Joining the unemployed creates an opportunity!

December 14, 2010 at 5:07 pm 9 comments

The In-House PR guy homeless.

Just before Thanksgiving, I joined the 9.3 percent of the workforce that isn’t working. My employer for the past 10 years, K. Hovnanian Homes, laid off another group of employees and I joined a long list of top-notch people shed by the company as it deals with a poor housing market and other issues.

I’m not angry or bitter. Anyone in the housing industry who thought their job was secure either owned the company or wasn’t paying attention. But I am frustrated for two reasons.

First, I was working on some projects that I found exciting. One was continuing to work with paleontologists and geologists to balance the need for new homes with the need to preserve geologic history, including dinosaur tracks and some geologic formations found in very few other places around the world. I had already arranged an agreement between K. Hovnanian and the New Jersey State Museum and held a press conference to announce that agreement. But there was more work to be done.

The second reason is that I was pursuing some exciting communications strategies using social and traditional media. I was also trying to increase the use of Twitter to converse with homebuyers and reporters. And I was building on my experience with optimized releases by developing a plan that would allow us to create an on-line newsroom and create our own online, optimized real estate page. I thought we could complete the circle by using QRs on our print ads, but advertising was handled by another department, and we never got past some casual discussions.

Now I’ll have to look elsewhere to demonstrate the power of integrating traditional and social media in public relations strategies and tactics, something that has had growing appeal to me.

A lot of organizations hire social media managers and many agencies bill themselves as social media agencies. Social media, however, is not a strategic approach to communicating with today’s publics. A social media agency is like hiring a magazine agency or TV manager. One medium does not a strategy make.

Public relations is still about reputation, identifying the different groups that impact an organization’s success and staying engaged with those groups (read two-way communications). It’s about influencing opinion and behavior. Social media is a powerful tool to accomplish that. It’s very exciting to be able to bypass the news media and talk directly with customers or other stakeholders. Too many organizations, however, use social media as a broadcast tool, not listening for a response. Or they use only social media, missing other opportunities to tell their story.

Maybe it’s the “old guy” in me, but I still believe there’s also an important place for traditional tactics such as news releases (provided, of course, they’re well written and talk about something newsworthy) and face-to-face conversation. Those tactics still have an important place in most public relations strategies.

So, rather than a setback, I figure I have an opportunity: I have a chance to find a place that’s concerned about its reputation and wants to maintain that reputation and accomplish its goals by using an intelligent mix of social and traditional media.

 My search is on and I’m excited! Your thoughts?


Entry filed under: Joining the unemployed, Optimized News Releases, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

“We’ve communicated enough” means you’re not communicating at all Social Networking & PR — No, It’s Not About The Media


  • 1. Amanda Ferrante  |  December 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    All the best to you, Doug! You were fantastic to work with any will be an asset to any organization. 🙂


    • 2. dougtheprguy  |  December 14, 2010 at 11:15 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Amanda.

  • 3. Pam  |  December 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Doug, I wish you all the best. You’re a true professional, and your willingness to think creatively about this will guide you to new opportunities, challenges and fulfillment.

    Pam MacKenzie

    • 4. dougtheprguy  |  December 14, 2010 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks. With any luck, we’ll still have opportunities to work together!

  • 5. Pam Principe-Golgolab  |  December 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    You know you are a true PR Guy! Like you said, traditional publicity and the new social techniques still need strategic planners, creative thinkers and good, sound writers. Enough about you – let’s chat after the holidays! Always all the best!

  • 6. Dennis Spring  |  December 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm


    Welcome to my world…

    Give me a call and maybe we’ll be able to make some magic and find you your next great job.

    Dennis Spring

    • 7. dougtheprguy  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm

      I’ll take you up on that

  • 8. Richard Nulman  |  December 19, 2010 at 7:34 pm


    I wish you will in all you do in the future. I am sure you will be successful. But as regards your posted thoughts, I do disagree on one critical point. Of course, PR is about the client’s reputation and engaging with the groups that impact that client’s success. That’s axiomatic. But what I am learning every day is that it’s really all about media. Social media is just that – media. It is creating your same good old content, but then disseminating it via all the myriad media, most of it digital, that is now available to us. It’s all about the media, the blog sites, the micro-sites, the interstices of the worldwide web that all us to get that same message out multiples of times. Write once, publish many times. It’s really all about media, and the new media experts – social and digital – will flourish in the years ahead. Not only in public relations, but also in advertising. After all, Facebook is a 1.3 billion dollar advertising tool now. It knows a lot more about it’s “users” than Google knows about its users. Think about it. Google guesses about what you’ll do based on your past behavior on the web, but Facebook knows you intimately already, because you told it all about you.

    • 9. dougtheprguy  |  December 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm

      Thanks for your encouragement. Your remarks were interesting, and I have responded to them in a separate blog entry.



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