Perez Hilton: Social Blogger and PR Revolutionary.

(Image via @PerezHilton)

Since his debut into the blogosphere in 2004 Perez Hilton has gone from being a relatively unknown blogger talking smack about celebrities online to a verifiable celebrity in his own right.  His blog was named, “Hollywood’s Most Hated Website on the Internet,” and now brings in millions of unique visitors each week.  Hilton is not only a celebrity blogger, but an innovator in the world of public relations. His website has become incredibly influential; with one blog post he can launch the career of an unknown musician, and sway the opinions of thousands of viewers regarding a certain celebrity. Many celebs even use Perezhilton.com to exclusively make an announcement or address a situation; he has become the face of celebrity gossip but also celebrity PR.

Mario Lavandeira, also known by his pseudonym, “Perez Hilton,” has had a successful but tumultuous career blogging about the life and scandals of musicians, models, actresses and even politicians.  He was initially known for posting pictures of celebrities and writing inflammatory comments or putting obscene drawings on their faces.  His mean and sharp-witted commentary was a harsh critique on the public lives of celebrities, and his website became a source of embarrassment and ridicule for his victims.  However, after a physical altercation in 2007 with the body guard of a famous pop star, a series of controversies involving various celebrities and an international scandal with a Miss America contestant, Hilton decided it was time to change the tone of his website.In a YouTube video, entitled, “I’m Going to Be Doing Things Differently,” Hilton announced that he would no longer put out negative, bullying or accusatory material on his blog. Not only did Perez want to change the content he was publishing on his website but he also wanted to change himself as well.   As an openly gay man, Hilton realized that by “outing,” celebrities he believed were gay, or pointedly making light of serious situations, he was no different than the bullies who victimized him growing up.

I call Perez Hilton a “PR revolutionary”  because he is an example of how a social media platform can be used to influence public perception. Perez himself was forced to publicly revamp his image and the tone of his blog due to various lawsuits, scandals and a personal crisis where he questioned his own morality.  The negative response that he received from the media helped Perez realize the impact that his blog was having on his public image, but more importantly on his personal mentality.

The “new Perez,” is much less catty than the Perez of the past, but his new focus on positivity and encouragement has helped increase the popularity of his website. Celebrities are much more willing to open up to Perez; they no longer fear having their photo appear with a scathing remark below it.  In fact,  many celebrity publicists will leak a story to Perez Hilton in order to gain press for their client.  Perez Hilton has risen far beyond social commentary and blogging, has become one of the most influential intermediaries between the public and the celebrities that fascinate them.

Any Press Is Good Press….Or Is It?

(Image via markpeterdavis.com)

For years a myth has plagued those who work in the media relations/public relations industry that “any press is good press.” Yet the idea that any news is good news for the publicity of a company or person has been proven untrue by many examples of publicity gone wrong.  In July of 2011, the Atlantic News Paper ran a story discussing the ten companies that were “burned” worst by bad publicity.

The number one company on their list was global gas and oil company,BP, whose Deepwater Horizon oil spill was described as, “the largest public relations disaster in corporate history.” This incident in 2010 was the largest oil spill the industry had ever seen, and after viewing the devastation that ravaged marine life and human industries along the Gulf Coast,the infuriated citizens of the Gulf Coast states looked to BP.

The oil spill itself was horrendous enough but the response from the corporate heads at BP was simply insulting to all those affected by the tragedy. Not only did officials from BP refuse to take responsibility for the accident, they also put the blame on the individuals who were drilling and the contractors who were in their  employment.   As images of birds covered in oil struggling to fly on Louisiana beaches were splashed across national newspapers, the officials at BP continued to deny their part on the tragedy.  As a result of their response BP received a huge, negative backlash of public opinion who saw the company as apathetic and uncaring.

When working in public relations it is important to distinguish between good publicity and bad publicity.  As BP learned,  the axiom “all press is good press,” is clearly false.  More citizens are able to access news at a faster rate than ever before, and it is essential for companies to not only tell the truth but accept responsibility during times of crisis. In an age where information is readily accessible by any person with a computer, television or smart phone, it is necssary for companies to be forthcoming, responsible and above all  truthful and honest.

Personal Branding: Why Having An Online Presence Is Important

(Image Via Internetmarketingfastresults.com)

There are many different types of public relations and it is quickly becoming a necessary department in many different types of businesses. Corporate PR, fashion PR and sports PR are a few of the many industries where public relations is not only important but also necessary.

But what about personal PR? There are many reasons why personal public relations is becoming increasingly important. Personal branding, as I like to call personal PR, involves creating a tangible idea of who “you” are.  Through creating an online presence you have an outlet to establish your own “brand.” It is dually important to market yourself online because it can result in job prospects as well as professional networking opportunities.

In an article by Amanda Quick on the BrandYourself blog, she talks about how creating a personal brand is important because it can promote your image.  You can easily begin creating your brand by first putting yourself online using a variety of social networks, from the basics such as Facebook, Twitter, to more business oriented sites like LinkedIn. Quick says, “You’re being Googled. By employers, by colleagues and even first dates. Building a basic online presence that can promote your image and support your personal brand is therefore essential.”

Promoting  a personal brand and reputation in the world of social media is a useful tool today because it creates visibility for potential employers.  By posting an online track record of achievements, accomplishments and skills, you can create a brand that is professionally marketable.