Well, this year is shaping up to be different. Not just in appearances, but in feel. I think that I usually have a pretty solid feel for which way the season is going to go by this point, and usually, it is down. However, this time around, even with those two losses, it feels like the Niners have become a steam engine barreling down the tracks, and destroying everything in its path. Of course, a first game route of the Green Bay Packers sure helped that!
In any case, the train continued its crazy roll last night by mangling the Cardinals in a 24-3 killing.
This week is a well-deserved rest, before we meet up against the 3-5 Rams. Let’s hope that train keeps a rollin’! GO Niners!!]]>
So, here it is! A stunning DW Collectors Series shell pack in Blue Silk Onyx Finish Ply dated June of 2005. The drum sizes are fast, and the bass drum is beastly.
This was originally intended as a jazz kit, but is uber useful across the board in most styles of music. The kit is punchy, tonal, and round sounding. Condition-wise, it is almost flawless. I say “almost” because there might be a ballpoint pen head sized scuff mark here and there, that you will likely never see, but I am a bit anal about my gear. Chrome is beautiful.
For me, it has been all about the music, especially drumming, for the past 25 years. I have been playing in one form or another with so many different groups, that I can hardly remember them all, but one thing is for sure, I doubt I could live without it. There is something so powerful feeling sitting behind the drum kit and kicking into a tune.
In addition to drumming, I have been buying and selling used gear for the better part of a decade, which works nicely for me.. Buy a bunch of stuff, keep a few cool pieces, and sell the rest at profit. LOVE!
Anyway, this is the official announcement of my new Drums on the Web category, and I will add new articles as I am inspired to do so. These articles could include gear I have for sale, new product reviews, or gigs I have played.]]>
One other thing I am grateful for – My GF is a BIG fan of the As, so thank goodness it wasn’t a Bay Area series because I would have been sleeping on the couch last night! Also, I had a flashback to the last Bay series in 1989, and if that was any indicator, I am thinking that California may not survive another one.
Regardless, congratulations GIANTS! HUMMMMM BABY!]]>
In a recent conversation with my lovely better half, Amy, I was feeling melancholy about my life so far, and was regretting decisions I’d made, and other I hadn’t. I guess as I approach my 40th birthday, I have been reflecting a lot about goals I’ve had, but haven’t accomplished yet. Much of it has to do with work, and where I’d envisioned myself being at this point, and others have dealt with creative pursuits that I always seem to find a good reason to put off… writing and recording my music, writing a novel, getting into video production, etc. When all is said and done however, I had to look at myself now – perhaps I am not super thrilled with things I’ve not done, my current weight, and other small stuff, but as I looked at Amy, and took a moment to consider how I found my way back to her after over twenty years, I realized that I was overall pretty fortunate. I am grateful for her. My life is good.]]>
I guess I should preface this with the following: I am aware that every occupation has its own unique challenges and stressors, but it is my belief (regardless of the fact that I am in PR) that working in my field frequently presents certain challenges that can be particularly difficult. Granted, we are not performing brain surgery, though sometimes I wonder if that might have been the easy way out in my career path – no offense meant to actual brain surgeons, but just sayin’.
There are basically three general areas that make what I do slightly more challenging – (1) battling stereotypes, (2) finding the right outlets for my clients’ messages, and (3) non-PR people who think what I do is easy.
It is no surprise to PR people that the profession tends to have a negative stereotype from many corporate marketing executives. And, given the highly publicized examples of shady PR work (anyone remember Paul Christoforo from Ocean Marketing?), it is hardly surprising. However, while I will be the first to admit that there are some detestable, shady practices in PR, I would argue that most PR professionals today are simply working to create affinity and goodwill between the public and our clients. In today’s climate, consumers are less charmed by the marketing fluff of old, instead seeking the truth in messaging.
Yet, even with the new paradigm of candor, we still constantly battle the negative stereotype that we are only trying to dupe people into buying things they don’t need.
The Right Outlets
The second challenge that constantly plagues me as a PR person is getting my clients’ stories heard by the right people. Through the evolution of the media over the past decade, multiple new outlets for announcing client news have materialized, giving PR practitioners numerous options to announce significant corporate changes and news. The only problem is that there are just SO MANY OUTLETS IN WHICH TO ANNOUNCE NEWS!!!
It is a constant challenge to look past all the possible outlets and find the correct ones, which will reach a company’s target audience, and ultimately help PR people align their communications efforts with client business objectives. Ten years ago, I had about three major publications for any given client, but now, with the advent of blogging and other forms of social media, influencers now come in all shapes and sizes. This requires a bit more work to determine who those target outlets are.
What I Do Isn’t Easy
The third and final challenge I face on a daily basis is the fact that everyone who ISN’T in PR, wants to believe that they know the secret recipe for effective communications. After all, they are using Twitter and Facebook all of the time, so OF COURSE they know how to run an effective social media campaign. Or, better yet, they wrote a press release in a business class in college, so they would rather use their version. Granted, this IS a challenge, but on the flip side of that coin, I truly appreciate it when a client takes such an interest in PR, and is passionate about what they do, because in the end, it validates my role.
In any case, those are MY challenges; what are some of YOUR biggest challenges as a PR professional, or from what you’ve heard about the role?
Scott Smith can be reached email@example.com. Follow Scott on Twitter @RealAskScott.]]>
I suppose the catalyst was getting back together with my high school girlfriend, who just happened to share the same desire as I did, and over the year we have been dating, I found that we began driving each other, no, challenging each other, to finally suck it up and make the move. That is just what we did on August 11. After packing (or throwing away) all of the crap from our two households, we got in the moving trucks and set out for Boulder Creek, a little town in the middle of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and began the long process of getting settled into our new digs, which in this case, is a 2200 sq. foot rental house that backs up to an apple orchard in a beautiful area full of redwood trees and nature.
As a sidenote, I kind of personally lucked out with the neighbors (though I’ve not met most of them yet), as they are musicians, and sci-fi geeks… I mean, how much more perfect could that be??
In any case, getting used to having roommates – Amy and her two kiddos – will be a little bit of a challenge, but once I finish cleaning out my old apartment and have a chance to settle in, I think I will begin to really enjoy it. That said, I just wanted to drop a quick post here to share what I’ve been up to recently. I will try to get back with a couple of follow-ups about my experiences in the area as I become more acclimated to it.
Well. that’s about it for now. Back to work for me!]]>
Opening up the presentation, LeVoyer kicked off with an introduction of the six main tenets of agile engagement, which include listening and analysis, content creation and curation, audience targeting, message distribution, engagement and interaction, and measurement.
LeVoyer focused on the listen, engage and measure aspects, because she contends that too many organizations, including her own, focus too heavily on the “create” piece of the model. She maintained that the listening phase was a key process that must be standardized and internalized, and that an organization must be able to assimilate and respond to commentary from the social sphere, as it occurs.
The next piece from LeVoyer’s presentation, which really got me thinking, was the engagement portion. I think this segment resonated with me so strongly because of the significant evolution of the media over the past decade with the advent of social media platforms and the decline of traditional media outlets. LeVoyer’s main contention here was that, as an agile communications professional, it is always smart to carry a broad definition of what constitutes an “influencer” in the next generation of media, which includes bloggers, Twitter users, etc. She asserts that it can be a big detriment to an organization to only engage with people who have a huge number of followers or those with high Klout scores. Rather, she believes that, by engaging everyone, companies can turn the average customer into a highly credible evangelist.
Finally, LeVoyer wrapped her portion up with a focus on measurement, and provided perspectives on how the listening and engaging stages are meaningless if the measurement stage does not occur. She believes that, through monitoring all processes and dialogues involved with the engagement phase, companies are in essence, allowing their audiences to create content for them. She also noted that she has little sympathy for companies that complain about difficulties creating content, because if an organization can follow the listen, engage and measure phases, content creation will be easy.
Next up, Valerie Jennings provided a more macro view of her firm’s approach to agile engagement – the main focus of her presentation being the importance of meeting business goals and achieving monetization from social media marketing programs. She was quick to point out that achieving success in this area requires a significant amount of agile thinking.
Jennings focused on several areas of key importance when striving toward success. These included setting quantifiable and attainable goals, taking full advantage of SEO opportunities (that can be strong indicators of audience behavior), and finally maintaining a thorough understanding of timeframes and sales cycles to set realistic goals to achieve monetization.
While I have provided a very brief discussion of the webcast and agile engagement, I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in learning more to visit the link to listen to the full audio.
Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Scott on Twitter @RealAskScott.]]>
As a long-time PR pro, I am sometimes too close to what I do to easily boil the results of a campaign down to a series of numbers on a spreadsheet. Perhaps it is partly my ego, but the reality is, I am not convinced that listing out the sheer quantity of articles placed is a good, or accurate, measure of the value we PR pros, bring to our clients.
Granted, while using traditional reporting methods such as article tracking, number of pickups, and number of briefings held for a particular campaign are important, I think that these should serve only as initial data points when looking at the true value of a PR program. With each successive campaign executed upon, these data points should not only serve to track short-term responses, but more importantly, they should create a bigger picture that illustrates long-term benefit received from the PR function by examining the quality of coverage, and how journalist perception and article messages align with the goals of the business.
In addition, by monitoring not only the amount of coverage, but also quality and message saturation, PR professionals are able to approach future campaigns more strategically. We can accomplish this by using past results to effectively modify and align future campaign objectives more closely with business objectives. So, while tracking clips remains the primary measure of success for PR agencies and professionals, providing only that information to executives can create a disconnect, and does not truly illustrate how PR correlates directly to those business objectives.
In short, rather than measuring success solely by how many articles we are able to secure for our clients, perhaps it would be more effective to demonstrate the value of a given campaign by focusing on how the client is perceived — and more importantly, by illustrating how those perceptions change after each successive campaign.
In a climate where the first function to be cut during the hard times is often PR, I believe that the closer we, as PR professionals, can tie ourselves to the long-term health of our client’s brand, the greater our value, and the greater our chances become of remaining viable in an increasingly competitive field.]]>
This year, however, I quickly realized that I might be off the hook, at least in the physical world, because we lost her shortly after her birthday last year. It made me think though. Over the course of my entire life, she was a constant fixture. I often spent more time at her (and Uncle Bob’s) house than anywhere else, and I loved to go over there and hear her quirky, sarcastic take of life and the state of everything – the least of which was not who was currently on the Aunt Nancy ‘Shit List.’
Admittedly, I spent some time there over the years for a few minor offenses, but for the most part, I consider myself lucky in that I spent very little compared to some others members of my family! That said, Nancy’s shit list was a pretty famous phenomenon across my very large extended family. So much so, that it was an oft spoken of topic at her funeral last year. I should qualify levels of the List though, and the reason I am revisiting it today, on her birthday of all days.
First, there was what I consider the “minor” list, which was the one she kept for smaller infractions within her group of family and friends… you know, things like being the target of some ribbing, and unintentionally embarrassed by someone at a family gathering. That was a minor infraction that could land you on the shit list, albeit, for not very long. The MAJOR list, however, was another thing entirely, and NO ONE who knew her wanted to be part of that list.
That list was the birthday list.
Basically, Aunt Nancy would wake up VERY early on her birthday, and as many of us in the family imagined, she would sit by the phone waiting for people to call and wish her a happy birthday, after which, she would remove their names from the shit list. Anyone crazy enough to NOT call her on that day was subject to a year’s residency on said list. Fortunately, I don’t think I ever forgot to call, because I would likely have never heard the end of it, seeing as how I lived so close, and spoke with her often.
I realize that I may be painting a picture of her that is not super positive, but in reality, she was wonderful. She was the glue that bound avery large family together, and while she has a very snarky and sarcastic side (New Yorkers would say she was a ball buster), she also cared more about people than anyone I have known, and would go out of her way to help someone in need.
I guess the gist of this post is to remember someone that had such a huge affect on shaping who I am as a person, and also to wish her a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! If I know my Aunty, she is sitting up there in heaven ticking the names of the people who remember her birthday off of the shit list, and damned if I am going to reside there this year.
I love, and miss you, Aunty Nancy.]]>