22 December 2008

Straight No Chaser lands Atlantic Record deal thanks to YouTube

Adolescent international singing sensations, Charice Pempengco and Nikki Yanofsky, have no doubt had their careers boosted by YouTube. Though they've been compared to celebrities like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Etta James, the counts on their video views don't even approach those of male a cappella group, Straight No Chaser.

The group from Indiana University posted a ten-year-old video of their rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas" on YouTube, which has received more than 9.7 million views in just over two and a half years. Amongst the viewers was chairman and chief executive of Atlantic Records, Craig Kallman, who arranged a five album record deal with the group.

CNN interviewed two of the guys this weekend. About their careers outside of singing as a hobby, member, Jerome Collins said: "I was doing a festival of 'The Lion King,' and I was Simba. We have one guy selling medical devices, another guy a reporter for ABC, one guy working at a bank, another guy a teacher. ... You name it, we have it."

My college a cappella group, Talisman, was invited to sing for George Lucas and toured South Africa, but we never went viral. I doubt Page One PR's Christmas caroling video will, either. Talk about a big break for Straight No Chaser – the whole story is yet another iteration of the American dream, really. You can learn more about the group here.

18 December 2008

Freak out: Twitter infested by PR

When I first saw that headline from BusinessWeek blogger, Stephen Baker, I prepared myself for the attack PR people often endure from journalists and bloggers who think we're mindless drones trying to sell our souls to get clients into headline news.

On Friday, BusinessWeek online editor, John Byrne, posted all of the BusinessWeek Twitter addresses on his blog. He wrote, "As part of our effort to deeply engage our readers, a good many of us at BusinessWeek have been having great success and fun with Twitter, the hot micro-blogging site that allows users to blog in 140 characters or less... if you are on Twitter, I invite you into our newsroom via my Tweets."

As the crew at BusinessWeek began feeling an uncomfortable number of new followers join their feeds, it wasn't long before they began wondering who was following them and who was stalking. Thank goodness Stephen's post wasn't focused on kicking the already low PR flack.

The social experiment Byrne is running is quite interesting - it's not wholly unlike how outlets like Mashable, ReadWriteWeb and other prominent blogs get their news. With Digg still gaining popularity (no, it's not dead) and the New York Times syndicating like crazy, it's pretty smart for BusinessWeek to move in this direction and open up, too.

I noticed one reader commented on November 22: "John, I love that you're on Twitter and Facebook, and all over the Web. It keeps BW fresh and relevant for digital kids like me:)"

It's fascinating to see what's happening in journalism right now and how our media relations are constantly changing as a result. It's not uncommon for me to pitch journalists based on their tweets – but what's wrong with that? Doesn't that make my content all the more relevant?

By the same token, if I see a journalist is busy or having an off day, I can tell thanks to Twitter. Also, there are actually quite a few bloggers who can't stop tweeting and spamming my TweetDeck. So, everyone benefits by pushing out their content in 140 characters or less, driving traffic to their sites and getting a piece of the pie. Will be interesting to see what happens as the walls of traditional journalism keep tumbling down.

08 December 2008

Holiday Cheer Rings through Page One PR

I think you know your employer is cool when they ask you to sing on their behalf. At Page One PR, business isn't just about the press releases, the speaking abstracts or the contributed articles – but yes, we work hard on these. Our inspiration comes from engaging with clients, working to support real business goals and enjoying what we do.

We've been behind-the-scenes to build social media campaigns for our clients this year, but decided to turn the camera on ourselves this holiday season. Get ready for our 15 seconds of fame – lights, camera, action!

Rather than design and print our usual satirical holiday cards, we decided to save a few trees by dusting off our singing voices for your viewing pleasure.

I hope you'll check out our hi-res video – yes, that is a penguin in the photo! – and maybe even smile. I had a lot of fun filming, enjoyed singing and loved being merry. Hope you like the video. Here's to warm wishes for the holidays and to a happy new year. Cheers!

P.S.– If you like crazy reindeer, don't forget to check out this special feature from the Page One PR Santa Barbara office. Boy, that guy can deck the halls!