Archive for June, 2009

"Hypermicro" Public Relations

IStock_000007373879XSmallMore and more agencies have figured out that they need to incorporate “Blogger Relations” into their bag of tricks.  (Whether they are doing a good job is debatable, ok, I know.)

But if you’ve learned nothing else from this blog, you know it’s not just about the bloggers.  The seismic shift is about the people.  The just folks.  The average joes & janes.  They’re not all blogging.  In fact, most of ‘em are not blogging.

Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook are growing like crazy.  There’s a good reason for it: the barriers to content creation are incredibly low.  The ease with which you can find and interact with like-minded contacts, including friends, is nearly miraculous.  As net pundit Clay Shirky pointed out in a recent speech: now, “the technology for publishing is the same technology used for consumption.”  And that makes all the difference.

That’s why more and more of our PR programs target not just mainstream media and bloggers but also “regular folks.”  The latter can be found in Facebook Groups, on Twitter, in message boards, etc.

In fact, we are developing a strategy this month for a major brand, and there is no call from the client to contact mainstream media … bloggers are important to the mix, but are just one aspect … the bulk of the work will be done along the furthest edges.  That’s what the CLIENT wants.

Think back 18 months ago, my fellow PR professional.  Were we writing PR proposals that targeted Joe Mouseclick?  Would our Big Name Client have been satisfied with a PR plan that had ZERO Media Relations aspects? No, we were “influencing the influencers” who influenced the masses.

But paraphrasing Shirky again, this is no longer about “professionals broadcasting media to amateurs.”  The amateurs are as important as the tastemakers.  We’re going “hypermicro.”

Scalability challenges? Huge. Exciting? Dangerous? Hard to measure? Definitely. Would I go back to Ye Olde & Simple Days of PR? NFW.

Oh, The Targeting We'll See

SHIFT should hire meSeveral people at SHIFT were eager to show me this advertisement that kept showing up in the sidebar of their Facebook pages.

It was the brainchild of Doug Winfield, who until recently was a VP of Digital Strategies at Waggener Edstrom.

I don’t know how many other agencies Doug had used this approach with, but I was intrigued enough to reach out.  What had me most excited, thinking more broadly (i.e., beyond this one job applicant), was that Doug had created some Word of Mouth for himself, even within the small confines of our offices.  No less than 5 people showed me this advertisement.  That’s got to give a fellow an edge.

We’re not hiring at Doug’s level just now, but I hope to keep a dialogue going with him for down the road.  (If you want to beat me to the punch, you can reach out to him yourself.)

Anyway, I could not help but be intrigued by the niche-level of targeting powered by Facebook Ads.  While the service has been off to (more than one) rocky start, a well-orchestrated, non-spammy, highly targeted campaign is coming increasingly into the realm of possibility.

I predict big things and interesting times.

Inbound Marketing Explained

51AHaWhzNaL._SS500_My friends at Hubspot are preparing to publish a book about Inbound Marketing.  I am sure it will be brilliant.  As part of their launch, Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan recently asked me to fill in the blank, “Inbound Marketing is _____.”

Here was my answer:

“Inbound Marketing is findability based on authority based on authenticity based on content based on passion.”

It’s a little goofy on first read, but think it through:

If you have passion, you will be inspired to create content.

If you have passion, your content will ring true; it will be authentic.

If you create authentic content with passion, you’ll soon be recognized as an authority in your arena.

This authority will cause others to frequently refer to your content, boosting your SEO, or findability.

This is the New Marketing.

How would you describe it in 1 sentence?

Tirekickers & Converts

IStock_000004276372XSmallWhen I attend Social Media-oriented conferences, lately I tend to see two types of attendees. 

They are either Social Media Converts, looking for additional ammunition with which to convince upper management of the need to “go social,” or, the attendees are new to (or skeptical about) Social Media; they’re at the event to get a 1–day education on all this “Social Media stuff.”  These tirekickers were often sent by their bosses, as an advance scouting party.

Interestingly, most of these attendees, of both stripes, are “junior” or “middle” management.  While VPs of Marketing, CEOs and CMOs sometimes show up, more often it’s the folks in an organization’s middle tier who register.

I am musing aloud here.  I wonder what this means.  We are talking about fundamental changes in how-to think about Marketing, so you’d think that the CEO and CMO would be pretty darned curious?  That they would want firsthand experience with this earth-shaking and unstoppable trend?  Guess they are too busy!

I actually do trust that the middle managers who become converts will faithfully and effectively evangelize the benefits of Social Media, and will get pilot projects off the ground. 

But I also worry that the tirekickers who don’t have an epiphany at some conference will unduly and unfairly delay their corporation’s own forays into Social Media.

First, Be Flawless

IStock_000005105077XSmallAs you might imagine, we get a lot of resumes here at SHIFT.  Lots of really cool people want to work here; we work hard but it’s usually pretty fun

Y’know what’s been interesting?  With the rise of Social Media, I’ve noticed subtle changes to the tone and quality of the cover letters that come over the transom.

We still get plenty of highly formal letters on heavy stock paper.  But we also get informal cover letters that seek to echo the tenor and tone of a casual blog post.

Here’s my message to those folksy writers: that’s probably not gonna work out so well.

First of all, those clever notes seem to contain more than their fair share of typos.  If I see a typo on a resume or cover letter, I immediately discard it.  I don’t care about your qualifications if you send me a letter with typos in it.  This is your introductory communication to the company you really want to work for — and you can’t take an extra 5 minutes to perform a thorough proof?  Sorry, you’re not workin’ here.

Secondly, just because my “tone” on the blog is relatively casual, and just because I wear jeans to work, doesn’t mean that I don’t take the quality of SHIFT’s work deadly seriously.  If we have a good reputation, it’s because we are professionals first, fun-loving geeks second.  Impress us with your highest quality, “formal” writing so we know we can put you in front of a client.  Save the casual stuff for your own blog and internal emails (after you’re hired). 

I am sure I come across as a stuffed shirt.  I hope I haven’t put off any future rockstar employees.  But the whizkids onboard at the Agency today are people who have devoted themselves to the rigors of professional service.  As they master the tough stuff, they are empowered to loosen up because they know when to loosen up.

First, be flawless.




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