Posts by Josh Dare

Writing Woes: The Losing Side of a Particular Punctuation Point

And Now This Important Communications Issue: The Exclamation Point

My eyes caught an article online the other day that included this sentence: “Officials also stated that an innocent 35-year-old passerby who found himself caught up in a long-winded dispute over use of the serial, or Oxford, comma had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” My first reaction was, “damn, so it’s come to that.” I know many people whose ardor toward their preferred rules of grammar and usage is consummate. But it’s hard to believe such passions would end so tragically. Only upon reading further did I realize I was hoodwinked again by a satirical piece from The Onion. …

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Blocking Critics on Facebook Is Not Just Illegal, It’s Bad Business

More than a few years back, we had a client that had an aversion to social media. A small government agency, it was intrigued by the idea of being able to post its news directly to its constituencies on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. After all, such tools were changing – and have changed – the face of public relations and put several target-seeking arrows into the PR quiver. But when the agency realized that citizens would be able to comment on its otherwise oh-so-positive news, it put on the brakes, recoiling over the prospect of John Q. Public not …

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My Take: The Most Influential Marketers of 2018

With apologies to Weiden + Kennedy, whose Nike spot featuring Colin Kaepernick was no doubt the most talked-about spot in 2018, my choice for marketer of the year reflects a strategy that is older than marketing itself and yet has now reached such a critical mass and level of sophistication that it’s difficult to point to anything else that is as effective. I’m talking about influencers. Influencers, of course, have been around for a long time. Asking your friends and neighbors for a recommendation on a plumber or cat food or a financial planner, that’s leaning on them as an …

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PR at Its Core: Actions over Words

Anyone who has received an email from me may have noticed a rather abstruse quote as part of my email signature. It’s an observation by T.S. Eliot in which he asserts that “Being is intelligible only in terms of becoming.” I like it for two reasons. First, it’s derivative enough to demand that you ponder it a bit, like good poets are wont to do. But perhaps more importantly, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, which if you were to reduce it to a bumper sticker basically means “you are what you do.” That’s really the essence of public relations. …

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Debating Media Relations and Content Marketing

There’s a recurring debate in Fredrik Backman’s endearing book, A Man Called Ove, in which the title character and his best friend lock horns over the supremacy of one Swedish car manufacturer over the other. This Volvo vs. Saab rivalry reminds me of the ongoing debate between PR practitioners who subscribe to our traditional strategies of media relations and the more progressive proponents of content marketing. Of course, if you have a two-car garage, and budget is not an issue, the easy answer is to go with both. But that is not always the case, and so we often have …

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News Wires Services: Essential Tool or Ineffective Crutch for Media Relations

When last we met, I was huffing and puffing over the PR anathema commonly referred to as “spray and pray” – i.e. the practice of public relations practitioners indiscriminately carpet bombing the media battlefield with news releases and pitches in the hope that one might hit a receptive target. It’s a tactic loathed by reporters and many PR professionals alike, and what makes it all the more confounding is that it rarely works. So, while I’m on the topic of profligate tactics, let’s talk for a bit about electronic news distribution services, which in many ways are like the electronic …

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Spray and Pray Dismay

Two of my colleagues recently interviewed journalist and author Roben Farzad on what’s becoming one of my favorite podcasts, appropriately enough called It’s a PR Podcast. Roben hosts Full Disclosure on NPR One, is a special correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and used to write for Bloomberg Businessweek. He’s smart and curious, engaging and fun, and he’s also pretty generous with his time. The episode is worth a listen. First, for the sake of full disclosure (speaking of which), I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed on the podcast myself, weighing in mostly on the changes I’ve seen in our …

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A Tale of Two Crises

A little more than a week after blogging about Facebook’s conspicuously tardy response to the Cambridge Analytica dustup, here I am again making much the same point: Nothing exposes a company’s core values more than a crisis. Facebook’s young CEO may like to think that the company puts a premium on speed, but that priority was exposed as a lie when it took 100 hours to utter his first words about what could fairly be called the social platform’s most consequential crisis. (If you missed that blog, you can find it here.) On the heels of that, now comes the …

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Don’t Have a Crisis Communications Plan? Then at Least Do This

Chances are, if you are like many organizations, there’s not a crisis communications plan sitting in your top drawer, one that’s been updated and rehearsed and that lets you sleep soundly at night should some emergency befall you. Undertaking the painstaking process of developing a crisis plan seems to be that task that never quite gets off the back burner, kind of like cleaning out the gutters – there’s always something more pressing or more interesting to do. But then, inevitably, it rains and, well, you know what could happen. As important as a crisis communications plan is, this is …

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Facebook’s Costly 100 Hours

How the company abandoned its core values in a moment of crisis

Five days. That’s how long it took Facebook to respond to perhaps the greatest crisis in the company’s relatively short life. This is not a commentary piling on the company for its failure to abide by one of the core principles of crisis management – to respond early and honestly. After all, they totally blew the former and the jury is out on the latter. But the delay was more than just a strategic mistake. With recriminations flying all around them, users threatening to abandon the platform, senators in high dudgeon over this lapse of security and the company’s stock …

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