Posts by Josh Dare

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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Marketing Lessons from a Prussian King

That dictum from Frederick the Great, the famed Prussian leader known as one of the great military tacticians of all time, has an indisputable ring of truth, even to us civilians. Spread your armies too thinly, and you’ll not have the critical mass to mount a sufficient defense. Makes sense. The same is true of marketing. If you attempt to market to everyone, you really aren’t marketing to anyone. And for the same reason – you’ll have diluted your resources to the point where you are unable to make adequate inroads to even your most important target markets. And yet, …

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Can print-only news conquer the digital monster?

I’ve been mulling over Farhad Manjoo’s recent “State of the Art” column in The New York Times. The paper’s technology writer has gone cold turkey on digitally delivered news, restricting himself to print versions of two national newspapers, his local daily (S.F. Chronicle) and a weekly newsmagazine. What first sounds like heresy for a tech writer, he has now, months later, eased comfortably into the anachronistic rhythms of morning paper deliveries, describing his metamorphosis this way: “Turning off the buzzing breaking-news machine I carry in my pocket was like unshackling myself from a monster who had me on speed dial, …

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Merchandising Your Media Hit Will Turbocharge It

There was a time when landing a key media relations hit was the be-all end-all of public relations. But today, securing that placement is merely just lighting the flame of its potentially luminous value. It will burn even brighter if you put the right merchandising fire behind it. What do I mean? Media relations works First, let’s acknowledge that there is great power in a media placement. It raises your profile, establishes credibility and provides a third-party, objective endorsement that your company or your products are legit. And it goes a long way toward expanding the scope and breadth of …

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Five Questions to Unlock Your Story

I want to tell you a story…about storytelling. Over the past 16 years, I can’t recall a client who has walked through our door that did not have an interesting story. How they were founded. How they have conceived unique solutions to confounding problems. How they turned imminent failure into great success. How they have devised a better mousetrap. And the ever popular, how they were the best kept secret around. What’s curious is that, more often than not, those stories were not always readily apparent. Only by the dint of our questions and exploration, of prodding them here and …

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Stifling Communication Is Not a Public Relations Tool

Sydney Pollack’s masterful 1981 movie “Absence of Malice” holds for me a memorable scene. Without giving away the plot (cause if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and download it on Netflix), a character confides some deeply personal and scandalous information to a reporter, who begins scribbling notes for the next day’s front page. Anxious as to how the story will turn out, the woman spends the night on her front steps, nervously awaiting the dawn’s paper boy. When she retrieves the paper from her dewy lawn and opens it, she is crestfallen. And then she does something …

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