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Flack Pack is the official public relations podcast of Washington, D.C., focused on PR issues, techniques, news, and topics of interest to flacks everywhere, especially in the Swamp!

Flack Pack is the official public relations podcast of Washington, D.C., focused on PR issues, techniques, news, and topics of interest to flacks everywhere, especially in the Swamp!
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Flack Pack is the official public relations podcast of Washington, D.C., focused on PR issues, techniques, news, and topics of interest to flacks everywhere, especially in the Swamp!






PR's Bad Report Card

A new report card that considers PR leadership has been issued by the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. It’s the third time the card has been issued since 2015, and once again, the grades are not great. Is PR in a rut? Robert asks that question and discusses the results of the latest Plank Center Leadership Report Card with one of its authors, Dr. Bruce Berger, at the University of Alabama. Our Buzzer Beater player today manages communications for a well-known Washington,...


Media Kit Madness

When we hear from journalists that all they want is a one or two sentence story pitch, we have to weigh whether the media kit is still worth the effort. Certainly, digital kits with logos, infographics, and photos have utility. But in the Internet age, what about kits you can hold in your hand? Where do those add value? Or do they? Recently, students in Bill Zimmerman’s PR Media and Methods class at Penn State considered the old-school media kit and ways to make them better. Robert caught...


Earned v. Paid Media

What’s more credible? Earned media or paid media? The question is as old as the disciplines of advertising and public relations themselves. We think stories reported by journalists, that we placed, are more believable than a memorable television ad. But is that true? Are we right to think so? Robert examines a study on the topic with Dr. Julie O’Neil, Associate Dean at the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University. Also, John O’Dwyer, publisher of the O’Dwyer’s PR...


Pitching Trade Media

When you look at your media list, where are the trade media outlets? Are they at the top or the bottom? If they’re not the first newsrooms you pitch, your strategy may be outdated. That’s because the audience continues to shift away from mainstream media to sources focused on specific issues or topics. Mainstream outlets will always have a role, but there’s no doubting they’ve dropped beats, cut staff, and focused their resources on only the biggest national and local stories. Robert’s...


PR’s New Measurement Model

Love it or hate it, we all have to measure our PR campaigns. How did we do? Did we accomplish the goal? What were the results? This week, we explore a new method of measuring PR campaigns, in reverse. Robert gets the scoop on a fresh way to evaluate your next communications project with Air Force Capt. Katie Cousins, the PR pro who invented the Sight Model. We also debut the O’Dwyer’s PR Newsletter round-up, from our studio in New York City. O’Dwyer’s Associate Editor Steve Barnes...


O’Dwyer’s Joins FP Nation!

This week on the Flack Pack, we celebrate the work of pioneer journalist Jack O’Dwyer who launched a newsletter in 1968 that today continues to set the standard for PR industry coverage. Jack was a friend and watchdog to the public relations business until his passing last December at age 85. Thankfully, O’Dwyer’s PR newsletter continues, guided now by his son, John O’Dwyer, with the help of a dedicated news staff in New York City. John shares with Robert his father’s legacy and...


Back to School PR

The idea of public education in America is older than the nation itself, with the first school, the Boston Latin School, opening in 1635. John Hancock and Samuel Adams went there. Benjamin Franklin dropped out. Today, there are more than 98-thousand public schools in the U.S. with almost 51 million students attending. Private schools are busy too. There’s more than 34-thousand private schools open now, teaching nearly six million kids. Robert celebrates the start of another school year...


Post 9/11 Crisis PR

Today, we pause to remember an event that changed the world forever, the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Next week, Americans, and our allies around the globe, will reflect on the attacks against four flights full of fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, business executives, parents, students, and children. Speeches will be delivered. Wreaths will be laid. Survivors will be profiled. And security protocols will be revisited. Media coverage will remind society of the horrors many...


PR Job Tips (Bonus Episode)

Labor Day is here! It’s the perfect time to talk about finding your next, or first, PR job. On this bonus holiday episode of the Flack Pack, Robert wraps up the PR Summer School series with Stephanie Ranno, a recruitment expert working for TorchLight Hire, a firm that helps companies find marketing and communications talent. She offers tips for finding the next job, and confirms that this fall’s job market will be white hot! Our games and features get the day off, but they’ll return in a...


PR Headhunter Tells All

The Internet is full of data about the PR Industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says more PR people work in Washington, D.C. than any other city in the U.S., including New York City! If you happen to be one of those already employed, but are looking to change jobs, this fall will be a good time to do it. The same goes for those, including students, who still are looking for the perfect position. With a recession predicted by the end of next year, employers are rushing to build teams...


RFP Dance Moves (Tips)

Responding to a PR request for proposals (RFP) can be stressful, time consuming, and sometimes futile. But it’s also necessary, as RFPs are a staple of agency business development efforts. So how can PR pros engage the RFP process and live to tell about it? Robert spends some quality time this week with two experts on RFPs: Robert Udowitz and Steve Drake, principals of RFP Associates, based here in the Washington, D.C. metro area. They examine the pitfalls of the process and share some...


Social Media Copy Tips

Social media is the beast that never stops eating. No matter how much content we create, there’s always more we could do. Platforms have different rules, audiences, and needs. Producing social media content, even for a small business or client, is a full time job. Given that, is there enough time in the day to write good copy and still get the rest of your work done? Or does the pressure to get posts online cause you to cut corners, rushing through the process? Jason Mollica, a...


News Releases: Dead or Alive?

As PR legend has it, early pitchman Ivy Lee pioneered the news release when he sent the story of a train wreck to the New York Times, and the newspaper printed it. Little did he know that millions more news releases would be issued by those that followed in his footsteps. It’s this crushing volume of digital paper that, today, more than a hundred years later, has many journalists crying “enough!” Is the news release dead or alive? If more and more reporters don’t want them, does it make...


How to Write Speeches

Writing a speech might be the biggest test you’ll ever face as a PR pro. It’s a task not suited for the rhetorically challenged. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of speeches are given in the U.S. each year. But how many of them connect with their audience? Do they accomplish anything? Are you staring at a laptop right now, wringing your hands over a speechwriting assignment? Robert sits down with Bob Lehrman and Eric Schnure to talk speechwriting, and about the new second edition of...


Marketing the Moon

Fifty years ago tomorrow night, America put a man on the Moon. It was an engineering and scientific feat, but it also was a PR success. Eagle’s historic landing didn’t just happen because of the work taking place in Apollo’s labs or on its workbenches. It also happened because of efforts in media briefing rooms and during press tours. It was sold in news releases and press kits, product endorsements, and magazine articles. Corporate PR people joined with their NASA counterparts to push the...


Tips for Better Media Pitches

It’s tougher than ever these days to get a journalist to pay attention to a story pitch. PR pros outnumber reporters, so the volume of ideas flooding their way is no doubt too much to manage. Given that, what should you do? Robert interviews Greg Galant, the CEO and Founder of Muck Rack, a software platform that aims to make your work with journalists more effective. Their conversation is packed with tips to remember the next time you have to sell a reporter your story idea. Also, Flack...


Road Wieners Yield Tasty PR

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is an American icon that also happens to be a PR bonanza for Kraft Foods, owner of the hot dog brand. This week, Robert talks with Ed Roland, manager of Oscar Mayer’s fleet of 27 foot long road wieners, and the college graduates who drive them. The Flack Pack celebrates the upcoming July 4th holiday weekend with a food-themed edition of the Buzzer Beater, Jason’s review of Wienermobile tweets, and Kathleen’s Wiener Whistle give-away! Links: Fireworks Firms...


10 Ways to Combat Misinformation

Most people agree that misinformation is a major problem in the United States. So what can we as PR pros do to battle false, incorrect, or erroneous information? This week, Robert explores “10 Ways to Combat Misinformation” with Dr. Terry Flynn, a communications professor who edits the Journal of Professional Communications and sits on the board for the Institute for Public Relations. Links: Blondie - The Tide is High Guest: Dr. Terry Flynn 10 Ways to Combat Misinformation 2019 IPR...


PR Measurement 101

In a world dominated with story pitches and carefully worded messages looms the need to show results beyond what we can see in news media coverage or on social media posts. Media measurement has evolved from the days of comparing inches of published copy to advertising rates, thankfully! Today, with digital messaging dominating our PR plans, pros must know how to confirm their campaigns are connecting with audiences and driving results. For decades, Katie Delahaye Paine has set the...


PR Agency Cheat Sheet

LinkedIn lists more than 12,000 PR companies in its U.S. database. There are estimates that about 93-thousand people work in those firms. Are you one of these people? Do you want to be? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you’ll appreciate this week’s guest, Kristin Johnson, the co-author of a new how-to guide for PR agency prospects, “How to Succeed in a PR Agency.” In this week’s PR Summer School episode, Robert interviews Kristin about the insights offered in the...