And PR was actually the AFL, I’d be saying – well, what a week it’s been in football!

Absolutely bloody crazy. 7.30am meetings; writing press releases on the train at 6am; upteen production jobs all with urgent deadlines. Not to mention new business.

But that’s the beauty of PR. Life is never dull.

I can honestly say that every week I learn something new. This can be challenging, exciting and frustrating all at the same time. But hey, if you can’t stand the heat…

Which brings me to my point (hooray I hear you say!). I’ve been thinking about the characteristics of an ideal PR team as I’ve got an opportunity to help shape one.

I read a post on PR Moment a few months ago and the author said there are 7 key characteristics to a perfect PR team – diligence, knowledge, planning skills, strong leadership, creativity, passion and ability to get on with others.

I agree with all these points. But what about ‘being interested’? I don’t think knowledge, passion or diligence covers this off.   You must be interested in your client’s business, the challenges they face and the issues that affect them. If you’re not, then you won’t do the best job for them. Competent maybe but not so brilliant your head hurts.

Being interested also means being aware of what’s going on in the world – reading papers, watching the news, trawling the net for the latest research reports, sharing with colleagues and peers.

I want to work with people who are on quest to learn everything they can about their clients and our industry…because they’re interested and they care.

So, what do you think makes a good PR team?

This week’s ‘Good stuff’ is not a collection of links but about one topic – CRM.

People who know me are probably wondering why I’m posting about CRM. Surely I should be writing a media strategy or something?  But there are new briefs coming in which have made me think more about the role of social media in maintaining customer relationships.

A guest post by Paul Greenberg on Brian Solis’s blog on social CRM called Getting Down to Reality has really brought it home for me.

Paul makes a very valid point that consumers generally use social networking for personal reasons. He cites US stats (I think) showing that between 72% (baby boomers) and 89% (Gen Y) have an account on some social site only 23% use them to interact with brands.

We need to get over ourselves if we think consumers are flocking to Facebook or Twitter just to engage with our company.  We wish.

He advocates listening and monitoring what consumers do online and establishing what would be of must use to them– similar to what we say in our workshops when we’ve got clients champing at the bit to put a blog up without thinking about the reasons why, the audience or what they’ll say.

However the one point he makes that slightly jars with me is his comment that consumers think the most important reason they interact with a company on their site is because they can get discounts.

Yes, I think in part that is true but I think it’s our (marketers) fault. We’ve conditioned people into thinking if they follow a company on Twitter or Facebook then the main thing they’ll get out of it is a good deal.  It’s Pavlov’s dog theory in practice.

If we want to use social networks to their full effect and truly have relationships with our customers online, then we must stop relying on offers, competitions and deals. That’s the only way to break the cycle.

Of course, the organisation needs to be set-up in a way that facilitates CRM online and be brave enough to want to engage with their customers, warts & all.

I’ve been scouring, scavenging, and scarpering around for interesting and insightful Aussie PR publications. I steal the office copy of B&T magazine; sign up to countless newsletters; check industry body websites but haven’t yet found what I’m looking for…even on blogs or via Twitter.

All the useful content I do find is either US or UK based. For example, PR Week does a decent turn at being an industry mag – the case studies and industry specific comment is a good read and usually gives you something to ponder or apply to client issues. The Public Relations Daily by @leeodden via Twitter provides a handy round-up of the key PR debates in the States.

But what is the Australian equivalent or is there one? And has our industry lost its voice?

We’re the story tellers and content generators of our world. Journalists constantly bemoan the volume of stuff we send them. Yet we can’t even get a story into a publication that purports to cover our industry beyond the traditional champagne & event puffery. (That’s B&T BTW)

Admittedly I’m not a member of PRIA for financial reasons so maybe I’m neglecting a publication they provide. If so, happy to own up to being wrong although would like to see a copy first.

And no, I’ve not taken a stand against the wall of silence and created my own publication yet although this blog is a small attempt. Consequently, many would say I should stop whinging. But I won’t.

C’mon PRs. Take a stand, find your voice, share your wisdom. We’d all be better off if you did.

I read a lot for personal and professional reasons. Some may say that makes me a geek but if you don’t read in the PR game, you may as well walk away now.

Since returning to Western Australia I’ve rediscovered the joys of the long commute (3 hour round trip daily, can you hear the violins?!) and use this time to catch-up on what’s going on in the world.

Rather than keeping all the interesting articles, blog posts and tweets to myself, I thought I would share it via a weekly post on ‘the good stuff’ I’ve read that week.

All of the good stuff I’ve read this week is social media related but relevant to PR. It’s a mix of UK and US advice & opinion as sadly I’ve not come across any Australian PR online resources yet that float my boat.  Happy to hear some suggestions.

Anyway, happy reading. Hope you find these as useful as I did.

@Econsultancy The A-Z of location-based marketing

@mashable Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Company Blog” – by @sarahfkessler

Flack’s Revenge: Should People Get Media Training Before they use Twitter?

I was watching TV the other night with my boyfriend and both of us were struck by the similarities between the new BP Ultimate TV ad and the Honda ‘hate something, change something’ TVC from 6 years ago in the UK.

Firstly, I’m no advertising guru, so take this with a pinch a salt, but they do feel awfully similar. Sure one’s flogging the fuel and the other the engine but I wonder whether the creatives for BP were inspired by the original Honda ad. It can’t be a coincidence that we’ve got two flying machines as the hero of both campaigns.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that but there seems to be a spate of ads and brand partnerships which feel like they’ve been recycled. Woolworths bringing back Margaret Fulton for me, is much like Waitrose bringing back Delia Smith last year.

PRs are no saints when it comes to repackaging ideas either but have we hit a creative brick wall? Take a look and see what you think.

In my old agency whenever we had a bad day, we’d go out for a drink to have a ‘vino and a vent’ which offered blessed relief as well as a good giggle.  Now that I’m back in Mandurah and not exactly within train or walking distance of a nice bar, that outlet has vanished.  So I decided to take my venting online…

Now, this won’t be pages of negative rants. Just like my old bar-side chats, it will mainly include my thoughts and feelings on everything PR related and perhaps other marketing disciplines as well.  After all, we’re living in a converged world.

BTW, if anyone under the age of 18 stumbles across this page, I don’t endorse reckless drinking!

Off to have a lovely Madfish Sav Blanc.