Happy Dictionary Day!

Ok, so there may not be presents, fireworks or candy to mark the occasion, but we can assure you that lexicographers across the country are certainly celebrating today. (Don’t know what a “lexicographer” is? There’s no better way to partake in this unofficial holiday than to break out your dictionary!)

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Why? Noah Webster, otherwise known as the “father of the American dictionary,” was born today in 1758. Fun fact: It took him 27 years to complete his first dictionary in the English language!

But rather than break out our dusty books in honor of the event, we thought we’d pay homage by talking about what’s inside them, as that’s the true impetus behind this annual observance.

See, as PR professionals, we rely on the word (both written and spoken) daily. Just as Edward Bulwer-Lytton said in 1839, “The pen is mightier than the sword,” we, too, know the power of words and their ability to inform, inspire and even incite action.

Whether we’re writing a pitch, press release or bylined article, we’re constantly aware of the words we choose – and how their tone and meaning will be interpreted. In fact, as we’re creating and circulating information on behalf of our clients, we strive to stay adept at striking a balance between keeping the messaging consistent and the language fresh.

So take a few moments today to open or click onto a dictionary, and peruse a few new words to add to your vocabulary. If you’re in need of some inspiration, go to www.worldwidewords.org, or check out our infographic above, which highlights a few of our personal favorites. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t include a few words from Mark Twain, a man who had a definite way with them:

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

The lesson here for us PR folks? Words are the building blocks for success, as they can help you communicate more clearly, yield better results and separate yourself and your clients from the competition. Use them wisely!

Persuasive Picks for week of 5/21/12

When consumers go online, they expect to receive the same personalized attention they get face-to-face, with engaging experiences throughout their decision-making process. To create those engaging online experiences, MarketingProfs guest blogger Jim Dicso gives readers Five Reasons to Create Online Videos for Your Customers.

Did you know that social media users who receive excellent service from their favorite brands go on to spend, on average, 21 percent more than non-social customers? Shea Bennett at AllTwitter posts more interesting findings from a recent study in Why First Class Customer Service Is The Key To Social Media Success [INFOGRAPHIC].

Looking for Sure-fire ways to improve your brand’s social presence? Social Media Strategist Stephanie Sholnik offers solutions to maximize your productivity to ensure your social media efforts are paying off and benefiting the business on iMediaConnection.

Social Media Overload? Focus on Your Audience, Not the Tools writes Steve Goldstein of The PR News Blog in his latest post that takes a look at how PR professionals can manage it all and show proof that the time invested in each platform is paying off on the bottom line.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 12/06/10

Social Media Success: 5 Lessons From In-House Corporate Teams
Providing internal resources for social media related tasks is almost always a challenge for brands to tackle. What type of success might your brand be able to obtain if creating a dedicated team became a reality? Mashable‘s Amy-Mae Elliott shares five stories from brands that have made the leap and have enjoyed success through building their own social media teams.

Social Media Gains Ground in PR Biz
John Egan of the AustinInnovation blog shares highlights from a recent Vocus survey that shows social media becoming more important to PR professionals throughout 2011.

Does the World Need Another Social Media Site?
Just when you think your social media toolbox is filled with everything you’d ever need, something new pops up to steal your attention. Could Hashable be the next big contender for your social attention? SBTV.com CEO and Fast Company Expert Blogger, Susan Solovic gives a brief run down of what makes Hashable stand out from the crowd.

Five B2B Trends for 2011
A new year typically means that a plethora of “trend prediction” posts will invade the blogosphere. This one in particular caught my eye, as Lisa Nirell from EnergizeGrowth, LLC shares potential trends that will be of interest to those in the B2B space.

Introducing the New (Facebook) Profile
Facebook launched a new look for personal profiles – the new features almost give profiles a LinkedIn type feel. Facebook users can opt-in to use the new profiles now while Facebook plans for a full rollout in the beginning of 2011. Learn more about the changes after the jump and read more on the official Facebook blog.

Spin PR— Spinning Out of Control

This month E! premiered the reality show “The Spin Crowd” which follows celebrity publicists Jonathan Cheban and Simon Huck and their Hollywood PR firm Command PR — self-proclaimed as one of the ‘most visible’ PR firms in the country. When I first tuned into the show I wasn’t surprised by the overuse of stereotypical, shallow LA behavior, but I was disappointed at how little of this show was actually about PR. If you’re interested in good ‘ole mind-numbing reality TV, then The Spin Crowd’s overacted, overly dramatic, oversimplified depiction of celebrity publicity may be right up your alley.

I, on the other hand, was hoping for a real look at the behind the scenes world of celebrity publicity —which is seemingly chic and glamorous and something I’ve always been interested in. Instead of getting insight I could sink my teeth into —I got shallow, poorly acted Hollywood drama queens. I can’t help but feel let down as I was, in fact, hoping that this show would stand apart from its predecessors and really dive into celebrity promotion, publicity strategies and best practices.

I wanted to see how the firm handles big name events, the ever-changing celebrity social media landscape and maybe a crisis or two (and we know there’s plenty) for their superstar clients.  I wanted to see the day-in-the-life of a tireless PR maven — who would share new ideas and insight into the inner workings of the Hollywood PR scene.  But the more I watched, the more frustrated I became. The show loses complete focus of what PR truly is— connecting with others in a valuable and meaningful way—and who PR is truly about—the client. Instead Command PR chooses to take us down a rat hole of wasted money, poor self-images and bad attitudes.

Aside from the lack of PR focus—the show portrays one of the most ridiculous work environments I’ve ever witnessed. 99.9% of those of us in PR have never been exposed to anything like the office environment or behavior this show depicts. In the first episode, Cheban makes and pays for a lip injection appointment for one of his new employees—and when she refuses to get the permanent procedure—he bluntly states “you’re homely — no offense. But this is, like, Hollywood. You need to step it up.” Cheban also spends part of the episode stressing over his own physique — ultimately trying to “freeze” his back fat off.  Absolutely ridiculous. I guess when there isn’t enough drama in your reality show you have to create it and that’s seemingly what they are doing with The Spin Crowd.

PR industry outsiders they wonder — is this what PR is all about? An industry so far removed from reality, common sense and respect? An industry where your looks count for everything, you don’t need to be professional, respect others, work hard, think on your toes or strive to impress your clients? Let me answer for all of my fellow colleagues and the other 99.9% of PR professionals out there – THIS IS NOT PR. At PerkettPR, we work tirelessly for our clients – we know it’s about them, not us. We think. We listen. We ask questions. We constantly look for more ways to innovate. We challenge ourselves with new projects and ideas. We consistently measure our worth in how happy our clients are, how much respect we garner from the press and how our results stack up at the end of each quarter. And we work in a healthy, encouraging, and motivating environment.

So fellow PR professionals, if you had the bad fortune of tuning in and wasting a half-hour of your lives— tell us what you think about the show. Please share your thoughts so we can dispel some of these complete myths about our profession. We are especially interested in hearing from other celebrity PR firms. Do you think this is the way celebrity publicity should be depicted on TV? Are you offended or OK with it? Is there any truth to this? Anything redeeming about this program we missed behind the self-tanner?