Author Archives: Michael Pranikoff

PR Newswire at PRSA 2011 – Earn It!

The PRSA International Conference is always one of the highlights of the year for the public relations industry.  It is one of the largest annual gatherings of public relations professionals and students who are getting ready to join the industry.

We here at PR Newswire look forward to attending this conference, exhibiting, and presenting at this conference every year.   However, just attending and exhibiting might get boring year after year – but not when you have stellar keynote presentations from Soledad O’Brien from CNNbest-selling author Chris Brogan, and Joe Rohde – SVP and Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering.

This year we decided to challenge PRSA 2011 attendees to see how creative they could be, and created the Earn It Challenge, an innovative and interactive content creation scavenger hunt.  Attendees registered for the game using their smartphone and then were given all kinds of challenges from taking photos, making videos, and creating text based content.   However, creating content was just the start to the game.  We then asked game players to come back to the PR Newswire booth to upload their content to then be distributed to the appropriate online channels:  The PR Newswire Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, Flickr, Twitter, and the PR Newswire Tumblr Blog.

The conference and game were both a big success, and we want not only want to thank everyone who played, but also to congratulate our top three winners!

Demitra Wilson from Equifax

Karren Jeske from Standard Process Inc.

Kimberly Miles from the Myrtle Beach Kimberly Miles from  Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau / Chamber of Commerce.

It was a very busy week….and one that I look forward to again next year at PRSA 2012 in San Francisco.

Interview – Vetting in the Age of Social Media: Who Do You Trust

Vetting content today is a difficult thing to do with so much content being created and distributed today.   On August 18th, we wrote a post on why we believe that Vetting in the age of social is such an important topic.   It’s the reason that we have submitted this topic to be considered at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference for 2012 in Austin, TX.

Vote for Vetting in the Age of Social Media

The panel we have submitted to talk on this subject includes:

- Amy Webb, CEO of the WebbMedia Group

- Tony Uphoff, CEO of UBM Techweb and author of Uphoff On Media

- Alicia Stewart, Senior Producer at CNN

- Shelli Whitehurst, Managing Dir. & Digital Brand Strategist at Code Name Max

I am really looking forward to moderating this panel discussion on such an important topic today.   I had the opportunity while in San Francisco at the offices of UBM Techweb to speak with one of our panelists, Tony Uphoff on this subject.

If you agree with us that this is an important topic, please vote for our panel at SXSW.  The voting ends tomorrow September 2nd!

Author Michael Pranikoff is PR Newswire’s director of emerging media.

Recapping the Inbound Marketing Summit – San Francisco

Last week I participated in the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco.  This is the second time that I’ve been fortunate enough to participate as a speaker at the San Francisco conference (I’ve also participated as a speaker at the Boston version of this conference last fall, and will again this fall).   Not only is this conference full of great presentations and conversations, but it’s really made up of some great attendees.

This year in SF they went with a new model – pay what you want – to attend.  This brought forward some very interesting conversations and some great participation from small businesses and solo PR & Marketing consultants who sometimes can’t afford to attend some of the big conferences.

There seems to be a push back to basics this year with some of the social media hoopla conversations really giving way to a push towards business metrics and objectives.  The idea of email marketing and automation that was once thought of as old has become new again.  There was also a renewed interest and push towards Search.  This time however, the SEO conversations were really pushing the ideas of smartly written content and using social and search together.

To those who attend a lot of these types of conferences, this is a theme that is being talked about again and again.  Ideas for tying it all together followed by those that are still trying to squeeze out that perfect metric (which in my opinion may never really exist).

While attending and participating in the conference, I was fortunate enough to have PR Newswire Account Manager for the Agency Vertical in San Francisco, Diane Harrigan, along with me and her camera skills.   Diane (who operates a video blog on her own – Postcards from SF) was able to capture a couple of interviews with me and conference organizer and author Chris Brogan; and Social Media Club Founder and President, Kristie Wells.  I hope you enjoy the conversations and the insight that they were able to share.

Author Michael Pranikoff is PR Newswire’s Director of Emerging Media.

How To Make Social Content Directional and Actionable

PR Newswire’s Michael Pranikoff Explains How To Make Social Content Directional and Actionable from Zemoga on Vimeo.

PR Newswire is a long time partner and sponsor of the Business Development Institute (BDI) events in New York.  Yesterday, BDI held an event entitled “The Social Consumer”.   At the event, the recently launched Baskets & Bytes blog which focuses on the Digital Retail Space, interviewed Michael Pranikoff on the conference and discussion that Michael was moderating at the conference on Making Social Content Directional.

Michael will also be leading a free workshop for PR Newswire members next week on March 31st in Minneapolis entitled, “Work That Content! Tactics and Tools to Make Your Message Resonate“.

Be Prepared for Crisis

Crisis Communications is a very hot topic today. As  B2B and B2C companies forge farther into social media, the need to react quickly, decisively, and strategically is becoming one of the most discussed issues by marketing and communications professionals.

This fall,  PR Newswire hosted a Conversation on Crisis Communications in Dallas, TX.  Dallas is home to the largest number of Fortune 1000 companies in the country which makes it one of the top places in the country where communications professionals need this knowledge.  As we wrap up 2010 and polish our plans for the coming year, we thought that revisiting some of the learning from this session would be useful.

The panel discussion was moderated by Michelle Metzger from PierPont Communcations and featured Brandy King from Southwest Airlines; Craig VanBebber from Lockheed Martin, and Allen Manning – Assignment Editor for KTVT-CBS 11 Dallas, and myself (Michael Pranikoff – Global Director of Emerging Media for PR Newswire).

Speed

The panel all agreed that today speed is of importance today. However, it was quickly pointed out that speed doesn’t matter if the communications professional is not prepared and doesn’t have all the facts.  Craig VanBeeber of Lockheed Martin said that today’s communications professional is the most important person in a crisis situation in regards to getting the company message out.  While the Corporate Communications professional may not always be the person in front of the cameras, they are the ones advising and constructing the response.  That person needs to have access to all of the information as quickly as possible to coordinate an accurate and truthful response.

No Comment = Blood in the Water

Gone are the days of the “No Comment” answer.  Today, “…using no comment is like throwing blood into shark infested waters”, said Allen Mannging.  The media wants an answer, and stall tactics like that are going to make the media frustrated and cause them to not value you – the communications professional as a valid source.

Channel Surf

Using multiple channels today is also an important factor.  Southwest Airlines documented how they were able to use all of their available channels, from their spokesperson, to Twitter, their Blog, Facebook page, and more in order to quickly respond to a crisis situation.   Using all of your available channels also helps promote your transparency, attention, and concern in a situation.

Always Be Prepared

Finally, preparation is key in being able to respond quickly and accurately.  To many, this would mean having a crisis communications manual and procedures in place, but it’s a whole lot more than that.  Preparation for a crisis situation is an ongoing target.  We all know that developing key relationships with the local media and other key media points is essential to our jobs.   However, in a crisis situation, those relationships that you have cultivated and maintained will come in to play more than ever.   It is often these relationships that can help you to quickly get your message out that can often avert what may actually not have been a crisis in the first place.

Authored by Michael Pranikoff, director, emerging media, PR Newswire.

Hearing vs. Listening

Last week I attended and spoke at PR & MKTG Camp East in NYC.  I participated as one of the session panelists on Establishing Business Impact Metrics and Analytics. This afternoon session sparked a lot of conversation about social media monitoring applications and approaches,  but I wonder if through all the talking, was anyone really listening?

It’s often said that one of the most important things companies and organizations can do today is listen.

A whole new industry has risen up with multiple products to help us listen to what is being said in the many ways consumers and investors are today communicating.   There are countless stories and case studies about the results that we can expect if we are truly tapped into the conversation. BusinessWeek even speculated on the practice in their article Wanted: Social Media Sifters last week.

But I ask again, are we really listening?

There are many dashboards to help us, but they can also make us lazy.  They help us to decipher if our message is being heard by the masses or the niche markets we are trying to reach.   They help us add a new metric to our arsenals of graphs and charts that we can hand to our bosses, showing our good work.  But, are we listening or are we just hearing the noise?  Too often stories bubble up that become case studies to be discussed in blog posts and presented at conferences, where companies were burned because they weren’t listening.   This happens because someone got caught tuning out.  But, I’m not sure they weren’t hearing, they just failed to listen and act.

There are arguments that say it doesn’t matter what everyone is saying, only what the “influencers” have to say.   I’m not sure that I agree with them. Look at the story of Bob Golomb in the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.  The story is about the philosophy of the best sales person at a car dealership.   He didn’t judge a person on looks, age, or profession.   He treated each person like they were his best customer.

Do we do that online today with what our audiences are saying about us?

There are times when we cursorily hear our audiences.  They make mention about not being happy with a product or service issue, but often their voices go unanswered in social media. It’s not that we weren’t hearing them, but listening also implies action. I was always taught that when you are in a conversation with someone you need to be an active listener.  Active listening is what we must do today.  This implies that you are acknowledging what’s being said, and that acknowledgement offline is much easier than online.

Online, active listening means that we must acknowledge the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly.   Most of the time, someone just wants to know they were heard, even if there wasn’t necessarily an answer for them. Some of you might say that you’re from the PR team, the marketing team, etc. and that the response must come from sales or customer relations.  However, today because of speed, all of our activities within a company are tied together.

Bad customer service can cause a bad reputation and make the job of communicators much harder.  As I recently heard Frank Eliason – formerly of Comcast and now with Citibank – say at the BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas, Customer Service is the new marketing.

Authored by Michael Pranikoff, director, emerging media, PR Newswire.

Image courtesy of Suchitra Prints via Flickr Creative Commons.