Category Archives: businessweek


Can a Dog Be Trained to Sniff Out Public Relations Opportunities?

I came upon an interesting article in Businessweek about“Argentina’s Dollar-Sniffing Wonder Dogs” and how they’re sniffing for US currency to prevent “capital flight” from that country. That’s the first time that I’ve seen something about dogs sniffing for money, not drugs, but I guess countries have to get creative to prevent disasters.

It’s too bad that the online article doesn’t show the picture of a cute sniffing golden retriever in the ferry terminal, so if you get a chance, try to take a look at the magazine picture. Actually, I can walk down any street in Chicago and smell different kinds of pizza. So if the city ever has a pizza problem, I could be the guy for them (even though I’m not as cute as those dogs).

That sniffing-dog article reminds us that we should be sniffing out media opportunities. While media websites have reporters’ or producers’ bios, you shouldn’t stop there. Search on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to “sniff out” a better personal connection between you and that journalist so that you can pitch them better. At the very least, it will allow you to include something that is more personal and customized. And they’ll appreciate it, though you have to remember to be sincere because the media don’t like phonies.

Learn from the Pig

When I was growing up, “pig” meant the source of bacon, sausage, a good ham for the holidays, and even a derogatory name for the police during protests. Who knew “pig” would end up meaning big profits?
People find lots of different uses for pigs, and even Business Week has taken notice of the the pork rind battle going on for dominant market share. It sounds silly that those companies are taking pork rinds so seriously because to some people, that part of the pig doesn’t seem as important as the meat, but they’re obviously making good money from that business because a lot of people like to eat the skins of pigs. 

When put that way, it doesn’t sound appetizing, but anything we do can sound different as long as we present it in a way that people will take interest. 

Which brings me to our own publicity efforts. Like the pig industry, we can get a lot of different uses with our own content. For instance, if you write an article for a trade publication, it can also go on your blog, become a pitch for the media, be the basis of a video, and can even become an outline for a speech at a professional association. There are many ways you can use your content; just figure out which part of it people are interested in, and modify it to appeal to them the most. And it’s important to remember that in addition to creating appealing content, you should offer information that can benefit people so that you’re not just tooting your own horn. That way, you’ll profit in various ways.


Social Media Snakes for Lawyers

Disclaimer, putting the words “snakes” and “lawyers” in the same line was not meant to degrade lawyers (ha, ha). Since I’ve worked on public relations campaigns for lawyer for years, I would not want to bite the hand the feeds me. However, the problem is that over those years, I’ve seen lawyers jump on the marketing bandwagon in a big way. So much so, that they’ll try almost anything from buying overpriced website design services to hiring people to ghost write their blogs.

There’s a LinkedIn group called Legal Blogging that has a discussion going about a BusinessWeek article titled Beware Social Media Snake Oil. The dialogue was started by a thought leader in this area, Kevin O’Keefe.
As a matter of disclosure, our agency helps our clients through the social media maze. However, we do disclose that while we can measure results, measuring the primary result with ROI in dollars is difficult. That’s because too often our clients don’t track all their business leads that come as a direct or indirect result from public relations or a social media campaign.
For fun, I went to YouTube and searched for videos on “social media for lawyers.” At the top of this was this:

Talk about irony, this “expert” video is a talking head that gives nothing more that few tips. And it does not make clear the ROI. This video reminds me of what I see being sold to lawyers: social media utopia for business development.

The PR laugh for me is that lawyers, highly skilled and skeptical professionals, sometimes fall for these “snake oil” sales pitches. Why? Not because they are not intelligent, but because in recent years their business has been down like other professional services company and they are desperate and feel that social media is the sure shot short cut cure.