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PR and New Media (2011 module)

Page history last edited by Richard Bailey 12 years, 10 months ago



Module handbook


Writing reports and proposals


Week One: Cluetrain and Crowd Surfing


The Cluetrain Manifesto (1999/2009)



Page xiv

1. Markets are conversations

2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.

Page xvi

26.  Public relations does not relate to the public. Companies are deeply afraid of their markets.

39. The community of discourse is the market.

Page xix

74. We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.


Revised view

  • Markets are conversations
  • Markets are also transactions
  • Markets are also relationships

(2009 p9-22)



We were 'basically right, but not entirely. Beyond the triumphalist overstatements (Thesis 74: "We are immune to advertising. Just forget it."), which at least had a rhetorical purpose, we were wrong about how long it was going to take to throw the rascal out.'

(2009 p 54)


The original text

'So, if markets are conversations (they are) and there's no market for messages (there isn't), what's marketing-as-usual to do? Own the conversations? Keep the conversations on message? Turn up the volume until it drowns out the market? Compete with the new conversations?'

(2009 p159)


'So what becomes of marketing? How do companies enter into the global conversation? How do they find their own voice? Can they? How do they wean themselves from messaging? What happens to 


  • PR
  • advertising
  • marketing communications
  • pricing
  • positioning

...and the rest of the marketing arsenal?

Excellent questions.'

(2009 p160)


On public relations

 'Everyone - including many PR people - senses that something is deeply phony about the profession. And it's not hard to see what it is. Take the standard computer-industry press release. With few exceptions, it describes an "announcement" that was not made, for a product that was not available, quoting people who never said anything, for distribution to a list of people who mostly consider it trash.'

(2009 p160)


'But, of course, the best PR people are not PR Types at all. They understand that they aren't censors, they're the company's best conversationalists. Their job - their craft - is to discern stories the market actually wants to hear, to help journalists write stories that tell the truth, to bring people into conversation rather than protect them from it. Indeed, already some companies are building sites that give journalists comprehensive, unfiltered information about the industry, including unedited material from their competitors. In the age of the Web where hype blows up in your face and spin gets taken as an insult, the real work of PR will be more important than ever.'

(2009 p162)


Crowd Surfing (2008)

'We are not 'open source' evangelists, who argue that the only way to work is by collaborating with the crowd, nor do we believe that all communication has to involve an open dialogue. All of the evidence indicates that collaborative business cultures are likely to be more successful, and that dialogue tends to be more effective than monologue, but the reality of running a business or political party is that you can't always surf the crowd. Equally, the success of Apple, under the self-proclaimed control freak Steve Jobs, provides us with a cautionary tale of how ignoring demands for open and sustained dialogue does not necessarily damage a business's performance.'

(2008 p7)


'It sounds so deceptively simple - 'be interesting' - but these two words should be adopted as a mantra by every wannabe crowd surfer. As with interesting people, interesting companies are the ones that are admired and talked about. Interesting companies have opinions and are not afraid to voice them.'

(2008 p 150)


'Interesting businesses such as Unilever, Innocent, IKEA, 42 Below and JetBlue keep the crowd engaged and involved by always being interesting.. and benefiting from a virtuous circle in which the more interesting they become, the more likely they are to attract interesting people with interesting ideas, to recruit the most interesting employees, to be written about in the most interesting media and talked about on the most interesting blogs. They save millions of pounds on advertising because they can rely on positive world of mouth to maintain their profile. Now that's interesting.'

(2008 p 151)



Week Two


Corporate perspective: presentation


Workshop: Blog links



Week Three: Monitoring tools


See blog post for more on this, and on Twitter influence rankings


Also see this list, suggested by Citra Ernest.



Week Four: The New Rules of Marketing and PR


The Old Rules of PR


  • 'The only way to get ink and airtime was through the media
  • Companies communicated to journalists via press releases
  • Nobody saw the actual press release except a handful of reporters and editors
  • Companies had to have significant news before they were allowed to write a press release
  • Jargon was okay because the journalists all understood it
  • You weren't supposed  to send a release unless it included quotes from third parties, such as customers, analysts, and experts
  • The only way buyers would learn about the press release's content was if the media wrote a story about it
  • The only way to measure the effectiveness of press releases was through "clip books," which noted each time the media deigned to pick up a company's release
  • PR and marketing were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies and measurement techniques


None of this is true anymore. The Web has transformed the rules, and you must transform your PR strategies to make the most of the Web-enabled marketplace of ideas.'


Scott, DM (2010: 11-12)


The New Rules of Marketing and PR


  • 'Marketing is more than just advertising.
  • PR is for more than just a mainstream media audience.
  • You are what you publish.
  • People want authenticity, not spin.
  • People want participation, not propaganda.
  • Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it.
  • Marketers must shift their thinking from mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of underserved audiences via the Web 
  • PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It's about your buyers seeing your company on the Web.
  • Marketing is not about your agency winning awards. It's about your organization winning business.
  • The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on the media.
  • Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great online content.
  • Blogs, online video, e-books, news releases, and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate.
  • On the Web, the lines between marketing and PR have blurred.'


 Scott, DM (2010: 23-24)


David Meerman Scott (2010) The New Rules of Marketing and PR (2nd edition) Wiley


Week Five: Content, conversation, community




  • What do we mean by content?
  • What types of content can comms / PR / marketing create?


'If we accept that markets are conversations, that successful organizations cannot perform effectively unless they enter into dialogue with a range of stakeholders, then it follows inexorably that organizations must be aware of and engage with as nearly a full range of communication channels and platforms as possible.


'This doesn't mean all organizations must utilize all channels (far from it), but it is vital that they are sufficiently aware of these channels and platforms and that they identify which are most appropriate for communication with their particular stakeholders.'
Phillips and Young 2009: 237


'Search is the dominant force on the web and content that ranks highly in a Google search is de facto going to have more hits, more impact and more value... PR practitioners therefore must take account of this and consider how they use digital PR to support good search rankings. PR activity is creating content that is of increasing relevance to the way that search engines work.'
Brown 2009: 53 


'Two students from Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created a search engine technique based on mathematical algorithms that measured links from one website to another. This was the basis of Google, the search engine they launched in 1998. The search engine optmization business started to find ways to manipulate this new form of search. In short, they found ways of creating spurious links to the sites that they wanted to promote using devices such as link farms, which involved the creation of thousands of websites whose only function was to provide links to the original site to improve its page rank'
Brown 2009: 54


'Natural search is a description of the process of searching that produces results based on their actual relevance rather than because their ranking has been boosted by paid-for search search engine optimization techniques.'
Brown 2009: 55 


'As a content creator, your best SEO techniques are (1) to write information-rich copy that people will want to read and link to and (2) to figure out which words people are likely to use in searches, and them embed those keywords throughout your copy.'
Barr et al 2010: 394 




  • People can have conversations. Can organisations?
  • Who speaks for the organisation in the age of the social web?
  • Who controls the conversation, and how? 
  • Where should the conversation take place? 




  • Does time spent with media break down human interactions and destroy a sense of community?
  • These concerns have escalated with the rise of the internet (see eg Sherry Turkle, Nicholas Carr, Evgeny Morozov)
  • Optimists v pessimists v realists


On utopians, dystopians and realists

'If we cannot choose among these three attitudes based solely on facts, then how do we choose? I suggest that we pick the one with the best outcome. On those grounds, dystopianism is out of luck. It's fear based and depressing. How are you going to run a business with Eeyore and Chicken Little as your role models? That leaves utopianism and realism.


'Realism has the better name. It sounds like it has to be more in touch with reality. But what realist would have thought that Wikipedia was worth the time or investment? What realist would have said, "Yeah, getting a disorganized mob to build an operating system to compete with Microsoft is a terrifically practical idea"? What realist would have said in 1992, "I've seen Tim Berners-Lee's plan for a worldwide Web, and, realistically, in ten years there will be a billion people on it and hundreds of billions of pages"? A premature realism would have killed the Web. Who knows what earth-shaking ideas are right now being laughed off the Net by confident realists? Realism just isn't ambitious enough.


'And for exactly the same reasons, utopianism is the Net's ally. Realists are right more often than utopians are, because most ideas are bad. But without utopianism, the ideas that are so good that they change the world would never get the air they need. Utopians have made more of the Internet than an reasonable person could have expected. Utopians rule.'


Weinberger in Levine et al 2009: 65



  • Western societies in particular are moving towards individualization, but the internet encourages collective individualism (Macnamara 2010).
  • Technological determinism (claims that technology determines society) versus social constructionism (society determines how we use technology)


Social media has always existed

'Traditionally people made their own culture in tribes and villages and local communities.  However, in the 19th and 20th centuries cultural production was taken over by what Frankfurt School scholars termed the "culture industry"... During the 20th century in particular, these industries came to be dominated by mass media such as major Hollywood film studios, newspaper empires, and major global TV networks... Emergent internet media give people a way back to culture making.' Macnamara 2010: 138


'Emergent media and public communication practices also provide spaces for community building.' Macnamara 2010: 153


Week Six: Social Media Monitoring


Guest lecture by Anthony Devenish of Wolfstar Consultancy (PowerPoint)


Euprera Spring Symposium keynote by Philip Sheldrake



Week Seven: Community and mass collaboration


Notes on the class blog.


Headstream: Social Brands 100 report (pdf)



Week Eight: Crowdsourced article


Last week, class members had the chance to sign up for Ketchum's Mindfire community. A number of you will have received your passwords and may already have begun participating.


But we also learnt last week that there's a big gap between the theory (conversations, community, crowdsourcing etc) and the reality of achieving user participation and engagement. We've seen this in class, so why should it be different in the 'real' world?


This week, we have been invited to contribute an article on crowdsourcing to Culpwrit, a career blog curated by Ketchum director Ron Culp. So let's make this a crowdsourced article calling on a range of opinions and perspectives. Here's the article outline: your task is to add your comments and case study examples.


Crowdsourcing in education


We've all heard that 'markets are conversations'. But is what applies to markets also true in education? Do the same open, conversational principles apply or is it different in the classroom, where the professor retains asymmetric control over the students? Do concepts like 'open source' have any meaning in teaching and learning?


This semester, I've been leading a course in Public Relations and New Media to a diverse gathering of postrgraduate students in our Faculty of Business and Law. We may be studying in Leeds, in the north of England, but we're drawn from all over the world (see end of this article for a list of countries of origin) and from several different courses and backgrounds.


Inspired by the famous example of MIT making its teaching resources freely available online (reported in Wikinomics), we've been conducting our own experiment in 'open source learning'. The class is supported by a blog and a wiki page.


University teaching is full of comfortable rituals: if you remove the rules, then you force people to think for themselves - and create their own rules. We have tried to leave the comfort of the classroom and address the complexity and uncertainty of the world of business, marketing and communications. I firmly believe this will be more useful to our graduates than an ability to recite some textbook learning.


But, as always with teaching, it matters much less what I teach than what the class learns. So let's ask them (comments are anonymous to encourage free expression).



The module has helped me become more confident in expressing my views in front of people I am unfamiliar with, which will hopefully carry through to my professional career.  It was also beneficial to hear other people's opinions on things and the wide ranging experiences people have had.  I especially enjoyed the guest lecture from Anthony Devenish on


Every time i sit for this module i come across a new path to reach and move around the market and be involved day to day practices of Communication in the world of New Media,How far it had reached and yet sky is the limit.It has made me think to the modes of communication which to me earlier were not as affective as the traditional ones.Lecture with Anthony Devenish gave me a picture of what it is like to be out there and doing things which in classroom we only thought to be not as useful as it has be taught


It's great to learn from fellow students - learning from others is the best way of understanding the continually widening scope of new media and PR in general. 


The interactive teaching style that was adopted into this module has proven to be quite informative. Many students, all of whom


This is the start of the evolution of education, too long have we depended on the regurgitation of a crusty old lecturers in a empty dusty old lecture theatre.  Communication and debate are words that have been thrown around module syllabuses for decades,  but now our learning commuinty has found its voice in an innoative and advanced arena.   Now the student is allowed to be right and wrong in a safe learning space where the subject changes as fast as the opinions of the class.


'Thought provoking' is the best term to describe this module. An open dialogue, where every contribution is valued and every student is encouraged to learn from thousand others sources out there. As new media is actually evolving faster than any books or theories, there is no better way to teach than nurturing students' curiosity and excitement to continue learning by themselves. And Richard did it! 


I absolutely loved having a class blog instead of a study book. Everyone was free to contribute and the blog features up-to-date information and trends that might long be outdated when eventually published in a book. What I learned was that it's not the tools that matter, those will change and evolve, but what matters is that one develops a "good nose" for what will become important online and what can be neglected. And it's nice to surprise your teacher with facts that he didn't know yet. In short, everyone was able to benefit from this new teaching method.


I think a necessity for successing with this type of teaching is to have a professor which encourages and then embraces the participants. This helps to reduce the uncertainty which a lot of students experience in this kind of teaching method. I must say that I feel this is done in an appropriate manner with this course; hence I do not fear my answers being wrong etc in this module and can speak quite freely even if I am not the most talkative person by nature. At least I would like to add the fun of being part of something new and exciting, however I will leave until the assessment process has been done to determine to what extent it has been successful, but there has to be said that I feel I have gained a lot of useful knowledge. A maybe the most important thing regarding this is a teaching institution, it has made me curious and made me engage in a way no other module has done so far.




This class has been a little chaotic though probably the most similar to the workplace which has been really valuable. There is such diversity in the class so its been great to be able to work with other students, and bounce ideas off each other. I think my experience could have been enhanced had I been more interactive both on and offline. I really like that there is a choice as to how class members can join in, some are quiet in class though quite active online and vice versa. The class has quickly exposed me to a range of ideas that I can easily look into in greater depth in my own time. It's been a great experience.


There is no specific 'structure' to the class, however, as explained to us, this is on purpose, as the world of new media is evolving everyday.


Sometimes it can be intimidating to involve yourself we the teaching methods used are so alien to us.


PR and New Media class consists of 15 different nationalities and it is already challenging enough without this 'open-learning' system. This 'experimental' learning process requires a teacher with great intercultural competence. Some students from high-context culture do not use to say their mind out loud and it is in their culture says that people who talk a lot usually are not wise (smart). Forcing them to contribute might be not the best way either, as they have spent almost all of their study years sitting nicely on the stool and accepting the fact that teachers are the ones who supposed to talk.  


A bias from the professor could be that everyone is familiar and up to date with the social media and all it has to offer. I think several students, me included, did only use Facebook of the modern social media tools before we started this class. However, the experience with this module has driven me to explore the world of twitter etc, which I probably would not have done else way.


     Thoughts on Mindfire

Mindfire gives us PR students food for thought. It's an educational experience as we learn a lot from other students from different parts of the world.     It's also a good platform for us to put our ideas forward.  


Mindfire facilitates bright Communication students to show off their ideas and creativity and also get acknowledgement. It is interesting to see students all over the world bring their own perspective towards a communication case by including international perspective as well. This is a great idea, not only for the students, but especially for Ketchum. What will be more valuable for a PR consultancy than fresh and creative ideas from brilliant students around the world for (almost) free? Salute.


Mindfire is a great possibility for us as students. It provides us  the opportunity to participate in real-life projects and maybe to see a recognition for our work, either from the company itself or the other participants. Moreover, it gives us valuable insights of what we should or can do, helps us to evaluate ourselves and motivates us to generate new and creative ideas. Most importantly, we have the opportunity to 'brain storm' and share our ideas, learn from our mistakes and be more creative - which, to my opinion is at the core of all learning. Mindfire may be a valuable asset to our education and I am more than thankful for this opportunity. :)



Country of origin of contributors:

Australia, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Sweden, Syria, UK, Vietnam



Week Nine:


Guest speaker: Gareth Thompson, London Metropolitan University


See report on class blog


Twitter league table (from our class)


Rank Real name  Twitter name  # followers  Klout  PeerIndex  Twitalyzer 
Vassilena Valchanova  @vasvalch  2,203  47  45  1.6% 
Richard Bailey  @behindthespin  1,808 52  62 1.7% 
Sabrina Johnson  @sabrinajohnson  304  32    0.2% 
Maria Khalid  @maria1110  242  46  1.2% 
Abhishek Mishra  @dbrokenlizzard  139  10  N/A  0% 
Michael Chivers  @chiversmc  82  37  N/A  0%
Anna Nordstrom  @annanorthstream  72  28  N/A  0% 


Week Ten: Developing a Social Media Strategy


Social media strategy 2011.pptx


Based on Solis (2010) chapters 20 & 21


'Who says what to whom in what channel with what effect' (Lasswell) becomes 'Who says what, in which channel, to what effect; then ascertain who hears what, shares what, with what intent, where, to what effect' (Solis and Breakenridge 2009).


7Cs Compass Model (Shimizu 2004)

  1. Corporation and competitor
  2. Commodity
  3. Cost
  4. Communicaiotn
  5. Channel
  6. Consumer
  7. Circumstances


Compass points:

  • N = needs
  • W = wants
  • S = security
  • E = education


Four Cs for a social operating system (Heuer 2009)

  • Context: how we frame our stories
  • Communications: the practice of sharing our stories; listening, responding, growing
  • Collaboration: working together to make things better
  • Connections: the relationships we forge and maintain 


Framework of values:

  • Be human 
  • Be aware
  • Be honest
  • Be respectful
  • Be a participant
  • Be open
  • Be courageous


Four Cs of Community (Armano 2008)

  • Content: Quality content attracts audiences necessary to build communities
  • Context: Understanding how to meet people where they are and creating the right experience at the right time 
  • Connectivity: Designing experiences to support interactions
  • Continuity: Providing an ongoing, valuable and consistent user experience


Four Cs of Social Media (Mishra 2009)

  • Content: social media transforms consumers into creators
  • Collaboration: aggregation of individual actions into meaningful collective results
  • Community: social media enables sustained collaboration around shared ideas
  • Collective intelligence: the Social Web empowers us to aggregate individual actions 

"People don't build relationships with each other in a vacuum. A vibrant community is built around a social obejct that is meaningful to its members. The social object can be a person, a place, a thing or an idea." 


Social Marketing Compass


The brand: at the centre of the compass.

The players: these determine how, when, why and to what extent our activity is intermediated across the social web. They include:

  • advocates/stakeholders
  • traditional media
  • new influencers / trust agents
  • champions 

Platform: every initiative requires a platform upon which to connect, communicate and congregate. They include:

  • mobile
  • social dashboards
  • apps
  • forums and groups
  • blogs
  • social networks

Channels: eg

  • search engine optimisation (SEO)
  • syndication
  • user generated content



Week Eleven: Competitive Fun and Games


Quiz/crossword competition


Content competition theme: 'Meet in Leeds'



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