Thursday, April 29, 2010

Heroes and Villains

I spent several hours this past weekend watching writers perform as singers and musicians.

First up:  the Rock Bottom Remainders at the grandiose Nokia Theatre in Times Square, with esteemed authors Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Scott Turow and others daring to display classic rock chops on such tunes as Mustang Sally, Gloria and, of course, Paperback Writer.

Then, at the tiny Jalopy Theatre in a remote corner of Brooklyn's Red Hook, pop culture writer David Hajdu promoted his recent book of essays, Heroes and Villains, both by reading an excerpt and playing backup guitar for his wife, singer Karen Oberlin, in a concert of relevant songs. Another musician onstage was critic James Marcus, author of Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Juggernaut.

I ended up at both of these shows as offshoots of my PR work. Looking to see if paidContent had covered news from one of my online advertising clients, I stumbled upon a ticket giveaway for the Rock Bottom show.  I learned about the Jalopy event while pitching an author event to sponsor Freebird Books.

PaidContent didn't cover my news, and Freebird has yet to respond to my author suggestion. But they're hardly villains in my mind. In fact, they're more like heroes for connecting me to two great shows.

And those singing and strumming writers? Well, the Rock Bottom Remainders perform for worthy causes (in New York, World Vision, the 92nd  Street Y, America's Promise Alliance and We Give Books), and that's certainly heroic.  As for Hajdu?  Kudos for coming up with a novel approach to book publicity in an era of fewer bookstores and shrinking publisher support!

Last year, The Book Publicity Blog suggested teaming up authors and musicians to draw better attendance at author events. But how much cooler to make them the same person!

Maybe I can convince my author client to take singing lessons?


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

People Relationships

In my PR guise, I recently pitched some news to the Android PR Gal, who runs the quite informative (well, for Android users at least)  What's Up Android site. I assumed PR Gal was also also a public relations flack..until she informed me that the "PR" in her case stood for "People Relationships."

"I believe there needs to be a new way of doing PR,"  she emailed, "especially within the context and environments of social media platforms. I like to call what I do building 'people relationships,' in order to establish authenticity and connectedness with a brand, service, product, etc."

Well whatever her PR stands for, she's good at it. Because she sure sold me. People Relationships just has a better ring to it than Public Relations.

And Android Gal is sure good at establishing people relationships through all those social media platforms. Besides her site and her blog, she tweets, she's got a YouTube channel, hosts a Facebook fan site and ...well, you name it, she seems to be on it. Just doing a Google search on her is like taking a tour of the expanding social media world.

And it doesn't stop there. While I'm still working on establishing one personal brand, Android PR Gal has at least three of them -- she's also DigitalFemme, not to mention her own real name. Plus, she apparently has a full-time job too!

Of course, Android PR Gal is just an example -- a good one -- of today's new breed of PR practitioner. Because the "public" in PR finally means just that -- thanks to social media, we're increasingly cutting out "media" as the gatekeepers and instead going straight to the "people." And "relationships" is a more precise term than "relations." After, all, PR folk are no longer just trying to relate info that eventually gets to  the public, but to build real links in real time with real people.

So, when the next person asks me what I do for a living, I might not yet be able to say, 'I practice people relationships."  But if I say, "I do PR," I'll be ready with a whole new explanation.