Public Relations Is Not Nice

Public Relations Is Not Nice.

Good morning and happy Monday!  Interesting article from Jennifer Witter, CEO and Founder of The Boreland Group, Inc, about the essence of Public Relations and how we as PR practitioners need to better job of representing ourselves to our key audiences and the media.


Image of Public Relations Is Not Nice By Jennefer Witter, CEO and Founder, The Boreland Group Inc.

PR is not a nicety. It is an essential tool that, alas, many businesses overlook. We in PR need to do a better job of presenting ourselves to our key audiences. The perception, in part, is one that is shaped by the media, a la the Samantha Jones character in “Sex and the City,” who didn’t seem to do much work but seemed to have a glamorous work life, throwing parties and going to them. What is not depicted is the strategy, creativity and business acumen that one needs to be successful in this industry. And the ability to work long, hard hours for demanding, stressed clients. Or the stress we face – according to CareerCast, PR is one of the ten most stressful jobs in America (it’s ranked #6 this year; it was #5 in 2013).

What makes PR valuable? It is our ability to help shape a business’ image to appeal to its target market in a way that is authentic, honest and resonates with their specific needs.  We translate the brand proposition to the tangible – what is the valuethat the client offers, whether it’s a service or product. And, most of all, we work to get our clients their “unfair share of attention,” a critical element in an economy that is still in recovery and has contributed to an extremely competitive landscape.



5 Truths For Taking Action In Your Life


5 Truths For Taking Action In Your Life

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If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I’d want to pass along to others…


“Scheming and dreaming will fill your mind; taking action will fill your life.”


As a couple approaching middle age, we’ve had our fair share of successes and setbacks. Throughout them all – marriage, divorce, remarriage, cross-country moves, career ups and downs, and finally traveling the world with just a backpack – we’ve come to 5 consistent truths:


1. Eliminating the negative and focusing on what feeds your spirit every single day will change your life far more dramatically than achieving one big goal.


This is when you’ll have the space, energy and perspective to see opportunities in front of you. In choosing to not engage with the whiners at work, we performed better and made more money. In taking a walk every day, we reduced our stress, helped our hearts, and lost weight. In experiencing more small joys we increased our overall happiness.


2. Possessions limit experiences.


There is a cost to ownership, even if the items came to you for free. When your house is overloaded with stuff, you are less likely to invite friends and family over for dinner. When you stretch your resources – time, money, and attention – to maintain what you own, you have less left over for new experiences and relationships. You can treasure both what you own and the freedom gained from what you don’t own.


3. Good health is worth more than any amount of money or recognition.


It’s easy to overlook this in your 20s and 30s, but it starts catching up in your 40s and beyond. When you fail your body on a daily basis with poor nutrition, no exercise, extreme stress, and lack of sleep, it will eventually fail you. As your mind and soul becomes wiser, it’s a shame to let your body become less able to maximize those gifts.


4. The people you surround yourself with determine the direction of your life.


By reaching out to positive, generous, action-oriented people, groups, and organizations, you will greatly increase your own odds of success in your personal and business life. You up your own game when you’re surrounded by people who are playing at a higher level.


5. Doing the work every day is what leads to overnight success.


It isn’t the showy part of your life that matters, the “highlight reel,” so to speak. It is the work you do every day behind the scenes, when no one is looking, that determines your overall success in life. Just showing up when you say you will – to work, to help, to exercise, to learn – builds your credibility over time and eventually gives you the “overnight success” everyone else sees.


When you focus on these 5 truths, your life will take a dramatic upswing no matter what your overall goals. These are the foundational principles to guide you through life so that you enjoy every single moment of it.


Understanding Twitter’s Impact, and Commitment, to Traditional Media (And Why PR Pros Should Care)

Interesting article written by Serena Ehrlich with Business Wire about how Twitter is evolving in 2014 to become a news conduit and research tool for reporters and the public.  Ehrlich goes on to explain that despite the ability to share news quickly and in real-time, Twitter is not interested in scooping reporters. Instead, Twitter is focusing on facilitating the sharing of news between creator and consumer. — Pete Cento

Understanding Twitter’s Impact, and Commitment, to Traditional Media (And Why PR Pros Should Care).


By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Media, Business Wire

Last month, The National Newspaper Association kicked off their annual conference with a presentation from Twitter’s head of news services, Vivian Schiller. In her keynote, Vivian outlined several upcoming changes within the Twitter news and newsfeed services, introduced Twitter’s new local news initiative and provided tips for journalists on how to leverage Twitter to build their audience and brand.

“News is important to every person on the planet, but for each person, the definition of news that’s important to them is going to be different.” Vivian Schiller, Twitter

One of the top goals for Twitter in 2014 is not to become a news service, but to become a news conduit and a research tool.  Despite the ability to share news quickly and in real-time, Twitter is not interested in scooping reporters. Instead, Twitter is focusing on facilitating the sharing of news between creator and consumer.  In 2014, Twitter is expanding its partnerships to include local media, a big step up from previous years where Twitter focused more heavily on larger media properties. This partnership includes providing easier access to Twitter verification,  taking a second look at the follower caps placed on some accounts and even promotional assistance to outlets breaking a larger story.

Image of Understanding Twitter’s Impact, and Commitment, to Traditional Media (And Why PR Pros Should Care) “Every reporter, every editor should be their own social media editor”

To ensure media outlets can maximize their presence and reach on Twitter, Vivian also shared a series  of best practices and tips to increase reader engagement and widen the news reach.  The top tips for today’s journalists looking to build a brand on Twitter include:

Twitter lists provide a better user experience:  One of the best ways to utilize Twitter is to create lists based on industry or geography or both.  Once the lists are set up reporters can easily scroll through each list for story ideas, to see what is resonating within key audiences, and which individuals are the most influential within their core topic.  And you can add people (or competitors!) to lists without following them, allowing you to maintain the integrity of your core news feed.

Multimedia increases views and shares:  One of the fastest, and easiest ways to increase views, retweets and click throughs on a Tweet is to include multimedia.  In fact, Vivian noted that within the media community, tweets with photos and video lift engagement by 27%

Twitter Cards are a reporter’s best friend and better branding  Twitter cards enhance a tweet, especially those that include images or video by providing more than just the traditional 140-characters.  Links to articles, for example, now include the media outlet name and logo, the byline and more.  These cards are perfect for reporters!  Not only do they enhance the story being shared, Twitter cards build branding for both the reporter and their media outlet.  Did we mention they are free to use?

Twitter builds your media brand:  One of the biggest ways for reporters to increase their own impact and visibility is by building a relationship with their social media fans and readers.  To do this, it is important for every reporter, every social media platform user to take the time to build relationships with their audience.  The fastest way to build a social following is to thank those who share our your news articles, be engaging and talk to your readers, send tweets with companies you may be interested in covering, utilize hashtags to enter larger conversations and live tweet big events such as keynote discussion.  For additional ways to reporters to build their audience on Twitter, read this article by Poynter.

Twitter tracks your success:  Measuring successful tweets on social media is an ongoing challenge.  Initial metrics include follower and overall conversation counts, but those that focus actions taken by the reader, including article sharing, article advocacy and feedback provide a better story. It is these engagements that increase article shares, build loyal readership and drive the inbound traffic needed to meet most media properties overall revenue metrics.

News is going mobile:  A huge majority of Twitter users access the platform from their mobile device.  This means readers are taking journalists and news with them throughout their day. Today’s readers consume news throughout the day and night, regardless of location. Reporters who utilize and share news articles on Twitter can reach any interested party now, no matter where the reader is.

There are more than 500 billion tweets sent every day.

For the last 50 years, we at Business Wire have watched, first hand, the continual evolution of the news industry. It is in our DNA to understand that while news distribution and consumption methods are ever changing, the need for news will never abate.  We are very excited to see Twitter expanding their media partnership to include smaller, local publications and can’t wait to work with journalists and reporters as they continue to maximize their reach and presence on Twitter.  Have questions on how media outlets can better utilize Twitter to showcase articles, stories or press releases?  Let us know!

 About the Author: Over the last 20 years, Serena Ehrlich has worked closely with public and private companies providing guidance on investor and public relation trends. Serena has implemented local, national and international social media and marketing campaigns for a wide range of company and brands including Mogreet, LuxuryLink, Viking River Cruises, the unincorporated city of Marina del Rey, Kraft, Kohl’s, Avon, Mattel and more. Serena started her career in advertising where she developed an understanding of branding from a large-scale perspective, but it was her 14 years in the newswire industry that placed her squarely at the forefront of a technical, sociological and influential revolution changing the face of customer communications. In 1994, Serena was part of a small team who introduced the communications industry to the Internet via a series of first-ever conferences, Her love of technology based communications hasn’t stopped since. As the director of social and evolving media at Business Wire, Serena has a unique insight in the content lifestyle – from creation to consumption. In addition, Serena serves as the Corporate Secretary of the international Social Media Club board of directors, President of Social Media Club Los Angeles, as well as social chair for the National Investor Relations Institutes’ Los Angeles chapter and is a frequent speaker at analyst and business conferences alike on the topics of mobile, payments and social.. She can be found on Twitter (@serena)

Disaster Preparedness & 2014 Atlantic-basin Hurricane Season

Disaster Preparedness & 2014 Atlantic-basin Hurricane Season

Disaster Preparedness & 2014 Atlantic-basin Hurricane Season

Written by Pete E Cento – Disaster Preparedness, Crisis Management, PR, Media Relations, Public Affairs, Community Relations, Special Projects Producer (The Cento Group, President, Naples, FL)

Naples, FL  – The start of the 2014 Atlantic-basin hurricane season in Florida is just around the corner, June 1 – November 30. Every year millions of Americans who live in Florida, the Gulf Coast and along the east coast of the U.S. are potentially in the bull’s eye for being impacted by tornadoes, severe storms, flooding, tropical storms and hurricanes in the region.

This year marks the 10 anniversary of the devastating impact of Hurricane Charley in Southwest Florida. Charley was the third named storm, the second hurricane, and the second major hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic-basin hurricane season. Hurricane Charley made landfall on the southwest coast of Florida near Cayo Costa, just west of Ft. Myers around 3:45 p.m. EDT on August 13, with maximum sustained surface winds near 150 mph. At maximum strength, Charley was the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew struck Southeast Florida in Miami-Dade County twelve years before, in 1992.

What happens when a disaster hits a local community?

From 2005 to 2012 I worked as multilingual public affairs officer and external affairs field specialist with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. During that time I was deployed to more than 40 disasters from California to Massachusetts. I’ve also been media spokesperson for AT&T Wireless, Bell South, University of Miami, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) during the annual Atlantic-basin hurricane season.

Every time I was deployed to a new disaster in the U.S., I conducted media interviews with newspaper editors, online media, bloggers, public and broadcast radio and television stations. Typically I was asked why is FEMA not there handing out money, water, food, medicine, blankets, clothes, etc., the day after a major hurricane, tropical storm or tornado strikes a community?

My response was “FEMA is not a first responder. The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and local churches and faith-based organizations are tasked with being the first relief agencies and/or non-profits on hand to help disaster survivors in the immediate days after a natural disaster. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers to assess the long-term needs of disaster survivors.”

“We pre-stage emergency supplies throughout the county in advance of a major disaster, e.g., Cat 4 or 5 Hurricanes, major earthquake or major flooding that impacts an entire community, etc. We are partners in the initial response phase but especially during the recovery phase of a disaster. We are guests of (whatever state I happen to be working in at the time). They are the lead agency in this disaster and we are here to help them.”

What do local authorities in Southwest Florida mean?

Local authorities are representatives with Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota County Office of Emergency Management, City of Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda Office of Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security, and whatever other local municipality is working with local emergency managers. Everyone needs to check ahead of time with your local authorities to determine what he or she needs to do in the immediate days after a disaster.

What is a Family Emergency Disaster Communication Plan?

More importantly, every individual has to prepare for any disaster whether its man-made, weather related, biological, chemical, etc., by developing a personal family emergency disaster communication plan that includes disaster emergency supplies for each member of your family, a minimum of 5 – 7 days. The emergency communication plan and disaster emergency supplies should also include the needs of your pets, children and elderly individuals who may be living with you at home or nearby.

What do I need to include in a Disaster Emergency Supplies Kit?

Don’t wait until there is a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning that may impact the residents of Southwest Florida, Southeast Florida or the Florida Keys to prepare. NOW is the time to put together your disaster emergency supplies kit that should include the following:

  • A gallon of drinking water per person per day for at least five to seven days.
  • Enough non-perishable food items, a manual can opener per person for at least five to seven days.
  • Two months of medication for your children, pets, and grandparents
  • Stock up on extra batteries, new flashlights, a NOAA weather radio, non-perishable foods, a manual can opener, candles, an extra tank of propane gas for your barbecue grill.
  • Extra batteries already charged for all of your mobile devices.

Also, it would be a good idea to have an old-fashioned wired landline phone in your house that you can use just in case the electricity goes out. Remember – all those fancy cordless phones that do everything except make espresso – are no good to you if the electricity goes down for days or even weeks.

One more thing – if you are able to do so, purchase a large diesel powered or propane powered generator and have it installed in your home PRIOR to the start of the new hurricane season on June 1. Especially if you are some else in your household is dependent on oxygen, a respirator, or other device that needs to be connected to electricity 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week. Unfortunately, FPL is the only option when it comes to electricity for most of us and time and time again they perform miserably after a major storm, never mind a tropical storm or hurricane.

The bottom line is – you and only you are responsible for the safety and well being of your family before, during and after a disaster. Don’t blame the media, elected officials, state representatives, local emergency managers, The White House or President Obama if you’re not prepared.

Here are some valuable websites to help you prepare and keep your family safe:


Be Prepared. Have a Plan. Keep Your Family Safe.

Media Relations: What We Can Learn from the Bassmasters

Media Relations: What We Can Learn from the Bassmasters.

Interesting article by Josh Berkman, President, Piston Communications, about when and how to effectively pitch the media and get the most coverage for you and your clients. 

When I think about my greatest hits, they all have one thing in common: They embodied at least four of the main elements. In other words, the bait was tasty. There’s a science to selecting your bait and tackle, but first, it’s worth reviewing the six elements.

  1. Timeliness: Why now?
  2. Proximity: Local news is news to someone. Who is it?
  3. Human Interest: Can you tell this story at a backyard barbecue or cocktail party and expect that a crowd will gather around?
  4. Prominence: Anybody famous?
  5. Conflict: Man vs. man? Man vs nature? Man vs. himself?
  6. Consequence: Who’s life is about to change?

5 ways to improve your blog’s performance without blogging

5 ways to improve your blog’s performance without blogging

By Jackson Wightman | Posted: March 31, 2014

Interesting article to increase the value of your blog and build a new audience of readers. — Pete E Cento March 31, 2014 

Ask the experts, and they’ll tell you that if you want to improve your business blog, you must regularly power it with high-quality content. 

Though the tips below are not intended to replace a consistent flow of engaging, relevant, and informative content, they can help you improve the performance of your blog (without your actually blogging).