Archive for July, 2009

Content Marketing

This is the Content Marketing speech I gave a few weeks ago at the Burlington, VT Social Media Breakfast, which was hosted with panache by Rich Nadworny of Digalicious.

I was fortunate that my new pal Seamus Walsh of Vazt (Essex Junction, VT) caught my speech on video, and was kind enough to add-in many of the slides.

According to Seamus, Vazt delivers an easy-to-use content publishing software-as-a-service, enabling delivery of account-based content, including video, during a customer’s lifecycle.

Based on my interactions with both Seamus and Rich, I can’t help but recommend that you check out their respective firms … after you watch Yours Truly sweating, striving, gasping and just-plain-pontificating in the video, of course!

Social Media Case Study: Twitter Alights at RSA Conference

picture1RSA Conference is the biggest and most prestigious IT Security conference in the world, and has held that lofty title for almost two decades.  They’ve been a SHIFT client for 4 years, and each iteration of the event challenges us to up-our-game in terms of media coverage and “new media thinking.”

This past show, in April 2009, was no exception.  “Social Media” has become an ever-bigger component to our planning.  Last year I wrote about our Blogger Relations component.  This year, it was all about the tweets.

Whereas in 2008 Twitter was somewhat of an experiment for RSAC, in 2009 the SHIFT team worked with our client colleagues to more substantively build out their Twitter following and activities.

twitter-logoAmong other tactics, we used Twitter to keep the IT Security community connected and informed before, during and after the conference.  Ultimately, we gained lots of invaluable insights — and generated enough goodwill to see the # of followers rise by over 1,500% from the previous year.

As the 2009 event approached, we spent a lot of time promoting the #RSAC hashtag to a number of influencers and other security-minded folks.  We wanted to be sure to differentiate between RSA Conference’s “official” tweets (primarily focused on announcements, troubleshooting, etc.) with conversations about the show.  In fact, a handful of security acolytes used the hashtag to arrange some unsponsored tweet-ups, tangent to the show venue.

The hashtag effort proved successful: we saw about 7,500 tweets during the show using the #RSAC tag! This allowed our RSAC client contacts to answer a range of logistical questions from users and to take a pulse on the crowd’s reaction to everything from showfloor amenities to speakers’ performances.  If we noted rave reviews (or pans) of individual speakers, it was also duly noted for 2010 planning.

At each step, across the last few shows, RSAC’s embrace of users’ content and feedback has been rewarded with greater knowledge about its audience and a closer relationship with attendees: an object lesson for conference organizers across industries.

It also seemed to help on the “traditional” PR side: coverage in mainstream journals such as the Wall Street Journal increased 83% over our 2008 coverage results!

I wonder what challenges and lessons the 2010 show will bring?

Blow Up Your PR Program

IStock_000007480220XSmallKnow what I hate?  “Maintenance Mode.”  That’s the feeling you sometimes get when you’ve been working with a client for 1 — 2 — 3+ years and the program is WORKING but seems to be on AUTOPILOT.

Clients need to challenge their agency partners to think bigger, more strategically, more creatively — even if only for the mental exercise: you never know what might spring from such brainstorms.

Agencies need to challenge their clients more often, too.  Agencies are often hired because of their creative nature: so it’s a shame when PR pros decide to prefer a boring, safe client to an eccentric, unpredictable client. 

Sometimes it’s up to the Agency to enforce these new ways of thinking.

At SHIFT we try to make it standard procedure.  It’s common (and encouraged) for an account team to call for an all-agency brainstorm to whip up fresh ideas for a long-standing client, on a biannual basis.  We try to recapture the zing of wild ideas that are more typically generated for a newbiz pitch. 

It’s rare to find a client who doesn’t love it when their account team blows-up the standard Weekly Call Agenda to discuss a fresh raft of ideas to invigorate the program.

You can’t live life (and serve clients) on autopilot.  You’ve got to take the controls and do a li’l loop-di-loop now and then.

Embrace Your Inner Geek

A quick, fun post.  Today we launched our “first draft” Facebook Fan Page.  We hope you’ll join and provide some constructive feedback.  Thanks in advance!

While we were developing the Fan Page, we also shot a quick video in honor of our inner geekiness.  (I’m told that today is “Embrace Your Inner Geek Day” but I am too jetlagged to verify with Hallmark.)

What do you think was my own “inner geek” answer?  It’s in the video.  There were so many answers to choose from: “I’m a blogger, a tweeter, a videogame player, a PowerPoint jockey, a Star Wars buff, a comic book reader…”  Really, the list is vast.  Thank god I fooled my bride into marrying me before she figured it all out!

What I Can Fix

IStock_000007651555XSmallIf you’re not synching with your PR team, I can fix that.

If the “ink” isn’t coming by the barrel, I can probably either fix it or give you a rational explanation for what the problem is, and how it can be fixed.

If you need more strategic counsel, I can give you that.

If you need some fresh ideas, or some Social Media educational sessions, or a regional attack plan — I can make all that happen.

If you need us to measure in a different way, or provide more comprehensive reports, that’s not a problem.

If your CEO is convinced that that One Big Meeting with ______ (Arrington, Owyang, Mossberg, etc.) will make all the difference, we can very likely a.) help make that meeting happen, and/or b.) help you convince the CEO that that One Big Meeting will probably not change the world.

I can do all this, and more.

If you tell me what you want.  If you tell me when you’re frustrated, as soon as you’re frustrated (rather than let that frustration simmer).

Despite my best efforts — despite the back-of-a-matchbook correspondence course in Telepathy 101; despite the x-ray specs I bought out of a comic book when I was 12 — I am not a mind reader.

If you don’t tell me, I can’t fix.

Show some social media love would ya?

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