Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So…Lovely Day We’re Having….

Posted by Katie Noonan

Blame writer’s block, information overload, or whatever you like, some days I just can’t come up with a topic to blog about. Today is one of those days (I blame my all-consuming anticipation of pumpkin pie and the Eagles game tomorrow night).

It has seemed lately that when writer’s block strikes, I’ve used Twitter fanfare to get me by. Today I brainstormed and... heard crickets. Then, and I’m 100% truthful when I say this, I logged on to Twitter and noticed a tweet from The PRLawyer, Gina Rubel, about a blog she was reading from John Jantsch, of Duct Tape Marketing, on what he calls “Contentapation,” also known as- writer’s block. There’s a little Alanis Morrisette brand irony for you.

John has some great suggestions for overcoming Contentaptation. One, coincidentally, is to utilize Twitter via Tweetbeep, which allows you to set search terms and then alerts you when one has been met by someone you follow on Twitter.

Get the rest of John’s excellent tips here, and Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Ways to Make Social Media Time Efficient During Your Work Day

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Jon Jantsch from Duct Tape recently wrote a post regarding pre-planned social media activity. For example, does planning your Tweets on Twitter take away from the social spontaneity of the site? I don't think so. If effectively planned with the help of some of Jantsch's suggestions, social media can be a great addition to your company’s PR plan.

I also agree that in today's fast-paced world many social media enthusiasts want to engage and participate in social media but struggle to find the time. According to Jantsch, automation should be a supplement to your social media activity but should not take the place of genuine and spontaneous Tweets.

Below are some effective tools that will allow business owners to successfully and easily engage consumers through social media without a lot of time from Jon Jantsch.
  • TweetLater or EasyTweets are two sites Jantsch uses frequently. Each can automatically send a welcome and thank you message to every new follower to his Twitter account. These tools should not be abused by sending spam messages but instead used as a way to greet a new follower and get the networking process started.
  • Twitter Tools is helpful for those using WordPress as a blog provider. This plug-in publishes blog updates to your Twitter account. This should not be the only way you update your Twitter account but is a way to keep Tweets fresh and new.
  • The same application is available for Facebook. The Twitter application updates Facebook with the links to the updated content on your blog. Another application on Facebook, called the Feedheads application, allows for the posting of RSS feeds from Google Reader or Bloglines to your Facebook account.
  • TweetDeck is an application downloaded on your desktop that combines Twitter's direct messages, replies and searches on one screen.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you and your company save time while still successfully engaging in some exciting social media Web sites!

Monday, November 24, 2008

How to Post an Article on LinkedIn

Posted by Katie Noonan

Recently a few clients have asked the Furia Rubel team about how to post articles on LinkedIn to share with their network of friends and colleagues. After a little research I found the answer on LinkedIn's own blog and thought it would be helpful to share with The PRLawyer's readership as well.

Find the directions here, and start sharing that positive media coverage with your network.

Twitter Moms Give Motrin a Headache

Posted by Katie Noonan

Motrin was feeling some pain last week after customer backlash over a new ad campaign forced the company to take down a 50-second video it had added to its Web site last Saturday. The clip targeted moms suffering from backaches due to their infants’ slings and over-the-shoulders carriers. Many felt the ad was offensive, and portrayed new moms in an unflattering light.

Twitter moms tweeted in force, lambasting Motrin for a video clip they viewed to be insensitive and insulting to women at a very vulnerable time- when they are new moms. According to Ragan Communications, a Twitter handle, “motrinmom,” was created over the weekend with a tweet that read: “If I look tired and crazy, people will understand why,” with a link to the video.

Despite an apology from Motrin on its Web site and removal of the video clip, the conversation raged on throughout last weekend and even into early last week. While initial tweets came mostly from angry consumers, later tweets came from people commenting on the impact of social media, while still others were asking if the ad was really so offensive, according to the Ragan article, Twitter users wrestle the Motrin brand to its knees.

For public relations practitioners, the Motrin snafu presents an interesting case study about the impact of social media and consumer relations . Michael Sebastian, author of the Ragan article makes an excellent point, in the social media age, a PR professional’s job is round-the-clock. With people using social media sites 24/7, your response time needs to be immediate. It’s critical to protecting your brand and preventing a customer relations crisis.

Some Tips for Keeping Your Blog Out of Legal Trouble

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Marketing Sherpa
recently featured an interesting article which touched on two topics that we like to inform our readers about here at The PR Lawyer- social media and blogging and the legal industry. "How to Keep Your Blog Out of a Courtroom - Advice from Legal Pro on Providing, Creating Content" provides some tips on how to avoid legal troubles with your online blog.

The article consults with Nina Yablok, a Business and Corporate Attorney at Law who has been a business lawyer for 30 years. Since 1993, she has been working with clients who engage audiences with message boards and chat rooms. With years of experience in the legal industry and social networking, Yablock comments on the changes in technology but the consistency in liability concepts.

Yablock explains, the more the author of a blog edits user comments, the more responsible they become for the overall content on their blog. For example, content "creators" are always responsible for what they create, but content "providers" are not. According to the Marketing Sherpa article, "YouTube, for instance, is not legally responsible for every video on its site."

Don't be so quick to edit offensive or illegal comments on your site. "The more you monitor and regulate user content on your site, the more you're liable for what is said," Yablok says. "As soon as you begin deciding which comments stay and which comments go, you become more responsible for every comment on the site."

Set a standard for monitoring comments and stick to it. If a comment breaks those standards, delete it. If it doesn't break those standards, leave it. Bad language or highly offensive remarks should be taken away; it is most important to worry about offending your blog readers. By following a casual editing environment, "you're just a provider. You're going to be excluded from liability under an assortment of laws that protect the people who provide rather than create content," Yablok says.

Other tips from Nina Yablok to consider:
  • Quoting should be limited to a few sentences from an article or person and include proper links back to the original content or Web page. Large paragraphs or pages of quoted text can be seen as plagiarism.
  • When discussing famous people, a rule of thumb is to not use their fame to promote your product or company without their consent. Be wary of posting celebrity images on company blog as well. It can be seen as a type of endorsement.
  • Be careful with trademarks on your blog. Using images or implying connections between your blog and a trademark can lead to a lawsuit. However, discussing a trademarked product or service is something you're able to do. Posting a caveat at the beginning of the post to avoid any type of confusion when talking about trademarks.
  • Images that you have created, own, have a license for, or are part of a free stock photography archive are all fine to post on your blog. When researching images, first decide, "Who is the owner?" "Not all images available on Google are free clip art, Yablock warns." Be sure to check the original posted links to research ownership, and get permission before posting. It is also a good idea to learn more details of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (pdf document)
  • Be wary of passing along negative information or continuing rumors. Protect yourself by citing your sources. Capturing and saving screenshots of your content with the date as evidence is a wise thing to do in order to prove that the rumor was not started by you.
As with all legal concerns, it is important to consult with an attorney about your specific case and situation. These are just some helpful tips provided by Nina Yablok, Business and Corporate Attorney at Law.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Google Allows Users to Edit Search Results

Michael Liedtke of the Associated Press (AP) reported today that "Google empowers users to edit search results - Your favorite Web sites get top billing, disliked destinations get discarded ."

He says, "If Google delivers useless search results, just erase them and you won't see them again.

That's possible under a new system Google Inc. unveiled Thursday. Hoping to give its search engine a more personal touch, Google now lets users reshuffle results so their favorite Web sites get top billing and disliked destinations get discarded the next time they enter the same request."

For the full story on MSNBC, go to

The Rise of News Feeds and the Stagnant RSS feed

Posted by Amanda Walsh

I have blogged before about how much I love my Web site aggregator, Bloglines, which helps to organize all of my RSS feed subscriptions to various blogs and websites. Bloglines is great because every time one of them is updated, it neatly organizes the updates for me to check when I have a free moment.

Steve Rubel, active blogger and marketing strategist, and VP-director of insights at Edelman Digital weighs in on what he thinks is the reason for the rise in news feed popularity while RSS feeds remain stagnant. Steve points out some interesting differences between the two on Advertising Age's Web site in, "Why News Feed is Growing While RSS Has Stalled: Peers"

What is RSS?
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a delivery device that is used by Internet publications including blogs. When a RSS-enabled Web site adds new content, the updated information immediately goes from RSS feed to your designated RSS aggregator. My RSS aggregator of choice is Bloglines but there are many others to choose from on the Internet, like Google Reader and NewsGator.

Why Use It?
RSS is helpful because it saves you time surfing the Web and actively checking your favorite blogs and sites for updated content, and holds all of your content in one place. I would recommend a web-based aggregator like Bloglines because you have the ability to check for updates when you’re on-the-go, so long as you have access to the Internet. To learn more about RSS feeds visit, Bacons.

RSS and News Feed Trends
Steve sited a Forrester Research report published last month about RSS-feed adoption. In 2005 the survey found that 2% of consumers subscribed to a news feed. Now the percentage is up to 11%. Although this is a huge jump in subscribers, 40% of the remaining 89% of consumers are still uninterested in RSS Feed.

News Feed’s Recent Rise in Popularity
News feed is driven by user updates and has become much more popular thanks to the high volume of social networkers in the Web 2.0 age. Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter with their real-time updates on the home page, allow for instant posts by peers- an important difference between RSS and news feeds, since typically one's peers are their most trusted source of information.

Steve also sited a Cone Communications study which found that "34% of consumers want companies not only to have a presence in social media but to also actively engage. The news feed could become a venue in which to do that, though it won't be through ads. We will demand that actual employees engage us.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How to Brand Your Twitter Page

Posted by Katie Noonan

As anyone who frequents the PRLawyer may have guessed, I have developed a bit of an obsession with Twitter. In fact, I worry that if I dedicate another blog to being a Twitter cheerleader, I might come in one day and find the PRLawyer’s password mysteriously changed. Nevertheless, there is a great blog from Darren Rowse of Twitip that I recommend to any Tweeter interested in branding their Twitter page.

In addition to the 12 generic backgrounds that Twitter provides, you may have noticed in the Settings section under Design that there are options to “Change background image” and “Change design colors.” Rowse urges, and I agree, that changing from the generic aqua blue background is an important first step even if you have no interest in branding your Twitter page. Choosing from one of the other 12 background choices will at the very least make it seem like you’ve actually spent time familiarizing yourself with Twitter’s features and will also show a little personality.

For those looking to create a brand-specific Twitter page there are some great sites on the Web where you can find unique backgrounds, or pay to have a custom background designed. I recommend where there are a myriad of backgrounds to choose from and for $100 you can get a custom background created. For companies using Twitter for customer relations, $100 will likely generate a much higher return when customers start following your Tweets and engaging in dialogue about your products.

If you don’t want to spend the money to get a custom generated Twitter page, you can always attack creating a background yourself. I spent time attempting to brand Gina Rubel’s page using Furia Rubel’s brand materials. It was definitely time consuming, but for Tweeters who have a knack for design this is a viable option. Keep in mind the varying monitor sizes and differences in screen resolution. After spending quite a bit of time to come up with a background I was happy with, I was eager to log on my Mac at home that night, only to find that the formatting was much different.

In his blog, Rowse offers readers plenty of tips, and I encourage anyone who Tweets to read and subscribe to his blog. In the meantime, be sure to update that Twitter page. According to Rowse, “If you don’t care enough to change the standard Twitter avatar and generic Twitter background, what it tells me is that you probably aren’t worth following, and if you’re using Twitter to promote your blog or company and don’t have a custom background, you’re missing out on an excellent opportunity.”

Twitter Background Sites

Monday, November 17, 2008

Looking to American Politics for Tips with Agency Change

Posted by Amanda Walsh

One of the many industry e-mails I receive every day is Issues and Trends from the Public Relations Society of America, or what is more commonly referred to as the PRSA. PRSA is the industry organization for public relations professionals in the United States. As an undergraduate, I was actively involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America, the collegiate branch of the PRSA.

One e-mail just featured the article titled "Election Offers Lessons in Transitions: Ten Timely Tips for Tapping New Blood—and Rotating Staff off Key Accounts" by Roxanna Guilford-Blake from The Council of PR Firms' publication, The Firm Voice.

Although, I'm currently in Spain, the results of the United States Presidential election were felt throughout the world. Damian Corrigan's post on the's Spain Travel Blog is a good read to find out more about the feelings here in Spain.

The overall theme of President-elect Obama's platform is one word, change. According to Roxanna Guilford-Blake, this principle of change applies to agency life as well. I have paraphrased some of the tips below from industry execs for creating and easing into change in the workplace as well.
  • First Ask the Questions… When? and Why? - Change needs to be strategically planned. Find out what is best for the client relationship and the employees. Sometimes a certain account needs new thinking, new ideas and fresh minds working on the team. At that point, proactive as well as reactive actions need to take place. Don't wait for the client to become bored and ask for change. That is a recipe for lost accounts.
  • Next, Focus on the How? - The key to smooth transition is consistent and open communication with the client. The open lines of communication will allow for more preparation time. This can help the agency to staff a client team appropriately for upcoming needs or events.
  • Do not Communicate Change via E-mail - Shifts and changes to an account should not be handled via e-mail. Step-by-step communication, either in person or on the phone, is the best way to ensure that everyone, employees and clients, is on the same page with the transitions.
  • Honesty- Transparent communication is needed in this type of delicate situation. By ensuring honest communication, you are preserving goodwill among the employees and maintaining the client's trust. All those involved deserve to know why the changes are going happen, or why they have been made. Candor can come in handy during these types of situations as well.
  • Radical Change is Not Always the Answer - Consider lower-level employee changes. Mixing up a team ensures fresh ideas and also gives new experience to junior staff members.
  • Recognize Contributions - It is important to acknowledge employees who are leaving current accounts. Engage them in the transitional process and encourage them to share their knowledge of the account and specific industry. Quick assimilation onto a new account is the key to a successful transition for these employees to assuage egos. Going back to the idea of honesty; this will help to preserve bruised egos also.
  • Ensure Proper Training - Proper training and preparation is the responsibility of the firm or agency. Preparing your employees with the knowledge they need to be successful will ease the transition as well.
  • Whenever Possible Consult with the Client First - It is important to cultivate a good working relationship with clients and be open and honest about firm changes. Be sure to include them in the news of new hires or other transitions within the company. If a passionate, driven employee becomes free to work on a specific client account, it is important to relay that information to it least let the client have the option to help decide. The overall key to success during a transition is quick communication. News needs to be conveyed rapidly.
  • Despite Preparation, Bad Chemistry is Possible… and Sometimes Unavoidable - It happens. The best way to deal with this issue is to rely on the good will that has been cultivated with both the client and the employees undergoing the changes. There needs to be an open atmosphere where the client, and even employee, can be comfortable saying, "This isn't working for me."
In the long run, the above tips will pave the way for smoother transitions and make it an easier process for everyone involved.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Crisis in Dakota Reservations - Seeking Assistance

Posted by Gina Rubel

It was brought to my attention by my dear friend, Cheyenne of that there is a large storm Crisis in the Dakotas, and folks are in serious trouble on the reservations. According to her sources, "the seriousness of this hasn't made it into the main news. "

So some of Cheyenne's friends have been in touch with the folks on the ground in the Dakota reservations to determine what people can do to help.

If you are so moved to participate, please do. If you aren't or cannot, would you be so kind as to network this information so those who can will know?

This is the letter that is circulating:

"Greetings Friends and Family,

Just got off the phone with both Richard who is heading up the Black Hills Red Cross,
and Monica, who is working in the Incident Command Post dealing with the crisis in the Black Hills. I asked for a list of things most needed as there is no electricity and heat.

Here it is:
-lamps/ lamp oil
-food that requires no heating or cooking
-gloves, hats
-any other warm clothes

And for anyone who can, I imagine any stoves that could be sent with oil or gas, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Prayers and prayers circles also requested.

Thanks for any and all that can be done. Please network this as far and wide as you can. Time seems to be of the essence. They are so deeply grateful.

I do believe this is the "We" so many great leaders over time all over the world and in America have spoken about, and that so many of us have learned to live as we can.
And perhaps the opportunity to remember and keep remembering all the Original peoples here as we are able, will continue to allow us to become the world we wish to see.

Please send all articles to:

Crazy Horse School
Crazy Horse Rd.
Wamblee, SD 57577

It is important to send to Monica as she is working at the Incident Command, and keeping the inventory for distribution.

Blessings and Gratitude to you all, and thanks again Drai in Denver for putting this in motion and bringing it to my attention.

Connor Sauer
Santa Fe, NM"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Join PPRA in Honoring Lisa Scottoline at the 2008 Gold Medal Awards

If you are in the Philadelphia-area on Monday, November 17, this is a must attend event!

The Philadelphia Public Relations Association Proudly Presents Its 2008 Gold Medal Award to: Author & Philadelphia Inquirer Columnist Lisa Scottoline

With a Special Foreword By Brian Tierney, CEO, Philadelphia Media Holdings

Mistress Of Ceremonies Brenda Jorett, Anchor WHYY Morning Edition

Monday, November 17, 2008
11:30 A.M. To 1:30 P.M.

The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia
Ten Avenue of The Arts
Philadelphia, Pa 19102

After the luncheon, Lisa will be available for pictures and book signing! Visit to Register - $75 for Non-PPRA Members.

Learn from the source how a Philadelphia lawyer turned in her briefcase to become one of the nation’s most-read and most sought-after mystery writers. As a true believer that you should write what you know, Lisa features strong, sexy, smart women from Philadelphia in all fifteen of her books.

The PPRA Gold Medal Award honors individuals and organizations whose accomplishments leave a lasting impact on our community and bring national recognition to Philadelphia.

As a Gold Medal recipient, Lisa joins Walter Annenberg, Governor Edward G. Rendell and nearly 60 other prominent individuals and organizations in the Philadelphia area in receiving this award.

Lisa Scottoline focused the national spotlight to Philadelphia through her books, but we also honor her for her tireless contribution to Philadelphia libraries and the local Italian-American community. Please join us in honoring Lisa Scottoline at a special event you will not want to miss!

Please join us in honoring Lisa Scottoline at a special event you will not want to miss!

Please contact the PPRA Office at 215-557-9865 or with questions.

How to Successfully Write for the Web Site Audience

Posted by Amanda Walsh

I have blogged before about effective writing when it comes to public relations, but this is a new interesting article from Rick Sloboda at Cision's The Navigator, called "Web Writing Tactics That Convert." Rick is a Senior Web Copywriter at Webcopyplus. PR professionals write for many audiences, one of them being visitors to the company Web site. Some special tips from Rick and me are below to help you successfully deliver your message via the Web.

Accurate and concise writing is needed for successful Web site copy. Many consumers browsing the Internet don't read every word on a Web page. Readers simply skim the page for the information they need. Be sure to write in a way that will allow them to easily spot your main message.

Don't bury your message with jargon or clichés. Unlike other forms of communication, online writing does not benefit from the use of clichés. Many times clichés are not able to cross cultural lines and by using them you may be unintentionally limiting your message to a specific country or culture. Remember the audience that you are writing for or those who will most likely visit your Web site. Tailor your message accordingly.

Change your frame of mind. Craft your message with the idea of "you-driven" communication versus "we-driven." Online consumers don't want to know what benefits their business will bring your company, but instead are looking for ways that your company will benefit them.

Provide Testimonials. Testimonials are a great asset to have when developing your Web site. They build credibility for your Web site through third-party praise. Testimonials can be obtained by conducting brief interviews with past or present clients. Be sure to be specific with full names of customers, company names and appropriate links.

Don't Forget the Call to Action! This is the most important part of Web site copy. Tell your audience what you would like them to do! The entire effort of crafting a message will be lost if you don't give your consumers an outlet to act on the information they have just received.

Constantly Tweak and Revise. Monitoring Web site traffic and sales goals and numbers are a great ways to analyze the results of your Web copy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tactics of Hope

Posted by Gina Rubel

My cousin, Peter Furia, is an owner of Seedwell Productions. He sent me this video that they produced about individuals from all walks of life who are creating positive social and environmental change through a movement known as "social entrepreneurship". The groups discussed in the video have been celebrated by Oprah, Jay-Z, Bill Clinton, National Geographic, MTV, CNN, PBS, NBC and others.

This video outlines the core concepts of their book "The Tactics of Hope: How Social Entrepreneurs Are Changing Our World". It explains what social entrepreneurship is, why it has the power to change the world in profound ways, and how people can join the movement.

Video: "The Tactics of Hope - Join the Social Entrepreneur Movement"

The Tactics of Hope mission is to support and inspire individuals to move from concern to action around the issues of poverty, human rights, social justice, and the environment."

The Tactics of Hope Book can be found on

Just think - how can you and your business make a positive difference in the world through grassroots public relations? Tactics of Hope is a great tool to get your PR motor running.

Neen James Gives Tips on Growing Your Business

Posted by Amanda Walsh

This blog post from Lauren Sullivan references a recent seminar held by the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce. Neen James, an international productivity expert and Bucks County resident, shared some "personal touch" tips or her own to help you grow your business. Some tips from Neen James according to Lauren Sullivan are found below:

1. Finding a mentor: When you meet someone who you admire or would like to model your career after. I did this this past summer with Gina Rubel. We had met a few years earlier when she spoke at Temple University. We kept in touch and eventually I was able to start interning in her office, where I learned more valuable business and life lessons in person. This is not only a helpful idea for a recent graduate but also for those looking for a career change or just to expand their business connection network.

2. "Align, Energize and Leverage": This is a great tip from Neen. Focus your energy into things that you are good at doing. You will work twice as hard at the task because you enjoy it and it won't seem like work. You'll be happier and more productive at the same time. Any other things you dread doing, outsource them to others who enjoy them. You will have more time for the things you enjoy and be happier in the long run.

3. Network Efficiently: Let's be honest, no one at a networking event really cares that much about you or your company. The main goal is to find out how you can help them with their business goals. Be an efficient communicator and tailor your message for that audience. Present your business card in a new way- holding it face forward in your palm so it's easy to read.

4. Focus on your current clients: In economic times like these, focus on the clients that you're already working. Use past performance percentages and figures to continue to justify how valuable your services are to the company.

5. Last but not least….Don´t underestimate the value of personalized messages. Handwritten thank you letters, personal voicemails, small gifts are great ways to be remembered. Although I am an advocate of social media it is important not to forget fundamental roots of communication. These are the true ways to be remembered by clients and new business prospects as well. You will surely stand out from the rest by taking that extra five minutes to sit down and genuinely say thank you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ways of Creating Community through Social Media and Online Presence

Posted by Amanda Walsh

I found some really interesting blogs from this list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Social Media from Ron Hudson. Many of these women have great things to share about social media, marketing and public relations. One blog stood out to me because it talked about the ability to create a community in the social media world. Liz Strauss wrote about her Italian grandmother's way of welcoming visitors despite her lack of knowledge of the English language. I can relate to this communication barrier as I continue to learn the Spanish language here in Madrid.

Liz´s grandmother owned a small saloon in Illinois and despite only knowing Italian, she made every visitor feel welcomed and want to return. She had a way of creating a community and connecting with others.

In many ways the following attributes that Liz noticed in her grandmother can be used to help foster a warm and friendly online, social community. Social media brings us all together, with our differences and our varied languages, and provides common ground to stand on.

* Welcome. Liz´s grandmother always smiled at every visitor that came through the saloon doors. In the same way, companies should create Web pages that are user-friendly and maintain an online presence that encourages communication with stakeholders and customers.

* Smile! It says so much without using any words. It is easy to convey happiness and joy through a simple smile. A smile takes such little effort but shows so much! Again, putting customers at ease by creating a blog or twitter account where people feel comfortable giving their opinion.

* See. She paid special attention to each individual she encountered. Despite not fully understanding, she was able to convey her interest by showing she was paying attention. This is also important for companies because once customers give feedback it is important to follow up and address their specific needs or concerns.

* Listen! If you don't have the appropriate words, take the time to listen as best you can. Often you will make the speaker feel so good by just giving them an ear.

* Laugh! It is important to remember this concept when communicating. We are all humans and yes we make mistakes. Liz´s grandmother would often laugh when faltering to find a specific word or meaning. Keep trying until you are understood. A company can use this principle by addressing mistakes quickly and honestly.

This post spoke to me because not only does it apply to real life when not knowing a special language or custom, but these principles can also be applied to social media by using the central idea of connecting people. This can be done by fostering welcoming, friendly environments or taking the time out to listen to a customer's concerns and then following up with them.

I want to leave the readers of ThePRLawyer with this quote from Liz that I feel sums up the article perfectly,

¨My grandmother wasn't afraid to build a bridge on the language she didn't know because she trusted herself to connect in other ways. We can build a bridge to the folks who don't know social media by taking a clue and some cues from things she did. Where are you seeing great examples of hospitality and bridge building in our Internet culture? What can we do to help them grow?”

Thursday, November 06, 2008

PR Week: Hepatitis B Foundation hits the road to raise awareness

By Jaimy Lee, PR Week US, November 05, 2008

John Ellis, a then 17-year-old with hepatitis B, decided to ride his bike from his hometown of Pensacola, FL, to Philadelphia, PA, to raise awareness about the disease for the Hepatitis B Foundation.

Furia Rubel Communications, the foundation's AOR, helped develop a PR campaign – utilizing social media venues – to generate buzz and media interest.

The campaign focused on utilizing social media to better reach Ellis' age demographic. “It was our first concerted effort to reach the younger folks,” says Joan Block, executive director of the Hepatitis B Foundation.

Additionally, the team planned three major events, including the kickoff June 2 in Pensacola and the conclusion party June 23 in Philadelphia. Ellis blogged about his experience during the three-week bike ride and spoke to local media outlets during the trip to raise awareness and encourage people to donate to the Hepatitis B Foundation, says Gina Rubel, president and CEO of Furia Rubel.

Ellis wrote a blog almost every day, posted videos of the ride to YouTube and photos to Flickr, and kept in touch via Facebook as a “way to build momentum,” Rubel says. The chase van was wrapped with the sponsor's logos and Baruch Blumberg, the Nobel Prize winner who discovered the hepatitis B virus, joined the last leg of the bike ride.

More than $21,000 was raised from the campaign, says Leah Rice, senior account coordinator for Furia Rubel. Media hits included the Pensacola News Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Bicycling Magazine.

The foundation will continue to work with Ellis, now a college freshman, when he is available, Block says.

PR team: Hepatitis B Foundation and Furia Rubel Communications (both Doylestown, PA)
Campaign: Believe in the Cure Cycling Tour
Duration: April-July 2008
Budget: $10,000

How to Protect Your Brand in a Down Economy

Posted by Katie Noonan

Last week I blogged about how some well-known brands are addressing consumers’ concerns in a down economy by pushing their value-based offerings. This week I continue the discussion with a great blog from Media Post’s Marketing Daily Commentary on recession-proofing your brand.

According to the article, in a down economy, some businesses choose to cut spending and bunker down until the economy rebounds, still others move ahead with marketing strategies to strengthen their brand while their competitors are also struggling. While cutting costs may seem like the wiser, more conservative approach, often it translates into cutting marketing and public relations budgets and doing long-term damage to your brand.

Author Nicole Granese of Marketing Daily says, “When you cut marketing during a recession, you stop the conversation with your consumer. You are out of sight and ultimately out of mind, putting your brand at risk.” Instead of cutting marketing expenditures altogether, Granese urges companies to reallocate funds to the most effective mediums. I would also add that a down economy presents a great opportunity to shift your focus to free forms of publicity such as search engine optimization and making use of social networking sites if it makes sense for your brand and targets your desired audience.

I encourage everyone to read Granese’s blog for more on recession-proofing your brand.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Holiday Parties – To Have or Have Not

By Gina F. Rubel

Lisa W. Foderaro of the New York Times writes a great piece: Forget Caviar: Holiday Parties Feel the Pinch. Interesting. I wonder if corporate holiday parties are as necessary as they once were. Typically, they have been seen as a PR and marketing tool but they come at a time when our financial markets are uncertain and social calendars are too full to begin with.

While many companies are laying people off and not giving holiday bonuses, others are doing quite well.

I have personally surveyed folks in several service industries and have heard nothing but positive feedback from plaintiffs’ law firms, accounting firms and CPAs, C-level executive HR firms, physicians, and pharmacy executives. On the other side of the coin, nonprofits, pension and hedge funds, publishers, PACs, banks, business associations, restaurants and spas are feeling the pinch. I’ve gotten mixed reviews from corporate law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, advertising executives, business brokers, business coaches, keynote speakers, educational institutions, photographers, videographers, writers and technology providers.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. How is your industry doing? Should businesses continue the tradition of holiday parties? Should they cut back? Is there a more effective means of celebrating with your colleagues?