PR Lessons from 2017

The past 12 months have been fascinating in the world of public relations. We have a president who communicates off-the-cuff each morning to his more than 45 million Twitter followers, and for the first time in at least eight years, most of us can name the White House Press Secretary. Communications from the White House has never been more high profile. We also learned this year that no amount of PR wizardry or spin control can save executives, even at the highest levels, who are guilty of sexual misconduct. Here are a few main PR lessons from 2017, when perception and reputation ruled the day.

Words Matter

Each day, major news networks focus part of their daily coverage on what President Trump tweeted that morning. Whether you agree or disagree with him, he is showing that he can control part of the news cycle and that words still matter. Trump’s tweets have a huge impact on how he is perceived. His word choices and tone are interpreted by both his supporters and detractors, and he often makes mistakes that cost him on the perception front. He recently “called-back” a tweet, claiming it was instead written by his lawyer. Again, it doesn’t matter what side you are on, but even in this age where visuals and short videos dominate, words still matter.Read More

Trump Administration Sets PR Back Years

Melissa McCarthy is Sean SpicerSince the election, I have discussed President Donald Trump’s communications style and practices with dozens of people, from fellow public relations and communications pros to friends and family members.  While I don’t want to get into specifics about his foreign and domestic policies, I am comfortable discussing how Trump’s communications practices have the potential to set back the PR profession years.

Sure, my profession doesn’t itself have the greatest reputation.  I have been called a flack, a spin doctor and probably worse (actually, I know there’s worse), but I believe the example being set in Washington for the future of public relations is more damaging than mere name calling.Read More

Do you Resolve to Write a Business Book?

yes you can write a business book

It might surprise you to learn that when I tell people I published a business book, the first question I’m most frequently asked is not “What is the book about?” or “Why did you write it?”  Instead, it’s “Did you self-publish?”  When I tell them that my book was published by a traditional publisher that paid me to write it, I generally get an “Oh, really?” with an eyebrow raise—and then we almost immediately jump to a “How did you do that?” conversation.

It’s interesting to me that the assumption is that I self-published, and I think this has as much to do with an overriding belief that self-publishing is the path of least resistance and also that securing a publishing contract is impossible.

I’m here to tell you that getting a traditional publishing deal to write a business book is absolutely possible, and I’m not diminishing self-publishing in the least.Read More

Time for PR to Take Back Reputation Management

All roads lead to reputation managementAs an old-school public relations consultant, I remember the days when “reputation management” was strictly a PR term.  We learned about it in our college courses and included it on our websites as a practice area.  But then sometime in the past few years, reputation management was stolen from us by the search engine optimization world.  Today, when you mention reputation management, most people equate it with “online” reputation management and the act of trying to manipulate search results by pushing down, burying or suppressing negative content and links.

If you don’t believe me, ask Wikipedia (cue groans.)  I know that our profession has an “it’s complicated” relationship with Wikipedia, but millions of people use it each day, and here’s what it says about reputation management:

Reputation management refers to influencing and controlling an individual’s or business’s reputation. Originally a public relations term, the expansion of the internet and social media, along with reputation management companies, have made it primarily an issue of search results.

Ouch, right?Read More

Visibility Marketing Book Helps Fix Messaging that “Probably Sucks”

Visibility MarketingHere’s a news flash from well-known speaker and author David Avrin: Your marketing probably sucks. Ouch, right? In his latest book, Visibility Marketing, Avrin pulls no punches after years of consulting with companies about messaging and marketing. He concludes that most companies are using the same, competency-based messages – which may have worked in the past but don’t work now.

What led him to this? I sat down with Avrin to find out, and in between grins and laughter, I learned a ton. According to Avrin, whose book launches this week, the marketplace is populated with great companies that are smart, strong, lean and good at what they do. It’s no longer effective to suggest that your company is simply better than your competitors because 1) it’s probably not true and 2) the marketplace is fed-up with hearing the same trite messages over and over again.Read More

How to Measure Reputation

davidpr.com measure reputation

Harris Reputation Quotient attributes

Measurement in the world of public relations has always been an ethereal concept. Putting a value on media coverage or social media awareness remains a bit of a Holy Grail. How we measure reputation appears just as daunting to me, but it turns out that analysts at the Harris Poll have been studying this since 1999, gauging the reputations of the most visible companies in the U.S. through the eyes of the general public.

I spoke with Sarah Simmons who gave me a great rundown as the firm tracks many companies and compiles data each year for its poll. (Simmons works for Nielsen Holdings which purchased Harris Interactive in 2013.) While the companies at the top of the poll aren’t really a surprise – Amazon, Apple, Google, USAA, The Walt Disney Company (pre-alligator attack), Publix Super Markets, Samsung, Berkshire Hathaway, Johnson & Johnson and Kellogg Company – it’s interesting how the results are determined.Read More

Deeper Dive Into Changing Customer Experience: 5 Questions with Brian Solis

Experience vs. DesignLate last year, I met author and customer experience sage Brian Solis.  My blog post about my conversation with him, Is Customer Experience the Next Killer App?,was one of the most widely shared, liked and tweeted blogs that I have ever written.  And since then, you can’t swing a dead cat without hearing a marketer chime-in about improving the customer experience, or CX, as we cool people like to call it.  I had a follow-up call with Brian recently as he transferred from car to plane on one of his many worldwide speaking engagements and workshops discussing CX.  Here are five questions and answers with Brian which will assist any business owner or executive who wants to improve the customer experience in their business. 

John P. David: When did you realize that customer experience is the new brand?  Did it hit you in the shower or was it an evolution? 

Brian Solis: I definitely see it as an evolution.  I have tracked and researched customer relationship trends for many years, and when I looked at the iconic brands, I believed that their successes were bigger than the products and bigger than the brands themselves.  Iconic brands like Apple and Disney offer more.  I have been studying the issue for more than seven years and spent the last three years working on the book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design.

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Yes, you can get a book deal

how to protect or destroy your reputation onlineBack in October, I wrote a post about my efforts to write a book, my take on the publishing industry, and my desire to get a book deal.  The reaction was fascinating and in some cases, very emotional.  First, I learned that there’s a tremendous amount of underlying bitterness about the publishing business from unpublished authors.  Second, many folks believe self-publishing is the way to go because traditional publishing is broken, and self-published authors can get a better share of the profits.  And third, many folks believe it’s impossible for an unknown writer to get a deal.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to get a publishing contract because I did it.  Career Press in New Jersey will publish my book, How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online, and it will be available in bookstores, online, and “wherever fine books are sold” by the end of the year or shortly thereafter.

Here’s how I did it

First, literary agents are the primary gatekeepers for the publishing industry.  So, if you want to get a book deal as a non-fiction author, you first need to find an agent.

How do you get an agent?  I didn’t know any, so I asked a few author friends to make introductions to theirs (an idea from my friend Bruce Turkel).  I also researched and cross-referenced my LinkedIn contacts, looking for agents and any of my contacts who knew agents.  I also joined Publishers Marketplace, a website where literary agents congregate and publicize book deals.  From there, I started targeting agents who I thought might be interested in my book.  I tackled it like a marketing campaign.Read More

Your Challenge: Think Big, Act Bigger

Time to Think Big | David PRIf marketing whiz Jeff Hayzlett ruled the world, one of the first orders of business would be to outlaw the words “I can’t.”

A former chief marketing officer at Kodak, turned consultant and entrepreneur, Hayzlett stands firm that nearly anything can be accomplished in the business world if you put your mind to it.  I interviewed Hayzlett recently and found his take on marketing to be both motivating and thought provoking.

Hayzlett’s book Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless could vie for shelf space somewhere in between self-help and autobiography, but it belongs in the business section.  He offers a glimpse into the blueprint that led him from growing up in South Dakota, to Kodak and to hosting a show on Bloomberg TV, which he then moved to an online platform as the C-Suite Network.  He’s built a little empire and isn’t shy about telling us how he did it – not because he’s bragging, but because he believes the rest of us can do it too.Read More

Five Questions about Newsjacking with David Meerman Scott

NewsjackingA few weeks back, I interviewed David Meerman Scott about his book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, and one area I promised to revisit is known as newsjacking. Scott describes it as the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate media coverage, get sales leads, and grow one’s business.

Following are five key questions and answers about the subject.

John P. David (JPD): Has your definition of newsjacking changed since you first coined/started using the term?

David Meerman Scott (DMS): Yes, the definition has changed. When I first invented newsjacking, I focused on the idea of getting your ideas into news stories. My main consideration was to teach the technique of getting you quoted in the stories being written by mainstream media reporters at newspapers, magazines, and in broadcast stories on radio and television.

But as I’ve spoken with hundreds of people who have successfully implemented my ideas, I’ve realized that many of them were generating sales leads, adding new customers, selling products and services, and growing their business — all from newsjacking!

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