referrals you receive:

1. Perform a SWOT analysis. Identify your own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and then clearly identify the organizations you are targeting. As you consider different prospects and prospect categories, evaluate the customer needs against your analysis. Brad Douglas, vice president of sales and marketing with Shipley Associates, offers some excellent considerations to help you better assess your opportunities for targeting the right customers.

2. Determine the influencers you need to reach. As mentioned in this post from the Harvard Business Review, you may think you know the decision maker, “the one that is described in the RFP or articulated by those who actively participate in the formal decision-making process.” However, there are often key influencers within the organization who carry informal power as it relates to your opportunity. Take the time to uncover and develop those relationships.

3. Utilize ALL of your current relationships. While most organizations have a sales team or business development group, I am a firm believer that everyone in an organization, regardless of title or department, should consider themselves a member of the sales team. If you are proud of your organization and even if you are not (though you may want to ask yourself why are you working there?), it is your responsibility to help your company grow. Communication and collaboration between the sales team and other departments is essential. Beyond your organization, consider your vendors, partners and affiliates, clients, industry contacts, and even personal networks. If you aren’t actively using LinkedIn it is a great place to start organizing and expanding your network.

4. Ask for the referral! It is interesting that many people shy away from asking for a referral when they need/want it. Consider what’s stopping you. Are you afraid of creating an uncomfortable or potentially annoying situation? If yes, then that is good because it means you are thinking about and potentially being considerate of the person you wish to ask. And that is what distinguishes a “pushy salesman” from a friend you want to help. So be professional to and respectful of the person you are asking, their relationship, and their reputation. But don’t let that stop you from asking. After all, if you have real relationships, qualified targets, and a product/service you believe in, the person you’re asking should have no issue referring you and the person you’re introduced to will soon be thanking your friend for making the introduction.

5. Beyond ABC’s… ABH. While I certainly understand and appreciate the need to “Always Be Closing,” my personal philosophy is to “Always Be Helping.” In sales, and perhaps maybe in life, your reputation is everything. So be the person you want to be perceived to be – whether or not it meets an immediate business goal. In this case, that person is one who is helpful and informative and acutely aware of the needs and goals of his/her clients, prospects, colleagues, friends and family. In other words, take every opportunity to add real value and help them achieve their goals.

How are you making the most of one of your most precious resources – your relationship with others? Do you find it easy to ask for referrals and network when needed? What tips would you add to the list? If you are having trouble, what do you think is holding you back? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.