10 Tips on Podcasting from the Host of Amateur Traveler

Chris Christensen, San Francisco Bay Area resident and co-founder of a new website called Blogger Bridge which connects bloggers to people who want to hire them just spoke to my entrepreneurs Meetup group in Sunnyvale about how to build your reputation through podcasting.

He also owns and runs AmateurTraveler.com which is a popular online travel show (more than a million downloads a year) that focuses primarily on travel destinations. It includes a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog. Here’s a sample episode. This particular one is called “Travel to Morocco: Episode 397.”

http://africa.amateurtraveler.com/travel-morocco-travel-podcast/

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A podcast is a show on any topic in audio or video format that is an attachment to a blog through an RSS feed.

Christensen says podcasting is a great way to build your brand. Here are 10 tips on podcasting from his talk:

1. Podcasting is in style again mostly due to the growth of mobile. After a relatively quiet period of a few short years, podcasting is hot again. People listen to or watch broadcasts on the go while walking the dog, driving or exercising through smartphones or other mobile devices.

2. Podcast consumption is stronger in audio. Audio files sizes are smaller and they are more easily consumed on the go, for example, while driving. It’s hard and of course illegal to watch a video while driving.

3. Microphones popular with podcasters range in price from around $100 to $350.  Styles include larger ones that stand by themselves, smaller ones that you hold in your hand and teeny tiny ones that are designed to hook up to a smartphone. Christensen likes the Blue Yeti brand the best.

4. Podcasting is a very personal medium. People may act they you are old friends when you first meet them.

5. Podcasting is not great for immediate response marketing, for example, if you need someone to click on something or take a fast action. Christensen likes evergreen content the best but also says that news shows can be popular too.

6. Podcasting is great for building a reputation or brand. This is because if done right, podcasting can establish you as an expert.

7. Roundtable discussions through Google Hangouts are becoming all the rage now. Link your Hangout account to your YouTube account and the session can be recorded for re-play.

8. Not all podcasts need to be edited. If you do need to edit, Christensen recommends Garage Band available on the Mac and Audacity.

9. You can just post your podcast on your own blog or syndicate.  Christensen recommends sites like Libsyn.com or Rawvoice.com for syndication.

10. Allow up to eight hours to plan, finish and promote one podcast.  Christensen’s “feature-length” travel podcast takes eight hours. A non-edited show takes two to three times the length of the show. A scripted show takes more time. An edited show takes Christensen about an hour per 10 minutes of audio to edit.

In case you are wondering, Christensen is highly envied by the other entrepreneurs in our meet-up group because he actually gets all expenses paid trips around the globe due to the large following of his travel website. Way to go, Chris!

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Michelle McIntyre is a high tech public relations consultant in Saratoga, Calif., who also blogs for several West Silicon Valley Patch news sites.  Her website is http://www.michellemcintyrecommunications.com

Her Twitter handle is @FromMichelle

Photo credit (camel): iStockPhoto.com

SV-IABC Power Panel on Motivating Workers to be Excellent

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SV-IABC Power Panel on Motivating Workers to be Excellent

Thank you to these SV-IABC panelists who tonight at our event in Santa Clara, Calif., spoke about creating a motivated workforce that fosters innovation and excellence. From left to right: Moderator Meta Mehling, Principal, Meta Mehling and Associates; Sarah Peterson, Sr. Manager of Technology Communications at Intuit; Francesca Karpel, Director, Internal Communications, NetApp; and Jennifer Johnston, Sr. Director, Marketing and Communications at Salesforce. The next event on killer presentations and “slideology” is mid-day on Nov. 14. For details, visit http://sv.iabc.com/

Timely PR Advice for BART Workers

A commuter at the BART Fremont station (Photo from iStockPhoto.com)

A commuter at the BART Fremont station (Photo from iStockPhoto.com)

I’m not taking sides in the fight between BART management and the BART union. As some of you know BART is a transit system that’s really popular here in the Bay Area. It gets people to work, school, events, shopping and other places. When I last took it, I was going to Golden State Warriors basketball game in Oakland. The Warriors won. It was a great night.

What’s happening now is that the BART union workers are threatening to strike unless they get an agreement for more pay and better benefits.

However, I’d say management is winning the publicity war so BART workers, step up your PR game a bit to get your point across better.

According to today’s San Jose Mercury News, BART union members argue that they are due a pay raise and haven’t had one in a few years. BART is doing well financially so they should be rewarded.

Management’s take on this is that the average blue collar BART worker makes $76,000. That’s a nice salary for someone who doesn’t need a college degree to get a job, even in the expensive Bay Area. So the PR team for management gets more points for getting this point across and in most stories I’ve heard or read about this issue.

I read an Op-Ed by a teacher a month ago who uses BART who made a lot less than the BART workers who might strike. She made at least $30,000 less than $76,000. She was furious that they were complaining about the high salary considering she had to get an undergraduate degree, master’s degree to do her job and, “Shame on them for complaining.” Her letter said she needed BART to get to work so, “Striking is bad,”

But then again, two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because teachers are underpaid, doesn’t meet hard working BART workers need to be underpaid.  When we took BART to the Warriors game, I noticed the workers did an awesome job so kudos to them.

I also heard a radio interview yesterday. A news talk show host was interviewing a BART worker who was fighting for better pay and benefits.  The worker who had a ton of time on air to say his peace could not articulate why they deserved more.

I was hoping to at least hear, “There’s a problem with the health insurance. Here’s what it is!” but no, all he did was complain endlessly about how goofy it was for someone PR person to make up that it costs $70 million when they walked off the job about a month ago.

He said, “That can’t be right. Who makes that stuff up?” Seriously, this is the union defense on a popular radio show? Most intelligent people can understand how much money a transit strike could cost the economy. I don’t need proof of the $70 million. In fact I could easily make a case that it’s higher.

I was really just trying to understand what’s so bad about the current package but instead they insulted people in my profession. Epic message fail on his part and waste of an interview to help the union’s case.

One reason BART management is doing better in the publicity wars is because of its great PR team.

So my advice to the soon-to-strike BART Workers is this.

Clearly articulate what is so unfair about your benefits package. Be very specific so that people understand with some proof and not just, “We need more.”

Make the message very short and add a number to it so that every media outlet picks it up, even in the shortest of stories. 

The net is quantify in a compelling manner to fight the “$76k for a blue collar worker” argument.

By the way, thanks for the nice ride to the Warriors game. BART rocks and keep up the great work.

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Michelle McIntyre is the president of Michelle McIntyre Communications LLC, based in Saratoga, CA. She does PR for high tech start-ups headquartered in California and Europe and is also the director of marketing communications for the Silicon Valley International Association of Business Communicators, a non-profit that promotes ethical and quality communications.

For Women Only! 5 Tips for Launching a Start-up from the Founder of Mightybell and Ning

Three businesspeople working on a touchpad.

I went to a unique women-only meet-up, or gathering of like-goaled individuals to swap ideas and network in what I call “VC country” – Menlo Park, California — the other day.

Venture capitalists like it because it’s close to both Stanford University and all of those hungry b-school grads who usually have the same three goals:

1. Change the world.

2. IPO or get acquired.

3. Make a boat load of cash.

Because VCs like the area, it’s a popular place to start a business, especially one focusing on technology due to it being on the north end of the Silicon Valley. The ecosystem here supports starting companies.

The fairly new meet-up group called Women Startup Lab (http://www.meetup.com/WomenStartupLab/) was founded by Ari Horie. Ari and I used to work at IBM together. Now we’ve both jumped into the entrepreneur pool. A whopping 300 people joined Ari’s group on-line in just 12 weeks. This shows there is a need for more groups that support women entrepreneurs.

Getting together with other women takes some of the gender-related issues away from the meeting. You don’t have to wonder, did he like or not like my idea because I’m a woman?

And because 80%+ new businesses fail, it’s wise to get as much advice as possible from successful entrepreneurs so you can increase your chances of being in the 20 percent.

This particular meet-up was pretty informal yet there was a motivational speaker. It was Gina Bianchini, founder of Ning (http://www.ning.com/) which sold for $150 million.  But like any good Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus, she’s already focused on starting her next company, Mightybell https://mightybell.com/. You can follow it on Twitter, at yes, you guessed it! @Mightybell

Bianchini had a frank discussion with about 35 women including me the other day about what it’s like for a woman to start a company. Some of her points indicated there are some challenges being a woman but they can be overcome.  I left some of the more “honest” advice out of this blog post out of courtesy to Gina.

 I actually thought that her general business advice was excellent and could apply to any start-up but she meant it for “women-only” due to the venue.

Here are the tips:

1. Five great contacts can help you get going. You don’t need to network or friend hundreds of people to accomplish your goal. Be careful how much time you spend networking at conferences. My friend and fellow Saratogan, Bob Karr, CEO of LinkSV (www.LinkSV.com) says it’s 10 people.

2. Keep a razor sharp focus on your goal and stick to the most important tasks only.

3. Market, market, market. If you are not spending 90 % of your time doing marketing and sales, something is wrong.

4. Take up space. When you are sitting at a table or presenting, spread out your arms and walk around the room.  Women tend to cower and shrink at a table.

5. Don’t apologize so much. This tip is geared towards women and actually came from an entrepreneur from Australia during discussion time and Gina agreed with it.

It was nice to have a unique venue where women’s issues were discussed and to hear tips from a female who has already succeeded in a still predominantly male-run technology business world.

On a final note, kudos to the more forward-thinking companies like HP, IBM, and Yahoo. All three have women running the show.

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Here’s a reminder about who I am in case you don’t want to click through to another page on this website to find out:

I’m the President of Michelle McIntyre Communications LLC http://www.michellemcintyrecommunications.com, a high tech public relations consulting firm based in Saratoga, California, a director with the Silicon Valley International Association of Business Communicators, an executive board member with the Sixth District Santa Clara County PTA, and a Boy Scout merit badge counselor for communications, public speaking and journalism. I’m also on the Advisory Board of a hot start-up called Fondu Software Inc. which helps companies form more profitable relationships with their channel partners. I have won 10 awards for outstanding results during my two decade career at IBM and three other public relations firms including Global Fluency where I was employee of the year in 1992. You could follow my tweets at @FromMichelle.

 

TOP VCs TALK ABOUT WHAT’S NEW IN BIG DATA AND CLOUD COMPUTING

SVForum Panelist Jasmin Young of PwC discusses the fast growth of SMAC at a breakfast event in Palo Alto on Tuesday.

SVForum Panelist Jasmin Young of PwC discusses the fast growth of SMAC at a breakfast event in Palo Alto on Tuesday.

My favorite IT acronym now is SMAC.

SMAC stands for social, mobile, analytics, and cloud computing. It’s an area of IT growing at a phenomenal rate according to  the April 23rd SVForum “Cloudy with a Chance of . . .” Panelist Jasmin Young, director of PwC’s Cloud Center of Excellence.

She quoted a 2013 IDC figure when she said SMAC is a $2.1 trillion dollar market expected to increase to $5 trillion not too long from now.  

Other panelists included Serial Entrepreneur Rajan Raghaven Founder of the The Fabric, which is his sixth company, and VCs Arif Janmohamed from Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Peter Lee of  Bessemer Venture Partners.

The latter two companies manage several billion dollars in funds. The companies they all have backed are an impressive who’s who list of tech firms from Netezza which was acquired by IBM, WebEx which was bought by Cisco and Fusion I/O, just to name a few.

By the way, SVForum is a non-profit organization based in the Silicon Valley that fosters innovation and community among the emerging technology community. Many start-ups, investors and IT executives participate in its many weekly panels, events and mixers.  Law firm Pillsbury hosted the event at its Palo Alto office.

Here are some of the more memorable comments from panelists:

>Jasmin Young, PwC:

  • Fifty-one percent of CEOs say their priority is to grow the customer base.  They also want to create a profitable business, transform operations and create the new IT platform.
  • New technologies are adopted because of how well they work, not how innovative they are.
  • The CIO is not the chief information officer any more. She’s now the the chief innovation officer.
  • Moving IT to the cloud means faster agility.

>Rajan Raghaven, The Fabric — https://svforum.org/Rajan-Raghavan

  • Cloud adoption is real. Many organizations are moving all of their IT to the cloud.
  • 667 exabytes of data is flowing over the internet this year. Big data is growing at 59 percent per year.
  • There are huge infrastructure related issues related to moving to the cloud. A huge transformation is taking place.

>Arif Janmohamed, Lightspeed Venture Partners  — http://lsvp.com/

  • The move to cloud computing has produced big opportunities in big data, networking, software as a service and mobile.
  • It’s about the unboxing of the data center.
  • A long time ago, people moved their money from under their mattresses to banks. Banks then became centers of excellence for security. Now companies are moving their data to the cloud. Cloud centers must be like banks. They also must become centers of excellence for security.

>Peter Lee, Bessemer Venture Partners  — http://www.bvp.com/

  • Eighteen months ago, companies said, “Let’s design with cloud first in mind.”  Now it’s, “I’m a cloud-only shop.”
  • Now it’s how to manage apps across devices and how to maintain governance policies.

Final notes:

IBM was not on the panel but its Cloud Services VP Ric Telford discusses SMAC trends in the “Thoughts on Cloud” blog, so if you are as interested in this area as I am, you might want to check out his posts once in a while.

According to the latest IBM earnings report, Big Blue’s cloud business has grown at a nice rate.  Here’s the URL for the post that mentions SMAC:

 http://thoughtsoncloud.com/index.php/2013/04/the-space-between-where-is-the-real-value-in-smac/

To keep on top of emerging technology trends, follow @SVForum and @FromMichelle on Twitter.

Disclosure: I own IBM stock.

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Three Trends That Have Drastically Changed the Way I Collaborate

One of my colleagues at the Silicon Valley International Association of Business Communicators (SV-IABC) just asked me about major collaboration trends.

She’ll be on a panel at our SV-IABC luncheon event at Michael’s at Shoreline in Mountain View, California, on Thursday, April 18. Here’s the website to register, or if it’s too late since it’s happening tomorrow, just pay at the door.  http://sv.iabc.com/

I have so much to say on the topic that I decided to blog about it instead of just giving her a couple of quick comments.

 Three trends have affected the way I collaborate in the work place in big ways.

 They are industry collaboration, content marketing and the crazy fast rise of social networking.

 1) Here’s some elaboration on the first one. When the recession hit a few short years ago, industry consolidation grew rapidly. The large New York based company I worked for acquired 100 companies in just about a decade. They were smart strategic acquisitions and today the company is doing quite well just based on the stock price alone.

 

I had a lot of new coworkers. Many of my PR projects involved working with the new company communications teams.

 

Because it wasn’t economical to continually fly to all the sites where these new coworkers were, our company started massively collaborating on-line. Instant messaging (IM) became the “norm,” meetings in Second Life became the norm for some groups and then a few years ago, the company standardized on an enterprise social collaboration tool, a sort of Facebook for the enterprise.

 

Management loved IM because you could better tell if someone was working or not. The challenge was that if you turned it off, for example to focus on writing a press release or to run a meeting, some people thought you were not working.

 

2) The second trend is the growth of content marketing. More and more, the communications siloes of internal communications, press relations, product marketing, advertising, and web communications have blurred. The company I worked for changed the press relations folks’ titles to “external relations.” We were charged with “finding” and driving news and trend stories that would publicize our key messages and back our growth strategies. These stories might be part of a sales pitch or become the lead news peg on the website. As you know, a nice Youtube customer use story can be used by any group want to demonstrate the value a company provides.

 

3) The third trend is the crazy fast rise of social networking, especially Facebook.  I have spent the past 12 years mostly physically working alone from my home office, both at my last corporate job and while I consult for my new clients which are mostly software start-ups. However, I do feel like part of my work teams and collaborate in a higher quality manner because I know my faraway coworkers due to getting to know them through Facebook. The vast majority of Facebook friends are coworkers, former coworkers and business partner types.

 

Yes, I’d see them at a few of our annual events like industry conferences or events we’d hold for press and analysts so it wasn’t all on-line but the on-line connection certainly helped.

 

However, since LinkedIn has become so popular, I’ve mostly just connected with business associates on that site instead. For example, I’m connected with all of my software start-up clients and new business partners on LinkedIn but not on Facebook.

 

As a result, my number of FB friends has stayed consistent but my LinkedIn contacts list has grown dramatically.  I’ll elaborate on that topic in another blog someday.

 

In any case, collaboration is a hot topic and some big happenings in recent history like the rise of social have definitely changed the way we do this task.

 

I hope to see my Silicon Valley communicator friends at the SV-IABC luncheon on April 18.

 

 

Three Trends Driving Demand for PR Now

Multi-ethnic group portrait

I attend a lot of business networking events and talk to a lot of smart, experienced and educated people who are on top of industry trends. I also enjoy talking to people who have just a little work experience. Sometimes the ones who have only a couple of years of work under their belts are more in the know about what’s hot and what’s not. 

The Silicon Valley Public Relations Society of America Future of PR round table earlier this year in East Palo Alto was excellent with Facebook, Dell and others on the panel, as was a meeting I recently had with Global Fluency, a marketing communications and strategy firm headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. That firm runs the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council.

I used to work at Global Fluency in the early 90s when it was called something else. It was awesome to touch base with Donovan Neale-May who runs both Global Fluency and the CMO Council again after such a long time. The firm seems to be doing just fine and has evolved over the years along with the market.  It was great to see that Executive VP Dave Murray is still there and doing well.

Additionally, I enjoyed the Silicon Valley International Association of Business Communications (SV-IABC) event on gamification in Santa Clara in November.

I took notes at all of these gatherings and have put together the top three trends driving for PR now.

1. The new IR is influencer relations. 

There’s a new acronym in town. It’s IR. No, not investor relations. I mean influencer relations. Because so many people blog now, from large corporations executives and industry analysts to consumers posting on Yelp, organizations should be focused on influence and not necessarily “press relations,” “analyst relations,” or “client relations.” Typically the acronym for external relations is public relations but the term is often misused.

 Public relations actually means “changing someone’s mind.” But over the years, most of us in PR mostly came to know it as press relations.

I advise that all communications departments at organizations globally reorganize their staff and put all of their PR and external communications people in a group called influencer relations. Rumor has it that SAP done a bit of this already and if that’s true, good for them. Nice job IBM for calling its PR team “external relations” because that is a nice start in moving in the direction of the trend.

2. Content marketing is white hot. 

In order to gain attention and make noise in a crowded market place, companies must focus on being great content creators and communicators. It’s called content marketing. They need to hire people who can come up with timely and interesting content.  People with a journalism background do great at this task. Kudos to Global Fluency’s Dave Murray for his recent white paper related to this topic. Here’s the link:  http://www.globalfluency.com/news/index.html

3. Digital marketing is top of mind.

CMO Council and a partner firm recently released a survey (http://tinyurl.com/cckvb3e) that said, among other things, that the thing that most marketers are concerned about is digital marketing. Digitizing everything is a “modern” communications task and it’s an interesting change from decades ago when we just had to hire a graphic designer, write some prose, slap them together, get them printed and mail everything to the intended audience.

I believe the CMO Council survey was much more complicated and meaningful than my summary here, but that was still my key take away from it.

Today the communications expert or marketer creates smart and interesting content and then digitizes it so it can be properly socialized.

It’s wild when you think about communications 20 years ago versus today. Back then, you’d fax a press release to your top 10 reporters or mail a hard copy invitation to 100 customers. Today, you’d socialize survey results on Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and use the online invitation tool to get everyone to the party.

The funny thing is, I remember asking someone 20 years ago, “What did we do before faxes?”
My 12-year-old who is now begging me for his own Youtube account just asked me, “What’s a fax?”

If you want to keep up on the latest trends, join me and my other IABC colleagues at our March 21st luncheon at Michael’s at Shoreline in Mountain View, Calif. I’m a director with the SV-IABC and I personally invite you to come.  It’s not free but it’s also not expensive and the networking benefits are priceless.

This month’s speakers will talk about the pros and cons of consulting for a big IT corporation. To register, visit: http://www.sv.iabc.com/

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Tim Draper, a Mountain Lion and the Queen: Lessons in Great Story Telling

mountainlion

Last summer while driving down the mountain from Sierra National Forest at elevation 4,000 feet near Fresno, California, a mountain lion ran in front of my car and down the mountain.

It was the most beautiful animal I had ever seen and was at least 8 feet from nose to tail. I immediately thought, if I could see this rare and gorgeous creature in the wild, then I could do anything.  

Yes, it was by chance and only lasted a few seconds but I increased my chances of seeing it by volunteering as a life guard at a boy scout camp my son had attended. Driving back from camp at dusk didn’t hurt.

A couple of weeks later, my husband and were on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh Scotland at the same time as the Queen of England and happened to catch her walking into a cathedral with her husband Prince Philip and grandson Prince William and Kate.

I was further inspired to do great things after this second awesome experience.  How many people ever see either the Queen or a mountain lion in the wild? I saw both in the same summer.

Later that year I started my own PR consulting company, MMC PR. These brief but remarkable sitings actually did influence me to do this.

I write about the lion and the Queen to show that talking about something that happened to you is way more interesting than just stating a string of facts and figures.

Story telling allows you to engage your audience in more personal manner. And when you engage emotions, you can change attitudes more easily. Were you engaged by the lion story? How could you not be?

Most authorities on business and public relations agree with this fact. Just search “story telling” on one of my favorite sites Harvard Business Review and many stories will come up saying successful communications is buoyed by a great story.

I recently watched a phenomenal hour long Stanford Entrepreneur Center talk called “Calling All Entrepreneurial Heroes” by VC Legend Tim Draper. Here is Stanford’s description of it.

          

“In this lively presentation, Tim Draper, managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, shares his global experiences funding entrepreneurial heroes who ‘break down walls.’ Draper shares attributes that support viable entrepreneurial environments, and encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to attack established monopolies and to never fear making mistakes.”
 
Tim Draper knows how to tell a story to get his point across. His heroes talk is primarly a string of anecdotes that include challenges in starting the VC industry in Russia and what happened when he met with the President of the Ukraine.
 
Draper starts out by having the audience get up and yell “Wild Things” because the other of that class children’s book had just died and he wanted to create an appropriate and timely tribute.
 
If you are struggling with speaking and truly engaging your audience, watch Draper in action: http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=3076
 
For further infomation on the topic, read HBR.org’s story “Story Telling that Moves People” at http://hbr.org/web/special-collections/insight/communication/storytelling-that-moves-people

This informative article adds the tip that great story telling is not always positive. Important tasks are hard to do and showing a challenge or a rejection is sometimes more engaging then just saying everything is coming up roses.

 
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Top 10 Take Aways from the 2013 Silicon Valley PRSA Future of PR Panel

Last night I attended the Silicon Valley Public Relations Society of America’s “Future of PR” networking and panel event at the Four Seasons Hotel in East Palo Alto, California.

Panelists and audience members ended up speaking mostly about modern PR, as opposed to the future of the profession.

They highlighted the importance of creating content with entertainment value that is interesting to a more general audience than an organization’s specific industry.

Also, great PR people need to add business value and when driving a campaign, consider the gamut of tools from videos to events.

The panelists were Andy Getsey, Co-Founder & CEO Agency Atomic, Kelly McGinnis, Vice President, Communications at Dell, David Swain, Director of Technical Communications, Facebook and Burghadt Tenderich, Associate Professor of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. The panel was moderated by Steve Barrett, Editor-in-chief, PRWeek.

New Silicon Valley PRSA President David McCulloch, a Director at Cisco, also added a few comments.

Here are my 10 top take-aways from the event:

1.  When measuring PR campaign results, showing strategic outcomes is better than showing number of hits, views or clicks. The strategic people are more successful. – Tenderich

2. To be respected and valued, a PR manager needs to have a seat in the board room and add business value.  -McGinnis

3.  Attendees and members were surveyed and understanding influencers is top of mind. –PRSA president

4. Facebook places a lot of emphasize on PR. We have a lot of PR agencies but only one ad agency. -Swain

5. Companies have turned into media companies. I like when someone links to Dell’s news material.  That shows success. Sometimes your news content has nothing to do with your company and that’s fine. -McGinnis

6. The only proper way to measure a PR campaign is pre and post surveys. This is expensive -Tenderich

7. PR people need to be bold and have a seat at the branding table. I like to work on the corporate side because I can stay close to the action. -McGinnis

8. Attitude is more important than skill. You have to have the mind set to stretch beyond in PR. -McGinnis

9. It is sad that we need to show analytics results to prove the worth of PR. -Getsey

10. Facebook’s plan is to hire communications people, empower them and then scale projects. –Swain.

For more information about Silicon Valley PRSA news and events, visit http://www.prsasiliconvalley.org/

Additionally, I’m a director with PRSA’s “sister” organization, the Silicon Valley International Association of Business Communicators and for information about our news and upcoming events, visit http://sv.iabc.com/

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MMC PR Blog — The Secret to Phenomenal PR Results

The definition of public relations is “changing someone’s mind.”  This is my specialty and it’s what we do at my new consulting firm, MMC high tech public relations.

I convince people to change their ways or think differently. The main way I do this is on a large scale, through media outlets example. This, of course, is called press, media or influencer relations.

One of my business mentors said something profound that always stuck with me. It’s that great PR is based on logic.

How do you change people’s minds? How do you get great press? You develop relationships with your audience, understand their attitudes and communicate your message in a way that they understand and that has impact.

This is just logic, right? I happen to have a journalism degree and a major in public relations with more than two decades of experience in this area, having spent 16 years at IBM and at several public relations agencies. But if you had the right mindset you could become a great PR pro without all of this experience

A journalist needs to write timely and interesting stories and is often on tight deadlines. Ask yourself. How can what I’m doing, or saying fit into what they are writing about?

For example, phablets are hot right now according to several top IT media outlets including CNET. Do you have a new solution for phablets?  Can you speak intelligently about this topic so that you might be quoted in a story?

By the way, a phablet is a combo phone and tablet. You can think of it as a giant smartphone or a smaller tablet, smaller than an iPad.

iStock_000021652636Medium

One example of a PR tactic is being able to talk about how phablets are changing the workplace. They somehow need to be related to one of your offerings of course. If your solution has nothing to do with mobile computing, you probably want to try something different.

The secret to phenomenal PR is creating awesome messages and materials that contain a simple thought or idea.  Announcing new “mission critical software to solve your financial business problems” isn’t newsworthy or interesting to a journalist unless it has a super interesting twist like, “Oh by the way, Apple and IBM merged and this is the first product result of the pairing.”  That type of “Wow” news doesn’t need a ton of creativity to get press coverage.

The idea you tie to your PR campaign can be linked to industry trends, for example, here are two from a December 7, 2012 Forbes article by Todd Woody.

  • “Mobile Device Battles Mobile devices will pass PCs to be most common Web access tools. By 2015, over 80% of handsets in mature markets will be smart phones.”
  • “Personal Cloud: The cloud will be center of digital lives, for apps, content and preferences. Sync across devices. Services become more important; devices become less important.”

Ask yourself, what are you doing that relates to personal cloud or mobile devices surpassing PCs to be the most common web tools?  Can you help a journalist with a story on cloud or mobile? There is much more to it as well but at a high level, PR isn’t that complicated.

Link what your company is doing to something that people actually care about and test it out on someone who is not in the tech business. If they find it interesting, then you are on your way to a phenomenal PR campaign.And then hire someone who can get the message out and develop relationships for you in a quality way.
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