Tuesday, September 30, 2008
$1 Million Donation from GlaxoSmithKline to Help Patients with Cancer and Their Families at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
read more | digg story
Monday, September 29, 2008
The two bloggers make some great points about timing, target and tone. However, I offer a difference in opinion with regard to the timing of the Calacanis responses.
Safdar and Alcorn opine that Richard Edelman, the President and CEO of a $400+ million a year global public relations firm and I made a mistake when we “re-invigorated” a story that had “almost died” when we commented several days after Calacanis’ post. Safdar and Alcorn further opine that by doing so, we “stoked the previously dead embers of this discussion.”
Safdar and Alcorn provide Digg statistics about when most of the activity on this article occurred but what they don’t say is that this post will be discoverable online for many years to come.
As an attorney and public relations expert, I take a different approach to such matters. It’s important to share all sides of a story with the public – the pros and the cons. Smart buyers of PR services will take Calacanis’ post with a grain of salt. And if they’re that skeptical and pessimistic about the services public relations firms provide, then they won’t likely make great clients anyway. On the other hand, smart buyers will also review all the feedback, dig further, speak to thought-leaders who have hired and worked with PR firms, and make their minds up based on all the information they gather. Although I cannot speak for Richard Edelman, I shared my comments because I believe people should hear all sides of the story. That said, I also found out about the original rant because it was forwarded to me by a prospective client.
Safdar and Alcorn go on to say “Richard Edelman should probably have responded to the ‘fire your PR firm’ concept here [I assume they mean in PRNews Online], and avoided directly identifying Calacanis in his response. At the very least, he shouldn’t have linked to him. On behalf of people who do public relations everywhere, we don’t appreciate one of the world’s leading PR people raising the Google rank of that article.” But isn’t their blog doing just that?
Although law firms have taken great strides in recent years to include necessary communications professionals and PR to their corporate mix, a more compassionate touch is imperative when addressing the public in times of crisis or addressing negative news.
I would agree with Rich Klein and his recent post, "Big Law Firm Needs More Humanity in Statement."
He used the example of a recent statement found in The New York Law Journal, issued by Sullivan & Cromwell when a partner swindled the firm out of $500,000 for false expenses. The statement is as follows:
"Upon discovery, the matter was promptly referred to the appropriate authorities. The Firm fully cooperated with those authorities, contacted affected clients and made restitution."
Klein notes the lack of humanity and concern in this statement. By using compassionate and effective language, the firm could have used this statement as a message to show the public that actual human beings are behind the work at the firm. Klein suggests an alternative:
"We regret that this happened and take this issue very seriously. Therefore, we are taking immediate action to institute stronger auditing and security procedures to protect the integrity of our billing system."
By rephrasing the statement, the firm is shown in a different light, thus salvaging their reputation that could have been permanently ruined by one disgraceful partner. Media statements and messaging should always be careful planned with forging relationships with all audiences at top of mind.
Since The PR Lawyer Blog continues to grow, I have updated the name to The PR Lawyer (Et al). We have a team of strategic public relations planning, media relations, social media, legal marketing, community relations, Web 2.0 and event management experts - all willing to share great information via the Web.
So, if you have anything you'd like us to blog about, please comment on our blog, or on one of my profiles at Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/4pwypz), LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/ginafuriarubel), Twitter (http://twitter.com/GinaRubel) or Plaxo (http://tinyurl.com/3qy4ng).
Thank you for reading The PR Lawyer (Et al).
-Gina Furia Rubel (The original PR Lawyer)
Friday, September 26, 2008
Now that I'm getting settled into my new home in Madrid Spain, I will be able to bring you some of my thoughts and experiences from this wonderful country. I was always a big Internet junkie at home, but now that I am halfway across the world I have realized my need to stay informed. With big news in politics and the financial crisis occurring back home in the U.S., I have become more and more dependent on staying abreast of news stories via the Internet.
When I was living in the States, I frequently visited sites such as CNN.com, BBC News and the New York Times.com. However, now that I am abroad I find myself relying on these sites much more often for news updates.
During my time here, I hope to connect with even more communications professionals. I have been growing my network in Spain and have found that the Web site, Twitter in conjunction with Facebook has been an important vehicle in helping me network with communications professionals like Steve Rubel and Octavio Rojas, who both are social media experts for Edelman.
I was able to meet with Octavio in Madrid last weekend and we had a very nice afternoon chatting about communications, global issues and blogging ideas. I wrote about the experience on my personal blog about my life in Spain.
Bloggers often read other blogs to generate ideas and/or make comments on others' posts. Since I've been blogging about my life in Spain and for Furia Rubel, I find the Web site, Bloglines to be very useful. Bloglines is a "feed aggregator" which neatly organizes all of the blogs that I subscribe to and keeps track of new posts and blog updates. There are many similar sites out there but I was first introduced to and feel that Bloglines is the best way to manage the different Web sites that I surf daily.
Keeping on top of the news has become more difficult for me since all of the news programs are in Spanish here. I am still learning the language and am becoming accustomed to the culture, so these English news Web sites are important to me to staying connected.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
An interesting article in PR Week raised the question of how relevant social networks continue to be in the US and abroad.
A Synovate study conducted globally found that social networking familiarity was higher than average among Americans than other nationalities, but that survey participants across the board are losing interest in social networking sites.
I wonder though, is it that social networkers are losing interest, or has social networking merely become a habit that users give about as much thought to as brushing their teeth every morning? My suspicion is the latter. The novelty and excitement of Myspace, Facebook and the myriad of other social networking sites may be wearing off, but the high number of hits that those sites continue to receive shows they are still going strong. Users may not be on the edge of their seat, but millions continue to log in each day.
Here are some statistics from Facebook alone:
- More than 100 million active users
- Facebook is the 4th most-trafficked website in the world (comScore)
- Facebook is the most-trafficked social media site in the world (comScore)
- No. 1 photo sharing application on the Web (comScore)
- In a little over five months the site was released in more than 15 languages, including, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Korean.
Social networking sites are a valuable public relations tool. The PR Week article shows that public relations experts must strive to find new ways to appeal to an audience who may be tiring of the “same ol’ same ol’” on social networking sites. The most successful public relations campaigns will be those that stay fresh and ahead of the curve and utilize the ever changing features that sites like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, LinkedIn, Digg, and the others are continuously adopting.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Landmark Study of Commercial Newswires: PR Newswire Generates More Media Pick-up, Higher Volume of Coverage
It's important to understand the benefits of the wires in general and when to use them as part of your public relations strategy. Not all firms can afford the cost of using the wires for every press release. We have traditionally used PR Newswire and Business Wire for various clients but most importantly - if you want your press release picked up by traditional outlets - pick up the phone and call your contacts. If you don't have contacts, you need to make them.
The wires also play an important role in today's SEO game. A few years ago, there were media relations seminars galore called "the death of the press release." It just isn't so. Although there is a lot of work being done in social media, the traditional press release isn't going to die any too soon.
Your industry also matters to who in the media is getting information from the wire. As with all media relations efforts, don't just throw a dart at the largest target to see what sticks. If you use the wires, be sure to choose the best industry feeds. You want to reach your target audiences: customers / clients, prospects, referral sources, thought leaders, etc.
Marci Alboher, author of the Shifting Careers blog with the New York Times, commented on the uses of the website, Twitter, at work in her post, Twitter Can Help At Work.
More and more professionals have honed in on the benefits of using Twitter at work. Past posts on the PRLawyer blog such as Do You Twitter? and Twitter for Fun & Customer’s Attention have shown that Furia Rubel has kept tabs on Twitter’s rise in popularity since last year.
I have just discovered Twitter myself and think it’s a great way to connect with other professionals. Simply “retweet” or reply to leave a comment and converse with other users.
The opportunities this Web site can offer are endless. Businesses can utilize this site to optimize traffic on their Web site and/or blog by “tweeting” when updates are posted.
To begin using Twitter, it takes two minutes to sign up and get your account going. First, use the search feature to search buzz words that relate to your industry and/or business. You can see if people are tweeting about you.
Start “following” people of interest to see their tweets on your own screen when you sign into the service. Be sure to listen to what is being said by others. It is important to sit back and take note before diving into the mix of “tweets.”
Some pros and cons regarding the use of Twitter are highlighted in Chris Brogan’s post of 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business. Some of my favorites are as follows:
Cons of Twitter
o It is time consuming.
o It has no purpose without a strategy or plan for its use.
o It is just for techies or web-savvy professionals.
Pros of Twitter
o It is a great way to gather opinions for polling purposes and research.
o It provides a faster breaking news source to get information out.
o It allows for companies to steer followers to positive topics.
o It can be used as a two-way customer service tool, going to the disgruntled consumer directly.
o Perfect way to post announcements of blog updates with links.
In my opinion people should not use Twitter to post the mindless activities of their day. I think Twitter is best harnessed when sharing ideas and (at the risk of sounding trite) “joining in the conversation.” Be aware of your purpose of using Twitter whether it is for your small company or if you are Tweeting on behalf of a large corporation.
Neen James, a Bucks County productivity expert, recently posted a blog entry about how to productively use the professional website, LinkedIn to expand your business network. I would say LinkedIn is like the “grown-up” Facebook although; it is used in the business world as an online display of your professional accomplishments in a resume-type profile. It allows you to build your network by sending invitations to past colleagues or business connections.
Marisa Veni, Furia Rubel’s Public Relations Coordinator, wrote a post earlier this year called Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn, guiding professionals to best ways to use LinkedIn. Since that time many others have joined the network.
Neen shares some tips for busy professionals to use the site despite their busy schedule. She suggests setting aside 15 minutes a day for 2 weeks to dedicate to learning about the site and establishing your profile.
Some other tips that Neen provides include using your Outlook to reach out to contacts. LinkedIn has the ability to search your email contacts (with your permission) in Outlook to see if those contacts also have LinkedIn profiles.
LinkedIn also allows for quick and easy introductions – whether it’s for you or for one of your network connections. LinkedIn allows you to make online introductions for others and also shows you other networks so you can see who could possibly introduce you. Recommendations from others looks great for your credibility and speak volumes about your skills and talents. Former colleagues can speak of your strengths and their past experiences of working with you in a professional setting.
Use the site to learn more about people you would like to possibly connect with, get a general idea of conversation topics to use when introduced. Don’t be afraid to showcase your own expertise. You never know who you could meet through six degrees of separation!
Neen provides dozens and dozens of networking ideas for LinkedIn in her post. Be sure to check it out her blog here.
On a final note, consider using LinkedIn if you do not have an account already. As they always say in business, it’s not so much what you know (although I think this is very important) it is who you know and LinkedIn could be a valuable tool to connecting you with dozens of professionals across the globe.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I knew things were bad when during my morning commute I forewent my morning Top 40 radio station for the Public Radio preset that only gets play when my parents borrow my car. But I really became concerned when I heard Senators and Congressmen talking about working through the weekend, an almost unheard of concept inside the Beltway.
For Public Relations practitioners, Tony Garcia of PRWeek highlights an important lesson to be gained from the flurry of financial company statements released last week- it’s always better to shoot straight from the hip. While President Bush may try to alleviate fears and reduce panic by assuring Americans that the economic situation is not as dire as it seems, companies and their communications teams have a responsibility to both consumers and investors to nix the spin and give it to us straight. As Eric Starkman, president of Starkman & Associates says, financial communicators serve as a “reality check,” no matter how unpleasant that reality may be.
According to Gina Rubel, Esq. President and CEO of Furia Rubel Communications, “while it’s important that corporate attorneys work closely with their clients to ensure the media messages are accurate, it’s important nonetheless to shoot straight from the hip.”
Friday, September 12, 2008
Pictured from L to R: The Honorable Kevin M. Dougherty, Administrative Judge, Family Court Division, Court of Common Pleas; The Honorable C. Darnell Jones, II, President Judge, Court of Common Pleas; The Honorable Louis J. Presenza, President Judge, Philadelphia Municipal Court, Gina Furia Rubel, Esq., Chancellor, The Justinian Society; Robert D. Aversa, Esq., Deputy City Solicitor, Philadelphia Law Department; The Honorable Anthony J. DeFino, Senior Judge, Court of Common Pleas; The Honorable Annette M. Rizzo, Criminal Division, Court of Common Pleas.
After a summer of working at Furia Rubel Communications, I am off to pursue international endeavors!
I am going to be working as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Assistant at a local elementary school in Madrid, Spain for the next nine months. I hope to return next summer to the U.S. with a more proficient level of the Spanish language and a firm grasp of the Spanish culture and lifestyle. To learn more about my program, check out this link.
I have loved every minute of my time here at Furia Rubel and am forever grateful for the wonderful women that I learned from everyday.
With my new skills and knowledge in PR, I will continue as a part of the Furia Rubel team providing insight into the international world of communications. I will be blogging from Madrid on relevant issues in the communications industry through The PR Lawyer.
Next week I will be journeying to my new home – so stay tuned for more updates! And remember, this is not “goodbye,” but instead “see ya later!”
Thursday, September 11, 2008
As a young professional, I’m always curious to hear guidance from employers and professionals in the industry. The article, What Graduates Aren’t Learning about Marketing at University, was interesting to me as it provides insight into what skills and qualities I should be focusing on at this point in my career. Angela Morsa, a fellow Temple University alumna and President of Active Integrated Marketing, wrote this article as a recap of her speech at the 30th Annual American Marketing Association International Collegiate Conference on the topic of Success Strategies for Your Marketing Career.
While attending Temple University, I was very active in Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Through this organization I attended seminars and networking events on a regular basis. Because of my own motivation to be involved, I was exposed to helpful hints that many other students may not have known.
Morsa clearly points out that other college students are still not hearing crucial professional advice. Prior to presenting to the Generation Y students at the AMA Conference, Morsa consulted with a variety of employers on what advice they would give to students looking to join the work force.
These are some of the tips that Morsa passed along to her audience:
- Good communication and writing skills are still the most important ability to be competitive in today’s world. Morsa warns students not to compromise good grammar and writing skills by relying on text and instant messaging shorthand. “LOL U R Too Cool” is not acceptable communication.
- Today e-mail is an established vehicle of communication across many industries. E-mail should not be the primary tool students use to foster new relationships. Individual communication like face-to-face contact has become rare and telephone communication is taking a back seat to e-mail correspondence. Personal contact should be used when necessary to build those invaluable relationships.
- Find a mentor. Early in your career you should be learning as much as you can from those that have come before you. Make an effort to be a “sponge” if you will and soak in valuable advice and learn from the mistakes of others. Reach out to those you admire, be involved in student organizations, and go to networking events. Maybe…even pick up the phone!
- Clean up your online presence! This seems to have become a mantra among professionals and teachers today. I know they constantly told us this at Temple but many students still do not heed this crucial advice. Employers can and will find you online and use this information to judge you and your abilities.
- Work toward becoming an expert. Find your niche and hone into that specialty. It is a crucial skill to have in today’s society that will set you apart.
And these two tips stood out most to me.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks and learn from your mistakes. Be honest about your capabilities. Don’t promise what you can not deliver.
- Travel the world. With new technology growing every minute, the world truly has become connected on many different levels.
I am taking her advice and traveling to Madrid, Spain for nine months. Stay tuned for more details on my North American Language and Culture Assistant experience in Spain!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
LawGravity LLC. Jayne is a social media guru and will have lots of information to share.
Law firms and businesses impacted by the media, who rely on the media to get their message out, or who drive the media—that is, most everyone—can capitalize on social computing to gain new business, clients and connections. Or they can resist change, miss opportunities and get left behind.
For those new to community and social media and its powerful potential in building relationships, this presentation will give you basic background. For those who’ve already tested or plunged into the social computing waters, you may find Ms. Navarre’s prospective as a veteran in-house legal marketer and Web strategist helpful in adding new ideas to your social-networking tool kit.
Although social computing will not likely replace in whole face-to-face networking and transactions, it’s a potent force here to stay for the foreseeable future. Social computing in its many forms helps flatten the world, crossing geographic and cultural and organizational borders—and at low cost.
Bottom line: The rapid growth of social computing is changing the way public relations practitioners, marketers and advertisers help businesses succeed. As a result, lawyers and those in the legal industry need to understand how social computing is impacting not only their own profession but also the success of their clients and their businesses.
Key questions this presentation addresses include:
-How quickly must I adapt or lose ground?
-What types of relationships are effectively built using community and social media tools?
-How do all the pieces fit together?
-What are special concerns for the legal industry?
-How do you know which tools to use when?
-When should I blog, tweet or send e-mail?
-How will the semantic Web move things forward?
Jayne Navarre has over 13 years of experience working in law firms with lawyers and marketers leading marketing departments and directing strategy, business development and communications. She understands the way lawyers work, think, and communicate with clients and the media, and what they need to do to build an exceptional client base. In addition to providing core services as a traditional business development coach and marketing communications specialist, Ms. Navarre has achieved a leading position in helping lawyers and law firms put new social media tools to work for them. Her holistic approach improves not only the way in which law firms communicate to various constituencies, but also targets the content of their messaging. More information about Ms. Navarre and her consulting enterprise, LawGravity LLC, can be found at www.lawgravity.com. Feel free to contact her at 786-208-9108 or jln [at] lawgravity.com.
If you want to attend, please print this page and provide the following information to the Philadelphia Bar Assocation.
Please return to: Bar-News Media Committee – September 22, 2008 – Luncheon Program
Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2911 - Fax # (215) 238-1159 or register online at www.philadelphiabar.org. The cost of lunch is $7.50 per person and will only be prepared for those that have made reservations and paid in advance either via check or credit card. Checks should be made payable to the Philadelphia Bar Association. To secure your reservation, please complete the from below, including credit card information, unless a check has been included. All reservations that are not canceled 24 hours prior to the event will be subject to a cancellation fee of $7.50.
Yes, I will attend and buy lunch. Yes, I will attend but bring my own lunch.
Phone: __________Fax: __________ Email: ___________________
Credit Card #: _____________________Expiration Date: ____
Signature: ___________________________Please check one: Amex Visa MasterCard
This is an interesting article written by Jonathan Thrope from Law.com about how law firms have begun to focus on using their Web site as a powerful communication tool.
Many firms are realizing the importance of their online presence, therefore putting more time and money into crafting an interesting, engaging, interactive Web page that best showcases the firm. There are many opportunities that a well-crafted Web site can offer a firm especially concerning marketing, recruiting, and new business.
Thrope's article consulted with several Web design professionals. "From the standpoint of branding, marketing and sophistication of marketing materials, the law firm sector has always been a little behind other professional services, other kinds of corporate entities," says Stephen Roussan, President of Web development firm ICVM. "[In the past couple years] I think there's been a substantial shift in the attorney mindset when it comes to Web sites and marketing in general."
A revamp of a Web site is no easy endeavor and the amount of time invested is often underestimated by law firms. According to the Thrope’s article, “New York-based Herrick Feinstein, which has 180 attorneys, launched a new Web site July 28, developed by ICVM – almost six years after its original site went up, and nearly one-and-a-half years since planning for the relaunch began. The site's calling card is its interactivity -- in that everything is linked to everything else.”
This is an example of a large firm’s endeavors of a Web site revamp. Typically, based on firm size and complexity of the site, it can take anywhere from six to 12 months on average. The time invested is certainly well spent if done correctly. Implementing interactive new media tools keep users interested and engaged.
Thrope lists his opinion of the law firm sites that best utilize their web page in his article. I have to agree with most of his comments, but see for yourself! Especially when browsing Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz versus Womble Carlyle with their bulldog mascot, Winston.
A Web site is a valuable recruiting and marketing tool for a firm. It is a highly visible flagship of the brand. In order to get to the final results some planning needs to be done.
- First, research is imperative to discover what the firm is about and what makes it stand out and different from other firms. (These two concepts should then be implemented into your overall brand. For example, Womble Carlyle’s use of Winston, the bulldog.)
- Next, the web site needs to be interactive – features to keep users interested will increase traffic. Many law firms are implementing blogs and videos on their sites for visitors to discover more about their clients and services.
Furthermore, sites like Facebook and Twitter are other new media tools that law firms can use to become more effective in making their Web site more interactive and to drive traffic to the Web site. Today, law firms can no longer rely solely on referrals. It is important in today’s “information overloaded” society to not only grab the attention of your target audience, but to hold that attention in order to build relationships and continue to bring in new business.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Tip One: Your 30-Second Introduction
Some say you need them. Others say you don’t. I can tell you that I loathe the “30-second commercial,” but I know that it’s important to be able to articulate who I am and what I do quickly and effectively. Your 30-second commercial or introduction is a critical tool that needs to be carefully tailored so you don’t sound silly.
Tip Two: A 30-second commercial (a.k.a. the elevator pitch) is a short, concise, compelling and creative summary of who you are and what you do. It is used when you meet people for the first time and they ask about your business. It is used as your outgoing voicemail message. It is used by others who refer business to you, in your prospective client meetings, at your dinner table and just about anywhere you discuss your business.
Tip Three: What does this brief introduction do for you? It tells the listener about your specific, unique and impressive attributes. It allows you to appear more poised and confident. If done well, your introduction should invite more detailed and qualifying questions.
For more important tips on networking read Chapter 9 in Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers. To purchase the book, please click here. Excerpt from Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers, Copyright 2007. Furia Rubel Communications, Inc.
Friday, September 05, 2008
I recently attended a Bucks County Women’s Business Forum meeting. The Women’s Business Forum is a non-profit organization providing support, mentoring and inspiration to women entrepreneurs. The guest speaker for the event, Kim Yorio, is the co-author of the book The Girl’s Guide to Kicking your Career into Gear. The seminar touched on Kim’s career, how she joined forces and created a business with her partner, Caitlin Friedman, and their books geared to career-oriented women.
Kim also shared some of her own networking experiences. Some great tips she provided are outlined below:
- Listen - People are so excited to meet new people that they don’t take the time to truly listen. For explained, Kim gave an example of a networking event of nearly 200 people she attended. The most memorable “connector” was a man who simply said he took his 60 second introduction time while networking to listen.
- Be Respectful - Make sure you are keeping the other person’s interests in mind as well as your own. Networking is about creating relationships that are mutually beneficial.
- Give Advice - Business referrals and connections are all about karma. One good deed or referral from you today could result in a good deed in your favor tomorrow.
- Be Prepared - this echoes Kim’s advice too. Make sure that you have a goal or purpose in mind for going to a networking event. Listen and follow up. Ask questions to show that you were actively listening to the person.
- Work on your elevator pitch - A brief introduction summarizing your goals and skills is important in a networking situation. Write down and practice a few ahead of time to prepare yourself.
- Mingle - Usually people get comfortable with a few people early in an event. Make sure that you reassess your goals for attending. Compliments are great openers! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
- Stay connected - Contact those you met, follow up and make sure to offer your expertise. It is also helpful to write down key features of the person you met on their business card to help you remember who they are after the event.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Today we are featuring the last tip from Chapter 8 in Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers. This tip highlights what to keep in mind when sending photographs along with press releases to the media.
Tip Five: Tips for Sending Digital Photographs
Most publications require 300 dpi, 5 x 7 digital photographs. Make sure to use a universal format like JPEG or TIF.
Title the photo in its digital format. Do not have it saved as “DVR_0001” or whatever format your camera saves in when downloading to your computer.
Use the name of your company, event or the person pictured to save the photo.
Make sure before you e-mail it that the editor or reporter accepts attachments, as many SPAM filters and antivirus programs reject attachments.
For more important tips on media relations, read Chapter 8 in Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers. To purchase the book, please click here.
Excerpt from Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers, Copyright 2007. Furia Rubel Communications, Inc.