Following the surprise News in the New York Times today that US star 50 Cent employs a publicist to tweet for him, it raises questions – hardly surprising ones – as to the nature and integrity of Twitter posts.

I am shocked that the general Public has believed for this length of time, actually, that celebrities are actually tweeting themselves – after all, the ghost-writer and ghost-blogger have been around for years (hell, we were ghost-blogging more than six years ago to British business audiences on behalf of UK Clients) so to see the relevation of the ghost-tweeter is not a huge surprise.

Maybe it will highlight that there is one simple truth – despite the communications medium, if it can be PR-ed, it will be. Cynical? Perhaps, but if we believe everything we see in the Media, then the year 1955 starts to look very attractive indeed. Not long after that, and we’ll all be believing the stories in the Daily Mail…and so it goes on. Shrugs.

By the way – would YOU employ a ghost-tweeter? After all, 140 characters takes skilled writing at times…

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I seem to have been coming across different blogs all saying the same kind of key things today – which got me thinking about the top tips I would pass on if I had to tweet in 140 characters my favourite PR methods for success.

Great post here from copyblogger, advocating the simple route for effective communications, and excellently highlighted from observations by literary giant Ernest Hemingway. Don’t forget, all good PR starts with communicating a key message. It needs to be simple, concise and clear – whether it’s going to the Press or direct to a potential customer.

Another strong posting here from Shannon Paul on her guest blog at Rowse’s outstanding source of information and guidance at ProBlogger. Paul advocates simplicity and clarity in writing. I am a huge advocate of her point to ensure that ruthless editing takes place of all writing – this is SO crucial for delivery of effective PR on our on-demand Age.

My top tips for effective PR copywriting and delivery? My top six would be:

1. Keep it simple – what is the heart of what you’re trying to say? Get to it and quickly.

2. Remember who you’re talking to – never patronise the Press or your potential buyers.

3. One message at a time – don’t bombard them with numerous points. Make one point, and do it bloody well.

4. Don’t confuse with jargon or industry-speak – the Media are not impressed, and it will bore your customers.

5. Demonstrate expertise but not arrogantly – highlight your experience, but do so with a slice of generosity.

6. Give your audience exactly what THEY want – remember, it is NOT about you.

Happy trails on a sunny Friday afternoon. Additional top tips welcomed here of course…

Looks like switched-on PRs have new methods of reaching the Press via a new tool on Twitter launched today.

Called nyouse, it acts effectively as a heads-up for journos on Twitter about upcoming News items. Although it’s claimed to be essentially a tool for the layman, or tweeters, to leverage the network and get their messages to the Media, I can see this becoming an essential way for savvy PRs to reach their target Media.

Target media such as Guardian Tech journo Charles Arthur, who removed his contact details on media databases after an incessant stream of PR Spam – and will only receive PR submissions and pitches via his Twitter account. Excellent idea. Forcing PRs to keep it brief and to the point. Bravo!

Good luck to the nyouse founder, UK copywriter Leif Kendall. If PRs use this appropriately, we could all win here.

Interesting post in today‘s Media Guardian about the latest and hottest target for Press paparazzi…guess who? Nope, not Madge, Jacko…or even Royalty…it is, according to Armstrong’s article…former RBS Chief Executive Sir Fred Goodwin. He is the hottest paparrazi figure to gain shots of right now, earning huge amounts for Press photographers.

Following Goodwin‘s blank refusal to hand back a single penny of the incredible pension awarded in the light of even more incredible financial failures, the ex-RBS Boss has become gold-dust for Media snappers. Goodwin has apparently been forced to go to ground – at all of the various UK and European homes he currently owns. Ah, bless him.

Looks likely that the Media will be interested in this story for a while to come yet, of course, seeing as the entire Nation continues to be gripped by the results of poor banking practice in the UK. Well, according to the Press.

Certainly, in PR terms, the Heads of financial institutions are well advised to keep their heads below the parapet for the imminent future – after all, some crisis PR exercises simply cannot be won. Or drawn, for that matter.

There were always going to be PR winners and losers in the financial disaster that has been recent months in various parts of the business Press.

Goodwin was looking like a potential winner, but bearing in mind that so many 100s of journos have lost their jobs, not to mention the fact that pretty much every newsroom reporter and editor in the UK knows of, or is close to, at least one person who has been affected by the mis-management of corporate banking in recent months, it hardly looked likely that the CEO and figurehead of said institutions would escape the Media eye.

Pick your quotes carefully in PR – and be even more careful how you treat the Press: you never know when you’ll need a journalist on your side, as today’s example from the Guardian highlights with the belligerent Goodwin.

Interesting story here today regarding the launch by the FT of a new, dedicated business-focused search service called Newssift.

The story is particularly relevant, at a time when despite the increased push for free content online, there are still innovative publishers, such as the Financial Times Group, which is seeking to derive additional revenue streams online in the face of increasingly-poor offline sales.

This also raises a question from a PR perspective.

If the FT, with the strength of it’s Branding, history, heritage, and loyal readership, is dipping into Deep Search and the like online to claw additional revenues from the Web, what are you doing to promote your business online and gain extra revenues and clients via the Internet?

We’ve already seen in previous posts how few British business are blogging, utilising the Web, carrying out effective online marketing schemes, talking to online Press…generally, relying on old-school comfort zones to draw in limited revenues. This is a precarious position to place your company in, let alone during the grip of a global recession.

If, as a PR provider, we had a company which was utilising only traditional Methods to get new business on board and promote themselves, via traditional advertising campaigns only, it is highly likely that unless they were willing to go through a lengthy Audit process with significant improvements for business generation to happen, that we would be able to help them with contemporary PR tools and techniques. You only get out of it what you put in, as they say.

Is PR recession-proof?

March 18, 2009

It might appear so, if this story is anything to go by.

The reported 10 percent profit rise by Chime Communications, the marketing Group which owns Agencies such as Bell Pottinger, in the FT lends itself to the possibility that certain PR sectors – apart from financial PR of course, which is spending greatly-reduced Client fees on fire-fighting at the moment – have seen a marked increase in revenues in the public sector, as more and more organisations struggle to promote positive messages.

The results from Chime come at a time when Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WPP reported a revenues growth of four percent – and then went on record in the Guardian to announce that thousands of Group PR positions would need to be axed to protect the firm. It would appear that corporate PR is not the safe place it always used to be.

How does this affect the medium and smaller firms out there? Most businesses, whilst in the process of reducing elements of their marketing spend, will sensibly hold onto the PR part – seeing that PR remains one of the most cost-effective parts of the promotional mix.

So, in essence, I can see that for certain sectors of PR, the recession holds little real fear for their economic survival: after all, if Clients are cutting budget in other areas, but still recognising the need for PR messages in the marketplace, it can only be a good thing for the majority of smaller boutique PR Consultancies and Agencies.

The larger players, however, will see streamlining as Clients cut back on peripheral activities not essential to the overall marketing mix. More interestingly, there could well be a surge in smaller and medium-sized companies deciding to conduct their own PR activities. Which is never a bad thing for the Press, if they’re getting the information straight from the horses mouth, of course.

The only issue is whether the DIY PR approach gives the media exactly what they want, when they want it.

Interesting article in today’s media Guardian regarding the swathing cuts in regional journalism across the UK in recent months from Jon Slattery. And one by-product is currently the influx of editorial staff applying for PR positions in an attempt to stay in gainful employment amidst massive regional newsroom cutbacks.

The true state of British journalism is worrying indeed – those of us working in the media have known this for far longer than the recession-filled, fear-laden six months in which the Public has become fully aware of the current economic situation. The PR landscape has also changed, although not as drastically as the regional newsrooms.

The stream-lining of newsroom across the regions has appalled many of us, largely due to the very nature of the ways in which management and number-crunchers have dispatched editorial staff.

The excellent Guardian article from Slattery points out that there has been an influx of journos looking to organisations such as Councils for in-house work, and a significant drift to PR agencies by journalists and editors who would never have considered anything other than being committed Hacks for the rest of their writing careers this time last year. The PR Agencies are actually in a position of seeing more editors, news editors and senior reporters knocking on their doors for recruitment purposes.

Will this increase the quality of PR across the UK, or lead to a de-valuing of journalism, as more and more PRs submit editorial and images which needs less and less input from the newsrooms to make it onto the pages? After all, in the absence of a fully-fledged newsroom staff count, most editors rely heavily (too heavily, many would argue) on the submissions from PR Agencies to maintain their editorial deadline schedules. A tricky dilemma indeed.

The relationship between PRs and the Press is changing – and the results will be interesting for both parties.

Great post here from http://www.journalism.co.uk today, highlighting the experiences of journo turned PR turned free content contributor Steve Jackson, on his blogging and related adventures in various parts of the globe.

Some of Jackson’s previous journalistic and commercial PR background inevitably gives a fuller flavour to his blogging, but the overall points are made with clarity, commercial insight and a hefty virtual nod to the power of getting online and writing for a variety of sites. It may be for free, but the longer-term benefits have been clear for Jackson to date.

This raises a wider point from a PR perspective too – are you contributing expert copy, insights, value and demonstration of positive PR all adds weight to persepctive clients looking at your work, your services, your ethos and above all, how you deliver. I am a huge advicate of this way of promoting clients in an on-demand, virtually-open environment.

Remember, just because you aren’t getting paid for every piece of content you submit onto the blogosphere, online forums, newspaper and magazine feeds etc, it doesn’t mean that there may not be a longer-term pay-off for you, your business and your overall PR efforts. PR is also about reputation management, of course.

Great post from Jackson – and his blogs are well worth a closer look.

Interesting question, as the ongoing economic downturn gives us all reasons and potential justifications to cut back on financial commitments in business. One of the first areas to see the axe or at least a significant reduction in budget is PR and Marketing – even the larger corporates, such as ITV, have made cutbacks: the broadcasting giant recently reduced its corporate comms team by half, in a desperate measure to save cash as advertisers continue to spend less and less across the company’s offerings.

As a small business, or certainly one not of the size and scale of ITV, you may well have been tempted to reduce your PR spend and limit the amount of marekting activities currently ongoing. Can you really afford to cut your PR budget though? Is it not more sensible to get more creative with your promotional Campaigns?

At a time when your key messages need to be seen and heard to not only reduce the focus on your competitors but also to remind existing customers that you can resolve their commercial pain with your superb solutions, it is crucial that creativity, imagination, resilience and entrepreneurship are utilised in your PR and Marketing efforts.

Read this great post on staying upbeat and creative in your promotional activities during the Recession. Great stuff.

We all know that during times of economic trouble, most companies should be considering increasing their PR and Marketing spend to rise above recession and keep putting strong, positive, sales-generating messages across their various channels.

With surprise, then, we learn that ITV has announced it is cutting half of its PR team today. Looks like the corporate comms department will be hit hard by the earlier announcement this week of 600 job cuts.

With a drop in advertising revenues and a reported fall of 41% in profits according to the Guardian, the future looks bleak for the in-house communicators at the firm. And just when they need to be promoting themselves even harder and driving new advertisers on baord to cope with a dive in advertising interest.

To make matters worse, ITV have as yet made no comment about the re-structure: how’s that for negative PR?