October 9, 2007
Amanda Chapel, the voice of Strumpette, signed off yesterday — for good. Or so she says. I hope it’s not the end of the blog many of us have come to depend on for comic relief and hard-edged criticism of public relations. But time will tell.
I was privileged to be among the final guest writers on Strumpette. And if you look closely at those who wrote there for the last 3-4 months, you’ll find a good many “normal” mainstream PR types.
I’m sad to see Amanda leave the stage, as Strumpette was evolving into something important — something the business really needs: a courageous and critical voice. Say what you will about the anonymity of “Amanda.” She managed to bring together a good many of us willing to put our names on the record. The voice she created was collective, and very real.
As I told Strumpette’s creators last week, the site has earned a place in modern PR history, as it gave many of us the courage to question the hypocrisy that so often surrounds us in this business. I know it empowered me.
Mark Rose offers a far more intelligent and eloquent piece at PR Blog News. It’s one of those essays that had me saying, “I wish I’d written that.” Kudos, Mark. And thank you, Strumpette.
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.
At 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 other 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.
August 30, 2007
Search engine optimization is big business these days, and for good reason, since it’s a key part of any PR strategy that involves online communication. And don’t they all?
SEO helps our clients cut through the clutter of cyberspace and create the ever-important “Google Juice” that drives Web denizens to our sites. At Kent State, we include several lessons on SEO in the “Public Relations Online Tactics” class. And we’re happy to have our own SEO expert from the PR office demonstrate her magic.
For the uninitiated, SEO is “the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it “ranks”, (sic) the more searchers will visit that site.” (Wikipedia)
Though SEO is a critical part of most online strategies, it’s also inherently manipulative — even potentially evil. Using SEO, we design our sites and distribute related communication with the intent of boosting our position/ranking with the search engines. On one hand, we’re helping the public find our information, and that’s a good thing. On the other hand, we’re manipulating the search process — messing with nature, if you will — and telling no one we’re doing it. Read the rest of this entry »
July 11, 2007
In the next few weeks, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, the School of Journalism at Kent State moves to a fabulous new $20-million facility over by the Starbucks. It more than a shiny building. Its a great recruiting tool and venue for teaching and research that may even make our rivals in Athens jealous, at least until their next big gift from Scripps Howard kicks in.
Of course, we were kinda hoping a fat-cat media mogul would see Franklin Hall as a marketing opportunity. But, alas, no one has dropped $10 million in the kitty for naming rights to our J-School — at least not yet.
Half joking, I asked a prominent Ohio PR professional what he’d say if Rupert Murdoch offered us $10 mil to call it the “Fox News School of Journalism.” His response: “I’d say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Murdoch.'”
He wasn’t joking. Read the rest of this entry »