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Why Consumers Should Be Excited About IoT Right Now


I recently found myself trying to explain the Internet of Things (IoT) to my dad. This is a man who literally doesn’t understand how to use a computer, though he has admittedly become somewhat engaged with the basic functions of a smartphone (read: pictures!).

“Why the hell do I want to have an Internet on my fridge?” he asked.

It was only when, after many examples, I mentioned how an Internet-connected sprinkler system would be able to detect that it had just rained and thus wouldn’t water the lawn on its regular cycle that I caught his attention. He gazed at the brown grass outside.

“Well, that’s pretty cool.” (more…)


PR for the PR Industry, Part II: Social Media

Recently, my colleague Scott Smith blogged about how the PR industry itself could sometimes use a little PR. Today’s topic focuses on a related issue: social media for the PR industry.

As PR professionals, social media is becoming an increasingly larger part of our job, especially since nearly everyone is a journalist these days, thanks to the influence of blogging and microblogging. Yet, I’ve come to notice that many PR agencies do not regularly blog, are not very active on Twitter, and don’t use Facebook to its full potential.

Is it a matter of not having enough time? Lack of prioritization? Perhaps a little of both.

For many of us, particularly on the agency side, I think we get so focused on meeting our clients’ needs that we neglect to serve perhaps our most important “client” – ourselves. To paraphrase an old proverb, we’re the cobblers and our children have no shoes.

To understand why this is so important, look at it from a potential client’s perspective: if you’re being courted by a PR agency, what’s one of the first things you’re going to do? Check out their website, of course. And if said agency is extolling the value of social media, but hasn’t blogged in six months or tweeted since September, what does that say about their understanding of maintaining a social media presence? Now, let’s say a competing agency maintains an active blog and regularly tweets and interacts with others on Twitter… whose social media expertise are you inclined to trust?

Because our social media presence is often the most visible display of our expertise, it’s important that we approach it with the same level of commitment as we would for a client. After all, if we can’t maintain our own social media presence, how can a client expect us to do so for them?

Amanda Hoffman can be reached at ahoffman@sterlingpr.com. Follow her on Twitter @hoffmandy.


Sterling’s New Seattle Digs

You’ve probably noticed that the Sterling Communications website and blog have a new look and feel. What you might not know is that our physical Seattle office does as well. After six years in our downtown location, the Seattle team has officially settled into our new digs in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. (As you may recall, Sterling also recently opened up a new San Francisco office – lots of exciting changes happening with the company!)

The new office space is definitely an improvement over the old space, with room for our team to grow and lots of great tech companies in the area. It’s been about a month, and we’re still settling in and making some cosmetic adjustments, but the space is coming along nicely. Check out some photos below – more on our Facebook page.

Old office packed and ready to go!

Inside Sterling Communications' new Seattle office

VP Kevin Pedraja’s office – check out that view!

Client Relationships: Working in Harmony

With a professional history that includes both agency and in-house communications positions, I’ve come to appreciate both perspectives, including the unique challenges each position faces, and what it takes to make a client-agency relationship work.

As an in-house communications professional, I’ve managed a variety of external PR agencies: large, small and with varying budgets. From the agency perspective, I’ve worked with fantastic and challenging clients; some who know PR intimately and those with a broader marketing or program management background.

Interestingly, I have yet to find a direct correlation between any of the above qualifications and what makes or breaks a client-agency relationship. Whether the agency is big or small and whatever the budget, I’ve seen good and bad examples. Likewise, I’ve had good and bad clients – with little correlation to their PR knowledge base.