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Review: MyPRStack 2.0

20 Oct

When I was asked if I’d like to write a review of the second edition of MyPRStack – an open source publication aimed at simplifying and explaining the tools and practices that form the basis of modern PR and Marcomms workflows, all lovingly curated by Stephen Waddington (@Wadds) Chief Engagement Officer at Ketchum PR – I honestly did not know where to start. The reason for this is simple: its breadth and depth are as vast as its aspirations and ethos are admirable.

bothbooks

Split over 30 chapters and 120 pages, MyPRStack will introduce the reader to a huge range of digital tools – predominantly tools that practitioners can use totally free of charge (though some have more advanced enterprise versions that do carry costs) – with each tool explained by some of the best and brightest in the PR and Marcomms industry right now.

While on the subject of cost, you can download a digital copy of MyPRStack edition 2 right now and totally for free on the following link (It is also available in hard copy if, like me, you enjoy the owning of books). This is one of the things I most admire about MyPRStack, at its heart beats the aspiration to help make the industry better and more effective because in doing so we become more credible.

Learn from Rich Leigh (@RichLeighPR) on how you can Open Site Explorer to influence media and Blogger engagement; Agharad Welsh (@Welsh_PR) on using Talkwater to Steer through a crisis; Stella Bayles (@stellabayles) on using google trends to prove audience action; Tim Lloyd (Timolloyd) on getting real people to test your digital content…I could go on and this is one of MyPRStacks biggest strengths each and every chapter is a gold mine of practical information. MyPRStack is your guide to the free tools with practical advice that can make you better at how you do the day-to-day tasks involved in delivering brilliant campaigns, managing crises and measuring the effectiveness of what you do. There is not a single publication, that I am aware of, that comes even half-way close to delivering on that.

In the current climate of shrinking budgets for communication teams, especially for those working in-house, it’s unlikely that your manager is going to be able (or willing) to send you on 30 training courses to learn about these tools. MyPRStack exists so you, the practitioner, can take charge of your professional development and learn in a very accessible way from those who have trodden the path before you.

There are a number of tools explained that I was not aware of and/or tools I was aware of being used in ways I had simply not thought of. I’m still processing a lot of the learning from the second edition of MyPRStack, but I’m fairly confident in saying that I will improve as a practitioner from the things I am taking in.

As a practitioner, Wadds is fairly unique in straddling the, often huge, divide between the academic study of the communication disciplines and the practical delivery of PR and Marketing and his curatorship of MyPRStack reflects that. Whether you are a PR student, an academic or practitioner (and I agree with Wadds that the gulf should not be so vast as it is); whether you work in-house or in an agency; whether you work for a large organisation or are a solo-practitioner there will be something within MyPRStack that is for you. Personally I think it will be a long time before MyPRStack will stop feeling relevant and useful to our industry at large, but don’t just take my word for it, download your free copy today.

Also if you are interested in finding out more about how Wadds is trying to bridge the gap between PR academics and practitioners, check out his community of practice of Facebook.

That Friday Follow Thing: Social Care

25 May

For those not familiar Friday Follow (#ff) is a Twitter convention whereby on a Friday you recommend people to follow. This is considered, a fantastic way to make new connections via a trusted recommendation or one giant internet circle jerk where bored idiots stroke their egos, depending on your side of the argument.

Me?

I do it occasionally and it does end up taking a considerable amount of time up but, by the same account, I do follow a lot of people who I learn from on a daily basis. My preference is that if you’re going to do it then rather than just tweeting #ff and a list long list of names,  tweet a single username and the reason that you are recommending them, have to say I have personally founded quite a few new people to follow by such recommendations. Anyway enough of my personal Twitter etiquette, I will be doing posts like this from time-to-time on a Friday instead of doing it on Twitter, I’ll be doing the recommendations based on themes and today’s theme is Social Care. Even though our current Government seem to have forgotten about Social Care with the latest delay to the long awaiting and much needed White Paper, time and change wait for no one. Twitter is an exciting place to be for Social Care content at the moment, lots of connections are starting to form, debates are being had about the big issues affecting the practice and management of Social Care from people working in Local Authorities, Charities and from private sector providers of care. Without exception, all the social care Tweeters that I have met have been linked by desire to engage and that’s exciting for me, people are starting to share ideas and best practice in an open environment like Twitter and that can only be good for both the profession as a whole and to the public perception of it.

Call to Arms: Do You work in Health or Social Care?

We need you. We may need you to lead us, if you’re willing and your vision is strong enough, but we certainly need you. You might have the idea that makes it all work, we might have some ideas that work for you. I really want to see a lot more Social Care and Health tweeters and bloggers over the coming years, there’s a reason for this. Eddie Izzard does a sketch about bee-keepers:

You guys working front line Health and Social Care, you’re the bee keepers. I’ve met very few people working in Health and Social Care who told me they were ‘just doing a job’ or ‘just doing it for the money’ the thing that I have noticed is they share a genuine passion for helping people by offering the best services that they are able and that, in itself, is no easy task. So come on guys, let’s see you on Twitter, let’s hear your thoughts. We do not have to wait for a Government that has seemingly forgotten about us, we’re here, we’re talking; there is not a single movement in the history of civilisation that hasn’t started this way. Anyway, if you want to find the most interesting content on Twitter on UK Social Care here are the people I recommend you follow.

This list is by no means exhaustive, I have chosen the people I regard as the best curators of content, through these people you will find a lot more people to follow and engage with.

Shirley Ayres (@Shirley Ayres) – Shirley is a true leader and a bit of a heretic at times and quite right too, heretics have more fun! Shirley is responsible for well over half of the interesting content I read on Twitter around Social Care and Health, her skill at curating content and asking the right and difficult questions is legendary. I follow Shirley closely, she is always engaged in fascinating discussions on a variety of topics and I learn a lot. You should read her superb blog on Connecting Social Care and Social Media.

I have a list of people I intend to go out of my way to meet and learn from, Shirley is on there, we keep missing each other, but we’ll get there soon.

Ermintrude2 – Anonymous Blogger Ermintrude2 is another superb creator and curator of thought provoking content around Social Care. She is someone I would hold up as a superb ambassador for the profession, always sharing best practice and experience and always eager to engage in important discussions. Ermintrude is the antidote to the often skewed picture of  Social Care that is in the media, we need more people like her! She is involved in The Not So Big Society Blog, which I highly recommend.

GndSocialCare – Sometimes working in Social Care you’d be forgiven for thinking the national media an enemy. Unfortunately bad news sells more papers than good news, so a lot of the stories that end up running about Social Care are about the times it goes wrong or we get it wrong. The Guardian are on a wonderful mission to present a bit more balanced perspective on Social Care issues and their content just gets better and better. Check out the Guardian Social Care Network.

Claudia Megele – Her Twitter Profile States: There is little I’m not curious about & even less I’m not interested in… and that about sums up the content she creates and curates, always fascinating. Claudia is a Senior Lecturer, MSc Module Leader, Author and Researcher.

LearningSHaCK – This account is close to my heart as run  by friends and colleagues in the Learning and Development Service at Warwickshire, I helped them to get started on Twitter and am pleased to say they have become fantastic curators and creators of content.

And last, but no means least, a recent one, but immediately brilliant:

WhoCaresWalsall – Provides information about care services in Walsall and began with the live-tweeting of the morning in the life of Sheila who cares for her husband Ron who has Vascular Dementia. You can read the full story and you should, it was a superb piece of storytelling in real time and perfectly highlighted a lot of the issues of caring for someone who has dementia and also someone living with dementia. On every level I am in awe and certainly one to watch; there don’t have to be flashy unicorns, it just needs to be real and this is. Check out the blog and huge Kudos to Tina and Becky from Walsall Council for Tweeting such a powerful story. Also credit to Dan Slee for being awesome.

Are you working in Local Government Communication?

You need to be following Comms2Point0 and check out their awesome blog .

Social Care in Warwickshire

Social Care and Health

Adult Social Care

Children’s Social Care

Warwickshire Resource Directory

Recognise and Report Abuse

CIPR Strike an important blow in the battle for UK PR industry credibility and trust.

20 Jan

The Brilliant Andy Barr (@10yetis) once told me about a great saying: I couldn’t tell my mum I worked in PR so I told her I played piano in a brothel!

My last post was about the Dark Origins of PR, how that still continues to shape public opinion of the industry and why I felt it was important that we, as practitioners, have a vested interest in changing these perceptions. With this in mind I was pleased to hear the news from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) this morning that they have taken the rare decision to expel a member of our professional body for misconduct.
The person in question is Northern Ireland practitioner, Jennifer Maguire, MD of Consultancy, Core Communications who:

‘is on public record as having fabricated evidence, lied and acted vindictively, aggressively and unreasonably at two employment tribunals in 2008 and 2009.’  – Read more in the CIPR Press Release.

I totally support the CIPR decision to take this action and think it’s important for our industry that they do. It is decisive action that demonstrates clearly that the Code of Conduct that all members of the CIPR sign up to when they join has teeth and is more than just lip-service to the concept of professional ethics for our industry. More than this, it demonstrates clearly to members and the general public that the leading body for UK PR practitioners IS committed to getting its house in order when it comes to ethics and professional standards. It’s important to note that CIPR did not respond to an external complaint on this case, they brought the action themselves against this member. This can only be good for the way people perceive our industry.

I do also think that there is more than a slight element of foresight here in relation to the bigger picture in the UK. 2011 was the year of phone-hacking and expose-after-expose into the so-called ‘Dark Arts’ of the Journalism, but it goes further than just Journalism. It would be naïve to suggest that Public Relations is totally free of practices that are perhaps ethically ambiguous (or just plain wrong) and short-sighted in the extreme to assume we won’t receive the same level of public scrutiny this year that Journalism received last year. I think CIPR are pre-empting this scrutiny by acting, not because a select committee tells them they must, but because action is the only and right course to take.

Today, I’m reminded of why my CIPR membership matters to me and why CIPR matter to the UK PR industry.

CIPR Members, today may be a good day to refresh ourselves on the expectations of us in our professional Code of Conduct.

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