PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

PR Book Club

A couple of weeks ago, Rachel Esterline sent out an idea on Twitter she had about a PR book club. I’ll be quite honest – I need to read more books. I read books for class (most of the time), subscribe to way too much on Google Reader to feed my news junkiness and make time to read The State News in print every day. But I don’t pick up too many books.

Thus, the PR Book Club for students and professionals begins. (We’re looking for a new name and we’re looking for suggestions!)

In case you haven’t heard me ramble about this, one of the things I’m most passionate about is professional development. Yes, more reading on top of what you are assigned as a student or your workload as a professional (or sometimes both), but I think you can and should make time for this.

Here’s my current book list on deck, and hopefully we’ll get to some of these:

new_rules_book_cover1The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott. Although it’s part of my New Media Drivers License class, I’ve had this for a while, just haven’t had time to read. I started reading it yesterday, and it’s incredibly engaging.

groundswellGroundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. This book has been recommended by me way too many times for me to ignore it.

stephen-covey-7-habits-of-highly-effective-peopleThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey. This, too, is a book highly recommended by friends and colleagues.

presentation-zen-bookPresentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. This is the second book that’s part of my NMDL course. Anyone in the marketing field can use a refresher course on solid presentations. Working in sales, I’m excited to improve my presentation skills.

ogilvy-on-advertising2Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy. He does advertising, I do PR, but I think this is going to be a good one.

Rachel is heading up the group and is seeking interested members. Head over to her blog and comment to be part of something really awesome.

Filed under: New Media Drivers License, PR Book Club, Professional Development, Public Relations, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Advertising Faux Pas

I got an e-mail recently from a student organization list-serv from an alum of the organization. It was a friendly “hello, check out what I’m up to” kind of e-mail, but I also had some problems with it. As a disclosure, I won’t mention any specifics on names, agencies, companies, etc.

The context of the e-mail was a call to action for two things. By the way, the product featured in this e-mail was not targeted to students. The agency had build a site for the client and the message encouraged all readers to check out the site. OK, besides the shameless self-promotion, this wasn’t that big of a deal. I almost deleted it until I read the next part; it encouraged readers to order information about the product. This was the deal breaker for me. But still, I went on. At the end of the paragraph talking about how if we sign up, we will get 2 or 3 follow up e-mail (pretty vague, huh?), the last line was: “I get bonus points…”

Sending out an e-mail to a student pre-professional association when it has nothing to do with their education is one thing, but when you stress the importance of clicking on the Web site and ordering information seemingly to only bring back the statistics to your client… well, that’s another story. Furthermore, trying to make people forward your message on to others in hopes of making it a viral campaign will not work.

The big thing in advertising is proving ROI to your clients. Sometimes, you will have companies that know and understand the power of successful branding that doesn’t necessarily bring in huge ROI. And sometimes, you will have companies that are number crunchers and try to put a value on the different kinds of branding.

Working in advertising sales for The State News, I can relate to this situation. My co-worker and fellow blogger Katy Homanick talked about this with me. Just like the rest of the newspaper industry, classified sales have been hurt my such sites as Craig’s List, ULoop and even Facebook. When I sell a classified ad, I always call back at the end of the insertions to see how everything went. I ask what kind of response they got, and sometimes, I get the inevitable “no one called.” I believe in my product, so I will always recommend changing up the ad, throwing in some bolded words or any other feature we offer. Even so, some ads just don’t work out.

However, I will never, never encourage friends or colleagues to call on an ad just to make sure my client gets “results” and is thus happy with my work.

It seems as though that’s what happened today.

For me, what it comes down to is client service. I might be at the beginning of my career, but I have become familiar with the importance of being honest. If you brought these stats to your client showing an inflated number of visitors to the site, is that ethical? I don’t think so, and I would never do that.

What do you think? Was this unethical? What other strategies or tactics could this agency have used to encourage visits to the site?

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