How One Email Can Destroy Your Personal Brand — Starring Kelly Blazek

Kelly Blazek About

Photo via Kelly Blazek, WordPress, Screen Grab

Seasoned professionals often feel the need to correct faux pas young professionals commit–and rightfully so. As a young professional, I can honestly say I appreciate and crave that guidance. I am sure others feel the same way.

Having served as a manager for both my college radio and television station, I can attest to the importance of passing along the airs and graces of an organization or industry to “newbies.” In television, one such cautionary tidbit I provided was don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in church in front of a microphone, as it could be live.

However, with workplace sensitivity and professional ethics prevalent now more than ever in our society, it is increasingly important to take care in how seasoned professionals communicate when disseminating these lessons. In other words, we must think before we speak (or type).

Kelly Blazek, the self-described “Job Bank House Mother” and IABC Cleveland award-winning communicator, is now experiencing a personal branding crisis due to what could be mildly described as an insensitivity issue.

Continue reading

Transparency is One of the Best Crisis Policies

liesStudying crisis communication theory has led me to examine a myriad of fascinating cases. The primary ethic that seems to continually resurface in all successful cases is transparency.

Bruce Hennes of Hennes Paynter Communications in Cleveland, Ohio, a leading crisis communications firm, told me the core values of his practice are “tell the truth, tell it all, tell it first.” While seemingly obvious, lack of transparency is often the spark that causes a small incident to erupt in the flames of a full-fledged crisis.

Continue reading

WordPress and Free SEO

David Meerman ScottDavid Meerman Scott is perhaps the most practical and innovative author with respect to public relations and marketing. My thoughts on search engine optimization that follow were inspired by chapter 22 of Scott’s book The New Rules of Marketing & PR.

I particularly enjoyed this culmination chapter. Search engine optimization is a topic I certainly enjoy discussing. Scott’s writing in this chapter synthesized a lot of the information from previous chapters in the book in order to illustrate the importance of SEO. That, to me, is the takeaway from this chapter: SEO’s importance and the ease by which an organization can do it.

It is through the construction of my own professional website where I really learned about SEO. I knew when I began building my site using WordPress that, by the time I was done with it, I needed to be on the first page of Google. I wanted to be in control of what came up on the first page when someone searched my name. SEO is so important for practitioners-in-training because when you are trying to sell your personal brand to an employer, you want to be in control of the message online. In order to do that, everything you publish online has to be reflective of your brand and be optimized with key terms industry professionals to whom you have applied will be searching.

Continue reading

Bush’s Initial Hurricane Katrina Response: A PR Blunder

george-bush-katrinaHurricane Katrina still stands as the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States and the deadliest since the Okeechobee hurricane of the late 1920s (Knabb, Rhome, & Brown, 2005). As such, the scrutiny of the government response, particularly at the federal level, to the hurricane was intense and widely proliferated in the mainstream media. As the leader of the federal government, President George W. Bush made numerous public statements regarding the exigencies of those who were directly impacted by Katrina and what the federal government’s relief plan would entail.

The following is a deconstruction of some of the president’s communications in the context of the social and political climate of the immediate aftermath of Katrina’s Louisiana landfall. During the deconstruction, the messaging will be compared to the singular archived response the president issued after category four Hurricane Charley struck Florida the previous year, which also happened to be an election year, to better understand, again, the social and political underpinnings and the implications of power versus powerlessness in a situation when people are at the government’s mercy for relief and relief communication.

Continue reading

Jimmy Buffett: A PR Pro

buffett-concertI have been on the lookout for a good public relations story in the news and was pleasantly startled when I saw an old “friend” of mine pop up in my newsfeed. He was in the news for exhibiting wonderful qualities of his that must make his public relations folks incredibly happy.

I should qualify what I am about to write with the following: For as long as I can remember, I have been a Parrothead, a devoted fan of Jimmy Buffett’s music and lifestyle. It may just be my dream job to work for Margaritaville Holdings, LLC. So, now with my personal bias out in the open, I have found Jimmy Buffett to be a public relations guru. Let us begin with an excerpt from an article published on September 7, 2013, by WLOX 13 in Mississippi on its website, “Jimmy Buffett surprises employees, gamblers at Margaritaville Biloxi”: Continue reading