Archive for Martin Jones

The Twit in Twitter

“We need something modern and snazzy to make the budget a bit more interesting, something like Twitter…lets really embrace this social media phenomena!”


Probably needed a bit more thought.


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The good, the bad and the ugly

Some interesting, some ridiculous and some sublime stories online last week about the state of the media industry and the future of the PR industry…

Let’s start with the interesting one.

PR Week reported that  the media industry is in a real crisis with 2009 potentially its worst year yet.

According to ‘The State of the News Media Report” , people are flooding online but online ad models aren’t going to generate anything like the same revenues as offline (is that really still a surprise?). The report actually concluded that classified advertising at newspapers could be nonexistent within five years!  The recession of course isn’t going to help…

This is the backdrop for the “urgent need for change”, “industry dying on its feet” PR nonsense / detritus that came out of the SXSW conference too.

Now, the Pew Study revealed that while nearly four in 10 Americans go online for news, up 19% from two years ago, they are still largely visiting online news sites like the NY Times (5th) and Tribune papers (6th) – although CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo News were the top three.  Nonetheless even the most popular blogs were nowhere near the top 10 in terms of traffic numbers.

But, according to commentators at SWSW, media relations as we know it is already dead and PR agencies are a dying breed. For me, this falls into the category of ridiculous.

Why on earth would PR agencies not be relevant just because the media landscape is changing? If you consider PR agents as brokers of information, then the more diversity that exists in the channels through which we can communicate the greater our potential.  Most of the people who are fueling this fire have launched agencies that claim to shun traditional PR techniques in favor of new “cutting edge” media techniques – the likes of which a normal PR agency is just incapable of comprehending.  Like rich media content creation (taking that enormous step from the written word to the spoken one) and social media press releases (really, how can those words even be used together!?).

In reality of course, intelligent PR people will just evolve their skills in tune with the evolving media (and non-media) landscape, adopting and incorporating new tactics and strategies as they always have.

And now the sublime – and I don’t think I have ever read a more ridiculous piece, dressed up as it is as an independent issues-based contribution to Ad Week.  No wonder the media are going out of business if this is the sort of thing they are willing to put their name to.

Who Owns Social Media – a clue:  don’t look to digital agencies or PR shops

Written by a guy who just launched his own…wait for it….social media agency.

“But don’t take my word for it. Continue to vest your future in companies that build elaborate destination Web sites, construct parties that nobody shows up to and deliver ostensibly social solutions that reek of control, manipulation and fakery.”

Now there’s a bit of competition bashing that smacks of desperation to me!

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Do you KNOW the media…?

How important is it that your agency knows your target media?

This is a question that comes up time and time again with prospects as they evaluate whether an agency is the right fit or not.

But honestly, should this really be the gauge of whether an agency is going to get you the results you need?

I think not.

You don’t necessarily need to know the media personally in order to successfully place editorial.

What you do need is an understanding of what that media is trying to achieve and how that fits with your client’s story and objectives. Obviously, the more you know a journalist the more informed you will be on what they are interested in writing about, and indeed upcoming opportunities. But we all know that most PR people overstate their relationships with the press.

In this day and age, there are many ways of finding out what journalists are interested in and looking for, and many ways of researching what they have written about before and are therefore interested in.

Twitter, HARO, Google, Vocus, ProfNet – these are just a few of the many many resources out there helping PR people ‘know’ the media.

We’ve shown time and again that we can get top coverage for clients in sectors we have never worked before.

So it’s really not who you know, it’s about making sure you understand the media and what it is trying to achieve with its audience.

All this… “I can place any story for you Mr. Client because I have your target media in my back pocket” is quite frankly….PR Nonsense.

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Stories with legs…

Marvelous – a new category in marketing – ‘Backlash Marketing’.

I came across it because I was intrigued to receive an email from a friend linking to this video – a CBS story on Heart Attack Grill. I first heard about the place in 2006, it was launched in 2005, and so wondered what was new that was grabbing the headlines once again.

The answer…? Absolutely nothing.

Heart Attack Grill exists to court controversy – deliberately unhealthy food, from Quadruple Bypass Burgers to full fat Coke to fries cooked in pure lard wrapped up in all things socially unacceptable, cigarettes on the menu, waitresses dressed in scantily clad nurse uniforms and wheelchairs to get you back to your car after you have gorged yourself. Lovely.

The story has captured the hearts and minds of media and pundits alike, in both a good and bad way, and has delivered a massive dose of free exposure that money simply cannot buy.

In days gone by, this story would have caused a stir, hit some headlines and then gone away….largely.

But in today’s PR world, people are still talking about it, whether they are outraged, excited, relieved, angry, no matter.

It would be challenging to apply the principles of Backlash Marketing to technology PR, although not impossible!

What’s more interesting is that the power of PR, in today’s media landscape combined with the variety of ways people can now share information, means that if you can give a story some legs….it can just keep on running.

The concept of ‘media control’, the mantra of our PR-edecessors, is now officially dead and a new opportunity exists to fully engage our audiences in ways that live and breathe in the same way they do.

Unfortunately, while the story rocks, the food apparently does not – but I don’t think they really care!

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