Tag: public relations

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Flack Attack

Yesterday, while catching up on days of RSS-feed news, I stopped grazing and actually read TechCrunch Christmas Eve post “#MisguidedPR: The Industry’s Internal Crisis” by Colin Jordan, who is—what many of my peers would call—a flack. I rarely use the descriptor, deeming it as condescending. But for this post, the term fits.

The commentary’s objective is clear: To encourage his colleagues to abandon past public relations strategies that are obsolete today. Part of the problem he identifies is imbalance: There are way many more flacks than there are journalists (but perhaps not bloggers, I must add). Using U.S. Department of Labor statistics, he finds “5.7 PR professionals for every one journalist”. Because I do my own reporting rather than source someone else, whenever possible (most often), I checked the data. 

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Newsroom and Masthead Matters

I normally pan top-10 lists, but this one sings, eh, zings: “10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register. Dek: “You’ll Read These And LOL Even Though They’re Serious”. Read `em and believe `em, if public relations is your fame and contacting Joe Wilcox is your game.

The Reg gives great guidance, and I needn’t really add to the list but will a tinsy-bit. I read and file most PR emails sent directly to me. I just likely won’t respond, or will forward the message to someone else on the team. So if you don’t hear from me, despair not. 

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Journalism and the Corporate Blog Problem

Blame—or perhaps credit, depending on viewpoint—for corporate blogging’s impact on news reporting belongs to Vic Gundotra, Len Pryor, and Robert Scoble. (Robert claims to “have completely moved to social media“; he’ll be back, so I link to his blog.) These three people played pivotal roles bringing to life Microsoft’s Channel 9 blogsite, which launched a decade ago.

I am in process of restoring my blog posts made to TypePad during the last decade, starting with 2004. The process is manual, rather than automatic, so that I can check links and also get some sense of who I was then as filter for better understanding who I am now. This morning I reposted, unchanged, “Corporate Blogsite: Marketing Veiled as News“, from April of that year. A week earlier, Channel 9, which is that post’s focus, went live. 

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Lesson Learned about PR Pitches

For my Be a Better Blogger crowdfunding campaign, roles are reversed. I am accustomed to public relations professionals—what many of my peers call flaks (I don’t)—sending me cold pitches about something related to technology. They range from product announcements to corporate news. Now I’m the cold pitcher promoting my money-grubbing requests to support the project. I don’t like how it all feels, but…

I actually archive most of the PR email received, and these messages go back to the 1990s. So my pool of marketing professional return mail addresses is quite sizable. The day after the campaign started (February 1), I pitched back. About 150 of the PR folks got my cold pitch. I kept the outreach to those with whom there had been interaction within 18 months. Their responses exceeded expectations.

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Non-Top-10 List for Journalists

I have come to loathe top-10 lists, and I have stopped writing them. They are a sucker’s play for pageviews, although I have always used top-10s mainly for their presentation value. Now that they’re everywhere and displacing original content, I’ve got something of a personal boycott going (hence, why there have been none from me recently at Betanews). It’s with that introduction I come to maim a top-10 list posted last week. “The truth about the newsroom—straight-up!” offers 10 things reporters “want from [public relations] pitch to coverage”.

Deanna White tweeted about the post, to which I responded after reading: “My list would look nothing like this. If that’s what my peers want, someone pull out journalism’s obituary & run it” (News organizations generally keep prewritten obituaries ready to run the second someone famous enough dies).

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Journalists, Don’t Fall for Predicto’s Flack Attack about iPhone 4 Recall

This morning, I received a PR pitch from social networking survey service Predicto, which existence I had no prior knowledge. I’m simply aghast by the flagrant misuse of data and assertion that based on a Predicto survey, Apple will likely recall iPhone 4.

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So Much for Transparency

Four days ago, the mailman delivered the April Wired, which has a great story on Microsoft’s Channel 9. I have closely watched the Channel 9 blogsite since its launch in April 2004. I blogged back then about what I expected: “Channel 9 is a brilliant marketing concept. Marketing is the key descriptor. The site is run by people paid to evangelize Microsoft products. Their job is to win over developers to Microsoft products”.

I also worried that Microsoft would use Channel 9 to replace journalists: “Company-controlled blogsites could be given first—or only—access to key product managers or executives; the insiders’ view, just like the Channel 9 positioning, but in reality managed dissemination”. 

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Corporate Blogsite: Marketing Veiled as News

I have been pondering the implications behind Microsoft’s Channel 9 blogsite. The deal: Last week, Microsoft developer evangelists put up Channel 9, which is supposed to provider developers with “a way to listen to the cockpit of Microsoft”. Apparently, the listening includes dispensing Microsoft news and inside views.

The timing is interesting. Channel 9’s official launch occurred during Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) event, which makes much sense considering the site is for partners. But the debut also came a couple days before Business Week published a story saying that Microsoft was in the process of trimming next-generation-Windows Longhorn features to make a 2006 ship date. The story also offered up details about other upcoming stops on the Windows roadmap, such as something called Windows XP Premium, which soon will ship on new PCs. 

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Microsoft’s Lap Dogs

I recently nearly canceled my subscription to all my Ziff-Davis publications—and I still may. My disgust with the outrageous favoritism toward Microsoft had been brewing for months. I read news reports and reviews no one short of Microsoft’s flagship PR firm, Waggener Edstrom, could be spinning. Editors, rather than doing their jobs, were printing the gospel according to marketers holed up in a Redmond, Wash. closet.

The final straw was a July PC Computing article titled, “Office 97 vs. The World”. There contributors Leslie Ayers, Peter Deegan, Lee Hudspeth, T.J. Lee, Woody Leonhard, and Eileen Wharmby explained why Microsoft’s newest rendition of its productivity suite replaced virtually all other business programs.