Article: Ghost Blogging

I found another article from Steve Farnsworth that I thought related to me and where my PR career will go.

Farnsworth writes about the ethics of ghost blogging and how they’ve been discussed in the past. The truth of the matter is that some CEO’s in today’s world are bad communicators or socially awkward. When it is a statement to be released, whether by the President of the United States or the CEO of Best Buy, it is understood by most people that there is someone on staff who writes those statements or speeches, Farnsworth said.

There are obvious times where the thoughts need to come from the CEO, like in times of crisis or emergency.

Farnsworth said that ghost blogging in itself is ethical if the communicator follows his rules. He listed out what he had done in the past when starting to write something as someone else.

“1) Interviewed them to get their thoughts, then wrote it, and then have them review and give feedback.

2) Have them write a first draft, I would then edit or rewrite as needed, and then have them review and give feedback.

3) Have them bullet point or outline their thoughts, I would write it, and then have them review and give feedback.”

The point is to keep it authentic. Make sure it is their thoughts and written specifically for them. All you are doing is assisting them.

This is important to us as future PR professionals, because it is likely that we will be writing speeches, announcements or letters on behalf of someone in our own company or for our client.


Article: Don’t Change Your PR Goals With Social Media

Steve Farnsworth recently posted about the problems Social Media can create for PR professionals.

Farnsworth uses examples from another article written by Howard Sewell, which said that PR people are not using Social Media correctly when they put it into their strategies and plans.

  • Increase awareness amongst bloggers, influencers and prospects
  • Enhance company’s image by delivering insight to key online communities
  • Promote company’s approach to their technology and product category

These are examples of Social Media goals Farnsworth has seen.

  • Drive search-generated traffic and net new sales leads
  • Use targeted, insightful content to attract and engage with qualified prospects
  • Expand company’s leads database and community of followers
  • Educate, cultivate, and nurture existing customers and prospects

These are what they should be like, Farnsworth and Sewell said.

These are things we all know from our PR course work and our outside experiences. The goals/objectives must be measurable. Increasing awareness, as we’ve learned, is a bad goal. Awareness doesn’t encourage action. Awareness in Social Media doesn’t mean much anyways when every brand has a Twitter/Facebook now.

Instead, with Social Media plans you must strive for results just like any other communications plan, Farnsworth said.

As we go into the real world, we need to know that simply posting content on Facebook and Twitter doesn’t ensure our company’s Social Media success, or overall success for that matter.

We must approach Social Media like we do any other outlet and focus on results through proper research, targeting and messaging.

Article – Be an Expert, Gain Trust

Erin Nelson recently wrote an article about gaining trust from your audience by being an expert.

Nelson had three main points she wanted to make with her article.

1) A thumbs-up doesn’t generate business

She wrote that real trust in business isn’t built in one day. It takes showing off our knowledge and expertise through recommendations, meetings, conferences, luncheons, etc. to build trust with a client or audience. It is no different with social media, she said. We can show our expertise by being reliable, engaging, and helpful.

2) Make them want to come to you

Word will spread when we are providing reliable content to our audience. It doesn’t matter if it is our boss, our client, or our target audience. With hard work and time the content will establish us an expert to whoever we are bringing our information to.

3) Make your content better

We need to really make our content better in every way. Not just the quality of it but also make sure it is ours and only ours. We have to be better than everyone else. Make it so that you can’t just go anywhere to find it. We want the people to rely on us for their information.

All three of Nelson’s points are important to us in PR. We need to make ourselves valuable to our company and our clients. We do that by coming up with fresh content that people will circulate to. Thus, this will improve our standing in our company, our company’s standing to our client, and our client’s standing to their target.

Article – Brands Need to Keep Using Pinterest

This article from PR News hits on companies that need to keep taking advantage of Pinterest and those that are dialing back on their stock in Pinterest need to stop.

Here is the link.

I’m not on Pinterest, but I definitely see the positives that can come from it. According to this article, Pinterest is more popular with online shoppers than Facebook.  Pinterest’s popularity is rising through “its entertainment value; in getting inspiration on what to buy; and on keeping up with the latest cultural trends.”

Marcy Massura, digital supervisor at Weber Shandwick, gives these three tips that the PR Pro needs to remember about Pinterest.

1: Pinterest is a great listening tool – We need to find our brand’s promoters and take 10 minutes to find out what they like.

2: Pinterest enourages authenticity – Self-promotion is discouraged. This can be seen as a negative as we are always looking for ways to actively promote our brand, but Massura says instead of looking for ways to get around this, we should embrace it. We can connect with consumers in authentic ways showing we “get them.”

3: Pinterest isn’t complicated: A long thought out campaign isnt necessary to be successful with Pinterest. Massura says that just a few boards can drive success.

The biggest thing I take away from this article is that keeping a presence in Pinterest is important. Even more important for us as young PR professionals is to remember that communication is a two-way street. With Pinterest we can be real with the consumers in the hopes of promoting our brands.

Article – How to Get People to Read Your Blog Post

I read an article that Emmett Brennan linked to his Twitter page.

here is the link to his blog.

Brennan gives us some simple advice about what it takes to get the audience to read a blog post.

It is all about the title of the post. In his post, Brennan tells us that everything about the blog post can be perfect. The content can be the most beautifully written piece you’ve ever done, but unless the title grabs the reader’s attention, they won’t be stopping to read your post.

He has a handful of tips for us to consider when writing our headlines/titles.

1. Make it personal

2. Make it catchy

3. Show some transparency

4. Play on emotion

5. Make it a little mysterious

6. Show a little encouragement

7. Make it seasonal to the time of year

8. Make it ironic

9. Capitalize on the power of a question

10. Play off of controversial people

11. Use lists (7 ways to….12 reasons it is important to…etc.)

12. Ride on the wave of social media

These tips are things that we can put into not only our PR skills in the real world but also on projects we are doing for our classes. I’m sure a lot of you have learned how important the headline can be in a press release, feature story, news story, etc. Brennan is talking about a more specified subject matter, but the fact that the title is the most important part doesn’t change with the medium.

The ability for us to write strong pieces that start with strong headlines/titles will make us more valuable as more readers circulate to our articles/stories/posts.

Article: Consider Creating a Crisis

I read an article by Matt Monge from Workplace Mojo earlier today I thought was true and interesting. The link and summary are below.

In the article, Monge talks about what it takes for organizations to realize there is a problem within the company. It’s usually when things have become as bad as possible. It is when employees are miserable and production is at its lowest that the upper management starts throwing the “team” terms around.

He suggests companies take an ER approach. When someone is brought in from the ambulance there aren’t office politics, turf wars, or gossip among colleagues. They don’t have time. Monge proposes this mentality can be put into motion in any workplace.

Monge thinks the office should act in survivor mode to get premium production from all ends. If the organization strives to be better and improve itself every day the gap between “surviving” and “thriving” starts to shrink. Another important part of this theory of living in crisis mode is the pressure to improve will weed out the “cancer” in the office.

When the junk really does hit the fan at an oil company, fast food restaurant, or anywhere, a workplace that is predisposed to living on survivor mode will shine because they know how to work as a team.

This whole article relates directly to PR. When we are out there in the workplace, whether it is in-house or for an agency, we know that we have to be a step ahead of the game. When a company’s budget starts to dwindle and the communications department is being cut, we have to be in survivor mode or be able to do our own crisis communications to demonstrate why we’re important to the organization.

Another way this relates to PR is because we’ve learned in class you’ve got to be preemptive and know the worst can always happen. The company with the employees prepared will not crumble underneath the weight of an oil spill or media mishap.

Persuasive Communications tips from the KSU Foundation’s Susan Berhow

As part of KSU’s brand day, Susan Wolf Berhow, Assistant Director of Communications for the KSU Foundation, gave a presentation on Persuasive Communications for Alumni/Donors.

The most interesting part of Berhow’s presentation to me was her idea of the “purple bubble.”

The “purple bubble” is what we are all in. For many of us it is hard to separate ourselves from this area, because we are around it all the time. Most of us have positive experiences here in Manhattan and when we talk to others about our college experiences we describe them with a certain level of subjectivity.

Anyone who has gotten in arguments about sports with friends from other universities knows this feeling. We are invested in our lives here and find it hard to relate to others who don’t have those same views as us.

Berhow gave some statistics about K-State alumni. They are all over the place, and for many, it has been awhile since they lived in Manhattan. They may go weeks/days/months at a time without even thinking about their time at K-State, she said.

These people need a reason to care about K-State. She said this is how all persuasive communicators need to think. No matter how you feel about a topic, you have to think no one else out there cares. Give them a reason to care.

Her quick tips for when we are writing for an audience are:

1) Paint a picture for your target. The tiniest details can make the audience feel something. Berhow said to picture yourself as a creative writer not just a reporter. We are responsible for helping the audience feel the room/hear the voices/see the setting.

I feel that, at times, we are taught to simplify things too often. In some scenarios it is appropriate to push ourselves as writers/persuasive communicators and build the story up.

2) Berhow says to find the hidden soap opera plot. People care about drama. Why else would reality television be so popular? As persuasive communicators we have to find that emotional button in our targets to influence behavior.

3) Her last tip deals specifically with what she does for the KSU Foundation. Everything that comes out of her office is about the students. No matter how close or how far removed the alum is from his/her time at  K-State they can remember being a student. The alumni want to see how their donation will affect the university. If they know it is all about the students they can attach memories/faces/emotions to their donations.

I really enjoyed Berhow’s presentation and found what she was talking about to be relatable to anything in Public Relations. We have all learned that we have to make people care, and it was interesting to see how someone in a fairly niche market influences behavior from her audience.