Real or Staged?

Thoughts on Media Psuedo Events

A pseudo event staged exclusively for publicity in the media is called a media event or a pseudo event. Generally, these events include corporate events, press conferences and product launches.  These efforts are also known as publicity stunts and can be hyped or exaggerated opportunities designed to catch media attention. The results can be either negative or positive.

This type of promotion usually isn’t spontaneous. Press conferences best exemplify the planned nature of such activities.  The media has time to prepare for event coverage (unlike breaking news) and often receives press packets with already established Question/Answer formats, talking points,  and other bits of useful information intended to be useful, even helpful to the media.

One well-covered pseudo media event was the pre-inaugural pro Barak Obama 2009 concert “We Are One” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Big name celebrities, like Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce were on hand. Approximately 400,000 people showed up.

Media pseudo events are also designed to muster public support. And for that reason, they must have a solid foundation or else they will appear to be gimmicky tricks designed to ‘make’ people  feel and then think a certain way. 

When It Goes Wrong

Here's an example of how it can back fire: 

356BC, in a bid for notoriety, historical arson Herostratus burned down one of the seven wonders of the world – the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, in modern-day Turkey. Having burned down the temple in order to become famous, Herostratus made no attempts to deny that he was the culprit. The Ephesian authorities, displeased with his actions and wanting to dissuade any others of a similar temperament, swiftly executed him and denied any mention of his name. Not exactly what he was hoping for.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump uses this technique to get media attention. Invalidating one U.S. Senator’s Prisoner of War status he drew a great deal of media attention which took coverage opportunities away from what other candidates were doing to garner public support.

If the event has “real” legs, then dig in and make it an opportunity the media won’t want to miss. If it is weakly constructed, it could collapse in a way that produces public disapproval.

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Public Relations Tips

Campaign Winners

Non-Profit Strategies That Make It To The Top

Every year the public relations’ industry has a chance to celebrate some of the best non-profit public relations campaigns around. PR News' 2018 Nonprofit Awards will be announced this month and they’ve got quite a list of finalists.

The event takes place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and will highlight some pretty important causes, such as hurricane relief and hunger prevention in a range of categories from shoe string public relations to crisis management to natural disaster communications.

Here's a look at one of the non-profits being considered:

The Greater Boston Food Bank shined a light on the reality of food insecurity during September’s Hunger Action Month. The goal of this New England hunger-relief organization is to raise awareness and funds by galvanizing people to take action to end hunger.

The campaign included an interactive social media campaign. In partnership with Feeding America®, their month-long online outreach asked participants to describe what they can’t do on an empty stomach (“On an empty stomach, I can’t__________”). Followers then posted photos with hashtags such as #HungerActionMonth and #EndHungerHere.

They also scheduled other activities throughout the month, including FEDERAL CALL-IN DAY AGAINST HUNGER in which supporters called their congressional representatives and urged them to strengthen federal anti-hunger programs.

Other Finalists

  • Don't Lose Sight of Children: Saving Pediatric Health Care and the Affordable Care Act - Children's Hospital Los Angeles
  • Meet Me at the Park Earth Month Campaign - National Recreation and Park Association  
  • goDigital - DC Public Library
  • Fund It, Fix It, Make It Fair: The Campaign to Improve Public Transit and Defend Transportation Workers’ Rights in the DC Metro Area - The TASC Group
  • Latino Education and Economic Progress: Running Faster but Falling Behind Video - Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
  • Hurricane Harvey Response: How Children’s Health Responded to One of the Largest Disasters in Texas History 
Congratulations to them and the many more finalists for their creative approaches to sharing their news and engaging their audiences! This is what makes them all winners. To learn more about the awards and the finalists, click here.   

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Work Fables

Wise Words

About Work

Most of us already have access to great volumes of knowledge about business. How to start one, how to avoid pitfalls, work smarter, etc. But what do we know about ages’ old wisdom concerning work itself?We put together a list of work fables from the volumes of material credited to Aesop. This Greek storyteller succinctly captured what it is we know and think about work; how we try to escape it or embrace it.

Too clever to work

The Salt Merchant and His Ass. An ass carrying a load of salt accidentally falls in a stream and realizes that his load has melted away. So the next time he crosses the steam, he purposely falls down. Then his owner loads him with sponges, so when he falls down a third time, the weight of his load doubles instead of disappearing.

When to ask for help

The Lark and Her Young Ones. A young lark overhears a farmer announcing that the crop is ripe and it's time to ask his friends to come help with the harvest. The lark asks its mother whether they need to move elsewhere for safety. She responds that if the farmer is only asking his friends, he isn't serious about getting the work done. They won't have to move until the farmer decides to harvest the crop himself.

About business partners

Th520 B.  from the jaws of a wolf ought to be compensation enough.
About Aesop: He was born a slave around 620 BC and earned his freedom from his second master after working hard to become learned. Following that he joined the renowned ranks of other philosophers, such as Epictetus and traveled to many countries where he learned a great deal about human affairs as the above work fables suggest.

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Sports Fire Relief

Sports Writer As Community Resource

We work with members of the media and in many, many instances, we develop reciprocal work relationships. Our goal is to provide media with news that is tailored to the interests of their audiences.

Along the way, we even develop extraordinary relationships that last long after the news has been shared. One such example is Sports Columnist Bob Padecky. A seasoned writer with impressive credentials, Padecky is, like so many of his colleagues, someone who cares deeply about his community and is willing to use his experience to help when it’s needed.

Well, it’s needed now, and he’s risen to the occasion.

Just months after the devastating October 2017 Firestorms that ravaged more than 6000 residential and business structures in Northern California, he’s found a way to leverage his expertise and experience to help the many people who have been and those who still are homeless.

To support his efforts and to also help the members of our shared community who are still experiencing tremendous need, we are promoting here Padecky’s upcoming fundraiser:

Monday, March 12, 2018, 6-9 PM
$20 (under 12 free)
Brewster's Beer Garden & Restaurant, Petaluma

Guest Speaker: Noah Lowry, former Giants Pitcher

Sports Memorabilia Auction (live & silent) will offer about 150 items, including:
  • Warriors Tickets to last home game of season
  • Basketballs signed by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson
  • Tickets to a 2018 Giants home game
  • A San Jose Sharks hockey stick signed by all the members of the 2016-17 season
  • Joe Montana autographed footballs
  • Mickey Mantle autographed career stat sheet

About the why of this event, Padecky writes: 

I was a sports columnist for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat from 1987-2013 and am 87.5 percent retired - I write two columns a month instead of 16. I was fortunate to cover 22 Super Bowls, 19 World Series, four Olympic Games, four NBA Finals, a Kentucky Derby and thousands of professional and amateur sports and their athletes. Muhmmad Ali was my favorite interview. Barry Bonds, not so much. I started writing professionally when I was 16 and I still do it. Actually, I have to do it. Writing is my passion. Sports is the conduit for that passion.

Padecky’s fire relief fundraiser is working with Rebuild The Round Barn, a nonprofit which will collect and forward donations to those impacted by wildfires via the Sonoma Community Foundation.
For tickets, click here. 

We plan to be there and hope to see you there, too!

For Busy People

Becoming Less Busy

Are you busy? Too busy to do anything about it?
Some say this is the plague of our times. Hi-speed, instant everything has not made our lives ‘better’. In many ways, it has complicated our daily existence because we now have too many taps on the shoulder: this email, that text, social media notifications by the second … You get the idea, right?

We’ve come to the conclusion that fast-paced multi-tasking is overrated. Over the long haul, it does not deliver what it promises and, in fact, is often why we hit the wall many times. Ironically, while rushing and running around, we don’t even see the road blocks that take us to burn out before us until it too late.
So what’s a creative, enterprising person to do?

According to the Young Entrepreneur Council website, answers can be found by learning from others.  To that end, they pulled together thoughts on the topic from some of today’s most forward-thinking people.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Work Out – Andrew West, Preferling
When I feel so mentally burnt out from juggling multiple projects, there's only one thing that can recharge my brain and my enthusiasm—working out. It's a way to unplug and just focus on the task in front of me, whether I go for a long run or a four-hour bike ride around my city. When I'm done, I have a high so powerful that all of the stress from my day-to-day activities is gone.

Schedule Free Time – Evrim Oralkan, Travertine Mart
Schedule free time on your calendar, just like you would schedule a meeting, and stick to it. It's crucial to take the time you need for yourself, even if it's just 30 minutes a day. You'll get back to work feeling recharged and inspired, and chances are, you'll accomplish a lot more than you would if you worked straight through the day.


We think there is much we can do to create space for ourselves to take breaks and recharge. this is how we scan slow down enough to see the detour signs BEFORE the road blocks.

To read more advice from startup founders mentioned on Young Entrepreneur Council, click here.

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Time On Your Side

Newsworthy Buzz

Make the Buzz Newsworthy

How much do you know about generating newsworthy buzz? Today’s public relations efforts must be both swift and compelling. How else will they stand out in the crowd of rapidly rotating news messages that have exceedingly short shelf lives (much like the bees that we used to associate the notion of buzz with)?

Let’s face it, the competition has gotten stiff. Stiffer for social media where visuals are convenient to share (re-post). These easy to absorb graphics and sound byte taglines (ex: For everyone who wants to be happy….) literally take only a second to send to your followers and they to theirs.  So, your effort has got to be smart. There is little room for complicated messages and even less for wordy, not-to-the-point news.

Here are a few examples that illustrate this:

Pinterest became the ‘hot spot’ for clothing retailer J.Crew. The next season’s collection appeared exclusively on its Pinterest page before they appeared on the company’s website and in their catalog. This produced a ‘sneak preview” that appealed to more than 50,000 followers. By the way, those followers included fashion bloggers.
Announcements about music award video nominees has found a home on Instagram, piquing the curiosity of those most likely to respond by reposting not only on Instragram but also on Twitter and Facebook.

Response Ready?

While it’s critical to know where your audience is and how to give them something worth engaging with, you’ve also got to be ready for the responses. Got enough product? Can you deliver as promised in a timely fashion? Are you actively seeking feedback and reviews that could further bolster your message?
And, don’t forget the media! Give them exclusive options BEFORE your news goes public. Let them help you spread the word. To do that, know which media platforms are best suited to what you offer. 

Cultivate conversations so that there already is a relationship. Yes, this takes time, but remember the media, just like followers, don’t want a steady pitch stream. These influencers know when they are being sold to and they know when they come across news that will interest their readers and viewers.

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Print Media Options

Different but Effective Print Media Choices

Print continues to be a cornerstone for mass communications. Even in this digital age, it performs like none other. In part because it has a shelf life so the message it contains can be read again and again and again without being buried beneath a plethora of Facebook posts or Twitter tweets.

Historically, the printing press is considered by many to be the most life-altering development in human history. With it, masses can receive the same information (and images) that once were available only to the few.  In fact, some suggest that it launched the expansion of literacy.

According to Tatiana  Schlossberg, “When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440, only about 30 percent of European adults were literate. Gutenberg’s invention flooded Europe with printed material and literacy rates began to rise. In the 17th century education became an emphasized part of urban societies, further catalyzing the spread of literacy. All told, literacy rates in England grew from 30 percent of about 4 million people in 1641 to 47 percent of roughly 4.7 million in 1696.”

Print publications promoted local events, news coverage and entertainment. Tucked into this, of course, are advertisements and other paid promotional messages that, over the years, has helped to keep the lights on for these daily, weekly and monthly efforts.


Along the way, newsletters became popular vehicles for targeted audiences. Think school or non-profit newsletters and you get the idea. These subscriptions based methods of communication, of course, are designed to provide content specifically relevant to the subscribers’ interests.

Banners, flyers and posters are also forms of print media.  Pithy slogans and catchy logos provide a short hand for branding purposes that frees up the remainder of the space for important details, such as date, time, price, and contact for more information.

What most people don’t think about are billboards. While cost prohibits them from changing too frequently and they, like back of the bus cards, require advance scheduling, they reach very large segments of the popular in a relatively short period of time.

Print has evolved and, dependent upon purpose, continues to be a valuable media resource for the right audience.

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