Category Archives: ValleyPRBlog

Not all PR agencies get it wrong

I received one of those dreaded pitches this week from a PR firm in London.

It had the trademarks of having being picked from a list of bloggers and freelance writers: It started Press Release….

But this one was different. It didn’t have “no-reply’ or some garbled name as its sender. It also had a headline that made me want to open it and read. It was about the PR firm’s client, BBC World News.

You might wonder how relevant is that? I could have signed up for all manner of things on the World Service. But the topic was a series of shows Hard Talk On The Road –on Sri Lanka. It may sound dead simple, making sure the subject was in line with the reader. But let me frame it this way. I get so many of these PR pitches that it sometimes makes me wonder where we have taken this form of communication.

This is an industry (PR and Marcom) where everyone is screaming Web 2.0, every consultant, conference presenter and digital marketing agency is throwing out terms such as ‘Social Media Release” and RSS in every slide deck, and every book that has been published on the subject since Cluetrain Manifesto advises that ‘markets are conversations.’  In other words, stop spamming and start talking.

But all my colleagues at ValleyPRBlog, for instance, say the same thing. We are getting drowned in ridiculous PR Spam. We only complain off and on, and that, too when someone really ticks us off, or someone like Chris Anderson issues a fatwa, and everyone nods their heads and says ‘serves them right.’

But in the past 10 days I got two pitches that were spot on! Two! As such, rather than outing the bad ones, I like to hold up the good agencies and the great PR folk who do one simple task -take time to understand their audience.

  • The first was so good, from Gutenberg Communications, I have agreed to interview the CEO of the company –on Monday. If you’re interested, stay tuned!
  • And there was this from Parys Communications whose pitch was so simple, I could have hit the delete button.

As a writer I give every pitch a chance. If you take the time to filter, we will take time to read!


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Get-rich-tweets and why we fall for them

I want to apologize to any of you who follow me on Twitter if you received a direct message from me saying “hey, I made $384 yesterday. this website showed me how.” Apparently my account was hacked because I may have clicked a link in a similar message from others in my network.

I had contacted two senders from whom I received the suspicious DMs with the shortened URL, and thought I was immune. A reader to my post at ValleyPRBlog confirmed that I too had taken the bait.)

So why are we so vulnerable to the garbage that gets  passed around the Twittersphere faster than you could say Phish? One word: Trust.

  • We screen less: We are so inherently trusting of those in our network, we don’t always take time to check if the email jokes, the ‘Must Read This’ links, or the PPT attachments are safe.
  • We click more. I tend to click more on a shortened URL because I see so much of them. The link economy teaches us to prefer clicking on links rather than typing a URL out.

I have made the point elsewhere that there will soon arise  Trusted Friends, or Network Curators, and these may not even be major brands; they could be individuals with great credentials. People we value, and… trust like crazy!

Speaking of which, I am about to purchase a book on the subject called Trust Agents –co-authored by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. It comes highly recommended. Brogan’s original thesis for the book was that it was about: “people who use the web in a very human way to build influence, reputation, awareness, and who can translate that into some kind of business value.”


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Quotes for the week ending 9 May, 2009

“Gaze tracking is well-established … In the future, the whole image could also be panned left or right as the gaze approaches the edge of the screen.”

Gadgets and how we may use them, in BBC story on Science Beyond Fiction conference in Prague.

“The effects of the swine flu epidemic have been felt in Hollywood.”

Access Hollywood on an e-mail spam message that claimed Madonna had caught the virus.

“Moving from the digital world to print as everything else moves in the other direction may seem contrarian. But people want physicality, especially as more and more of our lives are lived virtually.”

Eileen Gittins, CEO of Blurb, a profitable print-on-demand company that has sold $30 million worth of books in 2008.

“Integration has long been talked about as the holy grail of brand communications. Socialization of media warrants finding it, and fast.”

Chris Perry, executive VP at Weber Shandwick. In Advertisng Age.

“…the greatest facilitators of human conversations, its building itself as a brand based on emotional bonds and trust in a shell of social , web 2.0 services.”

johnhorniblow, talking of Facebook, responding to the above article

“Forever is a word people aren’t used to hearing from marketers. But forever is good. If you could keep every customer you get forever, you’ll be in business for just as long.”

Rohit Bhargava, about the United States Postal Service’s use of a ‘forever stamp’ at the current postage rate, and it would be valid many years later, irrespective of price increases.

“Be warned. It’s me uncensored.”

Megan McCain, on her blog about her use of Twitter. Megan, daughter of John McCain is seen as the new voice of the Republican party. She will publish a book on this subject soon.

“They should be the ones writing the tweets – no ‘ghosttweeting’.”

Linda Vandevrede at, about CEOs use if Twitter. The full report is on Ryan Zuk’s presentation about Twitter.


Press kit not a sales kit in social media world

Great post today by Charlotte Risch, a co-editor of ValleyPRBlog.

How many times have you called up a company for details about a product or service, to be told something like “we don’t have a press kit, but I could send you a PDF of something we took to a trade show…”

If only the Social Media NewsRoom had a lot more takers.

GM’s newsroom looks like a blog, with Flickr, Delicious, and YouTube links.

The image on the left of a 2007 concept car, the Beat, is being pulled off the Flickr site that has some 152 images.

What better way to provide the media with photos, instead of taking months to create and maintain a separate photo archive.


ValleyPR hosts Buzz next Thursday

For all PR folk in the valley, a meet-up event next Thursday.

The event is sponsored by PRNewswire.

More details at ValleyPRBlog.

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Posted by on September 28, 2007 in Arizona, ValleyPRBlog


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