NEW YORK—Curtis Hougland, who led the new media practice at Internet public relations pioneer Middleberg & Associates, has launched Attention PR, a new “social media relations” agency that will help companies directly and authentically engage communities online.
“The Internet is changing the way consumers interact and transact,” says Attention PR creative director Hougland. “So, how we communicate with these consumers through public relations must also change. The most effective media today triggers a social response and invites participation. Attention PR’s social media relations expands upon traditional media relations to directly engage communities most responsible for word-of-mouth.”
Attention PR’s core service includes securing the endorsements of experts and advocates, cultivating word-of-mouth among customers, employees, bloggers, pod casters, media and partners, and not only promoting, but also publishing and producing original content. Attention PR can also extend campaigns through paid media.
Hougland founded one of the first joint online marketing and public relations practices in 1993, and worked with early Internet pioneers such as AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy, Microsoft and Sprynet. As creative director at Middleberg, he built the agency’s new media practice into one of the industry’s largest before its sale to Euro RSCG in 2000. Most recently, he used his new media experience to launch a film distribution company.
In an attempt to practice what it preaches, Attention will adopt the principles of successful social media: authenticity and transparency. The firm was established as a partnership with profits to be paid to employees and an agency report card to be issued to clients quarterly. The agency also uses a customized wiki to collaborate with and update clients daily.