Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/26/08

Weezer - Pork and BeansTag Recommendations for Content: Ready to Filter Noise?
Properly tagging your content can go a long way to improving your visibility on the Net. Hutch Carpenter shares his review of four bookmarking and tagging services you can use to boost your “Google-Juice.”

Death of Education and the Dawn of Learning
Here’s a great post on the Servant of Chaos blog that speaks to the way kids communicate in a Web 2.0 world and how the education system needs to catch up. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s employees and customers. Will your business survive if you don’t join the social media/network space?

Charity Auction: Buy Yourself a Social Media Guru
Buy yourself time with one of five social media and online marketing experts as part of this excellent charity auction. The toughest part will be deciding on which guru to bid on with the talents of Chris Brogan, Joseph Jaffe, Aaron Strout, Geoff Livingston and Greg Verdino up for grabs!

Basic Business Blogging Suggestions
Speaking of Chris Brogan, this post he wrote earlier this week provides some nice basic information for companies that are just starting to launch a blog. As usual, Chris’s community of readers are providing great comments to the post, so be sure to read through those as well!

Pork and Beans
I’ll wrap up this week with something entertaining. Here’s a link to the new Weezer video that has been released by the band to promote the new single. The relevance? They included noteable internet “celebrities” in the video which is a sure-fire way to boost it’s potential for going viral.

Does Anyone Know a Good PR Firm?

Well, sure! But the question is… is it the right firm for you?

I’ve noticed this question being posed a lot lately on LinkedIn Answers, Twitter and other communities. Sometimes we chime in, sometimes we just mine for competitive intelligence. It’s interesting to see the PR firms who take the time to provide context as to why they might be a good firm, rather than a self-serving (and, perhaps, lazy) statement such as “PerkettPR is the best” with a URL. Those answers in and of themselves should be very telling.

We thought we’d share some tips here on finding a good PR firm - for you.

What type of questions does the PR firm ask? Or do they? If they spend the entire first conversation or meeting just talking about themselves, this should raise some flags. How will they know if they can help reach your goals if they don’t ask what those goals are?

Are the executives meeting with you the ones who will be on the team? If not, why not? You’ve heard it before, but it amazes me how many prospects still come to us with a recent “bait and switch” complaint. If the CEO (or VP overseeing the practice) is present – and he/she should be so you can get a feel for the culture and leadership – what, if any, role will he/she play? (Keeping in mind they cannot possibly work daily on every account and if they tell you they do – they’re lying.)

How many accounts are the proposed PR team members on? Ask them to name them. Ask those same executives to give you an example of a recent strategy they recommended for one of those clients and how it was brought to fruition or made an impact.

Do the executives in the meeting use words such as “me,” “mine” and “I” or “we,” “us” and “ours”? PR agencies are teams. Good ones emphasize this across their culture in every way.

If something is important to you – take social media, for example – ask how all the team members are involved or have had experience with it. If social media is key and just one executive is active and involved (on Twitter, for example), that doesn’t bode well for the entire team’s knowledge or expertise in that area. One person is not enough. These types of initiatives should be embraced – and practiced – at every level of the agency. It’s equally important for the senior executives to demonstrate their working knowledge – and involvement in – the tactics executed by the account team.

How do they measure – and demonstrate – results? Any PR firm worth their retainer is going to tell you what you can expect ahead of time, and then clearly measure against those metrics on a regular basis.

Are budgets tied directly to hours? A good PR firm should build a budget around what they believe they can do for you and provide metrics in other ways. If it takes them 10 or 20 hours to reach such metrics, that shouldn’t be your problem. You don’t want the team stopping in the middle of an important project or launch because “we’ve reached our hours.” That’s so 1999.

Do they demonstrate a clear understanding of what is important and applicable to your business and your goals, not just what’s “hot”? For example, social media is fabulous, Twitter rocks when it’s working – but they aren’t appropriate for every client. Make sure the firm executives aren’t just using the latest buzzwords when discussing their approach. How does it apply to your needs? How do they foresee it helping your business?

Keep in mind that while a PR firm may not have experience directly in your space, relevant experience comes in many forms. A good firm – and experienced executives – can quickly learn and promote new technologies, products, companies or individuals. We’re professional relationship builders. Instead, ask for examples of how they helped promote a client in a market that they had never before worked in – and what the results were.

Like them. I don’t think I need to explain this one, do I?

What elements have you found to be valuable in your working relationships with PR firms? What do you like? What do you wish our industry would improve?

Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/19/08

Memorial Day CupcakesMarketing Jobs of the Future
Valeria Maltoni dives into the rapidly changing role of today’s marketer and gives some good incite into where the space is going and the challenges of hiring for marketing positions. She also includes a nice link to my post on SocialMediaToday.com featuring a video of Aaron Strout, VP of New Media for Mzinga (client) speaking about hiring and getting hired in a Web 2.0 world.

10 Green Social Networks You Should Know
With all sorts of people and businesses jumping on the “Go Green” bandwagon, it was only a matter of time until “Green” oriented social networks started popping up. This post lists 10 such sites that will let you connect with fellow environmentally-minded individuals.

5 Quick Tips on Pitching Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists
PerkettPR’s attendance at multiple TechCrunch, TechCockTail and PopSignal events definitely brought to light that there’s certainly no shortage of start-up companies looking for money. This post from Ben Yokosvitz’s Insigator Blog gives some good advice on successful pitching during your fund raising efforts.

Robert Scoble Joins Up with Revision3
There aren’t many details available about Robert Scoble’s newly announced show (called WorkFast.TV) on Revision3, so we’ll just have to wait and see what comes out in the upcoming weeks. However, this post includes an interesting speech from Scoble about his use of Twitter during the recent Chinese Earthquake.

Celebrity tipping point on Seesmic
Video conversation platform Seesmic created a big buzz earlier this week when several celebrities appeared in interviews on the service. Famous names included Harrison Ford, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg to name a few.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Persuasive Picks and for those in the United States – have a great Memorial Day weekend!

PerkettPR’s Heather Mosley featured on MyRaganTV.com

PerkettPR’s very own executive vice president, Heather Mosley, is featured in this video interview from MyRaganTV.com. She was selected to participate in their “First Person: Conversations with Communicators” video series during PerkettPR’s speaking engagement at the 2008 Ragan Conference. In the video, Heather explains how PR professionals utilize social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs and Twitter as part of their recipe for success. (You can follow Heather on Twitter via @mosleyppr)



Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/12/08

Why Twitter Matters
As the popularity of Twitter continues to grow, we’re starting to see it gain more mainstream press coverage. This post on BusinessWeek.com by Stephen Baker dives into what the future might hold for the Twitterverse.

Best Social Media Advice From This Site
Chris Brogan compiles some of the best and most informative posts on his site and breaks them up into categories for mass consumption. Enjoy filling your brain with this Social Media feast!

Answers to all of your Groundswell questions
From one information packed pick to another! Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li provide answers to the many Groundswell related questions that came to them from the 700+ people who joined their recent webinar.

SEO Quick Tips
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is generally an area of expertise that can take a good portion of mental bandwidth to master. However, most readers will find value in getting some exposure to the basics. Steve Spalding from the “How to Spilt an Atom” blog posted these SEO Quick Tips that were shared with him by Mark Hager of Knoxville, TN Web Design.

CBS to Acquire CNET for $1.8 Billion
Definitely the most highly “tweeted” acquisition story this week. It should be interesting to see how CNET’s content changes and what plans CBS really has in-store post merger.

Top Time-wasters for Web Workers (And How to Cure Them)
Valuable advice for those (like you) who utilize the web on a daily basis. Just be sure to practice the cures AFTER you finish being distracted by this week’s Persuasive Picks!!