The Top 6 ‘Top 10 Lists of 2011,’ PR Edition

From Google's Zeitgeist 2011 list.

It’s that time of year folks. Jerks are bitching about not getting what they wanted for Christmas. Tom Cruise is bringing his outer space movie magic to theaters. And listicles abound. So why not create a listicle about listicles? Clever!

Here are our pick for the top six “Top 10” lists, PR edition:

6. Huffington Post’s “Top 10 PR Blunders of 2011.” Rich Robinson thoroughly covers a broad spectrum of PR fails in this list, from politics to pop culture to social media. Although we have to disagree with his choice for number 10 — that gag news release worked out pretty well we think — the others are interesting choices that dig into some of the farther reaches of what a PR blunder can be.

5. ReadWriteWeb’s “Top 10 PR Blunders of 2011.” It may have the same name as our number five choice, but don’t get it twisted. This is a more personal account of media relations blunders committed against the author and his team. This list comes complete with bonus tips for dealing with the website.

4. Google’s “Zeitgeist 2011: How the World Searched.” It’s not strictly a PR list, but it has a number of things that are important to the practice of PR — a discussion of what created the most buzz; data, data, and more data; and infographics. Not to mention a few surprises: Ryan Dunn is on this list and Adele was more popular than Rihanna.

3. Mr. Media Training’s “The Ten Worst Media Disasters of 2011.” This list is not just a look back, but also offers an opportunity for instruction. A few lessons: Know what you’re talking about before you shoot off at the mouth in front of the camera. Know which topics are sensitive and not be deployed for hyperbolic or comic effect. And keep your crazy in the house and out of the public eye.

2. Fineman PR’s “Penn State, Herman Cain, Oakland Mayor Top 2011 PR Blunders.” This list reserves a few spots for some of the many business blunders from this year, including one from the world of sports, which was rife with all sorts of PR mishaps. The examples highlight the importance of having a crisis plan in place because sometimes what seems like a harmless, funny idea for an ice cream flavor can turn into the blooper of the day.

1. TIME’s “The Top Ten Everything 2011.” Because it’s everything, of course, but also for the ways it highlights memes, buzzwords, consumer trends, and other big social media news. And we particularly liked the list of most underreported stories of the year. If these issues persist, we’d like to see more about them in 2012.