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Fiction: Media relations is ‘free advertising’

This is the next entry in our “Best of” series, in which we venture deep into the vault to replay blog opinion and insight that has withstood the test of time. Today’s post hails from July 2011. We welcome your feedback.

By Francis Moran

At the time my PR agency,inmedia Public Relations, was founded, I worked out of a large integrated agency in the city and some of the account executives there loved to push my buttons by declaring that media relations was free advertising. They especially liked to do this in client meetings because they knew it would prompt me to mount a fevered defence of the merits of PR and all the ways in which it differed from advertising.

I knew they were only kidding. I knew they really knew better. I knew it was all a bit of harmless fun.

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April Roundup: What does it take to get technology to market?

By Leo Valiquette

Last month’s lineup featured great posts on how established companies should innovate, a startup CEO’s tips for wooing investors, the risks of discounting your product and the need for philanthropy to be a natural part of doing business. And of course, there was plenty of sage advice on what it takes to make marketing work.

In case you missed any of it, here is a handy recap of our posts, as ranked by the enthusiasm of our readers:

April 18: In search of that Entrepreneurial Spark, by Maurice Smith

April 23: What have you done for someone else lately?, by Leo Valiquette

April 11: Want more business from your website? Here are 6 things your customers need to see, by Tim Peter

April 24: A startup CEO’s tips for wooing investors, by John Hill and Leo Valiquette

April 25: The folly (or possibly the wisdom) of discounting, by Francis Moran

April 10: Best of: The saddest marketing story I’ve ever heard, by Francis Moran

April 17: My top travel tips, by Francis Moran

April 8: When is it time to say, ‘Our CEO’s got to go?’by Denzil Doyle

April 16: The imperatives of leaders, leadership and leading, by Bob Bailly

April 29: In it until everyone crosses the finish line, by Leo Valiquette

April 15: What an entrepreneur can learn from a literary conference: Part III, by Leo Valiquette

April 4: Trademark hygiene: A cautionary tale, by David French

April 30:Patent harvesting versus mandated innovation, by David French

April 3: ‘You can’t cross a canyon in two leaps’, by Francis Moran

April 2: Best of: Just the facts … no, these facts, by Leo Valiquette

April 9: What an entrepreneur can learn from a literary conference: Part II, by Leo Valiquette

Image: April 2013 Calendar Printable

 

What have you done for someone else lately?

By Leo Valiquette

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with several individuals who reminded me how much a natural part of doing business it should be for philanthropy and giving back in some way to the community that sustains you.

At VLN Advanced Technologies, founder Mohan Vijay spent 13 years fighting uphill to commercialize his company’s forced-pulse waterjet technology. When at last his ship came in, the 75-year-old immediately redirected much of his company’s new profitability into the VLN Reach Foundation. Through his foundation, Vijay supports the Make A Wish Foundation, the Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, the Brain Injury Association of Canada and Propeller Dance, and also makes cash donations to many other charities each year.

But most inspiring of all is his ambitious plan to create a sustainable funding model for worthy charities that struggle year after year to muster sufficient funding. He wants to construct a mixed-use development that operates on a not-for-profit basis, with any net profits donated to charity. The site could be used for almost anything: a convention centre, a retail space, commercial office space, condos or some combination thereof. But the most jaw-dropping aspect of his plan is the physical shape that he wants the building to take.

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Best of: Just the facts … no, these facts

This is the next entry in our “Best of” series, in which we venture deep into the vault to replay blog opinion and insight that has withstood the test of time. Today’s post hails from July 2008. We welcome your feedback.

By Leo Valiquette

In my years as a journalist I endured my fair share of embarrassing gaffes, both my own and those of my staff (which I was often on the hook to explain, apologize for and redress.)

Despite the emphasis on clean, factual and reliable content, the occasional mistake is made in the newspaper business. Nobody’s perfect and the strain of rushing to meet a deadline can easily lead one to skip out on taking the time to check the facts through a second time.

Of course, it’s difficult to feel all that sympathetic about the plight of harried reporters when it’s your good name that’s attached to the error. Maybe they called your CEO Rob when his name is Rod. Or said your flagship product is still in trials when it has been commercially available for six months. There are the little things that don’t matter so much, such as whether your company was founded in 1989 or 1990, or the big whammies that can land you in a lawsuit — like that defamatory off-the-cuff remark that was never intended to be on the record.

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Is that writer worth the cost of the ink?

 

By Leo Valiquette

When I worked in the newspaper business, there was a screening practice for job applicants that I wholeheartedly embraced – giving the strongest prospects freelance assignments on tight deadlines.

There is no better way to gauge someone’s abilities. Writing samples are all well and good, but there is no telling how much they have been cleaned up by a third party. The same approach was taken at our affiliated inmedia Public Relations practice, only in this context the assignment was a media release.

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