Padilla CRT: Minnesota PR firms & the Governor

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In some good PR News from Minnesota, unlike the behind the scenes mud slinging going on in the governor’s race, Padilla Speer Beardsley Public Relations is once again on the move. In a joint endeavor with The Dolan Company, one of the country’s leading PR groups hopes to better engage with people in the mid-west and globally. A new news aggregation site centered on Minnesota stories, BringMeTheNews, received funding from these to key players in August according to the press, an apparent move to opening doors into more vertical markets.

Padilla CRT has been the subject of some coverage on Everything PR News, being one agency which has adhered strictly to what we term “engagement” and the two way conversation. And news is part of that conversation obviously. Now enter The Dolan Company, owner of a great many local news outlets – a great partner for supporting such an aggregator. BringMeTheNews literally brings hundreds of local outlets into one platform, and with new investment blood – obviously the offerings will extend.

A New Face of Media Collaboration Perhaps?

Accordingly, James P. Dolan, CEO of The Dolan Company, and Lynn Casey, CEO of Padilla CRT, join the board of BringMeTheNews. That combination alone, given their relative communications expertise, is formidable news in itself. Part of the big picture for any communication company these days, is the engagement of communities and individuals via all these outlets – social and otherwise. Padilla’s dogma in fact insists upon just such a communicative mission. Casey said:

“”We have a lot of respect for the model, which showcases reporting from respected sources, credits and links the reader back to those sources, and relies on sponsored content instead of traditional advertising to generate revenues. All that fits within Padilla’s mission of helping organizations communicate with the people who are important to their success.”

Dolan already owns key media entities in Minnesota including; Dolan Media Newswires, Politics in Minnesota (about 27,000 monthly visitors), National Default Exchange (defaulted mortgage processing), Finance & Commerce (about 24,000 per month), the St. Paul Legal Ledger (redirect to Political site), and the Minnesota Lawyer (about 5,000 per month). Maybe what we are beginning to see is a new age of media – PR interaction, where news is a sharper tool for conversing? We can only hope.

Clearly, the more channels PR and other companies have open, the greater their advantage in not only reaching the public, but in hearing them as well. Local, as PSBR and Dolan have anchored their recent media move, or Internationally (as part of the overall social graph) – the world is quickly drawing even closer – digitally at least. We applauded Lynn Casey’s company early on for engagement, so this latest move deserves another round.

Managing Channels – Who Are We Talking To?

On a slightly negative note, Dolan’s newswire is a broadcasting tool primarily, and along with some duplicate content issues for a few of their outlets, it will be interesting to see how  BringMeTheNews factors in. Padilla has always come in on the high side of transparent communication and two way conversation – just skipping over to their Minnesota Lawyer Twitter account – it CoTweet shows some balance but minimal engagement. As for BringMeTheNews, that Twitter account so far has good influence. Their conversation is now obviously on the governor’s race. Dolan sites like Politics In Minnesota have a good interaction compared to some others as indicated below.

CoTweet engagement matrix

I tossed in the Arizona Capital Times as you can see

Of course true social engagement takes time and resources. And while I actually do not care for sponsored reviews or blatant ads, the former in the case of BringMeTheNews, their transparent method is vastly superior. In the screen provided, it is easy to tell sponsored news versus organic – and so far the landing only has a very few. Dolan’s (DM 10.67, +0.07, +0.66%) appointment the other day of IT expert  Vince Swartout as its vice president – technology, should liven up the pace digitally for that company.

For Padilla Speer Beardsley, growth in the social media realm always seemed part of the strategy. But these recent moves, and their recent focus on the changes in the media, further reflect an agency exhibiting positive growing pains.  Like all agencies and businesses though (even us social gurus) managing all the communications channels is a challenge. PSB’s Facebook arm is not as “liked” as it could be. But this is not uncommon at all – I could inspect any big PR player and find areas of weakness. The good news is PSB is still moving forward – toward you actually. Phil out for now.

BringMeTheNews sponsored news segments

What I like about BMTN’s links are the alternatives and clear sponsor logos

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