Welcome to the New Wave of PR

via Leonardsipes.com


Gone are the days of sending out press releases via “snail mail” and physically cutting newspaper articles out with scissors and pasting them into a clip book. No one uses a rolodex to look up contacts or land lines to check into the office. While the essence of public relations has remained the same over the years – to protect, manage and improve a brand or company’s reputation – the introduction of the web and social media has drastically transformed the way PR professionals operate.

In order for our PR efforts to continue to be successful in the changing market, PR professionals now have to change who we pitch and how we pitch depending on the media outlet. While pitching to newspapers, magazines and broadcast is still a crucial component to the PR industry, the web has introduced another extremely valuable media channel: the blog. Blogs allow PR professionals to locate and target niche markets for nearly every topic imaginable which gives insight into trending topics and online influencers.

The introduction of blogs has changed the way PR professionals write their press releases today. As pointed out in the book, The New Rules of PR by David Meerman Scott, in the past, press releases were only pitched to press. They were only written when major news occurred and were only made public if a journalist chose to make the news into a story. Today, however, press releases are created to reach consumers directly, include links to other sources of valuable information and are sent out much more frequently.

Frequent and “digitized” press releases are the most successful in today’s world, suggests the PRSA in a recent post. Digitized releases include links and social media outlets so readers can easily share news. Digitized press releases, as PRSA explains, also incorporate carefully chosen keywords to improve search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is a key element of a press release that PR professionals never had to think about just a few years ago. However, having a keyword-rich copy is crucial today since a great press release is useless if the right people can’t find it. To further increase the chances of a press release being found, the PRSA explains that the new wave of PR professionals turn to social media to tweet their releases and post their releases on Facebook for optimum exposure. But sharing news is just one of the many ways PR professionals employ social media on a day-to-day basis.

Social media has allowed PR professionals to join the conversation with key consumers in real-time. In the past, groundbreaking news meant something that happened yesterday. With the introduction of social media, groundbreaking news has to be instantaneous – or real-time – to be newsworthy and to garner media attention.

For example, when the Superbowl dome lost power, Oreo took full advantage of the situation and the power of social media and tweeted, “You can still dunk in the dark” just moments after the blackout occurred. Oreo’s real-time tweet generated over 10,000 retweets in less than an hour, showing us just how important it is to think on your feet and react instantly in the PR industry today.

The fact that Oreo could instantaneously see the media attention, retweets and comments, brings up another significant change in PR over the last few years: the ability to measure the success of PR efforts. In addition to counting retweets or “likes” on Facebook, a post on Marketing Land explains that websites and programs such as Klout, Google Analytics and Technorati, allow website click-throughs and social media followers to be tracked, monitored and managed. It has finally become possible to show the ROI of public relations and social media campaigns.

As PR success becomes easier to illustrate, it’s no doubt that the role of public relations within organizations will continue to grow in coming years. In the past decade alone, the industry has changed so much that common PR operations in the ‘90s are almost unrecognizable today. The changes in the industry have allowed PR professionals to reach wider audiences and communicate directly with consumers. As technology continues to advance it seems that pubic relations will also continue to evolve with it.

How do you think the industry will change over the next 5 years? How about over the next 10 years?

This infographic created by InkHouse Media + Marketing looks deeper into the ways PR has evolved over the years:

pr infographic


*Written by PR Intern Shelby Hickox. Shelby is a senior at Boston University, graduating in 2013 with a degree in Public Relations.


Facebook Buys Instagram & ‘Joggler’ will Run Boston Marathon While Juggling

Top Story: 
FaceGram, InstaBook – Whatever You Call It – What Does It Mean?

When it was announced that Facebook bought Instagram for 1 Billion (yes, with a B) dollars, three shock waves went through the tech and mobile community. The initial shock was “Wait, Facebook bought Instagram for 1 BILLION?” Followed by a longer lasting and resounding shock – “What the hell is Facebook going to do with Instagram?”

In well under 24 hours a lot of different theories have been thrown out as to why Facebook bought its mobile photo sharing competitor:


      1. Facebook wants Instagram user’s data. Really? Facebook spent 1 billion dollars on 30 million people’s data when they have over 850 million users already sharing TONS of data every day?
      2. As investor Chris Dixon tweeted, “Giving up 1% of your market cap to take out your biggest threat is a savvy move.” Possible, but is Instagram’s 30 million users really a 1 billion dollar threat? Seems like there is more to it than that?
      3. It was a pure user buy. Does Facebook really need 30 million more users? Not for 1 billion, when they are still expanding internationally.
      4. Highly engaged mobile users = mobile ad revenue. Instagram is farther from mobile ad revenue than Facebook is now.
      5. Use Instagram to improve the mobile experience? This is a vague answer – but seems the most reasonable. Facebook’s mobile photo-uploading experience is miserable. It takes too many clicks, is slow and often crashes. Instagram on the other hand has an uber-fast upload process – combined with filters, blurring, framing, etc. All these features and easy upload process are very appealing to Facebook who sees around 100 million photo uploads a DAY.

It will be interesting to see exactly how deep of an integration Facebook and Instagram pursue, or will Facebook simply steal some of Instagram’s mobile experience and convert it to the less than satisfactory mobile apps.

Side Note: It was announced today that three Maryland public school workers share a $105 Mega Millions jackpot payout, which to anyone is a large one day payout. But, when you compare it to what the Instagram employees are splitting (albeit, probably not equally) it looks like pocket change. There are only 13 Instagram employees for that huge 1 billion dollar payout.


Under the Radar: Sephora’s Website Gets a Social Makeover

In a time where so much is rapidly changing in the social media field, it can be a challenge for businesses, especially retailers, to keep up. But one major retailer recently made huge leaps in keeping up with social media: Sephora. If you’ve been to the beauty product store’s website lately, you’ve likely noticed a little sprucing up going on.

In addition to having very visible icons to their social media properties, Sephora’s been working hard on building up their Pinterest boards. They’re even encouraging their salespeople to start their own boards, so customers can see what the knowledgeable staff is choosing in terms of beauty products. And, of course, Sephora has placed “Pin It” buttons next to all products on their website, in hopes that customers will start adding the store’s products to their own pinboards. This is especially important considering many of Sephora’s products can be purchased at various other locations and websites. If Sephora’s getting that direct link from a product being pinned, it’s more likely the product will be purchased from their website. The brand just launched their very first Pinterest sweepstakes, as well.

The beauty product store has also just joined Instagram, posting behind-the-scenes at Sephora photos, as well as shots of new beauty products and fabulously painted nails. Oh, and of course, this is all in addition to the now “traditional” Facebook and Twitter accounts. We love that Sephora isn’t taking things slowly and their diving in to as many platforms as they can.

Sephora is even taking steps to bring digital into their brick-and-mortar stores. There will soon likely be iPads in stores, allowing customers to check out user reviews of various products and learn more than perhaps the salesperson is willing to tell them.

Do you think other online retailers will start following Sephora’s lead and jump into all things social media feet first? Many retailers seem to be resistant to fully immersing themselves and, of course, we understand the risks. But it’s our belief that the benefits strongly outweigh these risks. Social media gives your brand the opportunity to stay front-of-mind for everyone who follows your platforms. Consumers will begin to see your brand everywhere they go and then they can easily access information and reviews about your products, that makes it much more convenient for them to hit that “purchase” button.


Around the Hub: #Hashtag Joggler

Taking social media a step further, a UNH student and marketing intern for The Meat House, will run the Boston Marathon with a hashtag tattooed on his chest: #MeathouseJoggler.  Joggler?  That’s right. According to his twitter profile, Thomas Gounley (@tgounley) will be “Running the Boston Marathon while juggling.”  So, not only is he making his body into a human Nascar, he intends to run the world famous sporting event while juggling.

According to a recent interview with BostInno, Gounley came across the idea when flipping through the Guiness Book of World Records.  While the Marathon won’t come close to the record (which currently stands at 50 miles), we like the idea of body art for digital PR.  We’ll definitely be tracking the hashtag while enjoying the race on Monday!


Tool of the Week: LeFeed

It can be difficult to monitor activity on Facebook, especially if your brand gets an escalated amount of interaction and you want to follow clients’ newsfeeds.  Enter Lefeed.com, a tool with a goal of improving users’ news feed experience.” LeFeed’s +/- system allows a user to teach the tool about the types of updates you’d like to receive in your feed to show which types of information (updates, images, links) a user prefers and from which users.

This could be especially advantageous to a brand.  Say, for instance, you have a goal of featuring more images on your feed.  You can use this tool to find posts with images from users you like and trust to share with your users. Just another example of a free tool that can help to streamline information consumption and sharing for individuals and brands.


Let us know what you think about this week’s #451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.


Pinterest Redesign and the ‘Buzz’ Around March Madness


Top Story: Pinterest Profile Pages Get a Redesign


If you checked out your Pinterest profile last week (instead of simply getting sucked into the boards everyone else was creating), you were in for a little surprise. Pinterest profile pages got a redesign! The new profile pages are much cleaner and, as many are saying, are actually a bit reminiscent of Facebook Timeline. It’s all about making the images prominent and bold, which is exactly how they should be.


So, what changed? Instead of having all of your profile information to the left of your boards, it now runs across the top of your page, including your photo and bio, recent repins, followers and following, and other recent activity. Below, live your boards, but they’re set up a bit differently than before. Instead of giving your pins equal real estate on each of your boards, the boards are now featured with one main image (the most recently pinned) and other smaller ones below it. While you can’t change that larger image (unless you pin something new), you do have the ability to change the order your boards show up on your profile page.


The redesign is certainly an improvement on Pinterest’s end, but it didn’t blow us away and we think there’s much they could do to make it even friendlier on the eyes, as photo-sharing sites should be. But we also think they have a few other updates they should concentrate on before more redesigns (private boards, anyone? Character limit on descriptions?). After all, it really is the images that make the website.


Of course, at SXSW last week, Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann led us to believe the site will be rolling out lots more changes in the coming weeks. We can’t wait to see what they are!


Under The Radar: NCAA Tourney Upsets Causing Twitter Madness

Selection Sunday always causes a lot of buzz because hopeful fan bases are waiting to see what seed their team will receive, or whether they will make it to the big dance at all. The selection committee takes into a lot of different factors into their decisions; record, RPI, strength of schedule, how teams finished the season and much more – but one thing they do not take into account is online buzz. While this may not be a good indicator of who should make the tournament, it does make for an interesting study of fan bases and online discussions.


Edelman and Simply Measured teamed up to track buzz for every team in the tournament on selection Sunday, and remade the bracket based on the amount of buzz. Surprisingly the 4 number 1 seeds all stayed in their respective spots, while the rest of the bracket got shook up big time! St. Bonaventure shot up to a 5 seed, Wisconsin dropped to 10 and California (who had to play themselves in) shot up to a 3!



On closer examination there is one team that was didn’t make the cut on the buzz bracket – but made waves in the first round – Norfolk State. While they were one of the 68 teams selected the buzz bracket had them in the bottom 4 teams, meaning they ‘lost’ the play-in game. After beating Missouri in the first round as a 15 seed (only the fifth time that has ever happened) their popularity soared, getting a mention every 0.082 seconds following the upset.



Around the Hub
Last week, after a transformer fire in the near the Back Bay Hilton lead to widespread blackouts, social media sites were abuzz with pictures and messages about the #BackBayFire and #BostonBlackout. The news spread like wildfire (excuse the pun) on Twitter and images flooded feeds.


Via @atowne07

via @AllEyesOnJenny 

Event the historic Citgo sign in Kenmore was out:

Via @sdavy

How did you learn about the #Backbayfire? What images did you find most compelling? Tweet us @451Heat.

Tool of the Week: InstaCover Integrates Facebook Cover Photos with Instagram Photos



With most personal pages now on Timeline and the recent news that business Facebook pages will be forced to Timeline by the end of the month, getting the perfect profile cover photo is on many of our minds. And while lots of tools and services have been launched to help us get our ideal cover photo, this may be one of our favorites yet.


Instacover is a new service that lets you build a cover photo using your own (or somebody else’s) Instagram photos. We know, we know, you could totally build your own cover photo with Instagram photos, but you would need a little bit of design skill and it would be some pretty tedious work. Instacover gives you a few options for choosing photos and then automatically generates your cover photo and sends it to Facebook for you. Easy peasy.


There are a few drawbacks that might just prevent us from using the service ourselves just yet. It’s not completely customizable. You can choose which user’s images you want to display and can either utilize all images, the most popular images, or images in certain categories or with specific tags. Once you generate your cover photo, you can’t remove specific images or add others. When I generated mine, there were plenty of images I wouldn’t want to show up on my Facebook cover photo. However, from now on, I might start tagging my Instagram photos, so that I can choose precisely what will show up on the Instacover generator. It also feels a bit odd that you can generate a cover photo with someone else’s Instagram photos… And I don’t love the idea of my images making up someone else’s cover photo. That’s just strange.


Would you use Instacover to generate a Facebook cover photo of Instagram images?


Let us know what you think about this week’s #451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.



Online Backlash to SOPA and Samuel Adams ‘Hops’ Into Social

Top Story: SOPA/PIPA and the Online Protest

Image via Google

By now, you’ve seen the infographic above and are aware of SOPA/PIPA and the rather voal calls to action from many prominent online companies.  Just in case, here’s a rundown on why many are outraged by the proposed legislation

  • What do they stand for? SOPA is the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and PIPA stands for (deep breath) Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act.
  • SOPA, in the House of Representatives, and PIPA, in the US Senate are both targeting foreign websites that infringe on copyrighted materials
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), one of the major opponents to the bills, argue that “The standard for immunity is incredibly low and the potential for abuse is off the charts.  Basically, sites can be cut off based on “reasonable belief of infringement” – so, event if the claims made against a site end up being false, the site suffers.
  • Supporters of the legislation, mainly in the entertainment industry, feel that the charges brought on by SOPA/PIPA opponents have been blown out of proportion, the definition of infringement is clearly defined, and that the legislation is crucial in protecting their digital assets.

What we found most compelling about the reaction to the two pieces of legislation were the “protests” and banding together of many of the major social and search platforms in the US.  We’ve featured some of the most prominent below (click on images to enlarge):




Under the Radar: Super Bowl XLVI Will Have a Social Media Command Center

If you’re a social media user, chances are you’re posting to your Twitter feed and updating your Facebook status every time you’re watching a football game. And come Sunday, February 5, millions of users will be talking about the Super Bowl via social media, about everything from the players to the score to the commercials to the parking. Parking? Well, yes. The city of Indianapolis is expecting 150,000 visitors for Super Bowl weekend and they’ll be using social media to assist visitors with everything from finding parking to discovering the best the city has to offer.

The city will be setting up a Super Bowl Social Media Command Center today and it will remain in place until after the big game on February 5. The digital marketing agency managing the command center will set up advanced search tools and analytics to determine what fans need help and then will jump in and offer assistance where needed.

We can’t wait to see how the Social Media Command Center will manage to help people during the Super Bowl weekend and if it will set precedence for events in the future. Will all large-scale events begin to follow in suit and work to assist visitors and patrons? While we can see this working really well, we can also see people taking advantage of the increased customer service and getting extra upset when they can’t be helped. You know, like when there isn’t any close-by parking and they do have to walk a mile to get to the stadium.


Tool of the Week: Facebook Launches Timeline App Integration Platform

When the Spotify’s Facebook integration first launched, people either loved it or hated it. Some users thought it was fabulous that they could see what all their friends were listening to. And others were not happy that their Facebook friends could get such an up-close-and-personal look at their taste in music (perhaps they were a bit embarrassed?). Well, as of last week, there’s even more activity for you to see across your Facebook timeline. Facebook is now using the “open graph” API to allow developers to create apps that share user activitis on Facebook. From Pinterest to RunKeeper to TicketMaster, there are now close to 80 apps that you and your friends can integrate with your Facebook timeline.

Is this a good thing? Well, it depends on how you use Facebook. If you don’t care what articles your friends are reading, how many miles they’re running, what artists they’re listening to, or what food photos they’re taking, then this app integration will likely just annoy you and clog your newsfeed. But if you do care, or want to share your every move on the Internet with your own Facebook friends, you’ll find yourself loving the app integration. Luckily, Facebook makes it pretty easy to keep the integration shut off and to decide who you actually want to share details with. So, unlike the Spotify integration, you won’t find yourself unknowingly sharing your Justin Bieber obsession with all of your Facebook friends. Phew.

Of course, this is only the start with Facebook’s app integration and it’s likely we’ll be seeing more and more apps join in on the Facebook fun in the future. Before long, we might never have to leave Facebook.com. Which is exactly what they want.


Around The Hub: Samuel Adams Beer ‘Hops’ into Social

The Samuel Adams beer company has been the subject of social media scrutiny in the past because of its social media presence, or lack thereof. But that all changed in January, with the brewer launching a Twitter account, blog and crowd-sourced beer creation contest on Facebook.

Twitter: The account was officially launched on January 19th, and between then and the morning of January 23rd they had accumulated over 2500 followers and tweeted nearly 350 times. Almost every single one of their tweets is a response to someone who had engaged them. It looks like they were waiting to get their strategy in line before entering the space knowing they would be inundated and needed to be prepared for it. This was smart because if they had joined without a plan in action they may have ruined their chance at a strong account from the get-go. And as they said themselves…

Blog: Along with a Twitter account came a brand new Samuel Adams Blog. What is extremely interesting about this is the choice of content for the first ever blog post, that was written by founder Jim Koch. For the introductory post on the blog, Koch defended harsh words about Sam Calagione and his brewery Dogfish Head written in a Beer Advocate thread recently.

This demonstrates the tight-knit bond of the beer community, where they value their craft over rivalries with competing breweries. This also shows how fully invested in the social space the company now is, and that they are willing to push out original and possibly controversial topics.

Facebook: Samuel Adams has a decent size fan page (about 134,000 fans) with a fairly strong amount of engagement, but in the past had been lacking any really unique content. This changed when they partnered with Guy Kawasaki to create the ‘Crowd Craft Project’ – a beautifully designed and executed Facebook app that lets beer drinkers help create the next Sam Adams beer.

The app lets you choose different settings for types of yeast, hops, malt, body, clarity and color to create your ideal beer. The app lets each person submit one brew, with the top beer will be announced on February 5th and it being debuted in Austin and Boston in March.

What do you think of the SOPA/PIPA online backlash? Do you have your Facebook timeline yet? Will you be tweeting during Super Bowl XLVI? Tell us what you think of the Sam Adams social strategy? Follow the feedback with #451Labs hashtag and tweet us at @451heat.

Thank’s to @maxesilver, @susie, @halleyalice for contributing to this week’s #451Labs post!


Make Your Best Blogs Your Guest Blogs


For a beginning blogger, finding a niche and cultivating it is nearly impossible. You can write a thousand of the most amazing articles but they will never be seen if you don’t market it. The same goes for the opposite, you can market your blog to everybody, but you will only attract repeat visitors if your content is engaging. (This is especially true in a day and age, where amazing, captivating content will have readers searching for your “Follow Me on Twitter” button). Growing your blog takes a bit of time to work out the kinks; achieving great content regularly, and having a community of people behind each post likely won’t happen until your blog matures.

Following the lifecycle of your blog, if you are in the early beginning (0-2 years old) you should consider guest blogging. Guest blogging is one of the best ways to create partnerships, build links, and attract new audiences. This is why you should make your best blogs your guest blogs.

Create Partnerships

The key to any businesses marketing success is creating partnerships that last. Whether you are in sales or content marketing, partnerships drive long term growth. Having a list of contacts that are in your niche can prove invaluable as your business grows. You will be able to leverage these contacts for advertising opportunities and mutual expansion. Partnerships also allow you to reach new audiences – guest bloggers often promote your article to their followers.

Attract New Readers

One of the best ways to find a community, is to share a community with another site while guest blogging. A well written article will inspire readers to learn more about the writer. I find that a majority of our blog traffic comes from sites we have guest posted on. Ideally, you will be able to leverage social media tools to attract and retain people interested in your content. If a person is directed to your blog via link from a guest post, you will want to put a call to action immediately for them to follow you.

Twitter Follow Button

You are in luck: Twitter just announced a new plug-in resource. A one click “Follow” button can now be embedded in your blog posts to let readers follow you without leaving your site. This resource can also be added to a guest blog if your guest domain allows it.

Build Links

As a small blog, you will need to build links. If you aren’t well versed in SEO, you may want to consult someone who is, before you begin guest blogging. If that isn’t an option, simply point your links to your blog’s home page. Building links from credible sites gives you search engine relevance. You will begin to appear more often in searches, and your site will be continue to be indexed by Google.

Saving your best posts for your guest posts help you grow as a young blogger. Even if your blog isn’t small, never outsource your content for guest blogging. You will ruin partnerships and ultimately give your business bad PR.

-Matt Krautstrunk is social entrepreneur based in San Diego, California; he touches on everything from social media marketing to inbound call centers for Resource Nation.