You’re Doing It Wrong

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You’re on Twitter, right?

Yeah, but guess what, lots of you are still doing it wrong.  It’s not just a matter of being on Twitter but also of how you interact (assuming that is, that you interact), and what you send out to the world to make sure your digital footprint is as deep and defined as you’d like it to be.

Let’s face it, just like some other things (swimming and sparring have been used as examples recently) – you can know how to do it “by the book,” but until you feel water on your skin or a jab to the face working with the tools and on the platform isn’t the same beast at all.

So, to figure out if you’re actually doing it wrong, take this quickie quiz and see where you fall.  You might be doing it wrong if… Continue reading

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Passion + Community = Success

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Marketing and PR continues to become more complex as there are more and more accessible methods for consumers interact with brands and with each other.  Making sense of all the possibilities is a daunting task. Everyone is familiar with the basics like Facebook and Twitter—but what else is there?  While Facebook and Twitter are regarded as engagement tools, the clutter of many-to-many conversations does diminish a campaign’s impact and effectiveness.  This is precisely where crowdsourcing can fit in as a way to cut through the noise and build meaningful connections with your consumers or community.

Crowdsourcing, or co-creation, is a fun and engaging marketing and PR tool to get a community of participants activated and engaged leading up to an event or as part of a campaign. Building a campaign around crowdsourcing can be a quick and easy way to mix things up and get people talking with little or no cost. Continue reading

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4 Reasons Why Journalists Still Make the Best PR People

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The other day a client forwarded an email call-to-arms from his president urging Marketing, PR – and by extension us, I guess – to develop a nugget that best described the company’s “differentiators,” to win customers’ hearts and minds.  “I have a better idea,” I fired back. “Let’s ask him. He’s the leader of this outfit and ought to know.” 

I’m fairly certain that no member in good standing of a professional PR organization or advocate of the Stockholm Accords – you know, people with finely tuned sensitivities –would ever talk to a client like that, certainly not in response to a request from the CEO. Only an ex-journalist would be so brash. Having spent much of our careers wading through the guff churned out by government agencies, corporate PR departments, marketing dweebs and the leaders of both the free and less-than-free worlds, journalists have a low BS threshold and get down to business quickly. Continue reading

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True Value of an Online Connection

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(CC) Courtesy Flickr user katerha

As we all seek to understand social media and the digital space, more and more folks seem to be looking for the easy answer to the question, “what is an online fan, follower or connection worth?”

There have been some polarized theories and valuations, but it seems that the true answer is actually quite simple (though not easy): it depends.

While I could foresee a template or framework in the future, most of us are still trying to figure this out for ourselves. And the answers will vary widely, but figuring out what a fan or follower is worth to you shouldn’t be impossible. Continue reading

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Don’t Count Newspapers Out Just Yet …

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For any PR pro who has jumped on the bandwagon and thinks that newspapers no longer matter, I urge you to read a great report just out from the Poynter Institute. The report sought to measure the total online and print reach of newspapers in their local markets, and the results may surprise you.

First: newspapers still reach a massive audience. The combined local market reach (online and print) of the top-20 newspapers is 47,370,687. That’s 15 percent of the U.S.’ 307 million population. (Note: The Wall Street Journal and USA Today were excluded because their local market isn’t clearly defined.)

via Poynter.org

I don’t know about you, but if I’m able to tap into even a sliver of that size of an audience, I’m absolutely going to give newspapers a bit more of my attention going forward.

Perhaps most surprising, however, Continue reading

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Enter the Leper Messiah

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I am pissed off. The PR industry has recently received one black eye after the other – and you know what? It’s our own damn fault.

Yes, I said it. The recent bad press for the PR industry (and individual practitioners) in TechCrunch, Forrester and the New York Times came from the work of horrible PR people. These ranged from bad pitches to scamming a small business.

That pisses me off even more than anything. Instead of being a source of news and information from the media – our industry is being looked at as nothing more than a bunch of snake oil salesmen.

While every industry has its share of bad apples, it seems like we’ve had more than our fair share. Sure bad news and our symbiotic relationship with reporters makes our follies easy fare to sell papers, but it’s still no excuse to promote shoddy workmanship.

So how do we fix this? Continue reading

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Creating Your Measurement Index

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Measurement in public relations and social media is one of the most polarizing topics in this space. Guess what? It has been polarizing for longer than you and I have been alive, most likely. Over the last several months, the drumbeat has intensified to come up with a more standardized approach to measuring the impact of our programs. Todd Defren got the ball rolling with his post about PR measurement fails, and using Web metrics as a gauge of success in PR. The truth of the matter is that Web metrics could be one potential gauge of success, but talking about it in a vacuum won’t work. Then a recent #pr20chat discussed a very similar topic, and it didn’t take long for the discussion to go slightly off track. Instead of talking about the process of identifying metrics, we ended up talking a lot about individual metrics. That, my friends, is what we call the measurement rabbit hole. As soon as you start down that path it’s very hard to pull yourself out of it.

By now we should all have the steps toward successful measurement beaten into our heads, but if not…. Continue reading

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Defining PR – Is it Really that Hard to do?

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A recent post at Ragan.com caught my attention.  It was based on the premise that public relations has a definition problem.  According to the author, Frank Strong, if you ask 10 PR pros to define PR, you’d get 10 different answers.

Sadly, he’s right and that’s the issue.  Why are we having such a problem explaining what PR is? As Frank mentioned in his post, the Public Relations Society of America defines PR:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” Continue reading

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Tech PR: The Coming Democratization of Media

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“I’m like God — I can do and say whatever I want.”  Thus spake the tech columnist for a large print daily. It was the mid-1990s. I’d called to ask why he’d flagrantly quoted someone out of context. Fortunately there are fewer of these byline clowns in operation today. And that’s the real value of the online revolution displacing traditional media. The Gaddafis of media are holding out a bit longer, but ultimately they’re marked men.

‘Twas a time when, merely by accession to the throne of an important print or broadcast media outlet, a journalist exercised God-like powers. Still happens, but less so. Continue reading

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Traditional vs. Social Media Impressions

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Lately I’ve been thinking a great deal about social media impressions. More specifically, I’ve been wondering why they don’t really exist.

There are blog posts and seminars cropping up every week that want to teach you about this thing called social media measurement. And while the lessons are not always identical, I find that the overarching message is the same: there is no silver bullet. There are general guidelines, examples and maybe even best practices. But there’s not one easy solution.

Social media is still an untamed beast, and we have a lot to learn before we can truly make a connection between a specific blog post or tweet of Facebook message and some kind of consumer behavior. This is pretty much considered the holy grail of social media.

If I decided to try a new brand of sweet tea, I’m sure the company would love to be able to tie it back to one of their Facebook status updates. Unfortunately, without asking me at the grocery store which post drove me to buy, there is no real way to be sure. Continue reading

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