PRNewser Interview: Kami Huyse, Principal, My PR Pro


Hey folks, we’re back to our normal Wednesday PRNewser interview, after a few weeks off for the holidays. This week we chat with Kami Watson Huyse, PR blogger at Communication Overtones and Principal of the consultancy My PR Pro. We like Kami for many reasons, one of which being that she likes to call out PR Week stories promoting online advertising campaigns posing as pr/social media campaigns. Read on to hear Kami talk about Twitter, morning office rituals and what to do if you have 24 hrs. in San Antonio, Texas.

What time did you wake up this morning?

6:00 a.m. when our 6-month-old started to play in her crib, waking her three-year-old brother who boldly announced, “Is it morning yet?” Sigh, I used to make it until 7 a.m.

Do you have any morning or office rituals?

Once I drop off the kids, I get to the office at about 8:30 a.m. I usually spread out the newspaper while eating a quick breakfast. I then retire to my computer with a big mug of Chai Latte. I check my e-mail and Technorati to respond to anything that has occurred overnight and then dive into some work to ensure I get things done. At lunch I check the feedreader and write my post.

Everything is bigger in Texas. What about PR?

Actually PR in Texas is smaller. It is all about who you know. People won’t even talk to you here unless you are a known quantity.

I have 24 hours in San Antonio. What should I do?

If you like traditional pancakes and eggs, start your morning with breakfast at the Guenther House, the restaurant tied to the working Pioneer Flour Mill and overlooking the San Antonio River. Visit the gift shop for some unique souvenirs, then take a Walk in the King William District to check out the historic German homes and walk back along the river.

Head out for a quick jaunt in your rental car to the Mission Trail, stop only at the Mission San Jose, but just drive through the rest since the other missions are not as well preserved, save the Alamo for later in the day. Head back to the King William District to enjoy a late lunch at the ecclectic and very local Madhatter’s Tea House.

After lunch, head on down to the River Walk. Park at the RiverCenter Mall and walk out the back of the mall to see the Alamo. Then head back to the River and partake in a Riverboat cruise to hear all about how the RiverWalk came to be. Then pick one of many great restaurants on the river and enjoy dinner overlooking the water and the Cyprus trees. After dinner, the RiverWalk comes to life with a plethora of evening entertainment options. Get a hotel room on the river to avoid having to drive somewhere afterward though.

[PRNewser note: Wow, that was pretty thorough!]

You’re an avid user of Twitter. Is it a passing fad or here to stay?

The first rule of social media is that everything changes all the time. I think Twitter has a lot of enticing features that have made it interesting for early adopter types to network and play a little inside baseball. However, the same crowd used to think IRC was kewl. And who would’ve ever though Facebook would usurp MySpace in the coolness factor? And as we have seen lately, even Facebook will fade. What won’t fade is the community’s desire to network. The companies that provide the social networks are just the venues.

We really liked your recent post on measurement. It seems there is no silver bullet with this issue. How do you advise clients when they ask about free vs. paid measurement services?

It depends on the budget (just kidding). No, I think of these things in very practical terms. If you are a company that gets thousands of mentions a month in both mainstream and social media, then you need a custom tool to meet your needs. Similarly, if you have a competitor that gets a lot of mentions, you will also need some way to organize all of this information and make sense of it. Moreover, if you hope to have meaningful interactions with any of these people, you will need a tool. If you only have a few hundred or less (say as a blogger) you won’t need a tool unless something goes viral and blows the doors off of your system. There are some really great ways to organize a number of free tools into an informative dashboard.

Can you give us a good example of a client of yours or company in general that has done a good job of creating useful content for social media, as opposed to pitching their product?

My clients are doing some great things, but a roller coaster site isn’t exactly altruistic and many clients are still just monitoring the situation. I do think that Sarah Wurrey at Custom Scoop is doing a good job of integrating herself into the community and providing a service. I recently conducted and interview with her that will be posted in Communication Overtones.

What blogs are on your daily reading list?

The Buzz Bin, PR Squared, Problogger, Occam’s Razr, KD Paine’s Blog, Global Neighborhoods, Web Strategy by Jeremiah. I also really like another blog, also called Occam’s Razor, that is focused on Web metrics. I also follow about 100 PR and Marketing blogs.

What are the most important things a PR person should do before reaching out to a journalist?

Read recent bylines, look for any preferences, check to see if the journalist has a blog and read it. Oh, and make sure you have your own act together and your sources and information is instantly available. And if you have any doubt about what not to do, be sure to read the Bad Pitch Blog.

Google is:
my brain. I even use it to find my own old posts.

Who has influenced you most in your career?

This is tough because it has been a series of people. When I first became interested in pubic relations in college, Bruce Savage, a man that would eventually become my boss took me to a few PRSA luncheons in D.C. When he hired me, he gave me a lot of space to make mistakes, learn and take on big projects and responsibility. When I started my business, a friend of mine, Katherine Hutt, who had been an independent business owner for years took me under her wing. And finally, when I started my blog and entered the social media realm in 2005, Shel Israel became a mentor for me.

What can we expect in 2008 from MyPRPro and the Communication Overtones blog?

So much is happening. Geoff Livingston, who has become a respected friend and colleague, has reminded me that I need to talk a fresh look at my editorial mission for the blog. A redesign is in the works, and I plan to do some limited original reporting. For instance, today (Wednesday) I will be releasing an exclusive interview with John “Pat” Philbin, who in my view was recently thrown under the bus for a “fake” press conference at FEMA. I will be helping get his side of the story out there. The interview will air on For Immediate Release, accompanied by an article on Communication Overtones. Pat has agreed to be available to take questions. So, a lot is in store and I am excited about 2008.

[PRNewser editor note: For our own coverage of John “Pat” Philbin and the FEMA fiasco, please see here and here.