Links for Bill and Michele’s Excellent Adventure at Shoreby Yacht Club in Cleveland — Come Sail Away

February 21, 2008

ewing.jpg Bill Sledzik and Michele Ewing won’t be sailing at thetsmugshot.jpg Shoreby Yacht Club tomorrow. But they will chat with some 80 Cleveland PR pros about best Practices in social media, part of a breakfast conference hosted by Cleveland PRSA. And yes, I found a way to shamelessly promote the blog by parking all the links for our presentation there.

While we won’t say any of these cases is perfect, the state-of-the-art in social media campaigns is only now taking shape. All of the cases we’ll discuss in our presentation (and list here) are strategically conceived and have served clients by producing measurable results.

Some Classics

Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign. One you’ve all heard about, so we won’t dwell on it. It set a standard for social-media campaigns.

English Cut. A textbook classic made famous in “Naked Conversations,” this oldie-but-goodie case study shows how even a small business can make innovative use of social media and get major ROI in the process. Read the rest of this entry »

Kent State & PRSA offer social media ‘bootcamp,’ examine role of SM in Election 2008

February 13, 2008

This may be of interest to my readers in Ohio and the region. And yeah, I’m on the program, so there’s a little self promo here!


What: You, Too! Social Media Bootcamp & Leadership Summit

When: March 7, 2008

Where: Franklin Hall, the new, $21-million home of Kent JMC

To download brochure: smbootcamp.pdf

Bootcamp 8 – 1:30 — From strategy to hands-on, learn about social media from professionals and researchers who specialize in “the conversation.” Registration fee is required for this part of the program. Download the brochure.

Leadership Summit: Packaging the Presidency Online — 2-3:30 Free and open to the public. Moderated by John Elsasser, editor-in-chief of PR Strategist. Featuring a panel of experts on politics and social media, highlighted by former U.S. Congressman Dennis Eckert and Fleishman-Hillard social-media maven Matt Dickman.

Proceeds from conference registration fees support the Akron PRSA Scholarship Fund.

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A proposal for PRSA — and for all of us

February 10, 2008

This month marks my 25th year in PRSA, and likely my last. This isn’t news to regular readers, as I’ve vented my concerns here and here.

images.jpgI find little value in my PRSA membership at the national level these days. Locally the group remains important to me, but the society doesn’t allow chapter-only memberships. If I want the local benefit, I must support the national bureaucracy. My national dues are $225, my chapter dues $50.

So today I’m proposing that PRSA change its bylaws and allow chapter-only memberships. I’m not the first to raise this idea. It was part of a manifesto Jack O’Dwyer published last fall in his newsletter. (I can’t link to it, as you need a subscription, but you can see my comments about it here, in “Round 13.”)

Under my plan, chapter-only members could vote, serve on committees and hold local office. A chapter-only member would not be permitted to serve as a national delegate. Neither would chapter-only members enjoy subscriptions to PR Tactics and the Strategist, nor would they receive PRSA’s daily email alerts. Chapter members would be eligible to take the accreditation exam. Read the rest of this entry »

See You Wednesday late!

January 7, 2008

After that stimulating 2-day conversation on the previous post, I hate to cut and run. But I must to escape to the woods for a few days of regeneration before the next semester begins. It’s a Thoreau thing, but with guns.

I’ve asked my bride to approve comments that come in, so please post away. I’ll rejoin the discussion in a few days — assuming there is a discussion. Maybe someone PRSA will decide to join in. Meantime, don’t forget to join my Facebook group, “PRSA Need Professional PR Help — NOW!”

PRSA needs lessons in “News Release 101”

January 4, 2008

First, a confession. I paid my PRSA dues for 2008 after saying, and pretty vehemently, that I would not. I sent the check to New York yesterday for images.jpgthree reasons. First, I wanted to show support for a friend and colleague who is president of the local chapter this year. Second, I’m feeling guilty about abandoning my friends in both the Cleveland and Akron Area chapters, despite seeing little value in the national affiliation.

Finally, I was hoping this year’s PRSA leadership would bring new spark to a tired organization that’s been my professional home for 25 years. I ‘d be a great Cubs fan, wouldn’t I?

Does PRSA have a new vision? If so, you won’t find it in the society’s first news release of 2008, a release that announces Jeff Julin’s ascension to the chairmanship — but not much more.

Is there news here? Not really. Jeff’s selection as PRSA chair was rubber stamped by the Assembly back in November. But hey, it is his first day in office, and it’s Friday of a holiday week. Maybe we can steal a headline on a slow news day and make a little splash.

Nice try, but the news release typifies what Tom Foremski ranted about back in ’06 when he called on PR folks to stop using the tool altogether.

Some highlights from PRSA’s first release of 2008: Read the rest of this entry »

Friday musings on the most critical of PR issues

October 12, 2007

Important stuff that popped into my head today…

gore.jpgAl Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, and you know that by now. But did you notice how the honor came less than 48 hours after I praised his intellect and perceptiveness? Coincidence? I’m telling you, this blogosphere is more powerful than you think. I’m gonna check my stats for referrals from Oslo.


howardbeale.jpgHave you thought about the similarities between Jack O’Dwyer and Howard Beale, the character in the 1976 film, jack_new.jpg“Network”? Both are characters so angry about the status quo of their professions that they begin railing loudly and publicly about it. In the movie, Howard draws a huge following to chant his mantra: “We’re as mad as hell, and we’re not gonna to take this anymore!”

I wonder if Jack can assemble a similar group of loyalists when the PRSA Assembly gathers in Philadelphia next week? I’d pay to see it. I’ve spoken to PR pros who thinks Jack could be more effective if he toned down the anger in his message. But you know, Jack was pretty reasonable for most of his 30+ years as journalist and industry critic, and what did it get us?

********** Read the rest of this entry »

Check out my guest appearances this week…

October 3, 2007

How’s this for a change? ToughSledding hits the proverbial road this week with guest gigs at two — count ’em, two — prominent PR blogs.

images1.jpgAt Strumpette you’ll find me under “Leader’s Perspective” with commentary and analysis about Jack O’Dwyer’s reform manifesto for the Public Relations Society of America. If you’re a PRSA member, it’s a must read (he said with all humility). If you don’t give a flip about PRSA, drop in at Strumpette to enjoy great satire and much-needed criticism of mainstream PR practice. Oh, yeah. You’ll see a portrait of me on this post never before unveiled, so click already!

My othforward_logo6_90_blog.gifer appearance is at the Forward Blog, the PR student site at Auburn University. It’s a podcast hosted by Luke Armour, a principal contributor at Forward and PR coordinator for Blog Talk Radio. Confession: I haven’t had time to listen to it yet. But, hey, I was there. Luke is one of my local blogger pals in Northeast Ohio. Catch him at Observations of Public Relations. Yeah, we still love the guy, even though he went to Akron U!

UPDATE (10/5): My post on Strumpette reports Jack O’Dwyer’s claim that PRSA has denied him press credentials for the Assembly. Response from PRSA is that Jack has simply not applied for those credentials. I don’t want in the middle of this one, but I have an obligation to air both sides. Thanks to Bill Murray, PRSA president, for his cooperation. It appears to be a misunderstanding; it does not appear to be an attempt by PRSA to censor Jack or to block his access. I apologize to Bill and PRSA for implying that in my post. But I’ll also say that a little faster response to my inquiry by the society would have helped me get both sides of the story in time to make my deadline.

Do social media reshape PR strategy? MSM tell one story, PRSA tells another

September 19, 2007

My return to the classroom this fall has been rough. But if you’ve read my last few posts, you know that, eh? Still, I won’t ask for pity from folks who work real jobs that operate 12 months a year.

free-jena-six.jpgIt took this story from today’s Chicago Tribune to jolt me back to serious blogging. The story tells how civil rights leaders are using blogs and social media to mobilize tens of thousands in support of those kids charged with assault in Jena, La. The case already has drawn the attention of mainstream black leaders (Sharpton, Jackson, King III), but social media are getting credit for raising $130K for legal fees and 220,000 petition signatures.

Regardless of how you view the case legally and morally, PR pros need to pay attention. It shows how a disenfranchised public is finding its voice — and its power — in Web 2.0. The civil rights movement has always been grassroots, but now the grass is digital. How will this new grassroots power affect your organization or clients?

images2.jpgCan you believe what’s happening on Facebook? Membership, now open to the masses, has more than doubled in the past year. And it’s not just a place to meet and greet. Facebook is now a place for serious business networking. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m back, and nearly speechless

August 21, 2007

Returned Sunday from points north, but be forewarned, I’m NOT all the way back. Lake Superior keeps a part of you every time you visit. It’s her way. For 10 days, we connected with things natural, including these two ballibrary-1037.jpgd eagles perched unassumingly above my wife’s head. We learned that the eagle is thriving and we learned that flat-water paddling on Lake Superior is anything but flat. We met the headwinds, and we beat them.

I learned that sleeping on the ground and going without running water still sucks. But that’s the price you pay to live in the back country of Gichigami. It’s a bargain. Really. Call our outfitter if you’re interested.

Superior is also a place for sunsets. You’ll find a dozen or more of them on my Flickr page. I’ve also included a photo fantasy on my Facebook page, but it’s open only to “friends.” If you’re wondering about that beautiful lady who’s in all those pictures, I can’t really say what she sees in me, either. And I don’t ask.

My post of August 8, the one about my impending divorce from PRSA, caused a minor stir and triggered some solid readership numbers in my absence. Jack O’Dwyer wrote about it, and I got a few contacts from national PRSA leaders. But more than anything, I received emails from folks who understood my frustration — not just with PRSA, but with all professional groups and their seeming inability to serve senior practitioners. It’s an old saw, so I won’t be saying much more about it.

library-1047.jpgFor the Kent State faithful, rest assured that our commitment to PRSA and PRSSA remains. Me? I’m going to try some other things. It’s time.

For the next two weeks I’ll be settling into my new offices in Franklin Hall, the shiny new home of Kent State’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication. We’re moving now — about 3 weeks before we really should. I don’t have a desk yet, but, hey, it’s a virtual world. Use something digital. You’ll find me. Just Google “toughsledding.”

How Mia Farrow is causing my divorce — from PRSA

August 8, 2007

I don’t pay much attention to anniversaries. Just ask my wife.

tactics-july05.gifBut when the August issue of Public Relations Tactics arrived in the mail, it reminded me that 2007 was my 25th year as a PRSA member. It also may be my last. You heard it here first.

I’ve been thinking about this break-up for 7 or 8 years now, but the triggering event was the announcement, on the cover of Tactics, that “acclaimed actress and mia-farrow.jpghumanitarian activist Mia Farrow” will be a keynote speaker at PRSA’s national conference this year.

I haven’t followed Mia’s career much since that creepy Woody-Soon Yee thing, but I had a wicked crush on her when she played the oh-so-hot Allison McKenzie in Peyton Place, back in the day. And could Frank Sinatra be wrong?

God bless Mia for her humanitarian work, whatever it is. But I’m not interested in hearing about it at my professional conference. Nor am I interested in having my registration fees pay for celebrity keynoters. Read the rest of this entry »