Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s episode features a very special guest from RPG’s Hong Kong office, Emma Matuschka (coolest Kiwi in the world), Ben Haber, Nick Liberati and Ally Peebles. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Social Media During Disasters
Does social media help or hurt more during times of distress and tragedy?
Is social media too powerful in the wrong hands? What (if anything) can be done to prevent occurrences like the AP Twitter hack (and the subsequent stock market dip) from happening?
3. Google Glass
Have you tried anything like it yet? What do you think of the concept, is it inevitable that we’ll all be wearing these in a couple years? Will you be an early adopter?
4. Emma Loves Boston
What has been the best/worst part of Emma’s trip to Boston?
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Tyler Kizner, Erin Knapp, Amanda Nadile and Carrie Weiss. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Employers asking for Facebook passwords
Do you think certain employers should be allowed to ask potential employees for passwords to access their social media accounts?
Twitter’s video service has already been used to apply for jobs, what are some other possible uses for this platform?
Have you tried this new Chrome application that lets users insert hidden messages into their Facebook photos? Does it seem useful to you, or just another gimmick?
4. Zombie Apocalypse
TV shows like The Walking Dead and upcoming movies like World War Z seem to be quite popular these days – what do you think you would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Ashley Crutchfield, Colleen McCarthy and Lori Niquette. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Original Content
Do you subscribe? How do you feel about their original content and which devices do you watch on?
2. iPhone vs. Android
Have you recently made a switch? What features would you like to see on the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S? Are phones now becoming too big?
3. March Madness
Who do you have winning the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? Have you been following via an app on your smartphone? (Note: this recording is from yesterday, 3/28 – Miami was crushed last night by Marquette 71-61, once again destroying Evan’s bracket hopes and dreams…)
4. Spring has Sprung
What are you looking forward to most about Spring?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
Social media has become the norm on the campaign trail, and is quickly becoming entrenched on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress and their staffers alike have taken to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and any number of other social media sites to interact with constituents, sway public opinion and counter political opponents.
Social media is even pushing traditional media aside as the venue for politicians and political parties alike to attack their opponents – often harshly. In recent months, both sides of the aisle have been engaged in an ongoing battle for women’s votes. Speaker John Boehner took this fight to Twitter, disputing Vice President Joe Biden’s recent claims of a Republican “war on women.” This month’s disappointing jobs numbers opened the window for yet more attacks by Republicans with Speaker Boehner tweeting to his 300,000 followers that “today’s #jobs report is more evidence President Obama’s policies aren’t working for families & small businesses.”
With new political battles being waged daily on social media, and political parties fighting to gain the upper hand, new opportunities are being created for citizens, companies and non-profits alike to engage legislators and their staffs through these same platforms. Because of security screening and volume, most mail and emails are not opened on Capitol Hill until well after a critical vote is taken. The immediacy of social media gives it an edge, and with so many Members and their staff taking part, this has become one of the best ways for getting your voice heard. It’s also increasingly effective because members of the media are now following Twitter discussions on Capitol Hill and watching discussions taking place.
For local citizens who need immediate assistance with an issue in their community, there has never been a better way to directly interact with their Senator and Member of Congress – and the same is also true for companies and non-profits who are looking for new ways to amplify their voice, or in the case of some small businesses, join the conversation. By interacting with elected representatives and their staffs in social media circles were they walk, companies are influencing media coverage, opinions and votes on legislation, and in some cases – election results.
In person meetings, mail and email will always play an important role in political offices. They remain an important way for constituents to get the services they need and deserve. However, those who adapt to these changing times effectively and adopt social media as a new tool will find new successes – while those who do not may pay the costly price of being left behind.
This article originally appeared in Racepoint Group’s Capital Ideas Newsletter. If you would like to receive subsequent issues, please use the following sign-up form.
This is a guest post by Alicia Kennedy. Follow her on Twitter @leeshy_b. Good luck, Alicia!
Last summer, I found myself skimming LinkedIn for any and all groups PR related. Less than a week later, I had accepted a position as an intern here at Racepoint Group. My role as a PR intern has been a natural fit for my skills and interests and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the last eight months here. But all good things must come to an end. In just a few short weeks I will be embarking on the next leg of my journey and I’ve realized just how important the skills I have developed at Racepoint are to post-grad life.
Here are five:
It’s true that all of my experiences up to this point in my life have taught me a thing or two about time management. High school was a juggling act of basketball practice, music lessons and homework. College challenged me to balance office hours, research papers and club involvements. But until eight months ago, I had only one other job that kept me working against the clock. In my time here at Racepoint, I’ve learned to prioritize tasks under tight deadlines. No other experience in my life has challenged my time management skills quite like this. It is a skill that I am very proud of and one that will no doubt come in handy down the road.
Some days are slow. Some days I finish my assignments in half the time and it can be tempting to waste away the final hours on Facebook or just pack up to beat the rush-hour traffic. But taking initiative and offering to help has allowed me to meet more people in the office and jump on new accounts. I’ve had the chance to learn about new industries that I had never been exposed to in the past. Most importantly, I’ve had the pleasure of helping Mary stock the “snack shack” on more than one occasion – a true honor! Being self-motivated is an important trait that will allow anyone to climb the career ladder quicker.
Work with Objectives
I’m not talking about page limits on a research paper or keeping a tweet to 140 characters. In PR, there are objectives and metrics tied to everything you do. Each task is measured and quantified. It took some getting used to at first, but I have grown to appreciate working with concrete objectives instead of lofty goals. Now, the goals I set for myself are more measureable and I like being able to see the returns from my efforts.
In PR you only have so many words or lines to get your point across. Nobody wants to read anything – even an email – it it’s full of fluff. Write clearly and write well. Speak clearly and speak well. Communication skills are something my generation lacks. I think I have a leg up on many of my peers!
My fatal flaw: I’m a perfectionist. I don’t just like to do things right, I also like to do them well. College and PR have both taught me that your first draft is never perfect. I’ve appreciated every piece of constructive criticism that has come my way during this internship. Accepting that you make mistakes shows willingness for self-improvement, a trait that will no doubt take me far in my career.
A big thank you to everyone I have had the pleasure of working with here at Racepoint this year. I hope our paths cross again in the future!
So, aside from the swank building, you may be wondering why else we’re relocating – fair enough. After a super successful 2011 highlighted by an incredible client roster (from emerging to enterprise), we realized that we’d need more awesome talent on our side to ensure that all of our clients will be able to enjoy the usual five-star service, uninterrupted. Not only is Boston a more prime location when it comes to recruiting talent, but we’ll also be able to expand to almost double the floorspace, compared to our current location.
In addition to being right in the middle of the Hub, our future home will also allow for an improvement in work-life balance. We’ll be easily accessible via public transit, and there’s life just outside of the offices: eateries, shopping and other amenities abound. Are you excited? I sure am (given my commute is about to get chopped by 72 percent).
For all two of you who don’t already know, Paula Deen has Type 2 diabetes. Sounds like a stretch, I know. All those deep-fried Twinkies could not have possibly had anything to do with it. What’s drawing even more attention though is that not only has Ms. Deen been tucked away in the diabetes closet for three years (more on that below), but she has also timed her announcement with a deal to promote a diabetes medication. In the words of Ad Age contributor Eric Webber, “the irony has not been lost on the public,” and while this may result in some bad press for Paula, it’s also bad press for the industry. Webber does a great job explaining why this is bit of a booboo for all of us PR kids (so read the article), I wanted to highlight a few particularly good points.
Bad timing Deen’s claim that her limited knowledge of the disease kept her from going public says one of at least three things: 1.) Her doctors lied and told her she has something WAY more exotic than diabetes, 2.) she doesn’t know how to use Google (in which case, I have a great site for her friends to check out), or 3.) she had plans to time the announcement so that she’d be a prime candidate for a lucrative spokesperson deal.
Two steps back The do-gooders of the branding industry are fighting a seemingly endless battle against the stigma that people in PR, marketing and advertising are all soulless spin doctors who are only after dollar signs. Admittedly, there are folks who are only in it for the bottom line, but it certainly isn’t standard. As Webber put it, it gives the industry a black eye.
Celebrity endorsements “But, of course, I’m being compensated for my time,” we hear from Deen when asked about how she’s benefiting financially from the partnership. “That’s the way our world works.” Again, with the making us all look like money mongrels, especially when it comes to celebrity partnerships. There’s a common assumption that celebrity spokespeople are sell-outs, but Webber reminds us that not all of them are about the contracts. Some, like Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve, may not have agreed with Deen’s perspective.
Not sure if Deen and her team have been sitting on their hands in the three years that they’ve had to plan for these announcements, or if they thought that the Boy Scout motto of always being prepared didn’t apply to them. I’m guessing at least one person involved in this strategy (or lack thereof?) is scratching his head saying “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” What do you think was going on during the planning stages?
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Publicity Club of New England’s first panel event of the 2011-2012 season, “Blogger Relations for PR Pros,” or, as many referred to it, “Meet the Bloggers.” Panelists Rachel Leah Blumenthal (food and arts blogger for CBS Boston), Greg Gomer (managing editor for BostInnovation), Jason Keith (SMB blogger for Boston.com) and Dianna Huff (B2B Web Marketing Expert for DH Communications, Inc.) were kind enough to discuss best tips when pitching bloggers, the importance of forming relationships, how to recognize a blog versus an online publication, and, perhaps most popularly, some general “pet peeves” bloggers tend to have based on their experience working with PR pros. Moderator Kristin Allaben wasted no time with fluff questions; following introductions, she unleashed the audience inquiries. Some highlights, below.
Biggest PR pet peeve for bloggers
If I had to sum it up in two words, I definitely would has said “untargeted pitches.” Everyone on the panel agreed on this issue, pointing out that if offenders actually read their blogs, they would realize just how unrelated their pitches were. Huff went so far as to print out several bad pitches she received in the last week (it made for an enlightening visual), adding, “Know my name, read my blog and keep it short.” She was met with no dissent from her fellow panelists.
Keith also advised against sending only a press release, warning that 99 percent of those Emails do not get read. From that point, the conversation about Don’ts shifted to the topic of Dos. Blumenthal and Gomer chatted about how much more interesting pitches are when they were accompanied by multimedia content – especially videos – considering that it takes less time to watch a quick video than it does to sift through a lengthy press release. In addition, our panelists asked us to read our pitches before we send them (earth-shattering concept, I know): did we find them interesting? If not, then how could we possibly expect our target bloggers to find it coverage-worthy?
Pitching and follow-up methodology
“Be persistent.” Seventy-five percent of the panelists have day jobs, and they noted that sometimes they just don’t get to all their Emails at the end of the day. Even Gomer, who has no excuse to not respond to every pitch immediately (kidding…), encouraged attendees to keep following up if they truly believed in their pitch (see the above on reading your own story idea). Gomer also encouraged personality in a pitch to connect with the blogger. Answer the questions “Who are you?” “How did you find me?” “Why would my readers care about what you have to say?”
When asked about the phone, the panelists all but rained fire upon the audience. Keith went so far as to say that the phone has since passed its prime. The other two panelists with day-jobs reminded us that they can’t take personal calls at work, anyway. Gomer then quipped “But if I’m calling you, you had better pick up.” Rather than track down a phone number, the bloggers said they’d be more keen to reading comments on their posts. “It’s a good way to get in front of us and be relevant at the same time,” he added.
Embargoes? “Bloggers don’t even know what they are,” warned Blumenthal. Keith had a different approach.
“Only use embargos as a Trojan to get coverage — then tell your client you’re brilliant.”
When it comes to thank-yous, they were generally discouraged unless they served to highlight some positive outcome from the story.
LinkedIn and Twitter: “Yes.” Facebook: “No.” Google+: crickets, followed by “Mildly creepy.” I think the reasons here are self-explanatory, so I won’t waste your time further on that one.
My takeaway from the panel was that in principle, bloggers should be treated similarly to traditional media reporters. In real life, bloggers are “superhuman” (suggested Keith) people with day jobs and even less time for redundancy or untargeted Email blasts. At the same time, when you aren’t targeting the TechCrunches and the Mashables, you actually have more leeway with bloggers who actually have time to read your comments and to connect with you that way.
What are some of your blog-pitching tips and lessons learned?
Everyone knows that the media industry has experienced widespread changes during the past few years. As a result of these changes (particularly the creation of a 24/7 real-time news cycle) many media outlets have changed the way they work with businesses and PR companies.
There have been a few outlets that have been the driving forces of these changes, most notably TechCrunch, which has done its best to make the embargo extinct. Unfortunately, TechCrunch often takes on the role of the the schoolyard bully, blasting theentirePRindustry. That is why I want to take a moment to call your attention to Wade Roush, the chief corespondent at Xconomy.
I’ve worked with Wade many times in the past when he was located in the Boston area (he’s now in San Francisco) and each time he was an absolute pleasure to work with (I also did a Q&A with him for RaceTalk, which you can view here). After (what I believe to be) years of frustration around broken embargoes, Wade faced the music on May 6 and declared the embargo dead (for him). As TechCrunch did, Wade wrote a story about why he’s no longer going to work with embargoes. However, instead of attacking an entire industry while making this announcement, Wade provided reasoning, explanations and advice.
On July 29 Wade wrote another story related to PR, this time focused on how he decides which stories to write about. In this three page article, Wade explains the various ways that he finds story ideas, the types of articles that he wants to write and the best ways to approach him in order to maximize everyone’s time. Once again, the article was informative and respectful, and it was clear that Wade spent a great deal of time trying to educate and help the PR people that he currently works with and may work with in the future.
The purpose of this post is not only to share Wade’s tips and advice, so PR people can work well with him and other reporters and bloggers. I also want to take a moment and point out how Wade is a shining example of a great media person to work with. He is thoughtful, respectful, considerate, and most importantly, a great journalist.
This is a guest post by Sarah Willey. Follow her on Twitter @willey774.
It was a traditional public service campaign by the FBI that has led to the capture of fugitive South Boston crime boss Whitney Bulger. Up until last night, he was one of the most wanted criminals in the world. Bulger has been on the lam for 16 years with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig. Bulger has had many aliases over the years. He led the Winter Hill Gang and was accused of being involved in loan sharking, prostitution and 19 murders.
Last night, he was finally captured in Santa Monica, California in a small apartment complex where he had apparently been living with Greig for at least a couple of years. It was new media campaign launched on Monday focused not on Bulger, but his girlfriend Catherine Greig, which led to their arrest.
The campaign launched in 14 television markets to which Bulger was suspected of having ties and aired during programs popular with women roughly Greig’s age. The new campaign pointed out that Greig had several plastic surgeries before going on the lam and was known to frequent beauty salons. The FBI also was offering a $2 million dollar reward for information leading to Bulger’s arrest. And it was a tip that led to her arrest alongside Bulger where he was going under the name Charlie.
The pair is scheduled to make an appearance in Los Angeles federal court Thursday. Bulger faces a series of federal charges including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, narcotics distribution, extortion and money laundering. Greig is charged with harboring a fugitive.