More Blurred Lines of Communication?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Some big news surfaced yesterday on the communications front.  As detailed in this article originally published in Advertising Age, an iconic Chicago-based company known for creating some of the best-known equity characters in advertising history has teamed up with a relatively new but extremely influential digital aggregator and blogger of news and commentary.

What would the late Leo Burnett say about his company's partnership?

What would the late Leo Burnett say about his company’s partnership?

Their goal, as stated in the article is “to develop strategies and then produce content for the ad agency’s clients.”  (And, of course, to make lots of money in the process.)

The players: Leo Burnett and Huffington Post.

Or, in other words: The ad agency that created Tony the Tiger, Charlie the Tuna and the Marlboro Man now joins forces with writers from the top-ranked digital media empire to draft and distribute paid media messages.  Or in other words, write what used to be called “advertorials,” or articles that are paid for, just like TV, radio, digital, print, transit and other advertisements.

On HuffPo, as the site is known, and other online platforms, paid content is identified by a “sponsored link” disclaimer.

So what’s my take-away from this development?  Here are two thoughts:

1. Makes Sense. In this ever-increasing digital  age, competition is fierce for an audience’s time and attention.  I trust

Wouldn't you like to be the fly on the wall in a conversation between Ms. Huffington and Mr. Burnett?

Wouldn’t you like to be the fly on the wall in a conversation between Ms. Huffington and Mr. Burnett?

the HuffPo content writers have the skills to draft content that generates visits that lead to sales.  The creatives at Burnett know their clients and their products and services.

2.  Divide and Conquer. Both companies are businesses, and business should make a profit. So, why not consolidate forces to produce a better product?  After all, there are plenty of ways a company can spend money to influence the consumer or business audience.

But, I wonder if this partnership will prompt other communications firms — be they advertising, traditional or digital

media, and of course, public relations firms — to do the same. And, if so, will a company lose sight of its focus, its true mission?

Will lines of communication in regards to the originator become more blurred when disseminated to the target audience?

Stay tuned, but I’d like to put  the late, legendary Mr. Leo Burnett in a room with the very much alive Arianna Huffington and get their perspectives.







Cutthroat Kitchen Slam Top Menu Item for PRDude

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Even though the PRDude has published 185 posts over the past four years, he’s still a relative neophyte in the blogging universe.  The PRDude blogs because he wants to (when there’s time and something to say), not because there’s any monetary rewards (which would be most welcomed.)

With that established, time to  switch to the first person — and the theme of this post.

Cutthroat OneFor some reason, a post I wrote back in August bashing a new TV show called “Cutthroat Kitchen” continues to attract readers.  In fact, a total of 226 as of this writing, for a rough average of 75 per month.

That’s not going to make the folks at HuffPo or Buzz Feed nervous and change the Technorati rankings, but it’s a pretty big deal for me.

The question of the hour is why?  Why did my rant against a  reality TV food-oriented show I did not like based on previews only generate sustained interest?

I trust it was well-written and optimized.  I know it had relevance.   I hope readers found some value in the post. Cutthroat two

And, for the record, I still don’t plan on ever watching “Cutthroat Kitchen,” despite learning that it’s received fairly good ratings, and will probably do better now that “Breaking Bad” has concluded and no longer dominates Sunday TV.

(An aside: In a perverse way “Breaking Bad” was also a “cooking” show.  Of sorts.)

So I turn to you, the 226 readers who read — and hopefully enjoyed the original “Cutthroat Kitchen” post — to share your thoughts: What was so good about that blog?

What I Learned About Social Media News

Here’s the latest from me, Edward M. Bury, APR, aka the PRDude

Yesterday, I had the great fortune to attend a webinar, “Develop a Social Media News Strategy for Your Company: Follow. Share. Post.”  It was offered by the Public Relations Society of America, and it’s archived for PRSA Members who were unable to attend.

Webinar leader Steve Momorella, partner and co-founder of TEK Group International, offered some excellent insight into the difference between social media news and the traditional news all of us grew up with.

Okay.  A lot of us initially got our news from print and broadcast media.

Here are a few highlights that resounded with me:

  1. Social media news represents a true paradigm shift because information is exchanged and shared; it’s two-way conversation rather than one-way message.
  2. That means the lines have been blurred between who’s the producer, and who’s the consumer.
  3. Every company and organization has great stories to tell. Social media news gives you the ability to tell that story and the resources to drive the dialog.
  4. Perhaps the most successful social media news sites is the Huffington Post.  Of course it provides a very, very robust amount of content.  But it also offers Facebook and Twitter links right from its toolbar, and it offers lots of apps for hand-held devices, making it very easy to share news.
  5. An estimated 57% of Americans use social media sites, and an estimate 97% are consumers of news online.
  6. Ford and Starbucks follow lots of people on Twitter because they want their feedback and an opportunity to respond.  One of the premiere news organizations in the world, the New York Times, has 2.4 million Twitter followers but only follows 199.

These are all interesting statistics and observations. But the one that whacked me across the head was this:

  • 90% of online consumers are so-called “lurkers” who read and move on.
  • 9% add some content to social media sites.
  • 1% add most online content to social media sites.

As a public relations professional and communicator, I’ve fully embraced online communication and relish the opportunity to share my thoughts with whomever wants to read of share them with someone else.  I visit and add to my  profiles just about every day.

I trust that puts me in the 1 percentile.

A final thought: Back in the day, when all of us got our news from the “traditional” news sources, there was a practice designed to learn the “average” person’s perspectives on what was taking place in our world. It was called the man-on-the-street interview.

It’s still used today in some instances.   I hope it doesn’t go away.  It gives those 90% of the online population a way to share their thoughts.