Category Archives: Public Relations

PROpenMic.org Traffic :: One Year Anniversary

Our PR social network has been in action for one year, as of April 1st.  I thought you might like to know how we’re doing.  I’d also appreciate your feedback on the network.  We can’t get better without hearing from your members (and those that haven’t joined, yet, too).

Here’s an update on PROpenMic‘s traffic over the first year. Only April ’08 through February ’09 (11 months) are available.

I’ve used publicly available information from Compete.com and Alexa.com.  They are services used by media buyers to determine rates for ad buys, for instance. Continue reading

Recruiting & Promotion: What Colleges & Universities Should Be Doing Online

Today, I responded to a CASE listserv request about recruiting blogs being launched by colleges. I have a lot of ideas about this kind of campaign. I’m sharing here in hopes you’ll offer some feedback, too. Thanks.

Here’s what I shared on the list…

You’ve likely already thought of these, but FWIW – here goes …

Short story? Video. RSS. Re-purpose the content in other sites – off-campus. Build a team of student influentials.

Ideas? Use video … video is the most popular draw and it can serve to tell the story in a way that really “shows your school” to the potential students. Keep ’em short – under 2 minutes. Video is fun. Video is real people (peers) sharing the school’s identity. They own it (the identity) and create it / morph it every day. Not the school. Allow them to put your view of the identity into their words. (Caveat: set guidelines for your students … what can and cannot be shown.)

Students at campus and off-campus events showing it happening and also interviewing students & others. For the off-campus life stories, see the caveat above. Students interviewing students and faculty about classes / campus environment …. staff interviewing each other, various student services people on campus and more.

Again, keep the videos short. It really is important.

Examples of research? Just days old, Generations online:
http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1093/generations-online

A year old, but good:
http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Teens_Social_Media_Final.pdf

Invest in Flip cams or whatever kind of inexpensive, yet good quality, video camera and “give them” to a select group of students. Seven students? Ask them for one video a week. Stagger them out. Get students that are truly bought into the school and program. Even better? Pay them.

For the videos, don’t just put them in the blogs … use TubeMogul.com to post them to 15 or more video sharing networks at once. Maximize the possibilities of organic search to help people find your blogs & videos. Upload the videos to Facebook & MySpace, too. Place links back to your blog landing page in every description of every video on every site … along with your key terms & phrases as tags. Be consistent.

Create a landing page with RSS headlines of all the blogs. Editorial can create a top link set of the best blogs.

Setup a Facebook fan page and MySpace page and any use other useful social networks … RSS the posts into those pages. Re-purpose the content so that it is seen elsewhere, too.

Set a key string of keywords/phrases that get posted in each and every article. (WordPress Tags)

Give the site a prominent front page placement on your school’s gateway … a 150x150px icon, for instance. Yes, I know how difficult that can be to gain acceptance for, but without that buy-in, do any of us really expect success? That’s where many of your potentials will first land in most instances.

Bring the key students together periodically with soda & pizza to get them thinking as a team. Create a team of ambassadors. Give them t-shirts. Build a tight community of believers.

Why more schools don’t do this, I just really don’t understand. Colleges have built in influentials … your students. Is it risky? Sure. Can you monitor and guide it along? Yes, but with a light hand.

Honestly, I don’t understand why all colleges/schools/departments within a university don’t do this in coordination with Admissions. Think of the search possibilities all of that combined constantly new content can drive toward your Web site.

I share all the above at the risk of sounding too “online slap happy.” Still, I really do believe that these tactics can help your strategy of attracting viewers. I’m not drunk on social media koolaid. I recognize the risks. But, with a good relationship with the students you choose, and giving them freedom (feeling empowered to help the school), I believe you can be successful.

On top of all that, this really is an inexpensive way to boost your recruiting program. It isn’t a panacea, but it is the way to go, IMO.

OK, that’s what I shared. There is so much more to it, but I’m truly sold on the possibilities of these types of programs. The one thing that is still missing today? Buy-in from the higher ups. One of the greatest frustrations.

One would think, in a time requiring inexpensive yet worthwhile initiatives, this would be adopted with glee. Still waiting.

When a Southern University Tries to do The Right Thing

See the lates updates: When (Fans Hope) A Southern University Will Do The Right Thing :: And They Don’t

Auburn Pursues Turner Gill
University of Buffalo Coach Sought by Auburn Tigers


Image from the Turner Gill Facebook group, Turner Gill for the Auburn Tigers Head Football Coach

Auburn University, one of the traditional powers in NCAA college football, is pursuing a new coach. Auburn is often considered one of the top 25 college coaching jobs. So, what makes this news?

Race. Ethnicity. PR.

Auburn is also the land grant institution for the State of Alabama. Land grant colleges were created, in part, to provide education for minorities – primarily blacks. (Source)

According to Auburn, the university’s Fall 2008 black / african-american enrollment is 1,642 students. Given that the school’s caucasian / white enrollment is 17,225, black students represent 0.087 of that enrollment, less than nine percent. (Source) The total caucasian & african-american enrollment for Fall 2008 at Auburn is 18,867. This is in a state where over 26% of the population is black / african-american. (Source)

Mississippi State won the honor of breaking the diversity / race barrier by hiring Sylvester Croom, five years ago. Croom recently resigned. There are some, perhaps many, that wish Auburn had been the leader in this regard.

The number of black coaches in the major NCAA programs is still lacking. The number dropped from six to three this year.

Already, two Facebook groups have sprung up calling on Auburn to hire Turner Gill. See Turner Gill for the Auburn Tigers Head Football Coach and Turner Gill to Auburn

An Auburn favorite son, Robert Gibbs, helped send Barack Obama to The White House this year. (Note: Gibbs grew up in Auburn. His parents worked in the Auburn University Library for over two decades. Robert chose to attend school at NC State. Still, he holds a fondness for Auburn and has spoken about Auburn many times on national television.)

Another Auburn favorite son, Charles Barkley recently said Auburn should hire Turner Gill. Perhaps Barkley can do for Gill what Gibbs did for Obama.

Gill is reportedly meeting with Auburn today. Read Gill’s appeal heating up, Auburn is latest to come calling.

There are many people in sports forums expressing concerns about taking a chance on such an unproven coach.

It will be interesting to see if Auburn will do the right thing and hire Turner Gill.

Seeking Advice Online :: What’s the best advice for PR students?

Brad J. Ward (Squared Peg and on Twitter) asked a question on Twitter about two weeks ago.

bradjward: HEY!!!! If you had 133 characters to tell a class of PR college students something, what would it be? Tag it #jr342. Thanks!! And retweet.”

The responses started rolling in. Five pages. Over 60 responses.

[iframe http://search.twitter.com/search?max_id=988531643&page=5&q=jr342 580 400]

The Tweets actually were quite good.

Update: In fact, they were so good – here is the presentation he worked up for the presentation.

JR324 Presentation

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: pr college)

Twitter PR Advice
Kevin Dugan, Strategic Public Relations, on @prblog, and in PROpenMic, posted about it on PROpenMic last night. Twitter Creativity, Beauty, GOLD MINE.

Kevin’s post reminded me of that experience and started my brain to spinning again. You know that’s always a scary thing. So, I thought … with people seeking advice on Twitter, what if they searched Google? So, I did.

Google is your friend. :o) “best advice” for “PR students” … Yep, I went searching for knowledge from the great wizard behind the curtain.

It begs the question, like in the video below, “Where did we go for these answers BG?”

Well, my guess is … the library, or we asked someone face-to-face. What a concept. :o)

That said, as if it’s news to anyone … people are using online resources more and more every day. As in the case of Brad’s Twitter thread, the advice can be quite good and useful.

Let’s see if Google does a good job. You can be the judge.

Here are the top Google results:

[iframe http://www.google.com/search?q=%22best+advice%22+for+%22PR+students%22&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS266US266 580 400]

Open the search for “best advice” for “pr students” in another window, if you wish.

I was a bit surprised to find posts from this blog, Marcomblog and Forward Blog all in the top 20 results. Made me wanna do the Snoopy dance a bit, I’ll admit.

But, look deeper and you’ll find that almost all the results are relevant and do provide some good advice.

This further started my mind spinning and it reminded me of another classic I saw the other day. It came from Bob LeDrew, @bobledrew and FlackLife. Here it is, go see Let Me Google That For You, a very funny site. Bob shared that in the PRMindshare listserve, actually. I’m glad he did.

It’s a funny site and fits this discussion. When students ask questions, I often want to say, “You know, (insert name of software here) has this wonderful button in the top menu bar. It’s called “Help” and you’ll learn a lot by exploring there.”

Lessons here? There are a lot of good people online that will help you. Much of the advice you’ll find can actually be quite useful and worthwhile. That said, always be skeptical. Double check. Do your own research. Form your own opinions. The name of the blog, infopinions, comes from the realization that all this social networking and sharing really is (a) a little bit of information mixed with (b) a little bit of opinions. Skepticism can be a good thing. Be skeptical and research for yourself. Then, when you do find good info … thank the good people like Brad Ward, Kevin Dugan, and Bob LeDrew (and all the others) that enrich your life by sharing it with you.

OK, that’s how my mind works. I know. Scary.

Now, on to the video that will definitely make you think. It, too, comes from us via great contacts. Caroline Jones, @carolinejones on Twitter, who kindly shared this cool video posted by Phil Gomes in Edelman Digital’s Authenticities blog.

And, while we’re at it, here’s a presentation about Twitter as a PR tool. Good info! It comes to us from one of our favorite academic bloggers, Corinne Weisgerber, PH.D. at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. You’ll love her blog: Social Media for PR Class. Thanks, Corinne!

And, to top it all off … this presentation was even tweeted last night by @prsarahevans of PRSarahEvans.com. ;o)

Students: The Council of PR Firms asks, “What is the most dangerous idea in PR today?”

Cross-posted from PROpenMic.

Reformed PR practitioner B. L. Ochman writes a review of the recent Council of PR firms (CPR) critical issues forum in her blog, What’s Next.

Read the Council’s take on the event in Dangers Equal Opportunity for Smart Marketers, PR Firms, Lively Annual Public Relations Council Critical Issues Forum Addresses “Most Dangerous Ideas” for Future of PR.

The conversation has actually already become an old one. The paradigm shift caused by the advent of social media software (both free open source and paid platforms) has given voice to the masses in a way never seen before. Word of mouth (WOM) is now digital and spreads like wildfire, or creeps along where no one can see it – then achieves a Groundswell of reach people in PR only dreamed of just 10 years ago.  Continue reading

The “utter bullocks” claim that “93 percent of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media”

Mihaela Vorvoreanu, Clemson University PR professor, offers up an excellent review of the Cone “utter bullocks” claim that “93 percent of Americans believe a company should have a presence in social media” in their survey.

The survey seems to be another example of doing a “survey to market your company’s services” effort. An effort, by the way, that we see all too often.

Frederic Lardinois wrote about the survey in ReadWriteWeb, Study: 93 Percent of Americans Want Companies to Have Presence on Social Media Sites.

Lardinois does a less than deep evaluation of the study. It is almost as if Lardinois is sharing the information as if it is gospel. Now, to his credit, he does ask some the same questions I have:

It would be nice to see Cone break these numbers down a bit more. What types of social media sites, for example, do users prefer? Are there any specific categories of companies and brands that they want to see on these sites? How exactly do they want to be marketed to? What do they think about implications for their privacy?

Unfortunately, he also shares statements like “60% of Americans regularly interact…”

Extracting those types of quotes from the survey’s results are ludicrous. Simply put, at best the results are that 60% of respondents to the survey believe that Americans regularly interact with corporations online, or some such statement.

Without providing a legitimate methodology report, so that we may judge the veracity of the survey, it is irresponsible to make claims such as “…60% of Americans regularly interact…”

What are some of the problems here?

First, we don’t know anything about their respondent pool except that they answered the survey online. Second, was the respondent pool self-selected, or did the Opinion Research Corporation team (ORC) actually develop a legitimate list of potential respondents? Third, if so … how? Fourth, does Cone and ORC just expect us to believe their claims? Sadly, I think they do.

Now, if you look at the Opinion Research Corporation’s corporate history and milestones, one suspects that they have a legitimate strong history of research. Yet, because they are in business and do not control what their clients do with the final report, the results are

Why can’t we tell you exactly how good or bad the survey is? Lack of transparency on Cone’s part. The methodology statement they offer is pretty much void of any information. “The 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study presents the findings of an online survey conducted September 11-12, 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation among 1,092 adults comprising 525 men and 567 women 18 years of age and older. The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is ± 3%.”

I am so tired of seeing PR and marketing agencies putting out this type of survey. It devalues legitimate research when they provide no true / realistic / useful methodology report along with their release. Cone doesn’t offer a link to go see the methodology, nor a link to request one. Oh, there is a link to the PR person that wrote the release, but no promise of providing any detailed results if we request them. So, with a hope in my heart, I have now written to Andrea Larrumbide, Cone, alarrumbide@coneinc.com and we’ll see if we can get a true methodology from the survey.

Yes, I’m pretty sure this is another survey designed to market Cone, not designed to truly ascertain social media reach. I’ll let you know if I hear back from Cone.

Update: I did hear back from Andrea. She was kind and provided a PDF breakout of four crosstabs showing male/female responses on some questions. It is so inconsequential, I’ll not share it here. Cone, Andrea writes, has the following policy: “We only share questionnaires and additional results with our clients.” So, there is no way to accurately judge the veracity of this survey’s results or the survey instrument, unless I become a paying client. Let’s see raised hands of all those that think that’s going to happen. Yeah, thought so. After this, I’m convinced … this survey is “utter bullocks” as was suggested by Tim, in the ReadWriteWeb article’s comments.

In the long run, these types of “survey to drive business” efforts do more damage to perceptions of survey research than they do good for the companies that engage in the practice.

Now, the good news is that no traditional news sources have (as of yet) bitten on the release, at least according to Google and Yahoo! searches. Oh, there may be some out there, but I can’t find them. The bad news? Lots of blogs and other sites are spreading the meme with little critique. See Google Web Search, Google News Search, Google Blog Search, Yahoo! Web Search, and Yahoo! News Search

I shared this in SocialMedia, too. Have any of you tried that site?