Posts by Josh Dare

For 50 million Americans, Facebook is their only source of news. Really?

You might say that I’m an old news guy. I get my news from traditional sources. There’s a Richmond Times-Dispatch in my driveway every morning, and my bathroom and car radios are both set to 88.9, the local NPR station. At work, a copy of The Washington Post waits for me when I get in. And so, by the time I start my day, I’m fairly up-to-speed on what is happening in my hometown and the world in general. That’s pretty much been the history of my news consumption throughout my adult life. But that doesn’t mean that things haven’t …

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Six-Second PR?

A recent piece in Adweek, Why Brands and Agencies Are Preparing for the Era of 6-Second Ads, is predicting that these “snackable” ads – even shorter than the time food takes to get from your mouth to your stomach – will begin to come into their own, if not by the end of this year, then by 2018. And the future may already be here. The NFL started using 6-second spots during this season’s games on Fox. The reason: the bite-sized videos are ideal for attracting Millennials and Gen Z, who, at least stereotypically, have little patience for longer-form formats. …

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Finding a Seat at the (Head) Table for PR

Back in 1998, I was the director of communications for a Circuit City-backed startup that was poised to introduce a new product to the marketplace that we hoped would reinvent the video rental business.  Company management had made the strategic decision to pilot the product rollout in two cities where retail distribution would be strong – Richmond and San Francisco.  And so I went about putting together a media relations strategy designed to engender consumer excitement about the imminent availability of a product that had been years in development. This was going to be fun. But then I was handed …

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B2B Marketers: LinkedIn is not always your best platform

When it comes to B2B marketing on social platforms, there is something almost Pavlovian about the way many marketers default to LinkedIn. Intuitively, it may make sense. LinkedIn is the platform where you wear your work clothes. It’s where your posts showcase your business acumen, where you interact with like-minded professionals. Think of it as a giant online Rotary Club. Meet the right people, and there are deals to be had, jobs to be won. But LinkedIn may not always be the right choice, even for companies whose marketing is exclusively B2B. There are good reasons not to overlook a …

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When the Best Strategy is to Say Nothing

I’ve been in public relations for close to four decades, and based on that experience, I believe that most journalists are fair, conscientious and accurate. Sure, there have been exceptions to the rule, but by and large, my respect for the Fourth Estate runs deep. And so when a reporter calls asking for an interview or quote, I do my best to try to accommodate those requests, even when the issue that has prompted the call is an uncomfortable one. I believe that media relations is a two-way street, and if we are to ask reporters to consider our pitches, …

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On Branding: the Power of Trump’s, the Impotence of United’s

Branding Always Trumps Messaging

We spend a lot of time working with our clients on their core messaging. What are the two to three essential points that your organization wants to convey to your key audiences? In an ideal world, that positioning is a direct reflection of your brand, the essential distinguishing characteristic that defines who you are. But it’s important to note that brands are not built simply by way of messaging. Rather, they are sum total of the actions that an organization takes. The decisions you make that dictate the quality of your products or services, your internal culture and values, how …

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Overcoming the Startup PR Paradox

I love startup companies. I’ve been involved on the ground floor of a few in my career, and the energy around launching something new and all your own is infectious and transcendent. The days fly by while the nights are restless, stirred alternately by grandiose dreams and abject worry. Startups come to us on a fairly regular basis, mostly in the hope that we can help raise awareness about their venture and establish some credibility with key targets. Most often, however, they must confront what I call the Startup PR Paradox: they want publicity so they can get customers, and …

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United doesn’t have a PR problem; it’s far worse than that

I have attorney friends who are regularly queried about one high-profile legal case or another. Will the latest version of the president’s travel ban hold up in court? Is North Carolina’s bathroom bill constitutional? Will O.J. ever make parole? Once you get your law degree, I suppose such questions come with the territory. So it is with public relations professionals, and so when a United Airlines passenger of Chinese descent is dragged forcibly from his seat to the horror of onlooking passengers, folks like me get the predictable questions about how we’d address United’s “PR problem.” But to my mind, …

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Distinguishing Your Content: Blog vs. eNewsletter

If your content program is working right, the number of followers who are hanging on every word of your blog posts should be growing month in and month out. By providing expert insights, delivering tips to customers and prospects alike on ways to enhance their business and educating readers about new trends and products – and all without shamelessly promoting your own amazing self – you should be moving the needle on increasing your base of followers. (And if not, let’s talk. You may not be as amazing as you think.) Growing the ranks of your fan base is only …

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The Threat to PR of Fake News

One of the most compelling reasons to undertake a media relations campaign is the credibility that placements in newspapers and magazines and other outlets give the subject of the coverage (assuming, that is, the coverage is positive). Readers and viewers assume that if a company or product merits a story, then it must be legit. That’s why you used to get clippings of stories from your grandmother. A case in point: in the early years of our agency, we were working with Snagajob, which wasn’t much older than us back then. The company needed to get in front of the …

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