The best PR movies to watch

Best PR movies to watch
Working in a PR firm as a fresh graduate is tricky. You think you know all about Public Relation when the truth is that you don’t. Once you find out that you know little about PR, you start looking for materials to read so that you can improve your skills and become an expert. That is why it is Public Relations. You have to keep reading about the current situations and be on the know to be a PR practitioner since the world is transforming day by day. It is about learning, learning and nothing else but learning. Now, you can learn about Public Relations through a more interesting way than reading books; watching movies. Below are some of the movies PR practitioners should probably watch;
1. Wag the Dog (1997)
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The movie which starred Dustin Hoffman & Robert De Niro is focused upon a Washington political consultant/PR pro. The movie portrays PR in a negative light. It shows how vulnerable the media and the public are. In the movie, Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro) is referred to as Mr. Fix-it. This speaks to his expertise in handling (fixing) crisis situations. This movie also showcases how powerful entities (government, big business) use their resources to achieve their almost sinister objectives. The movie also brings to light the general attitude of disdain the industry has towards the public. It is clear in the movie that, while the industry is concerned about public opinion, it knows well that the public is gullible and can easily be manipulated through the media.

2. Thank you for smoking
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Nick Naylor, a lobbyist and spokesperson for big tobacco companies, makes his living defending the rights of smokers and manufacturers, taking on those who wish to ban smoking. Nick begins a public relations offensive, spinning away the dangers of cigarettes on TV shows and hiring a Hollywood agent to promote smoking in movies. It describes the process of generating effective publicity as a series of well-tailored arguments that aren’t necessarily even relevant to the matter at hand, but rather meant to shift the focus off of the main concerns. The movie ends with a great quote “Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everybody has a talent.”

3. The candidate
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A charming movie about how a PR pro can create a candidate out of very little material. It’s the quintessential story of how Public Relations can spin truth and shows the power of the industry – for good and for bad. Film about the election campaign of a candidate for the Senate, serving as a pretext to show the inner workings of American politics and political marketing.

4. The Queen
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This film outlines the political events that occurred after the death of Princess Diana. It focuses primarily on discussions between Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair to reach an agreement on the popular request for a period of national mourning and about the public reactions to the silence of the royal family.

5. Nixon(1995)
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This movie represents another movie where PR and politics merge. Anthony Hopkins takes the lead role in this biographical movie of President Richard Nixon, who shows his skills as a political operator by seizing the opportunity provided by the backlash against the antiwar movement to take the presidency in 1968.

6.‘Man of the Year‘ (2006) with Robin Williams
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This movie could be an example of a political election media campaign. An extraordinary candidate completely ruins the stereotype of politicians being serious. He avoids boring speeches and transforms his debates into a funny TV show. Female viewers will be pleased to follow the romantic love story as a bonus.

7. Chicago
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A talented PR manager can be easily identified in the character of the advocate played by Richard Gere.

8. Jerry Maguire
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What list of PR movies could be complete without this classic Tom Cruise flick? From the immortal “Show Me the Money” lines to the disputes with other agents trying to steal his clients, his hard work for his clients and pushing them on marketing, there are many transferable skills from this movie for those of us in PR – and it’s a great one.

9. Primary Colors
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This movie is about political PR consultants helping candidates on their path in politics. From cover-ups in media to spin, handling emergency PR situations it’s enjoyable, entertaining and educational.

10. The Social Network
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Public Relations today of course includes digital media, and if we believe the movie, Public Relations via the Harvard newspaper enabled students to first learn about their new social media platform – and that’s where all the fun began – and continued with negatively planted stories. It tells a great business story – and encompasses both digital media and more traditional public relations stories.

NB: The article is based on research conducted from several websites such as Studymode.com, Business insider and Action pr group.

Welcome to the Content Marketing Revolution

Today’s post is courtesy of Edelman Digital and though the main focus of the piece is content marketing on social media (meaning it should fall under Social Media Wednesdays), it is important to view this new way of content marketing as a PR Tip necessary in order to adapt to the dynamic changes taking place in the world of public relations.

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Posted by 

Edelman Digital, Melbourne

Follow on Twitter @trevoryoung

While corporate gets hung up on the tactical aspects of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the real action is bubbling beneath the surface. For many it’s not as sexy as the social technology platforms we hear about and see in the media every day but it’s equally powerful. Indeed, it’s the ‘secret sauce’ – the fuel that keeps the social web cranking along at breakneck speed.

I’m talking about content and how it can be used to keep your brand connected to the people who matter most to your business, cause or issue – how it can help organisations to:

  • Attract Attention
  • Gain respect
  • Build trust

… with longer-term goal of generating leads and ultimately growing sales revenue. (And let’s face it, which brands don’t want to tick those boxes?).

Emerging from Social Shadows

While we’re (finally) starting to take the notion of social media more seriously here in Australia, in the US the concept of ‘content marketing’ has emerged from the social shadows and is set to explode.

The creation, sharing (and in some instances, curation) of content is becoming a cornerstone marketing activity for many major brands and fast-growth companies.

Strategic Intent

Content can include everything from videos, podcasts, e-books, white papers and case studies through to blog posts, infographics, webinars, microblogging (Twitter), online news releases, mobile phone apps and interactive newsrooms. Used effectively and with strategic intent, content marketing is a powerful means of reaching and engaging with current and potential customers, media and other influencers.

The irony, however, is that despite its huge growth, content marketing is not exactly new. Videos, hard-copy newsletters and custom-published magazines – all corporate communication tools that have been around for years – can be considered content.

Why the sudden interest in content as a cornerstone marketing strategy?

Blame (or more importantly, thank!) the emergence of the social web.

Distribution Channels

Today, any person, company or organisation can establish its own online TV show (vodcast), radio station (podcast) or web-based magazine (blog), while social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook serve as effective and powerful two-way content distribution channels.

Think about it for a moment. Let the concept percolate a bit – swill it around in your mind.

At the risk of repeating myself, we can now communicate directly with the people who matter most to the success of our business – and we can do it with a degree of scale and intensity of connection we’ve not been able to do before. I might also add: cost-effectively and in real-time.

This presents massive opportunities for companies and organisations to bypass the traditional ‘gatekeepers’ – journalists and editors – and engage directly with their constituents.

Empathy and Respect

But this opportunity comes with a caveat – several, actually.

Content marketing is not a sales pitch. Have empathy for your audience. Treat them with respect.

Create compelling content that’s interesting, relevant and worthwhile to your audience: it’s about them, not you.

Solve problems experienced by your audience (add value); tap into the experts in your company (hidden assets); provide credible information (without selling); and shine the spotlight on your customers (take a back seat).

Content marketing can be a powerful strategy. Get involved, but use it cleverly and respectfully … and reap the benefits!

Image credit: Rafael Peñaloza

What PR Courses Actually Need To Teach PR Undergraduates

Ed Zitron PROn today’s Monday PR Tips we have Ed Zitron, the founder of EZ-PR, a PR and Media Relations company based in New York City and Raleigh, North Carolina. He is also of the author of “This Is How You Pitch: How To Kick Ass In Your First Years of PR,” an Amazon bestseller in the PR category. He has worked with companies large and small, including Target and The Nature Publishing Group, as well as smaller startups and tech figureheads.

He was featured in PR in Your Pajamas and discussed the information gap between the PR taught in institutions of higher learning and what graduates need to know and actually experience in the industry.

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In 2005, I took a public relations course at a major state university – PR 101 – and remember the lesson plans clearly:

  • the history of PR
  • writing a “communications brief”
  • writing a press release
  • press conferences

Eventually, I moved on to further classes. They mostly covered press conferences and “advance communications,” a vague summary of different techniques that you might want to use in general PR… activities.

At no point did the courses actually address the media.

This was nearly a full year before Twitter would launch. Facebook wasn’t available outside of colleges. Jon Gruber had been writing for 3 years, and TechCrunch would launch not too long after. Thus we completely missed a chunk of the “social” aspect that makes up the new world of PR, or indeed the importance of bloggers.

Regardless, reading over current PR courses and many textbooks used in courses, it’s clear PR undergrads are being taught to do things that are not part of most PR people’s days. Yes, it’s very exciting to be taught that you’ll be handling big campaigns, or “handling webinars,” or how important AP Style is (which in the grand scheme of things is mostly irrelevant), or how to handle a press conference — one of the most irrelevant skills that you’ll find before a career in high-end corporate PR.

While it may not be deliberate, this is a horrible misrepresentation of the industry as a whole and is leading students down a dark, dark path. The reason behind the failure at the educational level is simple: Many of these teachers are either not active practitioners, or others are fundamentally not good at major parts of the current world of PR. It’s easy to become obsolete if you’re teaching but not practicing.

After some research, I’ve come up with what I believe are the core elements that need to be applied to just about every PR curriculum. They are:

The Realities of PR

PR is no longer about event management. It is not press conferences. It is not glitz and glamor and fancy parties. At least not initially. The world of PR they are entering is cold, over-staffed, over-worked drudgery. It is mostly behind a computer, and the salaries are lower than ever. It’s potentially immensely lucrative if you become well-connected. It does not start that way.

These core lessons need to be ingested immediately:

  • The best way to network is to be yourself. It is not to have a personal brand or “love the media.” It’s about being an interesting human being.
  • Read a lot more. Reading and knowing the news and the world around you is more valuable than being popular on Facebook or loving to party.
  • PR is not flashy, and you will probably not deal with flashy clients for a long time. Many PR agencies sell themselves as working on huge clients like P&G, Samsung, and Gucci. This is not what most will do initially. They will probably work in small tech firms or with restaurants or with non-profits – immensely demanding clients that will not educate them.
  • The first years of PR will be a lot of document-writing, package-stuffing and document work. This fact is for some reason completely hidden from new PR professionals.

Media Relations

Many PR professionals on many blogs say media relations isn’t the core of PR. It isn’t a thing that you “have” to do. I’m sorry, but it is. It always will be, especially for new PR people.

The core elements of media relations are:

  • Researching an outlet and a reporter. This should focus on how to read properly, how to understand and have a rapport with a reporter, and how to understand the structure of each news outlet.
  • Writing a pitch. This should be taught in such a way as to write a pitch that will work to get a response and what you want, under 150 words. This is a very specific skill that is almost totally diametric to how Public Relations courses are taught.
  • The difference between a blogger, a reporter and a producer. The first two parts are somewhat blurred these days – a reporter can blog at a newspaper and a blogger can be called a reporter. However these people are fundamentally different and need to be approached in different ways, especially TV and radio producers.
  • What things are truly newsworthy, and how to actually get reporters to care about them. If a teacher can’t teach this, and teach the reality that many stories are kind of boring, they are not worth their salt.
  • How to actually talk to a person whom you want to write a story. This is really about not talking to them about anything and getting to know what they want to hear about. Once you know that, you can send it to them. Or not, when you don’t have it.

The Reality of Social Media

Social media is taught in a critically dishonest manner by the education system. It’s really exciting to talk about social media in a way that suggests it’s the new golden goose — that a single tweet can spread your news faster than anything else, and that, you too, could have thousands or millions of followers who will share your news in the most passive and useful manner.

Social media classes need to teach:

  • How to use Twitter or Facebook or Instagram in a real sense. You should not just be tweeting out endless praise for your company, or how great you are. You should be an honest company or an honest person.
  • You don’t need always need Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. There is no actual need to have every company with a social presence. Conversely, for many brick and mortar businesses, such as Angie’s List and Houzz for contractors and service businesses, some social media platforms are incredibly important.
  • How a real social media following is built through trust and a reason to actually care. If a company or a restaurant or anyone is just spilling out fatuous nonsense about their lives or how great they are, very few people are going to care.
  • That a social media calendar or strategy can be a waste of time. Mapping out a bunch of tweets or Facebook updates or “special days” for many companies isn’t necessary unless they have an active Facebook or Twitter following.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything they should know, but the core problem with PR education is that a 101 class should give the basics — the groundwork from which a real PR professional should theoretically grow. In the same way that pre-med and med schools exist to give the factual and theoretical ideas that will be used in the actual workplace, PR courses need to provide the theoretical foundation and background knowledge today’s PR professionals will need in their day-to-day work.

What is Professionalism?

Professionalism

Professionalism is a requirement in every job sector under the sun. Whether you are a tailor or a governor, one needs to be skilled, have an ability to make morally sound judgements and be polite and well-mannered in every context. Above all you have to be well trained in that particular skill set in order to do the job well. Watching news on local stations raises serious concerns of professionalism ‘levels’ not just in our politicians but journalists as well.

It goes unsaid- whatever our job description is, we need to be professional in the execution of our requirements. Kirk Hazlett, an Associate Professor of Communication at Curry College in Milton, MA wrote an article titled ‘Professionalism’- What does it really mean and he stated:

  • A professional exudes pride…of accomplishment…of character…of commitment to his or her chosen career field.
  • A professional devotes him- or herself to educating others as to the standards of conduct that define and guide those in that field.
  • A professional is one to whom others look instinctively as an example of “how I should act.”

During social hours with friends and family, one can easily tell whose boss is a professional and whose is not. Complain about our bosses seems to be the norm, and during this social activity, it is impossible to ignore the commonalities in complains lodged by different people.

Plenty a time bosses have been deemed as ‘unreasonable’ and lacking in rational as to what needs to be done. Shouting and yelling is another complaint made by many, not to mention shrewd business deals, overpromising/selling, broken promises and outright manipulation and bullying of others to get their way.

This is type of behaviour is not limited to bosses but employees as well. The purpose of this article is not to witch-hunt or crucify those around us that we deem ‘unprofessional’ in our field or outside, case in point how the Orange Democratic Movement elections were conducted on Friday.  It is easy to throw stones at others for their lack of professionalism. However, there is need to look at ourselves and ask the question, ‘Am I a professional?’

There are general guidelines of what a professional is and those can be found in the Code of Conduct section of the organization manual but professionalism is more than that. It is not merely doing everything by the book but also about character and a commitment to one’s career. Professionalism is a state of being. Are you a person that people look at and think, ‘I would like to be like them.’?

Being punctual to work and meeting deadlines, always being respectful to others despite position/status, constantly updating self to the happening of one’s industry in order to remain relevant, being truthful and not prone to tantrums when things get out of hand- the small things matter. And whether you realize it or not, people observe everything you do.

In order to become a professional, it is important to observe people you deem professional and note their actions and attitudes. You however need not just mimic all they do but rather adopt those actions and attitudes to your own lifestyle and skill set. Steve Jobs is an inspiration to many worldwide, not just those in the tech industry. People take his positive attributes and apply them to their individual fields with the hope of making it in a big way as Jobs did.

Once you, after an honest analysis of self, have achieved ‘professional status’,  become a role model for others.

5 Tips to Turn Your PR Internship Into a Job (from a CEO)

Today’s post is tailored for those in the Fashion industry but the tips offered for turning an internship into a job cut across all industries. For more about PR Couture click here.

 

BY RACHEL MEIS How to turn your PR internship into a Job

If you are hoping to turn your 3-month internship into a full-time, salaried position, that’s great! But you’re going to have to work for it. To put it simply, if you treat your internship as an internship, you probably aren’t ready for a job.  Follow these tips below to show you have what it takes to make it to the next round.

 

Anticipate Needs

Throw out what you think you know about working hard, and get ready to work harder. And be smart about where you spend your energy. The truth is that many interns do the bare minimum. They do what they are asked to do, with as little effort as possible. Instead of only doing what you are assigned, find a few ways each day or week to go above and beyond. Whether your mantra becomes “under promise and over deliver,” or “Ritz Carlton service,” figure out how to anticipate and solve problems, and make everyone in the office’s lives a bit easier. Take out the trash without your boss asking, stay late to help finish a project, ask if anyone needs help with an upcoming event.  You might not always get verbal recognition from your boss, but just because they don’t say something doesn’t mean they didn’t notice.

 

Get a company MBA

During your internship you are testing out this agency or company, just as they are testing you. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to shadow other departments.  Learn as much about the company and how it works so you can figure out where you best fit in as a part of the team. Review old case studies, clippings and client proposals to get a sense of what’s gone on before you came on board and to get a sense for where the firm is headed.

 

Ask for it

If you want your internship to turn into a job, you are going to have to ask your boss.  Most employers won’t offer you a position post internship unless you have shown a clear interest in a more permanent position.  Schedule a face to face with your boss a few weeks before your internship ends. Treat this meeting like a job interview, and come prepared with examples of the impact you have made during your time and ideas for how you can continue to be of service. Be direct about your enthusiasm for continuing to work with your team, boss and clients. Do not frame this conversation in terms of your financial needs, but in terms of your cultural fit and value.

 

Play nice

It can be tempting to bond with your coworkers through office politics, gossip or client complaints, but be warned: this is dangerous territory. Keep conversations positive and productive.  You don’t want anyone to doubt your character when it’s time to decide if you should be part of the team.

 

Be gracious

Never burn a bridge. Even if you hated every minute of your internship, leave on a positive note. Future employers may call your boss, clients or coworkers for a reference, and you want them only singing your praises.  Don’t let one bad internship experience (however valid) stop you from a future opportunity.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Kos-Read

 

CONTENT CALENDARS AREN’T EVIL – THEY’RE JUST ABUSED

This post is courtesy of Dave Fleet.

 

 

I think content calendars are useful tools, but they’re consistently and brutally abused to the point where they can seem evil.

Content calendars are here to stay

Like it or not, content calendars aren’t going anywhere any time soon:

Most companies are still trying to break outside the mold of corporate approvals. Legal and compliance loom large and it can take a long time to develop the trust needed for them to step back. Clients’ need to micro-manage content for fear of inappropriate content making its way online is another significant factor. Frankly, as an agency guy the risk of bypassing those approvals  is too high to be worthwhile anyway.

It’s important to keep one eye on the big picture. Avoiding planning and taking a day-to-day approach runs the risk of veering away from a strategic approach to content and towards a purely tactical, reactive approach. It’s all too easy to find yourself responding to day-to-day business demands (promote this or that sales message; promote this campaign, etc.) and lose track of the big-picture approach which is rarely so sales-driven.

Content calendars enable consistency across channels. Not that companies should ignore the differences between audiences on their different social channels (you’ve done that research on your communities, right?), but consistency can be helpful when coordinating programs.

So, the key is learning how to use them effectively, rather than become slaves to them. With that said, many people right now are either beholden to their calendars, or mistreat them to the point of abuse.

The Three Abuses of Content Calendars

1. Setting it and forgetting it

Too many people think that once they have a content calendar developed and approved, then they’re all set. However, a content calendar is really just a framework for the time period. Every piece of content should be re-evaluated at the beginning of the day when it due to go live, and again immediately beforehand.

Not every company has the resources to adopt a full always-on Creative Newsroom approach; but if you’re going to invest time and money in social media then you should take the time to ensure that what you’re posting is appropriate at the time and not just when you’re planning it.

2. Content calendar as a crutch

Real-Time Content

A content calendar isn’t the full extent of the content that you post. As I noted in a presentation at Social Media Week Toronto this year, companies should aim to leave room for 10-20% of their content to capitalize on relevant news, events and audience-relevant topics alongside their planned content.

3. Using the calendar as a hammer when you really need a screwdriver

Your content calendar is a specific tool for a specific purpose. It’s great for reviewing content schedules over time, and for seeing that bigger picture. Sadly, though, it’s also (as Jeremy notes) often used for copywriting, content editing and many other tasks. This can get messy and complicated, especially if you’re trying to coordinate multiple simultaneous calendars for multiple programs. Your content calendar shouldn’t be a one-stop shop for every content need – other tools make better sense and will drive you less batty in doing so.

This abuse extends to the software itself too. Excel is great for checking post lengths or combining copy with links, but if you’re trying to write content in excel or you’re trying to review creative assets through it, you’re in for a world of hurt. I’m yet to find an off-the-shelf solution that works for everything (although I do like Divvy HQ), so unless you can build your own tool then you’re likely to end up with a mash-up of various others.

Content calendars aren’t evil

All in all, Content calendars aren’t evil; they can serve a valuable purpose. The problem comes when people use the calendar for the wrong ends.

It’s like Carrie (pop culture reference, ahoy) – the poor innocent calendar gets pushed to the point where it breaks, and everyone thinks it’s evil.

Stop blaming the tool; start blaming the abusers.