How to avoid these 4 communications traps

In any organization, whether it’s a for-profit business or a nonprofit that makes an impact in the world, communications plays an important role on many levels. It takes effort and hard work to ensure that your audiences receive the messages, understand them and – most important – respond the way you want. Without that effort, you run the risk of falling into these traps.Read more

How to avoid Brian Williams’ misstep

I have to admit: I have always liked Brian Williams. His manner as anchor of the NBC Nightly News was a steadfast at Tom Brokaw, and he made it his own with humor in his writing. In my opinion, his reporting seemed to be on target, and he seemed to care about the people and issues he was covering. But when he got caught in a lie in February, all of that unraveled to the point that I’m not sure what to think of Williams now. That’s one of the reasons I said then that I didn’t think his apology went far enough.

This is another example of the power of social media, as The New York Times reported Sunday. As we all know, it doesn’t take long for news like this to catch fire and go viral in this age of schadenfreude when people enjoy watching others, especially those in lofty positions, fall from grace.Read more

When PR pros throw a bad pitch

In my personal life, I am an elected official and serve on Elizabethtown Borough Council. In that capacity, I started a blog called Chronicling Elizabethtown about seven years ago with the focus of covering local news from my perspective as a member of Borough Council. Since my focus is on local news, municipal government and what’s happening in Elizabethtown, Pa., it serves its purpose well of getting the word out to the community. As a result, it gets the appropriate kind of traffic that I would expect (a few dozen visits per week).

Chronicling Elizabethtown has been around long enough now, and has apparently generated enough traffic, that it shows up on the radar of public relations professionals. For a couple of years now, I have received emails from many of those folks pitching products, reviews and ideas for their clients. As a PR pro myself, that’s a good thing to do.  The problem is the vast majority of these pitches have nothing to do with Elizabethtown, local government or any topics that I write about. Consider this pitch that I got just this week.

“Happy Monday! Just wanted to circle back around to see if you would like to set up an interview with our style experts to get the latest on bridal fashion for 2015! Also, please let me know if you are working on any bridal or fashion stories and would like hi-res images.”

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