Tag Archives: social media

*Pang* *Flash* G is For ….

Anyone who knows me will immediately think of one G word … “Go.” Yeah, high speed and lots of curves. I thrive at full throttle with steep climbs and sharp curves.

That’s not the G word that matters.IMG_8715f

Others will say it’s got to be God. Well, that’s a big one. Capital G. Still not there though. Perhaps it’s greatness or goodness, or the flip side: grumpy, goofy, gauche … Regardless, these attributes, relevant or not, aren’t that important.

The G word that keeps flashing through my dreams and thoughts is sobering. And a struggle.

Grace.

Is it a noun or a verb? Growing up Christian, I heard it and learned it frequently: man is inherently sinful. God freely gives me grace and erases all the gunk, gook, idiocy, mouthiness and moments of madness from my life. Through Christ his son.
But I can’t help but think that grace extends beyond pulpits and prayer clubs. Grace is act of individual will. It extends unmerited favor from one to another.

The flashes and pangs of grace-mindedness are daily for me. They hit like a combo punch from Rocky Balboa and Clubber Lang, usually when I:

  • Drive behind a moron driving 55 mph in the fast lane on Central Expressway
  • Stand in the grocery line behind a lady oblivious to the rest of the galaxy, slowing reading and debating the value of the 25 coupons she just handed the cashier
  • Work with others who deliver little more than excuses or blame, yet lord over others with self-importance and arrogance
  • Perceive an issue as “petty” while another may not, and continues to chatter, chant, rave and rant, ad nauseum

In each of these real-life cases, I felt a very real pang at the moment I begin my criticism and judgment. “…What about grace, Roy, remember?”

And so I breathe and realize that it’s OK. The slow driver may be new and nervous; the lady in line may be facing the financial crisis of a lifetime; the worker may be ill equipped or in the midst of some crisis that is fragmenting their work performance. And yes, what’s petty to me is irrelevant. If it’s important, then it’s important.

Now blow this up. The world is increasingly anti-grace. We have a conservative pundit attacking an American doctor for being a Christian and a missionary; we have zero-tolerance rules that put teenagers in prison for life—for weed in their cars. We have grandmas and granddads being beaten to death for food, cars and money.

And in the PR profession?Helloooo. We have prima donnas treating junior employees like dogs, interns not being paid for their work and a workplace that’s often cold, harsh and impersonal.

Where is the grace? Where is my grace? The flashes and pangs are reminding me. Helping me. Even encouraging me. They actually rattle me into remembering the countless times I’ve experienced unmerited favor from parents, friends, bosses, colleagues, neighbors and strangers. And God. I can think of at least three times in my life when I did not deserve unmerited favor from someone. If they had chosen zero tolerance, I could have lost everything. Everything.

Grace. Can you find it, face it and pay it forward?

Even now, there’s a circumstance where I’m resisting grace. “They deserve my contempt and wrath …” Yeah. *Pang* *Flash*

OK.

Let’s go to work. See the faces. Think grace.

Go home. See the wife. See the kids. Think grace.

Drive to the store. Think grace.

Then do it.

Grace is a verb.

 

Blatant promotion: Please Follow me on Twitter, www.twitter.com/practicalpr

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Do I have a chronic disease (CLS)? Do you?

I recently discovered I may have CLS. It’s often called CCLS as well. I’m talking about Communicator Lay-off Syndrome, also known as Chronic Communicator Lay-off Syndrome.

sickguyIt seems more prevalent than West Nile, perhaps even the common cold. I got hit last week. I walked into my boss’ office and there stood the Angel of Death: The HR manager. I knew I was dead meat at that point. 

So it was bye-bye, good luck. Sayonara. It’s odd to be struck by CLS, i.e., standing alone in a slow-moving elevator with a cardboard box of trash and trinkets that I’d accumulated.  As I walked through the parking garage to my car, I noticed the pages of my cherished yet aged AP Stylebook flapping in the wind. I had to smile. It was as if the The Great Journalism Spirit in the Sky was waving to catch my attention. “Miller … Miller! Listen up. All the pages haven’t been written in your life or career. Don’t give up, especially when the wind slaps you in the face.” 

So, I seek full-time employment. NOW. CLS  is more real than ever. Seemingly ubiquitous. It never discriminates, no matter your age, gender, industry or where you live. It’s a fact. Look at mid-October. WaggEd layed off 5% of its workforce. That’s 40-plus men and women put on the street. Think about all those journalists that wrote for something called a newspaper — the paper kind. Many are now freelancers. Many said “to hell with it” and started over. I know some who are now Realtors, day traders and even stay-at-home Dads.

Yet, I know I’m blessed. I’ve only been laid off twice during my 25-year communications career. Once in 1993 when my employer was bought by another company. And now, this time.  It is what it is. And here I am. I’m thankful for always pushing myself to never be satisfied with the status quo and what “I know about PR.” When you stop learning and growing, you stop living. You kill your career. You dull your skills. You become obsolete.

I love social media and writing blogs. I like showing a company executive that becoming a subject-matter expert isn’t about being Tony Robbins. It’s about knowing your audience, Telling Your Story and leveraging the expertise of a strategic communicator.

There are good days ahead. And for my colleagues feeling caught in the chronic cycle of CLS, be encouraged. Look in the mirror. Explore, examine and initiate personal change. Improve yourself. Push forward.

Bottom line, just keep moving.  Sometimes, that’s all it take to beat CLS.

-R

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Filed under PR, Roy G. Miller, Social Media, Uncategorized

When your company stuff is “dusty” and “ratchet”: My teen talks

Having several days away from the office and doing very little but hanging with a triple threat of my kids–teenagers (18, 14 and 10 — he thinks he’s one)–brought new revelation to this world we call communications, marketing, PR and social media. I just had no idea.

Cases in point:

  • Dad, that music is so dusty.
  • Really, Dad, the shirt is so ratchet.
  • Dad, don’t use the word stud, you obviously don’t know what it means.

Well then. I stand corrected and a bit baffled by my apparent ignorance — and command of the English language.

“Pray, tell me oh wonderful fruits of my loins, please share thy greatness and wisdom.”

And so they did.

  • First, “dusty” is the equivalent of “so yesterday.” I’d call that obsolete (Dad, that terms is so dus– …).
  • Ratchet. The shirt, it’s gross, ugly. Really downhill, outdated. Stupid. Ratchet. Thanks for the advice, and the kindness in which you shared.
  • Then there’s stud. What once was a genetically groomed horse with fantastic DNA is no more. It has something to do with bi-sexuals … I stopped their Wikopedia-ish insights. Who cares.

Later that same evening as I lamented my new “ratchet” shirt, I realized I had seen some pretty ratchet websites of late, most of which suffered an overdose of, u-m-m-m, dusty-ness.

uglyshirtIt’s 2013. Now is the time to evaluate your marketing collaterals, websites — and how you and your business are communicating to those who buy your products and services. For those companies that still have a Visitor Counter on the top of the webpage, ALERT! That’s dusty and ratchet.

If your color scheme mirrors the earth tones of the 70s, that’s another sign of problems. Have we mentioned animated gifs, Times Roman fonts and the stock photos you can find on almost any other website within your industry?

Time for a refresh? If your site hasn’t been polished in the last 18 to 24 months, take a look, navigate through it, read it and get the opinions of others (none of which report to you).

With a refresh in look, feel and message, there’s more to consider. What is your marketing mix? Have you been doing the same old ads and direct-mail that’s worked since Devo was the music rage? And if social media isn’t part of your mix, think why and why not. It may not be strategic for you. But it may.

Avoid Dusty. Run from Ratchet.

It’s painful to hear. Acknowledge. Accept.

Truly.

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Filed under Dallas, Dallas PR agencies, marketing communications, PR, Public Relations, Uncategorized

Finding resuscitation with a little inspiration … and discipline

It’s shameful to admit. But I will. The PRacticalPR blog went on life support last year. At one point I almost pulled the plug. In my typical winterland ruminations, I’ve moved to a place where some self discipline is in order–a real goal or two included–that helps me. And you. That’s the goal. So here we go, reinvigorated, re-set and ready to share what I’ve learned and continue to learn about work, PR, communications … and a whole lot about living. Let’s get started.

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November 28, 2012 · 2:21 pm

Make-Up Monday: Info You Need

Stories you may have missed.

Enjoy!

4 Ways to Integrate B2B Social Media into Marketing Plans

Click here to find out more!3 Stats to Think About When Crafting Your Social Media Campaign

New Research: 60% of B2B Decision Makers Use Social MediaClick here to find out more!

Managing Stress and Other Small Business TroublesClick here to find out more!

Women Owned Businesses Have Come a Long Way But It’s Not Far Enough

B2B Technology Collateral Consumption Declines YOY

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Filed under Media, PR, Public Relations, Small Business, Social Media

More Power to the Press Release, or Not?

The press release is to public relations what cows are to hamburgers. The press release takes raw information and grinds it up (re-formulated sounds nicer) to share a story that has news value to readers of the media.

News releases follow a specific style and approach that editors and reporters expect. They tell a story with facts and quotes, and avoid exaggeration, clichés and corporate baloney. The press release is the ever-loyal, ever-useful news-sharing tool. It is a Deity in PR.

But the world is a’changin. So what is the news release in today’s world? Increasingly, they are more concise and have an uber-immediacy to them.

So is the press release an ol’ tired dog? I think not. It’s adapting and still alerting the media. But there are other ways—better ways—to share your story, even when it’s not hard-breaking news. One source says Business Wire and PR Newswire send out 1,000 news releases every day. PRWeb? It shows 300 per day, according to the source. Essentially you’re in a knife fight for a reporter’s attention.

Share Your Story in Other Ways

The Story Idea. So what exactly is the story and “news,” and will it pass muster with a reporter or editor? That’s where PR practitioners must do the tough work and talk tough with clients. For example, is it news when a company receives an award? Should a news release be written and distributed to media? Probably not, unless it’s the Nobel or Baldridge Award. What can make this award a relevant and compelling story? Can a story be formulated that broadens the story into a trend, with the award a sub-fact that serves to qualify your client as an innovator? Is there a story direction that delivers valuable insights about how a company–or companies–demonstrate quantifiable excellence and innovation?

The Story Idea–a written and/or verbal pitch–is the PR professional’s primary skill (quality writing and a “news nose.”)  We build the story with key players and potential trends, then back them up with interesting elements and/or hard data. The story will be best with multiple story sources, such as your client, an industry expert and at least one other (a customer).  A solid pitch in writing or in a call with a reporter is often worth more than 100 news releases.

The Bylined Article. The monthly issue of Banana Growers Today magazine is published. Go to page 12 to see Abe Gorilla’s photo next to a headline and page header named “Opinion.” Abe is your client. He’s a banana grower and he’s addressing the issue of “Green & Yellow Bananas: Too Ripe for Consumers?” You placed the story, wrote it for Abe, had him review and tweak, then you submitted it to the publication. They like it. And now it’s published. Now Abe can use that story to promote the company to prospects, customers, even employees. The bylined article turns company executives into subject-matter experts.

The Editorial Calendar. Why write a press release that may get marginal coverage (or none at all), depending on news value, media deadlines, breaking news and more? An alternative approach that often yields results is to identify the most relevant publications read by a client’s target market, then review each publication’s Editorial Calendar, a document that tells exactly what subjects are being covered by a publication. They are usually listed by month or issue date.  This generally gives the client a bigger presence and a stronger story.

Blog Posting and Bloggers. Reaching out to bloggers isn’t secondary anymore. They are as influential–even more so–than traditional media. Whether they are “citizen journalists” with expertise, or personalities from newspapers or analyst firms, they can draw interest to your client’s expertise, insights and announcements. In addition, make sure the client is using social media effectively as well. They can propagate their presence among prospects, customers, employees and suppliers by reaching out to them online.

Customer Braggarts. What’s better than someone tooting your horn? It’s sure more tasty for a reporter to hear how great you are from external sources than hearing you or your paid PR person to brag about you. Get customers involved in your PR efforts. Write case studies. Even consider writing a news release, story pitch or other means that come directly from them to the media. You do the work. They get the glory. And so does your client.

So, is the press release still the Lord of the Corporate World? Just how potent or impotent is it today? Our opinion: It’s overused and often a waste of money and resources. But dead? Not so much.

The PRactical PR Guy

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Filed under Media, news release, PR agencies, press release, Public Relations, RGM Communications, Small Business, Social Media