Sylvia Stead offers advice all writers can use

Sylvia Stead, the Globe and Mail’s Public Editor offers some cautionary advice on the most common causes of mistakes by journalists. Stead illustrates these mistakes and their consequences with by referring to recent errors in Globe and Mail stories. According to Stead,

…four root causes of mistakes cover pretty much every mistake. For journalists, it’s worth keeping these things in mind: 1. Stay focused. 2. Don’t hurry. 3. Never assume you know. 4. Check one last time – especially names, numbers and factual statements.

Good advice is advice that can be readily put into effect. And Stead’s advice provides a set of common sense rules that should be remembered by every writer. Regardless of how pressing the deadline, don’t become a casualty of one of these lapses.

 

Inside PR 436: Meerkat pivots, Facebook Reactions, Snapchat videos

Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I are back together again for  Inside PR 436 – the first episode in over a month in which all three of us are together.

Inside PR podcastInside PR MustKnows

In this episode’s #IPRMust Know segment, we talk about Meerkat’s pivot, Facebook Reactions and Snapchat’s big video view numbers.

Meerkat is moving away from live streaming and attempting to pivot to become some type of video social network. Not surprising, given the tight integration of Periscope and Twitter and the introduction of Facebook live videos. It would be tough to see how Meerkat could stand out with the two main realtime social networks offering their own live streaming platforms.

Facebook Reactions have been with us for several weeks now. Chris Penn’s early look at the impact of Facebook Reactions suggested that “haven’t statistically changed engagement yet. If you publish unengaging content, Reactions won’t help you. If you already have a highly-engaged audience, you will likely continue to do so – Reactions don’t appear to make it better or worse.”  We offer our own early reactions to Reactions.

If you didn’t have enough video in your life, take a look at Snapchat. Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel says that Snapchat users are watching more than 8 billion videos per day. There’s clearly an audience for video. So, if you produce video as part of your initiatives, it’s worth checking out what works well on Snapchat.

Fake accounts. Could this happen to you?

We close out this episode with a discussion of the communications agency executive who faked over $250 million in contracts go gain advancement at this advertising agency. Sad but true.

And a big thanks to Suzy Chisholm. Suzy, who heard me state a few episodes back that I preferred single purpose apps over those that take a “Swiss Army Knife” approach. Suzy, who lives in Switzerland, sent us three Swiss Army Knives, branded with the Philips logo (where Suzy works) and a very nice note. Thank you Suzy. You brought smiles to our faces and reminded us that there are times when you want to reach for that one thing that does it all. 🙂

Listen to the podcast

You can listen to this episode or subscribe on iTunes.

This post is first appeared on the Inside PR Podcast blog.

Inside PR 435: Of Twitter, Celebrity Advertising and Advertising Value Equivalency

Gini Dietrich and Martin Waxman fly without me on Inside PR 435. I was traveling for business and unable to record at our usual time.

FIR_itunes-cover_Inside_PR-728x728Martin leads off with a discussion of Jack Dorsey‘s attempt to shift perceptions in the ongoing conversation about the future of Twitter.  Gini talks about the importance of managing crises by participating in conversations  where they are already taking place. As Gini points out, many people resist change to the applications they know and are accustomed to using. That resistance will only be overcome with clear explanations and allowing people time to consider and try the new and changed features.

Speaking of shifting perceptions, Martin and Gini have a great discussion about ads featuring celebrities. And then they use this as a launching point to talk about advertising equivalencies (AVEs) and the importance of the PR industry to measure meaningful outcomes.

(This post originally appeared on the Inside PR blog.)

 

The lost art of making a business phone call

Young people who have grown up with e-mail and texting don’t have a clue how to talk to clients, says the Phone Lady

This article speaks some truths that we should all pay attention to. Too many people use email as their primary means of communication at work. Email is good for transactions, quick agreement or sharing info. But it sucks for resolving differences or building relationships.

Source: The lost art of making a business phone call

Inside PR Podcast 434: Talking about Counselors Academy, Specialization in PR, and Beavertails!

FIR_itunes-cover_Inside_PR-728x728On this week’s episode, Inside PR 434Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I take a look at PRSA’s Counselors Academy this week. The Counselors Academy conference is coming up May 1-3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. All three of us have participated in the past. It is a unique opportunity for PR agency leaders to learn about the “business of the business.” It’s a networking place to find others who share the same business challenges that you do as a communications business leader. In fact, Martin, Gini and I first met at the Counsellors Academy annual conference in Phoenix. It’s not too late to register for this year’s conference. If you do attend, make sure to say hello to Martin! 🙂

For our second topic, Gini asks the question, “Is specialization in PR a thing of the past or the way of the future?” Martin and I weigh in with our views and how they have harnessed generalist and specialist knowledge in their careers. But, why not download the episode or subscribe to the podcast to listen to the complete episode?

Teaching an old podcast new tricks

FIR_itunes cover_Inside_PRThe Inside PR podcast has been continuously produced since 2006. That’s a long time. Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I have co-hosted the podcast for half of that time. (We took over from the podcast’s original co-hosts, Terry Fallis (who also co-founded Thornley Fallis) and David Jones.)

Ten years in, we’re making a change to the way that we record Inside PR that could lead to a significant change to the format of the show that we publish.

For all of its life, we have recorded Inside PR as a double ender, with the hosts each recording their tracks locally on their computer or a dedicated recorder. Following recording, we upload our individual tracks to a shared dropbox. Then the show’s producer edit combines the voice tracks together with the musical intros and outros, edits out the bloopers (yes, there are even more than the ones that you hear) and runs the finished product through a program called Auphonic to eliminate background rumble and level the sound across the different input sources.

Screenshot 2015-12-31 07.52.05About a month ago, we started to use a new tool, Zoom.us that transforms the way that we record the show and opens the possibility to making it available as a video podcast as well as an audio podcast.

Zoom.us replaces the double ender recording of individual tracks onto separate devices with a single online recording which can be downloaded as a single, level-balanced track. This eliminates a lot of work. But even more importantly, it also enables us to capture the recording on video. And we’re keen to add a video component to what until now has been an audio-only podcast.

For now it’s an experiment. If you listen closely to Inside PR episode 428, you’ll hear some significant variations in the sound quality between Gini, Martin and I. We’re attempting to identify the source of the differences – mic quality, the age and specs of the computer, the quality of the internet connection are the obvious first candidates for scrutiny. But as we bring up the general quality level, we hope to move on to offer a video feed in addition to the traditional audio feed. So, stay tuned for that.

Inside PR 427: Get ready for podcasting on Android

Martin WaxmanGini Dietrich and I are back with another episode of the Inside PR podcast. In this episode, we point to several #IPRMustKnows:

  • FIR_itunes cover_Inside_PRGini talks about the backlash against Black Friday consumerism and what one company did, announced it would be closed on Black Friday. A gesture that gained them tremendous positive commentary around social media.
  • Martin tells us that Rogers Publishing is pulling its Canadian fashion magazine, Flare, from newsstands, starting in January 2016. They’re not abandoning the magazine. They’ll keep publishing it digitally, because that’s where their audience is. Traditional magazines continue to evolve.
  • On the growth side of the ledger, podcasts are on their way to the Google Play. US Podcasters are registering their podcasts with the app now. Expect to see the launch to consumers early in 2016.

The US-first launch of podcasts on Google Play, the US-first launch of Facebook Instant News, the US-first launch of the Apple News launch raises an important issue for non-Americans. In a world in which first to market and first to use provides a real advantage, social businesses and marketers outside the US must play catch up again and again.

Finally, we talk about SXSW’s bobble of the gamergate panels. This was big news when it happened and it will be interesting to see how it colours the conference when it opens in March.

Are we talking to ourselves? We hope not. Please let us know what you think about the things we discussed on this episode.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

The Canadian Cabinet’s first day on Twitter

Tweets by the new Canadian Cabinet that resonated most strongly

Tweets by the new Canadian Cabinet that resonated most strongly

Will Canada’s new Cabinet use social media to engage with Canadians?

Canada’s new government was sworn in yesterday. The new Cabinet is dramatically different from its predecessor, with a marked decrease in age, the achievement of gender parity in its composition, and greater diversity of representation.

As I watched the swearing in of the new Cabinet, I wondered whether the new Cabinet will use social media more or differently than their predecessors. And I thought it would be an interesting research project to track their use of it over time.

So, today, I’m launching the first what I intend to be a series of posts looking at how the Trudeau Cabinet is using social media. Today’s post looks at the use of Twitter on the day that Cabinet was sworn in.

How did I go about developing this perspective?

Shortly after the Cabinet was announced, Twitter Canada posted a list of the Twitter IDs of each of the 30 of the 31 incoming Cabinet Ministers. (One Minister, Dominic LeBlanc is not on Twitter.)

I created a watchlist of these IDs in 76insights, the tool we have developed to track which social objects resonate with people. Resonance is the flip side of engagement. Something resonates when it drives people to take action. And on Twitter, this means that people actively shared the post with their friends or added it to their favourites list.

So, what did I see?

76insights resonance graph Trudeau Cabinet November 4 2015

Cabinet Tweets on November 4

The thirty Cabinet Ministers collectively published 86 tweets on their first day in office.  Looking at the total day, we can see that the Cabinet members were more or less silent prior to the 10AM swearing in ceremony. The first to break the silence was Patty Hajdu, who tweeted her excitement at 9:18AM.

The real action began with a tweet from @justintrudeau’s account displaying a Periscope of the swearing in ceremony inside Government House.

Once the ice was broken, the tweets came hard and heavy until mid-afternoon, when there was a relative quiet time. Clearly, Trudeau’s Cabinet realized that tweeting from inside the Cabinet meeting room is a no-no. The first to break the Cabinet meeting silence was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s account, which tweeted the dates of the return of Parliament and the Throne Speech.

Following Trudeau’s post, tweets by his Ministers recommenced at a strong pace. There was a two hour silent period from about 7PM until 9PM, which I assume corresponded to a dinner for the new Cabinet Ministers. But once that was over, the tweets pick up again at 9PM continued until midnight. Who can blame the new Cabinet Ministers for celebrating late into the night what may well have been the best days of their life?

All tweets are not created equal

Collectively, the new Cabinet Ministers 86 tweets were shared or favourited over 24,900 times, for an average resonance score of 289.

Anyone who is on Twitter knows that only some of the things we post will actually resonate with other people. In fact, most tweets go unremarked and trigger zero reaction.

The same was true of these tweets. Some of the Cabinet Ministers’ tweets failed to move anyone to active engagement. On the other hand, some were passed around and favourited thousands of times.

Which tweets resonated most?

When it comes to making a mark, this was clearly Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s day. Two of his tweets resonated most strongly. The most shared and favourited tweet of the day, with a resonance score of 8.36K, was this tweet marking the Justin Trudeau’s swearing in as Prime Minister.

The second most resonant tweet, with a resonance score of 3.33K, was the PM’s early evening open letter to Canadians.

But Trudeau isn’t the only member of his government whose tweets resonated with a large number of people. Several of his Ministers posted tweets that struck a chord.

Canada’s new Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan’s tweet earned a resonance score of 1.78K.

A tweet by Canada’s new Minister of Justice & Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, followed close behind, with a resonance score of 1.1K.

A tweet by Navdeep Bains, the new Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, earned a racked up a resonance score of 826.

Late in the evening, a 10:59PM tweet by new Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna elicited a strong reaction, earning a resonance score of 627.

Finally, Kent Hehr, the new Minister for Veterans Affairs, chalked up a resonance score of 593 with his tweet.

Will they make the most of their potential to engage directly with Canadians?

Obviously, the tweets posted yesterday were more celebratory and thankful than substantive.

However, several of the members of the new Cabinet demonstrated the potential to move large numbers of others to share their messages on twitter. It will be interesting to watch whether they make the most of this potential.

Hangout with Canada’s New Prime Minister

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The swearing in of Canada’s new government today marked a passing of the torch to a new generation. It also saw a huge value shift as traditional Liberal priorities such as International Development, Democratic Institutions, and Science were recognized as full Ministries. In a Cabinet that was remarkable as Canada’s first with gender parity – an equal number of men and women as Ministers.

And one of his first actions as Prime Minister? To reach out to Canada’s youth by participating in a Google Hangout with students from across Canada.

In his post-swearing-in statement, Prime Minister Trudeau said,

“We will shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it is meant to serve. Openness and transparency will be our constant companions, and we will work to restore Canadians’ trust in their government and in our democracy. We are committed to the highest ethical standards and applying the utmost care in the handling of public funds.”

Hopefully, this represents the way that the government will again welcome Canadians into their government.

UPDATE:

It’s come and gone. And at the end, the new Prime Minister told the students who participated that, “I’m really glad that one of my first actions as prime minister is to reach out to grade school right across the country. Politics is never supposed to just be just a speech politicians give that everyone else listens to. It’s about dialogue and conversation.”

If you’re curious about what Justin Trudeau’s first hour as Prime Minister was like, watch the Hangout below.