A blog to complement the Web site of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi-Central Chapter Web site at www.pramcentral.org.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Book Report: Why Some Companies Emerge Stronger and Better from a Crisis

No one likes to contemplate a crisis, but companies have been doing that more and more since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and corporate meltdowns like Enron. While the author agrees that operational plans are valuable for dealing with a crisis, he argues that it is even more important for organizations to develop a set of competencies, or IQs, that would make them stronger, calmer, and more flexible in the event of a disaster.

Negotiating What You're Worth

Should you be the first to mention money? What is your main goal in negotiating a salary raise? How do you prepare for negotiation obstacles? A negotiation expert gives tips in this article from the Harvard Management Communication Letter.

Good example, Bad example

I talked earlier of Robert Scoble being a good example of handling negative comments about your company via blogging. In our education, we all need the real-life bad examples too. No need to fret...Church of the Customer points us to a corporate blog of MeetUp.com, who recently switched from a free to fee set-up, in which Meetup's VP of Communications, Myles Weissleder, makes fun of the Seattle Blogger Meetup Group by posting a satiric message on the Meetup.com corporate blog calling the offending group "Belly'Achin Bloggers in Seattle."

The group posted some comical pictures from the meeting with snarky captions about Meetup's new fee plan. This making-fun-of-customers story is, of course, making its way across the blogosphere.

One of the Seattle bloggers provides good advice on working with bloggers:
  • Never, ever insult your customers, even in jest.
  • Think before you blog, especially if you're a corporate blogger.
  • Bloggers are the worst people in the world to insult, because they will tell the whole world about it.

Blogs as relationship marketing

Wayne Hurlbert has an interesting post about the difference between traditional marketing and relationship marketing - and how blogs can fit into the marketing mix.

Blog search engine power explained

Paul mentioned in his presentation about the innate search engine power of blogs. In a 30-minute presenation, you don't have much time to delve too deep into any topic, so here is an entry by Wayne Hulbert further explaining the how of blogs' search engine power. (In case you're like me and immediately ask Why? to anything someone says.)

Corporate blogging and negative comments

When Paul Chaney, Radiant blogger, visited our chapter last week, the one question that was on everyone's mind: What do I do if I get a negative comment on my blog?

Rest assured, others are asking the same question at American Marketing Association seminars. It is the one reason that I have heard many say that they were worried to suggest blogging to their company.

My take on this? You don't get as many comments as you think you will, period. And of those you do get, they are not as negative as you think. And if you do get negative comments on your blog, you can address them directly - as opposed to that same person negatively commenting about your company to many others that you don't know about.

Paul used Robert Scoble of Microsoft geek blogger fame as an example of a well-known corporate blogger in his presentation. But Scoble's also an example of how negative comments addressed correctly can ultimately be a positive experience for both the blogger and the consumer. When someone does leave a negative comment on his blog, he addresses it immediately. He often contacts the person who left the comment and tries to get more information about the question or problem. And if there's nothing in the realm of God's green earth he can do to fix it, he lets us know. If there is, he lets us know too. Through blog comments, he controls the situation and acts as an emissary between the audience and Microsoft corporation.

PRAM Central has had this blog for quite some time. Not one negative comment. None. Nada.

At MHA, we have several news blogs with comments enabled: MHA News Now, MHA Executive Briefing, News Around the State, Help Wanted and our MHA staff blog. Never a negative comment. (Even on the staff blog - which many of you fear will turn into a public gripe forum.)

In other words, negative comments should not be what scares you away from blogging. Bad writing, maybe, miscommunication, perhaps - negative comments, not.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Bloggers blogging about blogging

Paul Chaney, very fittingly, blogged about his opportunity to introduce our members to business blogging this week. Blog on, Paul!

Wendy's chili: Crisis communications in action

Wendy's PR nightmare has a silver lining. The company's PR team has gotten high marks from the media and other PR profesionals in their response to the crisis.

The New York Times covered the story from a PR perspective:

For the 52-year-old Mr. Lynch, there was no time to prepare a sophisticated plan of action. The news media, he was informed, knew about the gruesome discovery, and wanted a statement.

And isn't that the way it always is?


IDI launches "blogger relations" program

Issue Dynamics, Inc., known for its blogad campaign for the United Church of Christ, has launched a formal Blogger Relations Practice and a companion Web site.
More and more non-profit and corporate organizations are realizing that they ignore the blogosphere at their own peril. If not closely monitored, blogs can surprise an organization with a storm gathering around their issue or brand. At the same time, blogs provide an opportunity to reach so-called "influentials"—those members of society responsible for influencing mass opinion within their personal and professional circles.

The most interesting offering to me is "blogger training." As it becomes more popular there seems to be more and more of an impetus to "find" someone in your organization to blog (and blog well). But blogging for business is basically a mixture of corporate communications, copy writing and essay writing - find someone in house who can bring all three to the table and you've got it made.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Blogs The Latest Tool In Corporate Arsenals

Blogs made it easy to share off-the-cuff opinions with a small or large number of readers. Blog entries can be posted on a Web site or distributed to interested readers via syndication feeds.

Now blogs are moving beyond personal musings and taking on a new role: corporate communications. A growing number of businesses are using the blog format to promote products, interact with customers and shareholders, conduct market research and distribute company announcements.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The muse always comes late

A great posting by Kathy Sierra on Creating Passionate Users about creativity under pressure. HINT: When you must be creative, you can.

New Yahoo Local Feature Provides Free Sites For Small Businesses

Yahoo announced a new feature on Yahoo Local that provides free Web sites for small businesses.

Corporate Blogging Rising

Investor's Business Daily: Blogs are moving beyond personal musings and taking on a new role: corporate communications.

It's About Content, Stupid

Public relations, PR, communications, marketing communications. No matter what term you use, it always comes down to one thing: content.

Measure to drive business outcomes

Andy Lark on measuring communications effectiveness and impact with the aim of informing business strategy and outcomes.

Brand storytelling

Todd S. at 800CEO-READ.com gives us the main points of May I Have Your Attention, Please?: Building a Better Business By Telling Your Story by Chris Hilicki, the author and founder of Dalmatian Press. She thinks that you should build your brand based on the history and experiences of the company (or the person). Her theory builds on all of the books we are seeing on the importance of storytelling in brand and marketing communications. To see Chris' Big 10 Brand Builders, click here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Why the Caveman Loves the Pitchman

A little celebrity and a shrewd marketing strategy can go a long way to sell a product. The key is understanding how the human brain really works.

Building the Nonprofit Brand: Case Studies, Trends and Do-Overs

The following teleseminar is especially geared towards public relations practitioners in associations and other nonprofit organizations.

Building the Nonprofit Brand: Case Studies, Trends and Do-Overs
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Time: 2:00pm ET
Duration: 90 minutes

An organization’s brand can be its most powerful tool. Far too often, though, the brand gets pushed aside in many associations and nonprofits due to a lack of resources.If your brand identity needs an infusion, listen in on this hands-on teleseminar to discover ways to improve your brand and take ideas to your elected leaders or top management. Get targeted branding advice along with take-away tools for organizations of all sizes and budgets.

You will hear from:
- Ron Fredman, APR, senior vice president, Hartsook Companies, Inc., Wichita, KS
- Chuck Husak, creative director, August, Lang & Husak, Bethesda, MD
- Christer E. Osterling, director of communications, Association Resources, Inc., West Hartford, CT

Moderator: Matthew Smith, teleseminar committee chair, PRSA Association/Nonprofit Section; director of integrated marketing & brand development, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Rosemont, IL

Registration will be available soon here.

PR spam and RSS

Natterjack PR points us to a quick way to check whether your press release will probably get through or be considered span is to use a free online service called spamcheck. Send your press release to spamcheck@sitesell.net.

Put the word "TEST" at the beginning of the subject line and you'll get an automated response in a couple of minutes rating the "spam-content" of your press release!

Pulling Punches

CEO Lee Scott went on the record to fight Wal-Mart's bad rep. But his PR effort hit the mat.


When the New Yorker reporter Jeffrey Goldberg asked Senator John Kerry whether the Democrats had a credibility problem on defense controversies, the party's titular leader replied without equivocation, ''Look, the answer is, we have to do an unbranding.'' As Kerry saw it, the political problem had to do with salesmanship: ''We have to brand more effectively. It's marketing.'' An editor on the linguistic qui vive titled Goldberg's article about the Democrats' need to shuck off the appearance of weakness ''The Unbranding.'' For the full story from The New York Times, click here.

The Coming News Crisis

The percentage of people in their 30s who read a paper every day was 73 percent in 1972, and it's 30 percent today. The average newspaper reader is 53. More and more people, trained by the Internet, believe that information should be free, and so give-away daily tabloids are springing up in big cities all over. I realize that media professionals are studying this problem full time, but what does your gut tell you newspapers should do to remain vital and profitable in the digital age? For the full story from The Washington Post, click here.

E-mail Marketing FAQs For Beginners

E-mail marketers want to understand consumer email attitudes, how to create relevance and grow lists, when to send, and what to measure. cmo magazine's answers to these concerns should help you increase the value of your email program provided your email strategy balances user needs with business goals.

Whaddya Know?

Crunching numbers is easy compared with organizing and tracking the myriad marketing assets that crisscross your company. Here's how four marketers have addressed the knowledge management challenge.

Hey, Little Spender

Kids say the darndest things about big-ticket products—and their parents are listening to them.

Landing an Internal Position Often Requires Extra Effort

Being an insider doesn't guarantee you the inside track to an inside job. Assuming colleagues know you're terrific is among the most common mistakes made by inside applicants. It's hardly the only one, however.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Why The Public Doesn't Believe Spokespeople

John Wagner has a great article here on why the public doesn't believe spokespeople - and how the food industry is responding to attacks similar to those on the tobacco companies earlier. (HINT: They seem to be reading the same text book as the tobacco companies.)

PR Face2Face: Jeffrey Sharlach

Link - PR Face2Face is a special series of interviews with the top public relations and publicity professionals in the country, as well as with people involved in the public relations world. The sixth installment is Jeffrey Sharlach, Chairman and CEO of The Jeffrey Group.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Your Crisis Communication Plan Is Due For Maintenance

Shel Holtz says that any crisis communication plan that hasn't been updated in at least the last 18 months if fundamentally useless. If you haven't dusted off your plan lately, now's the time.

Chaos, Revolution, and Micro Media

In this week’s Advertising Age, Bob Garfield examines what happens if the traditional marketing model collapses before a better alternative is established. In the “Chaos Scenario” piece, Bob joins our chorus in singing the exuberance for the “democratized, consumer-empowered, bottom-up” world of micro media. Read more at Brand Autopsy here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Brainstorming Resource

Need to come up with an idea for a billboard ad? Explore what others have already done first. The OAAA offers a "creative library" of outdoor advertising images, searchable by keyword (select a letter of the alphabet and choose from a dropdown menu), year, agency, advertiser and/or product category.

Commercial Applications of RSS in Travel Marketing

Link - The travel industry has traditionally embraced new online technologies early on due to the fact that what they sell lends itself extremely well to online presentation and distribution. Online travel continues to be one of the top categories in terms of e-commerce with an estimated market of $54 billion in 2004. What we will look at today is some early application of RSS in travel and some statistics related to these implementations.

RSS and Crisis Communications

Link - Several interesting post have been published over the last months on using blogs and RSS in a crisis communications context.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

MDOT campaign takes first place at Keep America Beautiful Awards

The Mississippi Department of Transportation, a PRAM Central member, led the nation by winning the First Place National Litter Prevention Award at the Keep America Beautiful Awards Ceremony, recently held in Washington, DC. MDOT ws recognized for its outstanding litter prevention efforts through the I'm Not Your Mama - Pick It Up Mississippi! educational campaign, according to state litter prevention coordinator Kathy Broom.

This national honor was shared with former First Lady Pat Fordice, who was featured in MDOT's I'm Not Your Mama commercial spots. Those ads paved the way for the additional public awareness and educational campaign components including Myrtle the Turtle School Program, outdoor advertising and Web site - that contributed to the first place national acclaim.

Anderson named assistant director of Mississippi Humanities Council

Carol Andersen, a PRAM Central member, has been named assistant director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. Before joining the council, Anderson served as director of marketing and communications for the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits.

A native of Iowa, she holds a journalism and mass communication degree from Iowa State University and has worked in the communication and nonprofit fields for nearly 18 years.

Hornback named to Transportation Commission

Amy Hornback, deputy director of external affairs for the Mississippi Department of Transportation and PRAM Central member, has been appointed to the Mississippi Transportation Commission as secretary. Hornback has been with MDOT since 2000. She graduated from Mississippi College in 1995 with a B.S. in communication.

10 Patterns of Success in Public Relations

Link - Why is one public relations executive more successful than another? Why do some PR careers derail while others take off and soar? What factors contribute most to success in public relations – contacts, communication skills, experience or those elusive intangibles?

Fast Company's top ad-blog picks

Adrants - Posts include summaries of in-depth consumer privacy studies, comments on new ad spots and gossip.

AdLand - Registered users, or adgrunts, view and post comments. Also offers forums.

http://adverlab.blogspot.com - News on emerging media and advertising technologies

Source: Fast Company, April 2005


Link - Most marketing organizations have a solid process for setting, tracking and managing clearly stated goals and objectives. The problem is the significant gap between traditional marketing metrics and corporate objectives. Data, technology, analytics and methodologies have advanced, but metrics have become the goals instead of the measures. The time has come to realign marketing objectives and metrics with critical financial and strategic business objectives. As part of that process, you'll need to map the objectives for each tactical initiative to the business goals, providing clarity in the role of marketing at both the organization and staff levels.

Preparations For Global PR Blog Week 2.0 Have Started

Link - Global PR Blog Week 2.0 is an online conference on how new media technologies are changing the practice of public relations and corporate communications. We're talking weblogs and participatory journalism, wikis, podcasting, and RSS - but the list of topics is open.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Link - This is a cool service that let's you watch the google hits of a phrase or site over time. (via Seth's Blog)

Edelman/Intelliseek Publish Blog White Paper

Link -

Intelliseek and Edelman just announced a new study on the impact of blogs. The study, "How Real People Are Finally Being Heard," claims to be the 1.0 Guide to the Blogosphere. (via Strategic Public Relations)

"We’ve entered the era of mass personalization where people expect far greater participation in their favorite brands and companies. For companies, bloggers represent an immediate source of information and feedback, but also an opportunity to engage a rapidly expanding global network of influential, credible, passionate and involved group of real people who communicate constantly," said Pam Talbot, President & CEO, Edelman U.S. "The white paper is to help companies better understand how to engage bloggers through authentic dialogue in ways that are appropriate and respectful."

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Creating a Killer Web Site

Link - LET'S FACE IT: Every small business, whether it be a high-end management consulting firm or a deli, needs a Web site. Customers assume they can readily access more information about your business with a few mouse clicks. Prove them wrong and you might lose valuable business.

Vocus Announces New Version of PR Industry’s Fastest Growing Real-Time News Monitoring Service

Link - Vocus News-On-Demand is the first comprehensive yet affordable news monitoring service for PR professionals, and the latest release includes thousands of additional US news sources, broad international news, blogs, and complete access to the Wall Street Journal Online.

Until now, PR people have had to choose between expensive pay-per-clip services or incomplete flat-fee services.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Crowned at last

Link -