Open Source PR
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Open Source PR

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Sarah Stokely presents a talk on Open Source, PR and media relations.How can FOSS take advantage of the tools which PR provides?

Sarah Stokely presents a talk on Open Source, PR and media relations.How can FOSS take advantage of the tools which PR provides?

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Open Source PR Open Source PR Presentation Transcript

  • Open Sourcing PR  OSIA, April 2009 Sarah Stokely [email_address]
  • Tech journalism circa 2000
      • Linux v Windows
      • Netscape v Internet Explorer
      • Mac v PC
      • The EU & anti-trust v Microsoft
    • Are we spotting a theme here?
  • The aha! moment The Pro-Am Revolution by Charles Leadbetter and Paul Miller http://www.demos.co.uk/publications/proameconomy A disruptive innovation made powerful telescopes cheap enough for the average astronomer.John Dobson, a one-time monk and lifelong stargazer designed a crude but powerful telescope using discarded and second hand materials. He said...
  • The aha! moment "To me, it's not so much how big your telescope is, or how accurate your optics are, or how beautiful the pictures are you can take with it; it's how many people in this vast world less privileged than you have had a chance to see through your telescope and understand this universe."
  • Where media and PR meet
      • Related but very different
      • PR - how many of you have a PR inhouse or a PR agency?
      • Inhouse versus external agency
      • Tech specialist/open source specialist
      • Overlap with marketing/advertising, especially when it comes to new media/online campaigns
  • How to spend a lot of money fast
      • PR can be very expensive.
      • Is your business turning over $1m? 
      • Got $5k to spend per month on PR?
      • An agency might not be for you. :)
  • But it's not all bad
      • Tech savvy and online savvy people have a huge advantage. We understand how online / social media works.
      • You don't need to spend money to get good PR
      • Simon Hackett from Internode spends 10 hours a week on Whirlpool. A huge time investment on behalf of a managing director, and it pays off
      • Simon Hackett, Michael Malone from iiNet are both media friendly - they make time for media and respond promptly. As a result they get quoted a lot.
  • Indirect PR
      • Sponsorship of events (LCA, OSDC, Girl Geek Dinners and similar community events)
      • Sponsorship of awards & programs (ie Google's Summer of Code & GHOP, Anita Borg scholarship, etc)
      • Host events on your premisess
  • Community Outreach
      • If we're serious about open access to technology, data, etc, then we should take community outreach a lot more seriously
      • Reaching new users - both individuals and organisations
      • How do you greet newcomers to your events/projects?
      • How do you encourage them to translate from a visitor or someone with a question, to an active user/hacker?
  • Why talk to the media
      • Promote your idea, company or project
      • Give an alternative view to the dominant story which gets told about tech (whether it's Microsoft/proprietary tech) or about the Australian tech industry/community (there's no development here, there's no VC funding here, etc etc)
      • Indirectly reach the people you want to reach (ie government, senior civil servants, decision makers within your client's/prospective clients company
  • Your best advocate is you
      • Small businesses or open source projects don't necessarily need to use a professional PR
      • in fact if you're empowered with the right tools, a pitch from YOU is more powerful because it's a story about an individual, not a faceless corporation
      • Empower your people (employees, members of your project) to be good spokespeople for your business/project
  • What do journalists want?
      • To inform and entertain their readers
      • The "scoop" ahead of their competition
      • Access to interesting, influential people
      • Information delivered when promised, interviews happening on time as scheduled.
      • If you pitch a story, demonstrate an understanding of their readers.
      • Remember that your goals and the journalist's goals are not the same.
  • How to be a good spokesperson
      • Pick your area of speciality, make sure you clearly identify what you do via your website/blog
      • Have a brief bio and company history on your website
      • Don't use the same anecdotes or examples every time you speak to journalists. They hate seeing the same quote in a different article!
      • Be available when you say you'll be available
      • It's not worth being inflammatory if your opinion isn't based on fact. 
      • Don't bite back when trolled, online or by a journalist. Just. Don't. And don't let your team do it either.
  • How to be a good spokesperson
      • Media training - to be yourself, not a zombie. :)
      • Research the journalists/outlets who write where you want to be read
      • Think about who you want to reach - is it clients, potential recruits, etc? Talk in their language. Explain things if they're too technical.
      • If you know of a great person or example of something the journalist should know about, recommend it. Then that journalist will come back to you for more great tips in future.
  • Opportunities and threats Opportunity: Get your message out direct to customers/potential customers, without the “filter” of a journalist or editor. PR success. Risk: Lose control of your corporate profile online, open yourself up to criticism from customers & the rest of the Web world. PR failure.
  • The decline of print journalism
      • Print media is declining. Newspapers are shrinking, some are closing down completely. As of March this year, Seattle no longer has a print newspaper at all.
      • Sections are getting smaller or being closed (ie Next is now Sydney Morning Herald only, dropped from The Age)
      • Online publishing is cheaper to produce, and is growing! Expect many print publications to migrate to online only.
  • What does this mean for PR?
      • PR can be very focused on print media. As newspapers reduce pages, it will get more competitive to place stories into the pages that remain.
      • Meanwhile, other online media and influencers are growing. PR and its clients need to be cultivating relationships with them.
      • PR can be transactional, or campaign driven. Social media challenges this because it is about two way and often ongoing communication. Where does PR fit in?
  • Ideas Pro bono agency My idea is to look at taking on a couple of pro bono clients (LA, LCA, OSDC spring to mind) - work with them on coming up with plans for PR/press relations/community development, and then help put those ideas into action. I can do media skills training, and I enjoy organising events.  In true open source community fashion, I'd be looking to develop resources (kits, training modules etc) that could be shared with any open source community project that wanted to use them.  I'm already working with OpenAustralia.org doing pro bono PR.
  • Future ideas An Open Source toolkit a research/survey project of open source community projects to develop a a "community building toolkit" which would take tips for how to greet/involve new people in your project, and how *not* to alienate minorities (ie women).... This would be quite a time commitment as I'd be looking at surveying 50-100 open source projects
  • Contact me
    • Blogs:
      • www.foxforcefive.com
      • www.theopensourcereport.com
    • Email: 
      • sarah AT foxforcefive.com
    • Twitter:
      • Twitter: @stokely