Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shrinking budgets make blogs appealing

The shift has begun. In the final chapter of Paul Gillin's The New Influencers he discusses the how the shift from traditional marketing - where the big $ is spent - to peer to peer marketing will slowly continue to change.

However, I would argue that the recent economic crises has changed that. With unemployment on the rise and companies scrambling to slash budgets, now is the best time for organizations to make their moved to break into the blogosphere.

This will not be an isolated trend.

As many bloggers are quick to point out, the technology surrounding this medium is developing so rapidly, that many organizations are now able to utilize and thus analyze blogs and social media networks in a quantifiable way.

For example, organizations like Telligent are creating social media analytics tools. According to a post on the Wall Street Journal, Telligent has announced the release of a new analytics tool that has the ability to:
Harvest 2.0 provides deep analysis and trending on how people are contributing within a community and helps enterprise organizations prove the value of their social computing investments.
New innovations in Harvest 2.0 include:

-- Social Fingerprints(TM) -- View the unique social fingerprint of every member of your community and quickly see how they contribute.

-- Scorecards -- Quickly summarize important information and enable community managers and business owners to understand the pulse of the community.

-- Sentiment and Tonality -- See what people are saying--either positively or negatively--in your community. Visual trending information lets you know immediately what people think.

-- Forecasting -- Predict future behavior based on current trends. Know where your customers are going before they get there.

-- Widgets and RSS -- All reports created within Harvest are reusable as either widgets or through RSS, enabling the reuse of data back into the community.
I believe social analytics tools such as these will continue to spur the rapid movement from traditional marketing mediums to blogs and social media sites.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

12 million to one, a lesson in pitching

Spam, the bane of all that is Internet. A pesky relic that remains from the dark ages of the Internet, when all was ruled by the simple phrase, "you've got mail."

However, in recent years, many public relations practitioners have had the misfortune of inheriting the occupational slur, "spammers."

Disgusting, I know.

But, to my dismay, I know this title isn't completely unwarranted. With increasing access to media gatekeepers via the Internet, PR practitioners are finding it increasingly easier to blast out "spam" pitches to any and all parties they can reach.


Conventional wisdom may lead you to believe more e-mails = more media coverage, but this couldn't be further from the truth. And the proof is in the pudding, and by pudding I mean an article posted on techradar.com.

According to techradar.com, for every 12.5 million spam e-mails, one response is received.

What does this mean for PR practitioners? Well, if you started pitching 500 leads each day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for 50 years, you would convert on 1 media placement.

Not a particularly efficient method.

Moral of the story, sending out mass "spam" pitches just isn't efficient, and will not generate the results your organization is hoping for.

My suggestion, personalize your pitches and understand you're not talking to another computer, but rather another human being. Take the time to learn about those you're pitching, and don't send out releases containing no newsworthy information.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday night road rage

Ada.... known by many as the road rage capital of northwest Ohio (according to a survey I just made up).

Little did I know last night that I would become another tragic statistic in my fictitious survey.

Sparing you the inconsequential details of my night, I ended up at the Marathon gas station on the edge of town/ village at about 11:30 p.m. On the way back to my house I was stopped behind a silver car that had just pulled out of the drive-through at the light in front of McDonald's. This is when things took a turn for the worst.

When the light turned green I pushed my foot to the gas and motored on , but was slowed down by the silver car in front of me now going 15 mph. Frustrated, I followed the car closely, and was barely able to avoid being break-checked.

Suddenly, the erratic driver swerved into the left turn-lane. Feeling somewhat relieved, I sped up as I passed the driver, exchanging hand gestures along the way (in retrospect not the best idea).

Angrily, the driver jerked his steering wheel back towards Main St. and started to 'ride my bumper.' After following me to my house, the driver got out of his car and started incoherently shouting about the street being a 25mph zone - in which he was driving 15mph - and that I was speeding. Normally, I wouldn't take the incoherent ramblings of a random 25-30 yr. old man seriously, but his 6'3 250 lb stature suggested otherwise.

As you may be able to guess, the driver wasn't in any type of mood to engage in a rational discussion. So, I let him know I was calling the police, and he was in his car taking off - at a rate faster than 15 mph, or even 25 mph for that matter - in a heartbeat.

So here are a few tips I've picked up to avoid road rage, which Isn't the best way to spend a Friday night. And, if you are like me and road rage just seems to find you, you're not alone. There is an entire road rage community out there.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The New Rules of Marketing And PR: A Reflection

So, I've just finished reading David Meerman Scott's The New Rules of Marketing And PR, and I feel that it is only appropriate to reflect upon what I believe are the most important points of the book.

At first glance, this is not an easy task considering the numerous insights Scott provided, but nevertheless one worth doing.

So here are my thoughts.

Distilled to its purest form, Scott's book is comprised of a series of insightful case studies and "new rules," all used to illustrate one point: The Web has changed the way marketing and PR professionals can converse with masses of "underserved," highly attentive consumers, and we (professionals) can't afford to miss out on these conversations.

An important point - and one blasphemous to my kind (PR folk) - is that the Web has blurred the traditional lines between marketing and PR. Rather than opposing disciplines, we are both goal oriented practitioners wishing to make a quantifiable impact - whether that stem from additional revenue, petition signatures or listserv signups - on our organization's bottom line.

Okay Jay, but how can we go about doing this?

Im glad you asked. The answer is simple, Content.

The key to any successful Web presence is quality content, and lots of it. Not only does frequently updated quality content help drive your web presence up in search engine rankings, but it also can be used to drive customers into the sales process (or a mutually beneficial goal for a non-profit).

Overall, I think Scott's book was an invaluable tool that opened my eyes to the immeasurable marketing and PR opportunities made possible through Web based social mediums.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

No News Like Niche News

Once in every long while I feel like I really gain some headway towards fully wrapping my head around the all encompassing term, social media. This being one of those times, I feel compelled to share what (i think) I've learned.

Yesterday, in a random stroke of luck I stumbled upon a tweet linking to an article titled 48 Social News Websites: A List of General and Niche Social Media Communities, which as I'm sure you may have guessed provides an extensive list of social media news sites.

Before I read this post, my reference point for social media news sites were digg.com, technorati.com and icerocket.com. Admittedly, it was incomplete at best.

I was stunned to see there were social news sites for everything from green news at Hugg.com to SWiK.net, "A community driven resource for people who use open source software."

And this article only begins to scratch the social news surface. The author even references a list of "380 Digg clones."

I feel encouraged.

Each of these niche markets represents another opportunity for PR practitioners to engage their target audiences through a mutually beneficial medium. Although I agree this sounds a bit textbooky(i know this isn't a real word), I'm glad to say I really am beginning to understand how to utilize social media for the benefit of a campaign or organization.

Atypical Saturday At ONU

Saturday... always a promising time for nonacademic pursuits.

However, little did I know how much fun I would have with a social marketing assignment this past Saturday. And, I can now say, I've created my first ever viral video for Donate Life Ohio.

To give a little background on the situation, the goal of the project was to make a 30 to 60 second video to promote the Do It Now Ohio Organ Donation campaign.

Naturally, the first idea that came to mind involved my dog fighting my girlfriend. Soooo, I ran with it.

The next 50 seconds are the result of a Sony Cyber-shot camera with video options, some simple video editing software and having way too much time on my hands.

I don't know about you, but I see viral gold in the making.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cavies Home Opener

I just received the best news of the quarter today. This Thursday the 30th my girlfriend and I will be attending the Cleveland Cavaliers home opener against the Charlotte Bobcats.

This couldn't have happened at a better time in the quarter. With the quarter quickly coming to a close, the stress has been building, and what better to get my mind off work than LBJ and the Cavies?

Unfortunately, the Cavaliers #1 fan won't be able to join me at the game. But, I know he will be there in spirit.

I'm expecting big things this year from the Cavs, as are many sportscasters. In an interview with Jeff Zillgitt from USA Today, LeBron James reported that in this point of his career anything less than an NBA championship would be considered a failure.

I'm with you LeBron, and I believe this year will be the affirmation of both your and the Cavs legacy when the Cavs clinch the NBA championship.

If you're a Cavs fan, join me and help cheer the Cavs on to victory on Thursday at 7 p.m.