Posts Tagged ‘white paper’

You’re “Engaging” Oprah… Now What?

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Valerie Simon

BurrellsLuce Fresh Ideas: Your "Engage" Oprah... Now What? (Valerie Simon)There has been much discussion of late regarding influencers. How do you identify an influencer?  How do you measure their value? And how do you talk to people who don’t necessarily understand that influencers aren’t one-size-fits-all? (In fact, Justin Goldsborough, Fleishman-Hillard Kansas City, asked a similar question in a recent post on his blog

After hearing Coyne PR’s Dr. Norman Booth, at the PRSA NJ Measurement and Evaluation workshop on Monitoring and Determining ROI for Digital/Social Media, briefly discuss mathematical modeling to help identify influencers and optimize conversation – that evening, I found myself heading over to  the Coyne PR website. I found a white paper he authored, Mapping and Leveraging Influencers in Social Media To Shape Corporate Brand Perceptions. The paper reviews a customizable valuation algorithm to identify social media influencers.

In examining the strategy to optimize blogger outreach, I decided to take a deeper dive into Step Three: “Engage and Socialize.” This critical step offers the potential to transition influencers into advocates and even brand evangelists. Likewise, there is room for antagonizing influencers and actually damaging credibility.  Booth’s key points under this step, as I understood them, include:


  • Clearly identify intent
  • Topic before relevance
  • Ask, don’t tell
  • Say “thank you”


  • Comment on relevant postings
  • Follow on Twitter and social aggregators
  • Connect on social networking sites

These are excellent points. To them, I would also add “consistency in behavior over time.” The paper concludes, noting, “While the fundamentals of public relations are essentially the same as social media relations, the addition of this new marketing channel allows practitioners to engage with influencers one on one.”

Just as I said in my previous Fresh Ideas post, that no matter how influential a person is reported to be if they aren’t the right one for your campaign or media relations objectives, they’re not going to be able to convince your audience to do what you want.  The same applies for relationships.

Public relations, and social media relations, are about relationships.  So what if you’ve “engaged” Oprah, if you haven’t established a credible rapport? Creating relationships, building trust and loyalty, is not something you can expect to do with a tweet or comment.  And it doesn’t happen overnight. Relationships require ongoing communication (from all parties); social media simply offers you the tools to engage in more frequent and targeted ongoing communication.

Are you using social media to build relationships? What do you think are the essential elements for developing relationships online? Are you using any type of mathematical modeling to help you understand influence and sustain blogger outreach?

First-Ever “Help a PR Pro Out” (HAPPO) Day

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Help A PR Pro Out (HAPPO)

Valerie Simon

According to a recent article in The Economist, which shared data from Veronis Suhler Stevenson, spending on public relations in America grew by more than four percent in 2008 and nearly three percent in 2009 to $3.7 billion. The rise of the Internet and social media has given PR a big boost. However, in the current economic climate most of us know someone who is struggling with a job search.

When my friend Arik Hanson suggested we find a way to help those who are currently seeking a job in PR, I could not have been more excited. We realized that if we could use social media to leverage two of the most valuable commodities we each have, time and network, there was an opportunity to make a real difference.

So, we have asked a group of prominent PR bloggers and influencers across the U.S. to step up and Help a PR PRO Out (“HAPPO”), by donating their time and talents to help fellow PR pros connect with employers as part of the first-ever “Help a PR Pro Out” (HAPPO) Day. The event will run from 11am-3pm Eastern Standard Time (10am-2pm Central Time) this Friday, February 19, 2010. The call to action is simple:

  • Jobseekers should prepare a creative blog post for prospective employers and share it via Twitter during the event using the hashtag  #HAPPO
  • Employers can share job openings with the team of dedicated PR bloggers and influencers who will serve as regional champions
  • All those in the PR industry can participate by sharing #HAPPO tweets with personal networks and lending support to those looking for a job

At BurrellesLuce, we understand that Social Media Provides Opportunities in PR.  There are a lot of talented, hardworking PR professionals currently seeking employment, and we hope that HAPPO can help facilitate some new connections and provide some support and encouragement for those in our industry who need it the most. I hope you will join us Friday and consider connecting with the HAPPO community on Facebook or Twitter.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Monday, February 8th, 2010
Flickr Image: David Reece

Flickr Image: David Reece

Now that 2010 is well underway, I thought it would be interesting to go back and read some articles and posts from the past couple years to decipher what’s changed in the realm of media relations. 

I was a little surprised to find that not much has really changed!  (Not entirely surprised as this was what I suspected.)

Your target media now may not be just traditional media but also bloggers, ezine/webzine editors, streaming webcast producers, and freelance writers. However, the qualities or traits that define good media relations have remained essentially the same: Before preparing your press release, do your homework and familiarize yourself with the chosen topics as well as recent writings of your target journalists and bloggers. Then do some additional checking to ensure that your intended audience is also the audience for the media you’re about to pitch. (BurrellesLuce 2009 whitepaper “New Rules for Media Relations”)

In early 2009, Jeremy Porter conducted interviews with PR professionals in an effort to gauge what the biggest challenges were in dealing with the media. The results shared on his Journalistics blog could have been written today!  Some of the challenges included were:

  • Having accurate media contact information – keeping up with ongoing changes
  • Breaking through filters to reach the right contact, at the right time, with just the right information
  • Leveraging new media like Twitter in appropriate ways
  • Having better access to what journalists are writing about and what information they value most
  • Measuring the value of media outreach and placement – beyond impressions, release pickup and ad value
  • Developing more effective processes for media relations – moving away from one-size-fits-all pitching

With the exception of Twitter, this sounds like the same challenges we had 15 years ago when I was working at a St. Louis PR agency.

I’m not oblivious to the fact that public relations and the media are changing in some ways (that may be the topic for a future post), but in many ways it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Am I wrong? What similarities or changes have you seen occurring in the world of public relations and media these past few years?

Tis The Season For Lists of Toys, For All Ages of Girls and Boys

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

by Stephen Lawrence*
It’s become a PR tradition to release lists of the season’s hot toys around the holidays. Top ten lists of the best, the safest, and the most popular items for all ages are now as eagerly anticipated as the next shipment of Zhu Zhu pets. For smaller manufacturers this brings invaluable product recognition, especially for those products that can seemingly catch fire overnight.

And toy retailers are actively integrating the toys, found on the more popular lists, into their seasonal in-store marketing campaigns. In a recent interview for, Nancy Stanek, the owner of Illinois-based Toys Etcetera, observed:

Draw attention to the “best toys” by creating a special display that shoppers can identify quickly. If shoppers have heard about the list through your advertising, on your website, in newspaper articles, or through Mommy blogs, make it easy and obvious for them to find what they came for.

For the general public, those aunts and uncles, who are looking for the perfect gift for little Poindexter, but just aren’t privy to Lil_Girl_Xmashis ever-changing wish list – these placements are a great starting point.  And what could be a better place to start that quest than in the pages of their local newspaper?   

As we have observed in previous postings, pictures are invaluable to driving product recognition especially when the shelves are crowded with so many toys competing for the buyer’s attention.  (Remember the thrill of Christmas catalogs in those days long ago?)

So, in terms of graphics, how do toy list articles fare in the jump from print to web? (I must note, that while we are supplying the URLs to the online articles, we are unable to reproduce the original printed pages for comparison and posting to Fresh Ideas due to copyright restrictions. For a more in-depth discussion on copyright, check out this BurrellesLuce white paper.)

Here are just a few instances where the web doesn’t reflect the original print.

  • FamilyFun magazine recently announced its 18th annual T.O.Y. (toy of the year) Award winners.  While a number of newspapers picked up the release, publishing a nice array of the accompanying photos alongside, only the Online Athens (Athens Banner-Herald) fully transitioned the article to its website.  
  • Another example is from the Chicago Tribune whose Internet version of the article, “Not the Zhu Zhu Pets: 5 more hot toys this holiday season” has none of “the five hot toy” photos that that readers received in the print edition. 
  • Even original material can see a loss of content. A full-page article about teaching toys, from the print edition of the Detroit Free Press lost over half of its graphics on the journey to the web.  And the Internet version of this article, appearing on, listing “The Best in Tech Toys” gets no pictures whatsoever.

As I’ve stated in prior posts, if you’re not seeing both your print and online coverage than you’re not seeing the full picture – quite literally. For those in the retail industry or in public relations who are trying to reach clients and perspective consumers, the effects of missing graphics could be detrimental.

*Bio: A native of Mesa, Arizona, I graduated from the University of Arizona with a major in Near Eastern Studies. I began my career with BurrellesLuce in 1997 as a reader. As with most readers, I developed a special relationship with my assigned papers – those small town dailies and weeklies of the same flavor that my family had been employed in for two generations. Currently, I hold the position of quality assurance specialist, troubleshooting daily production issues. Outside interests include woodworking, and keeping my wife and dog happy. Twitter: BurrellesLuce; Facebook: BurrellesLuce