December 31, 2007

Laptop Pisser of the Year

Well, I have been traveling around and my HP Pavilion laptop's hard drive failed while in FL. I am somewhat bummed because I had drafted a few posts that were good and wanted to share them, but unfortunately saved all posts on my hard drive which failed.

What a pisser.

Anyways, I wanted to praise Staples for their excellent service offered while dealing with the hard drive failure, which happened on New Year's Eve. I was extreamly surprised by the fact that Staples (which carries my extended warrenty) had tech support available on New Years Eve, but they did and were able to help.

It sucks that my HP laptop's hard drive failed, but the fact that Staples (my extended warrenty carrier) was able to help on New Years makes me happy to be a valued customer.

With that said, once I get back to VT it will be a few days until I am able to blog again. So Happy New Year and see you in 2008 when my laptop is repaired.


JJ Ciempa

December 12, 2007

I am an ENFP

Over the last few weeks our office has been involved in discovering the type of work and communication styles each of the team members are as a way to learn more about how to effectively work together.  

We have been using the Myers-Briggs type indicator to deDolphintermine what each of our personality types are and interestingly enough my type has a natural draw toward begin a journalist (ENFP). This is a strong indication to why I chose public relations as my profession. I also learned that the dolphin is the animal that represents an ENFP.

To break it down for you, my letters stand for:

E = Extroverted; N = Intuition; F=Feeling; P = Perceiving 

After completing our team building I learned new ways to communicate with the other 15 different personality types. In addition, I gained an understanding that my profile is good for intuitively seeing underlying connections between relationships. This is particularly important since the "R" in PR is all about relationship building and maintaining.

An ENFP is also known for their role as the "inspirer." We are able to invest into a relationship with another individual and stir up some inspiration to get ideas started and goals accomplished.   

Our uncanny ability to intuitively understand people within a relatively short period of time proves that we are an asset for any "PR" position because we see important relations connections that others cannot.

Our decision making process is based on intuition and perception which for other types may come off as soft facts. However, we consider the impact of a decision on a personal level and try to accommodate everyone's interests.

As for the "limited" negatives that come with an ENFP. We can tend to fail with follow through on our duties if we do not feel excited about them and need to keep ourselves in check so that we do not jump to the wrong conclusions.

Aside from that we are born communicators, risk-taking, ingenious, people-focused, intuitive and energetic people with a wide range of abilities and possibilities to embrace and bring to the world around us.

Let me know what your type is and feel free to comment about mine...

December 4, 2007

Thoughts about pitching to bloggers

While reading the "Global Neighborhoods" blog titled, "Note to communicators: Join in, don't pitch" the following thoughts came to mind and compelled me to post the following comment.

Unfortunately, I think part of the problem is that many agencies push their publicists to pitch to influentials rather than contribute to the conversation. In a strict business sense it is viewed as a more cost effective way to disseminate information because it can reach a wider range of “influentials.”

That same release that was sent to you, most likely went to other bloggers with a similar beat. The tactic of pitching only requires a publicist to draft a generic news release that can then be sent to hundreds of editors, journalists, bloggers and key influencers with the hopes that at least 30% of the recipients run with the information.

What you are asking is for the publicist to join in many different conversations. This would require many tailored bits of information and a higher level of involvement that is not as cost effective. Imagine the amount of time that it would take to write 100 different releases of information, tailored to specific conversations of that day’s post.

I will ask my first question: What has a better return on investment when attempting to get a client into the blogosphere? Pitching a generic news release or building relationship by joining in on the conversation?

As summed up by Katie Paine in her new book “Measuring Public Relationships” ( many of us tend to forget that the “R” in “PR” stands for relations. Thus, many publicists do not focus on building relationships with the influentials that they rely on. Instead, they solicit them with news release emails, phone calls and negative attitude if the release is not picked up in the media outlet.

I will ask a second question: What's more valuable? Generating a many hits with a generic news release or building dialogue with bloggers?

Focusing on generating blog hits through shotgun pitching strategies is not a good way to show any client ROI. If successful all you accomplish is getting it through the gatekeeper at that moment in time, but eventually the backlash will be that the blogger you keep pitching too feels abused and eventually blacklists you severing the relationship building opportunities that could have blossomed by joining in on the conversation.

My third question is how do you make blogging more cost effective? As for solving the problem of how to join in many conversations, a publicist should not be the only person blogging for a client. They should build a blog list and offer higher level strategy and best practices advice to the client on how to appropriately blog. They should also encourage the client to get employees engaged in all blogging efforts. There is no one who can talk more about the company than its employees.

Finally, does pitching have a place in PR? For much of traditional media, pitching will never go away. For example, the only way to get into the Wall Street Journal print edition is to pitch your story to a key reporter or buy advertising. However, I agree with you and many other bloggers (myself being new to the game) that a publicist should not try to infuse old communication techniques, such as pitching a story, to new media outlets, such as blogs.

Bloggers start blogs to create a forum for open discussion on a topic of interest that the blogger enjoys facilitating and is knowledgeable about. People go to blogs to participate in conversation and share ideas and opinions, while they go to traditional news outlets to consume vetted information.

As a side note, I want to point out that I am not affiliated with Katie Paine or her new book. Rather, I’m in the process of reading the first pages and felt compelled to share some thoughts from reading her book in my comment. I also recommend it to anyone looking for solid information about measuring their public relations.

Feel free to comment on my latest thoughts.