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Rent-a-crowd 2.0

"Persona management": how automated fake profiles threaten the heart of online community

Robot hands on computer keyboard

There's a reason social media analysts and practitioners harp so much on authenticity: it's one of the underpinnings of the "social" in "social media".

Online community works because of our relationships with each other; those relationships can only happen when you feel as though you know the person you're dealing with. Not everything or even most things about the person, but something true... and something significant enough to let you build a certain level of trust. Discover the other person has misled you about who they are or about their motives, and trust dies.

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How to get your Wikipedia entry changed... without breaking the rules

Wikipedia logo

It's come up three or four times at workshops I've conducted in the past few weeks: people who work for organizations with an entry in Wikipedia, wondering whether and how they can edit it - if, for instance, misinformation creeps in. (I'm assuming you're not trying to sanitize your entry.

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Blog ROI: Psst! Pass it on!

10 ways to maximize your blog's ROI: Part 7, turning readers into messengers

Mouth-to-ear whispering

When you're talking about yourself, your brand or your organization, you may have first-person credibility... but you also have a pretty obvious conflict of interest. Add that to the growing distrust of advertising and public relations - in fact, of institutional communications generally - and you have a challenge.

These days, your audience is putting much more trust in their personal networks: their friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. When they hear a personal message from someone they know, it punches through in a way that organizational communications can't.

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Blog ROI: Firefighting

10 ways to maximize your blog's ROI: Part 5, crisis communications

Firefighter battling blaze

You'll never find your communications skills put to the test more strenuously than during a crisis. Even the best of organizations feels the strain when a crisis hits, whether it's a scandal, a service interruption, a product recall or a natural disaster.

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Blog ROI: Throw out that news release

10 ways to maximize your blog's ROI: Part 3, an alternative to news media

Blogging by typewriter

So far in this 10-part series, we've seen how blogs can give your organization a human voice, and provide valuable feedback from your customers. Now we're going to look at how they can open up a new communications channel to the world: one where you can tell stories that might not make front page news, but can still move your audience.

Many organizations have only two ways to talk to the public about the issues that matter to them: advertising, and mass media - often through a news release.

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YouTube meets The Man

Targeting your video message to the community you want to reach

I had a great conversation on Saturday night with Kate Trgovac on Sean Holman's Public Eye Radio. The topic was Petro-Canada's foray into the video-sharing world of YouTube, a project Kate got rolling for them before moving on to her new gig. (The videos purport to explain why gasoline prices are so high.)

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.