Friday, May 27

Meta-publicity and blogs.

If rules govern the game, then meta-rules govern the rules.

If definitions describe words, then meta-definitions define definitions.

So what is "meta-publicity?" It's any publicity one accrues not from the act of directly seeking publicity, but instead from merely starting to organize a campaign. This isn't that alien a concept. Think of the headlines a politician gets from establishing an "exploratory committee." Or even headlines about how much money has been raised/allocated to sway votes or public opinion or consumers.

There's a bit of gamesmanship in trying to ride meta-publicity for maximum effect. There's even a big risk in the political arena, where allowing your opponents to disparage your efforts can be as bad as tipping your hand too early.

I got to thinking about this as I stumbled upon the most brazen and well-executed case of meta-publicity I've ever seen: A Main Street music festival in Rogers, Arkansas, got a big write-up in the local paper... for getting its first-ever Public Relations Intern.
"This is not running errands and getting coffee," Wolf said of the new intern's position.
Most interns feel great about writing a press release or two -- this guy got placement before he even officially joined the team! Talk about results!
Working on the public relations needs for this year's festival is exciting, Conley said, but added that he's also receiving a couple of credit hours for the internship. He's a public relations major who will be a senior this fall.

"This is the kind of environment I want to work in," Conley said.
Working in public relations for a worthwhile nonprofit organization, such as Main Street Rogers, can be particularly fulfilling, he said.

Conley just went to work this week, but Wolf said she's already had him design an advertisement thanking supporters of Main Street's golf tournament earlier this month. He's also starting to work on advertisements for the festival, she said.
Yeah -- this all sounds really silly. "Small-town rubes with nothing better to put in the newspaper."

Truth be told, it's really no sillier than all of the mainstream media fawning over anything with the word "blog" in it. (There is nothing magical about the word -- which really isn't a word at all, but instead is a headless portmanteau.) Blogs aren't a panacea, and they aren't the best thing since pre-fab de-crusted peanut-butter sandwiches for the lazy picky eater.

Blogs are a tool. And nothing more.

Although a lot of people are going to get burned by trying to "allocate resource matrices" and "leverage communications synergies" by adding a damned blog to the company site. Blogs are a great way of being heard and getting feedback, but you have to have something to say.

Don't get sucked into the meta-publicity of blogging. The fact that your company is starting one up won't be newsworthy for long. Unless you post some crazy things that get you the wrong flavor of publicity.

Speaking of flavor -- I'm hungry for a pre-fab de-crusted peanut-butter sandwich. I simply don't have the time or patience to trim away all that crust. And don't get me started on the crust -- that's the first part of the bread to mold. Nothing but the tasty middle of the bread for me, Jack. And my sandwiches are so fresh when I want them, thanks to this cool new Uncrustable's Sandwich Keeper. (Which is an awful lot like most blogs. Pretty on the outside -- seemingly perfect for the job -- yet either empty, or filled with something that at best you don't need, or at worst might harm you.)

Edit: Well, what do you know? This item from USA Today slipped right under my radar. Seems I am not alone.

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend, everyone.