So Long 2012, And Hopefully So Long to Some Other Stuff

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

By now, friend of The PRDude, you probably have read 10 or more “Top 10” lists.  These appear regularly online and in print and broadcast communications, but they’re especially prevalent now — as we count down the days and hours of another year.

Rest assured, you won’t read any “Top 10” or “Top (fill in the blank)” list in this space today. (You can get a way-cool summary and analysis of traffic from this blog courtesy of the way-cool people from WordPress.)   What I plan to do is to just offer some thoughts on public relations and “other stuff,” as keeping with the tag line and theme of this blog.  You might get 10, but probably less because I want to finish soon.  Full disclosure:  I’m writing this late Monday morning and looking forward to a nap so I can stay up to midnight.

Here goes.

top 10Let’s Put a “-30-” to Top 10 Lists.  Those of us how came out of the journalism business know that it was traditional to type “-30-” to denote the end of a story.  Why don’t we put a “-30-” to the preponderance of year-end lists, especially Top 10 lists.  Why not Top 9 or Top 11? .  Seriously, it’s kind of a communications cop out, often predictable and generally just takes up space.  Why not just follow topics of interest year-round?

Let’s Put More Focus on Defining “Public Relations” in the 21st Century. Earlier this prsa_logoyear, the Public Relations Society of America unveiled a new definition for “public relations.” The good folks at PRSA employed a modern communications tactic — crowdsourcing — and combined it with good old-fashioned research.  I participated in the effort, and I was thrilled that the new definition included the phrase “strategic communications process.” It’s strategy that separates true practitioners from the hucksters and incompetents.  But I think the definition needs to be augmented with references to the traditional (like media relations) and the always evolving (like social media) forms of communication.  The next Pinterest will change PR strategies and tactics for many of us.

snarkyLet’s Cease with Snarky-Themed PR/Communications Blogs. We’ve all read them, and many of us — The PRDude included — have contributed to posts or forums that have little to do but give the opportunity to share some mean-spirited thought under the guise of humor or adding to the general conversation.  Do we really benefit from your opinion or my opinion on what “buzzwords” to eliminate from our daily communications?  If I want to “think outside of the box” or “throw someone under the bus,” I will.  But please stop using “non uncommon” because “common” works better!

I could go on, but that’s it for now. If I could provide a summary to the above, and hopefully to all my commentary here, it’s this: Those of us who define ourselves as “public relations professionals” should adhere to high ethical standards, only communicate messages that offer some contribution to the public well-being, steadfastly practice open disclosure and continue to explore and promote new and more effective ways to communicate.  Want more? Read my October post on this subject.

The word count has just gone north of 500, so it’s time to call it a day and a year. Thanks again to all who digest my thoughts. What topics/issues should The PRDude address in 2013?

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Quick Career Online Tune Up. When Was the Last Time You Had One?

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

Just a few minutes ago, I made a few subtle — but important — edits to my online profile on LinkedIn, perhaps the most “serious” of the big three social media platforms.  Okay, I guess Pinterest has made a case for there being a Number Four.

Here’s what I did:Image

1. I added “association management” to my profile.  Just two words, but noteworthy and accurate because I’ve spent around one-third of my professional career in the association management industry.  For the record, according to the American Society of Association Executives, there are a lot off us out there, and we represent just about every segment of business and society. I just happen to work for an association that represents real estate interests.

2. I posted some information and links on the new Sections feature of LinkedIn. (Here’s how to find it: From your profile, look for this content:

NEW Add sections

Add sections to reflect achievements and experiences on your profile.

There are a few Section options. I added information on my work on the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) and a link to my web page that contains a few published works on public relations and real estate topics.

That’s it.

So why did I augment my digital footprint? Well, it was quick, easy and free. And, it’s kind of reflective of our world today. We need to stay current and keep pace with technology’s seemingly limitless breakthroughs and upgrades. Or, at least we think we do.

During my career I have volunteered on a few other occasions, but I choose to put only my UAB work for now — because it’s the most recent and significant. And, I have published hundreds of works by my byline (Edward M. Bury, not PRDude), but felt it was more prudent to direct viewers to a page with a handful of work.

So, will my “online tune up” yield any tangible, measurable results? You tell me. Visit me now on LinkedIn and let me know. By the way, when was the last time you had one?

Pinning (P)interesting Pictures of PR Pros on Pinterest

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

A few posts back, the PR Dude offered some thoughts on Pinterest, the social media platform that has generated the most ink — strike that, the most bytes I guess — since, well December of last year.

I learned about Pinterest the old-fashioned way: I read about the platform, its uses and its growth in the Business Section of the Sunday Chicago Tribune.  (Followers of The PRDude know I have fully embraced technology, but will read printed journalism as long as it’s published.)  Still a novice Pinner, I do question the design of the logo, which looks like it was borrowed from a fast-casual restaurant.

A novice Pinner, I am. But am puzzled by the logo: Looks like it was designed for a fast-casual restaurant chain.

Since my Pinterest revelation, I’ve read several provocative articles on the platform, which basically lets subscribers “pin” images from websites and those already on their hard drives to boards arranged in categories.   Here are two great articles for the uninitiated to consider:

  • In this February 7 piece, Jason Falls provides a well-written and researched overview perspective for the online version of Entrepreneur magazine.  My biggest take away from the article is the final paragraph:  “One thing is clear whether you’re on Pinterest for personal or business reasons: the best images — be they funny, beautiful or thought provoking — attract the most attention and followers.
  • Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Grant McCracken takes a more scholarly approach,  making a case for the research value of the platform:  “It’s a chance to see American culture as if from a glass-bottom boat. Yes, some of it is a little reductive. But sometimes what people stuff into the categories is a chance for us to see exactly what they mean. Pinterest is a little Rosetta Stone, a table of equivalencies.”

Perhaps I’ll craft such erudite and insightful comments after I add a few boards and pin lots of cool and awesome images. But I did add a new category today:  “Legends and Leaders of Modern Public Relations.”

Visit my Pinterest profile to see what I posted.  I mean, “pinned.”  For those who don’t want to make the journey to my profile, I pinned images of four legends of public relations.   They’re pinned — I mean “posted” below.  These three men and one woman are among the visionary communicators who helped mold the practice of public relations to where it is today for many of us:  One built on ethics and full disclosure of information, and structured around realistic goals and objectives and sound strategies.  Of course, they never imagined the impact of technology on communications, but I trust they would incorporate digital communications effectively and responsibly.

 

Ivy Ledbetter Lee

 

Edward Bernays

 

Doris Fleischman

 

Arthur W. Page

 

Do you know who these people are and what they did to help establish modern public relations? If not, google them.   If you call yourself a public relations professional, you should know what they did a century ago.

Many more could be added to this list.  Share your thoughts.  I’ll pin them.  Personally.

 

A Post on Pinterest and Its Potential for PR

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Last week, The PRDude opened the door to you, kind followers, to a new online platform called Pinterest.   For the record, I learned about this resource, a place to “pin” images from websites or your browser and encourage dialogue, the old fashioned way: From a print newspaper article.

Much to my satisfaction, my request to become a Pinterest subscriber was approved.  I’m now an official Pinner, as we’re known.  I trust calling users “Pinheads” had too many derogatory connotations; plus, there’s a great song by The Ramones with the same name.

Don’t think too many fans of that seminal punk band are Pinners, but these days you never know. And, only one of the original Ramones is still with us,  and I have no way to reach him.  Perhaps I could pin a few  Ramones images and gauge the reaction.

Pinterest does have a Film, Music & Books category.  And, a fellow Pinner posted a picture of the Monkees, so there’s some precedent.  (Although, I don’t believe the Ramones copied any Monkees’ songs.)

But I digress.  Remember:  This blog is supposed to cover public relations.  So, I’ll concentrate future pins on that subject, the one that inspired this blog way back in September of 2009.

In my last post I posted a few generic “public relations”  images I found through a Google search: Two charts, a slogan on a T-shirt and a pair of dice with the headline: “Don’t leave your public relations to chance.” Of course, there’s lots more.

Don’t think these images will generate many comments or “likes,” especially since Pinterest does not yet have a Public Relations, Marketing or Communications category.  There is an Other category that has everything from a picture of an Almond Joy bar to one of a brown eyed man.

So the dilemma: What visually depicts public relations — a profession and a practice, one driven by strategy, built on research and effective communications, bound by adherence to ethics and so often totally misunderstood by the vast majority of people, including many who claim to be practitioners?

Does the Accredited in Public Relations logo fit the bill?  (Disclosure: I hold the APR and served for six years on the Universal Accreditation Board, the body that grants, administers and markets Accreditation.)

Or perhaps an image from  Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), like the Job Center  logo?  (One more disclosure: I’m a long-time PRSA member and retain membership in PRSA Chicago, my local chapter.)

I’ll try and report on any comments from my fellow Pinners. And, you, those reading this post: What are your thoughts? What images depict the public relations profession and practice?  Please partake at your pleasure.

 

 

 

A Super Public Relations Opportunity on This Super Bowl Sunday

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Kick off for Super Bowl XLVI (that’s 46 for those not familiar with Roman numerals) is around two hours from now.  So, I’ve got to work fast on this post.  Plus, I’ve got to start my homemade gumbo and still have some time to watch some of  the pre-game programming, which I believe started yesterday.

In reading the Sunday Chicago Tribune, a piece in the Business section drew my attention.  The well researched and well-written article was filed by Tribune reporter Sandra M. Jones on a relatively new internet startup called Pinterest.

The focus of Pinterest is pretty simple.  According to its website, Pinterest allows subscribers to “organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.  People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.”  And, they use “pinboards” — what used to be known as “message boards” or maybe “forums,” to promote their interests, businesses and websites.

As you can imagine, Pinterest has a big following among women, including that fast-growing and increasingly powerful online creature — the Mommy Blogger.  Full disclosure: I’ve never met a Mommy Blogger, and we don’t have kids. But I understand they wield a lot of power in the online community, especially involving the sales of things like diapers and strollers.

To be successful today online, of course, graphics and video have to be a big part of the package.  And, Pinterest is big on images. I scanned the Men’s Style Pinboard and learned that a “J.Crew Secret Wash lightweight shirt in Fallon check” received 1 Like and 6 Repins.

To learn more about this garment, go to http://www.jcrew.com.

I trust that’s a good thing for the folks at J. Crew, but I’m not sure what it does for the subscriber who posted it.  (Unless, of course, he or she works for J. Crew.)

So, on to my idea and just how to factor in public relations among the recipes and wedding plans.  First, I did a search on the Pinterest site for “public relations.”  My results did yield “pinups” (my word) for a book on International Relations, Public Spaces in Banyoles (I think that’s in Greece), an image of the New York Public Library under construction circa 1908, an image of  the Public Market Sign at Pikes Place Market and a few others.

Nothing specific here on “public relations.”  You know, stuff about strategy, realistic objectives, open disclosure, ethics and for Pete’s sake — the essence of effective modern public relations which is two-way communications.   So, maybe we need some images.

Here are four I found with a simple Google search:

The puzzle illustration of PR.

This must be used by Las Vegas PR firms.

I have a different definition of PR. It won't fit on a shirt.

This one is actually pretty good since it starts the PR process with developing strategy.

My next step will be to actually be accepted as a Pinterest subscriber.  I applied and got this message:

“Hi!

Thanks for joining the Pinterest waiting list. We’ll be sure to send you an invite soon.

In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter. You can also explore a few pins.

We’re excited to get you pinning soon!

– Ben and the Pinterest Team”

“Ben” refers to founder Ben Silbermann, a Yale graduate (according to the Tribune article) and former Google employee who launched Pinterest two years ago.  (Want numbers?  The site had 7.5 million unique visitors in December of 2011, just below Tumblr.)

Hey Ben: If you read this post, please let me know what I have to do to get moved up on the waiting list. I’m ready to start pinning.

How about you? Are a “Pinhead?”