Expanding Influence #PR #socialmedia

Source: Screenshot of Google Image Search Results on term: press release

Getting press releases, requests from people you don't know to write a blog entry about something you know little about? You're not alone. Here's one I just received yesterday from an iPad app developer:
Hi.  My name is Kyle Tomson, I'm the president of Mobile Education Store.  We are developers of special needs language apps.  Our apps have won quite a few awards are are pretty well though of in the SN and SLP communities.  I heard about your blog at the ISTE conference I just attended and wanted to reach out to you.  If you go to my website,www.mobile-educationstore.com, you can read about us and our apps.  I also have video tutorials of most of my apps available.  If you are interested in investigating any of them further, I would be happy to provide you with promo codes.  I look forward to hearing from you!
That's the second email I've received from this particular developer. And, of course, I also get a slew of these--most go into my virtual Trash can, as well as get added to my filter--"For Immediate Release:"

Wow, come on. Stop it folks! How hard is it to figure out that unless it's educational leadership, technology, free open source, I could care less about the appointment of Kelly Mack, no matter how wonderful s/he is?

And, I've seen a lot of edublogs that post press releases, reinterpreted in a personal way. I'll spare those folks the embarrassment of sharing how they get their content.

When you're a blogger, you're hungry for content to share. Recycling press releases is one way, though not the best way. I like this diagram from Personalize Media...

I can't remember the definition but it breaks out like this...and I'm remixing a bit here. Read the original.
My diagram above takes a different view. Anyone and everyone can have significant influence in the social network, [regardless of what role you play...below is Miguel's interpretation of the roles with original text broken up].

Sharers: You simply share a video or link with a friend or
Creators: Create one from scratch. Each makes a statement and you are influencing.
Critics: People who have more influence are commenters than by simply creating. Your comment can spark more comments and draw attention to the created work.
Consumers: passive watchers/readers
Editors: those who will take content and ‘modify it’ before presenting it.

Also the potential ‘level’ of influence of each group is indicated in the right triangle, and one would imagine a focused blog post or moving YouTube video would have more influence - but as I said before if enough people rate it highly the actual influence is generated by the community, not by the original piece.
PR in the past has been targeted for passive consumers, but I agree with Christie (quoted below) who says that more meaningful contact can be had if a little more time is spent preparing something for the critics and editors. And, should PR specialists target just these two groups and forget about the rest, trusting that their chosen critics and editors will get the word out there?

PR spam is a growing pain in the rear for all bloggers...and few PR firms and companies follow the advice shared here, advice that I've shared in various forms with folks who've emailed me their press releases. Quite a few have turned into nothing more than unsolicited (junk) email to write about their product.

Christie Goodman (San Antonio Byline Blog) writes:
Have you heard of the term PR spam? It’s the practice of blasting out news releases or pitches to lists of contacts with no attempt at tailoring pitches or even verifying that the recipients might be the least bit interested in the content....because of the ease of sending e-mails, the volume of PR spam is growing exponentially. While reporters have mostly tolerated our bad and lazy behavior, bloggers aren’t so willing. We’ve seen them lately ranting online about it, blocking PR spam e-mail domains and publishing the names or domains of offenders.

So, rather than the story becoming in the story, the mis-pitch becomes the story. Of course, many of these spammers are people doing public relations work without any public relations expertise. I wish that was the whole problem. The fact is, many large and small PR firms have been called out. That leaves us with several questions, like: How are we training our PR staff? How are we holding ourselves accountable? How are we measuring media relations success?
Are you getting Public Relations (PR) spam emails? I bet you are but maybe you're thinking you're one of the privileged few, one of the chosen ones especially selected to serve as the messenger to the world. This past week, I received this one:
First allow me to introduce myself: My name is Chris Thilk and I work for MWW Group, a public relations firm. One of our clients here is Samsung and it’s on their behalf that I’m dropping you a line today. Samsung is once again kicking off their Hope for Education program to award a school over $200,000 worth of technology.
Wow, that sure seems like a great opportunity, doesn't it? Let's find out some more...here's the rest of his email:
From the site: “Each year, Samsung's Hope for Education holds a contest where students from schools nationwide can write a 100-word essay about how technology benefits and helps education. In 2008, the top winner receives a grand prize of over $200,000 worth of Samsung technology, Microsoft software and cash grants from DIRECTV, as well as the SCHOOL CHOICE® educational television programming package. Entries are open now. Contest will run until August 31, 2008.”
Here’s the link to the official site: http://pages.samsung.com/us/hopeforeducation/index.html
And this year in addition to a MySpace page (not included here for fear of being banned)
there’s also a Facebook Fan Page people can add (link not included here)
We’re really trying to get more people than ever to submit entries so if you think this is something you’d be interested in mentioning it would be greatly appreciated. I thought, considering your focus on the intersection of technology and education – and the proper usage or tech in the classroom – this might be up your alley.
Let me know if there are any questions you might have.

Best, --Chris
So, does this meet Christie's criteria? Let's see if I can derive the criteria from Christie's post:
  • Is this PR announcement within my blog area of interest?
  • Is this PR email relevant to my audience?
  • Is the author of the email just sending this to a bunch of people--how would I know, except to share it here and find out if you receive an identical email?--or have I been specially targeted?

What other accountability criteria should there be? I'm not a PR guy, but reading some PR blogs/wikis (e.g. MetricsMan) makes me an insta-expert:
  1. Measurable objectives:
    Increase awareness of Hope for Education from 15 to 25% in the next 3 months.
  2. Strategy:
    Enhance visibility of Hope for Education among online educational technologists and edubloggers audienc
  3. Tactic:
    Email prominent (ah, flatter yourself) edubloggers and kindly ask them to write about this in their blogs.
Sheesh, what's so hard about PR? Probably having to put up with know-it-all bloggers!

In the meantime, maybe it's time the rest of turned into participatory spammers...you know, critics of PR spams/products we receive. Thoughts?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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