Category Archives: Brand Journalism

Come out from behind the brand and start operating like Sir Richard Branson…

 if you want to see your business’ social media program succeed.

As you probably know by now (or are just starting to hear), a robust social media and general web presence has become a must-have for professionals who are looking to support the success of their personal as well as their own company’s online marketing and publicity strategy. Professionals (corporate leaders to politicians or artists to small business owners like me) now need to focus on social media thought leadership, public relations and reputation in order to compete for new and future business, career advancement opportunities, and even mainstream media attention.

A 2013 article in Social Media Today (10/15/12) by Sean Royer (CEO of Minneapolis-based Internet Marketing Agency SyneCore Technologies) discusses the latest IBM Study (2012 Global CEO Study) that surveyed some 17,000 CEO’s on the subject of social media usage and engagement.

The study found that only 16% of the CEOs currently participate in social media (I was not surprised to read that!). For many executives, (their own personal) social media public relations effort is one of the least-utilized methods of customer engagement–or for marketing and increasing the visibility of their business brand for that matter. The Study also found that social media will likely become the #2 way to engage customers (57%) within the next five years.

So what’s the bottom line? According to Branson, “Whether you are launching a start-up or leading an established company, you should start establishing your social media presence if you haven’t already.”  Read the article

Over the last 10 years in particular, I have found that most busy professionals (at least 75% of those I meet), simply do not have the know-how, ability and or (mainly) the time to stay on top of the production of personal content, building of network and targeted audiences, engaging and responding to people or monitoring social media activity as it pertains to her own personal or business brand and industry, (etc.)

While internal company brand marketing or public relations managers might be able to take care of (an executive’s) personal social media presence, I have found that most just do not have the bandwidth to do this. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s within a large or small organization. Then there are those professionals who might also be in career transition or those who do participate, but perhaps have not had the success they wish they could have in social media channels.

We all need to remember that social media was built for people to communicate and publicize to other people. Facebook was not built for Pepsi to market to consumers. It was built for individual people to communicate with other people on a mass level. The whole marketing of the “non personal” brand thing came along and everything got very confusing. Read the article!  Richard Branson (among other executives, like Dell and Trump) have gotten it right and got it right from the onset of Social Media. Now it’s time for the rest of the professional leadership world to step in and stop hiding behind the brand–for the good and the growth of the brand. Why wait five years or more. It takes time to build a personal social media following and thought leadership. There is no magic to it, just dedication and work.

I’ve been working with executives for years on personal branding, but mainly on a publicity and promotional level (from job search to business development to press/media placement). Social media has provided us with a new and improved personal publicity channel. However, there is a fine line to walk when it comes to personal social media publicity (promotion) and engagement–as it pertains to the promotion of a professional brand in a leadership role.

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Executives and Professionals…welcome to the Engagement Economy

This month, PRWeek published the findings of the 2012 C-Factors Survey that polls leading CEOs and other senior executives to determine how and if creativity is affecting business, globalization, culture and communications. Just as I thought, the survey found that creativity was one of the most influential forces driving our current global economy. 96% of the poll respondents said that creativity is one of the key elements for driving new and continued business growth (18% increase from 2011). Other key findings include:

  • 100% see building winning experiences as vital to business success and take  holistic approach to communication (marketing, advertising and PR)
  • 85% think we have entered an “y” — 96% of the respondents said that creativity is now very critical to economic success
  • 86% view their organizations as now being more creative with 81% believing this to be a continuing trend
  • 94%t of CEOs and CIOs and 92% of CMOs said they will continue to put more emphasis on creative communications initiatives

The new engagement economy is pushing senior executives to reinvent their roles and organizational value–which can be attributed to the whole rise of creativity over leadership alone!  This engagement economy has a lot to do with my previous post: Come Out From Behind the Brand

In my opinion, the results from this year’s C-Factors Survey demonstrate this “new need” for new thinking in the communications (and public relations) area of every business. And the continued traditional marketing and technology merge also includes usage of more and more social media platforms and mobile applications. The bottom line though is that with all these new media factors coming into play, key executives and even other employees must continue to learn how to be more creative and involved in social media as the voice or ambassador of the (company) brand. People connect with people more successfully within social media channels. And while traditional communications (and media) tactics and channels are also still very necessary, the engagement economy will only continue to grow and flourish for the benefit of business growth!

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5 Content Marketing Rules PR Can Play By, Too

Love this part:

Business (and personal) brands build relationships with customers via three levels of commitment:  relational, transactional, and contractual.
Content marketing – like so much of PR – is generally concentrated in the ‘relational’ phase, in which audience attention is garnered – and kept.

“We’re moving from getting attention through interruption to a useful conversation…”

 

Beyond PR

A webinar hosted by Marketing Experiments last week on the subject of effective content marketing included a lot of nuts-and-bolts perspective on content strategies that deliver measurable results, in terms of moving audience toward the publisher’s intended outcomes.    More than a few of the approaches suggested make as much sense for public relations as they do for content marketing.

The webinar was hosted by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, managing director of Marketing Experiments, and PR Newswire’s CEO, Ninan Chacko, who brings a strong marketing background to his work at PRN.

Ttitled “5 Steps to Effective Content Marketing,” the webinar kicked off with a discussion of why content marketing works so well.  Dr. Flint framed today’s marketing challenges in the context of the relationships brands build with customers, noting that business relationships have three levels of commitment:  relational, transactional, and contractual.   Content marketing – like so much of PR – is…

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Oh where, Oh where have I been (on this blog)?

As a publicity producer in the social (and traditional) media space for individuals (on a personal level) and businesses as well as other agencies, I get into “busy spurts” creating and managing content for my clients and have a hard time finding the time to write for my OWN content for this blog!

I must say, that tweeting and micro-blogging (broadcasting thought leadership/sharing content) is my cup of tea more so. It’s quick easy and a great way to build a following. However, content curation in the form of blog posts is still so important when it comes to developing “web visibility” (as I like to call it) or SEO.

Did you know that blogging alone can lead to opportunities that a regular website never could! Someone will need your product or services and will go to Google (or Bing or Yahoo etc.) to search for it, your blog  can help win that search! The more you put into the blog (content) the higher up the search engines you go (“gulp” I need to pay attention to my own advice right?).

If that’s not enough of a reason, here are some additional reasons to have a blog (I pulled these tips from my one of my trusted vendors, Vocus):

You also get to include a heck of a lot more content and information: Twitter is limited to 140 characters (and that includes spaces!). So you do not have worry about changing pages or bringing in a web designer every time you want to add or change something in regards to your web content!

  • A Business or personal (professional) blog helps you to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. We publicists now also call this Brand Journalism.Tip! If you are NOT a writer, hire a writer, editor or publicist (someone to help!). I ask my clients to write down some rough copy (some do write!) or thoughts and ideas and my team and I then polish up the piece as well as add back links to other posts/articles that are aligned with the article’s content (another way to pull more traffic to your blog site).Note!  Some of my clients have blogs that are dedicated to reporting news on their projects (i.e. construction companies), while others contribute to thought leadership oriented blogs that support their online personal or corporate brand visibility.

Next step then is to share/broadcast your blog content and or thought leadership (and this must happen more than a just one or two times) within social media channels. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. can definitely help “spread the news!”

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The power of Twitter as a true broadcast media channel

I originally wrote this post for Jaffe PR (blog). Jaffe PR is a complete public reputation resource, devoted primarily to law firms and legal associations. This content (message), however, goes across the board–from the Legal industry and beyond.

As a publicist who has worked in the evolving social and Web media industry for close to 10 years now, I have witnessed many industries that were once “afraid of new media” slowly embrace its reach and broadcast power. Little by little, organizations from financial services to politics continue to dip a toe into the unfamiliar waters of social media. A recent study by a British PR firm showed that some 264 world leaders now have Twitter accounts, and the researchers believe that 30 of them do their own tweeting. Altogether, world leaders have sent more than 350,000 tweets to almost 52 million followers – more proof that Twitter is a true (new) media channel (and, in case you haven’t heard, self-production is not a requirement).

While 16 of the G-20 leaders are actively using Twitter for public diplomacy, many heads of state and government leaders in China, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Italy still do not choose to broadcast on the social media channel.

As you probably have surmised by now, quite a few industries have just started to explore communicating in “the Twitterverse,” including the legal industry. Legal marketers, mostly on the agency side, are naturally very involved in social media, but it’s interesting to me that there are still so many legal professionals who cannot understand why we even need to bother with Twitter. Perhaps referring to this new media channel as the Twitterverse might be a deterrent? I’m not sure why the public relations firm that conducted the study even uses that term. Like it or not, Twitter is a real media channel, not another universe. I wonder if television was treated in the same manner back in the day – I have no doubt it was. Let’s not forget that Twitter was the “media channel” that actually broke the Japan earthquake news. I think that was the turning point.

Regardless, much like traditional media, most professionals in any industry who are not public-relations savvy should not self-produce or broadcast on Twitter at will. There is a difference between professional social media broadcasting on Twitter and the kind of broadcasting a teenager might engage in when talking to friends about a new boyfriend or the school dance.

How do we, as a public relations firm and legal marketers, support legal professionals (from partners and lawyers to vendors) in embracing the power of Twitter as a true broadcast media channel? Or should I say as “a broadcast channel that embraces brand journalism”? As a public relations firm, our job is to show our clients in the legal industry how to build a relevant and appealing content strategy, and how to broadcast resulting content in a tactical way that will support online reputation and build an approachable online persona that people will trust.

I believe that, if produced and managed correctly, social (or new) media is a great way for lawyers and firms to build “good public reputation,” as well as better publicity, via best online thought leadership practices, including broadcasting interesting and important (“good”) news about one’s firm, practice, clients or business or the industry overall. Building a better online persona via a broadcast channel like Twitter, as well as in other networks such as LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, among others, is more important than ever before. In this age of new media, a corporate brand – and especially a personal professional business profile – that simply sits dormant as a directory listing does not do much for any organization or individual, unless perhaps you’re the president of the United States. But even then, what is the use of a stagnant social media profile in a highly active broadcast channel?

As social media continues to evolve as a legitimate broadcast media channel, those who do not use it as such (within reason and produced in a “human and lifelike manner”) will not reach the kind of PR or marketing goals they are looking to obtain on the Internet. There are ways to hold back confidential information, as well as ways to pull in the right audience by sharing interesting ideas, facts and news.

Designing effective content and engagement that will continue to attract moving and ever-evolving audiences is a key component to being successful on Twitter and beyond. Delivery and presentation of content must also rely on knowledge about the audience. We help our clients with both sides of the process.

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