Inside PR 430: The age of distributed news

Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I are all back together for Inside PR 430, the episode that marks the turn of the year. Out with 2015. Here comes 2016.

This week, we discuss the things that stood out for us as we left 2015 behind.

Remember Google Zeitgeist? Well, it’s a thing of the past, replaced by a new 2015-year-in-review site that takes advantage of the updated Google Trends site. Google Trends was relaunched in mid-year to provide data on searches up to the current minute. (Late in 2015, Google added a pop-out feature that enables you to keep a display of the trends and the latest stories on each that automatically update and scroll in your browser.) Google has used the new trends to curate the most significant searches of the year. And for those outside of the United States, Google has created a series of pages for different countries. And yes, we still have differences in interests. We share some things in common – the Paris bombings and the Pope, for example. But we also search for the more local events and people that are most important to us where we live. Google’s year-end was a smart way to highlight the new Google Trends. If you haven’t visited Trends lately, give is a try. It’s smart, timely and useful.

We’re moving to a mobile-first world. And that means that we are spending more time in mobile apps instead of on the Web. That’s a big problem for Google, which founded its business on Web searches. But Google, like time, never stands still. And in November, Google announced that it is integrating mobile app content into searches on the Google app. Users of the Google App will be able to see content that exists only in mobile apps. Even better, Google will enable them to “open” the app as a streaming app, even if they don’t have the app itself installed on their phones. Google says that this is still an experiment, and the company rolled it out to Android users in the US-only. Yes, US-only. The rollout to the rest of the world can’t come soon enough. And to the Google naysayers, here’s evidence that Google is not going to slip into irrelevance along with desktop computing.

And Google has to innovate to keep up with the new pacesetter, Facebook. One of Facebook’s biggest moves in the past year has been the launch of Facebook Instant Articles. The basic concept is that publishers will post their stories natively to Facebook. By doing this, Facebook is providing a near instant loading of these stories on Facebook’s mobile apps. The company marshalled behavioural data it had collected in order to convince publishers that they should accept that the future of publishing is distributed across whatever platform people want to use. And by far and away the biggest platform of all is Facebook. Facebook introduced Instant Articles on a limited basis in May and then rolled them out to all users in October. Judging by my Facebook news feed, Instant Articles have become a permanent fixture of the news distribution system.

Attention is fragmented. And we want content immediately on the mobile device we are holding. In 2015, Google captured the implications of this in the concept of micro-moments – those instants of undivided attention which may lead to decisions and action. Google backed up this concept with research and published a special Website for marketers dedicated to Micro-moments. If you missed the site when it was first published, it’s well worth a read now.

And with all these changes, what about SEO. Clearly, the SEO playbook has changed substantially in recent years. We talk about whether PR pros are keeping up with the changing environment, technologies and best practices.

Are we talking only to ourselves? We hope not. Please let us know what you think about the things we discussed on this episode.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 429: AMP up your Website’s mobile performance

On this week’s Inside PR podcast, Gini Dietrich and I take a look at some big changes about to occur on the mobile Web and the changed world of professional communicators.

AMPhtml will speed up the mobile web

If you haven’t been paying attention to AMPhtml, you should be. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages and it is Google’s effort to speed up the mobile Web. It has involved publishers, tech companies, analytics providers and advertisers in the effort. We should start to see Google AMP pages start to show up in search results in late February. Early test reports suggest that users will see substantial improvements in the speed of pages served on mobile devices. Pinterest, for example, “found that AMP pages load four times faster and use eight times less data than traditional mobile-optimized pages.”

Write interesting content on topics that people are about

How do you create content that people really want? Well, a proven technique is to write about the things that people are searching for. Gini tells us about some useful keyword tools she is using: AnswerthePublic, FAQFox, and KWFinder. We know that we have to write unique content that will be valuable to people. But it still helps to write about things that people care about.

Finally, we talk about how different what we do as communicators as we enter 2016 is from what we did a few years ago. We’re more digital, analytics-driven, performance producing. But we wonder if the broader industry can make this move.

Martin Waxman was traveling this week. However, he will rejoin us for next week’s podcast.

Are we talking only to ourselves? We hope not. Please let us know what you think about the things we discussed on this episode.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 428: Teaching an old podcast new tricks

Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and I are back with another episode of the Inside PR podcast. And we’re doing something different. We’re using a new application, Zoom.us, to record the show.

FIR_itunes cover_Inside_PRPodcasting is new and old at the same time. It’s relatively new when compared to traditional radio. But still it’s been around for a decade now. And the Inside PR podcast is in its tenth year of production. For all of its life, we have recorded it as a double ender, with the hosts each recording their tracks locally on their computer or a dedicated recorder. Following recording, we upload our individual tracks to a shared dropbox. Then the show’s producer edit combines the voice tracks together with the musical intros and outros, edits out the bloopers (yes, there are even more than the ones that you hear) and runs the finished product through a program called Auphonic to eliminate background rumble and level the sound across the different input sources.

Zoom.us replaces the double ender recording of individual tracks onto separate devices with a single online recording which can be downloaded as a single, level-balanced track. This eliminates a lot of work. But even more importantly, it also enables us to capture the recording on video. And we’re keen to add a video component to what until now has been an audio-only podcast.

So, for now it’s an experiment. If you listen closely to this week’s episode, you’ll hear some significant variations in the sound quality between Gini, Martin and I. We’re attempting to identify the source of the differences – mic quality, the age and specs of the computer, the quality of the internet connection are the obvious first candidates for scrutiny. But as we bring up the general quality level, we hope to move on to offer a video feed in addition to the traditional audio feed. So, stay tuned for that.

But enough about the technology. How about the discussion? This we we talk about being more productive by doing deep work, not shallow work. Whether you are a consultant or a corporate exec, I think you’ll find something in this discussion that you can put to use to improve your productivity.

Are we talking only to ourselves? We hope not. Please let us know what you think about the things we discussed on this episode.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 427: SxSW drops the ball

Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I are back with another episode of the Inside PR podcast. This week, we point to several #IPRMustKnows:

  • Gini talks about the backlash against Black Friday consumerism and what one company did, announced it would be closed on Black Friday. A gesture that gained them tremendous positive commentary around social media.
  • Martin tells us that Rogers Publishing is pulling its Canadian fashion magazine, Flare, from newsstands, starting in January 2016. They’re not abandoning the magazine. They’ll keep publishing it digitally, because that’s where their audience is. Traditional magazines continue to evolve.
  • On the growth side of the ledger, podcasts are on their way to the Google Play. US Podcasters are registering their podcasts with the app now. Expect to see the launch to consumers early in 2016.

The US-first launch of podcasts on Google Play, the US-first launch of Facebook Instant News, the US-first launch of the Apple News launch raises an important issue for non-Americans. In a world in which first to market and first to use provides a real advantage, social businesses and marketers outside the US must play catch up again and again.

Finally, we talk about SXSW’s bobble of the gamergate panels. This was big news when it happened and it will be interesting to see how it colours the conference when it opens in March.

Are we talking to ourselves? We hope not. Please let us know what you think about the things we discussed on this episode.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

 

Inside PR 426: It’s Jeopardy VR

This week, Martin and Gini do another two-hander, as I’m AWOL. (I have to stop making a habit of this.)

Martin’s #IPRMustKnow takes us to the other side with Alex Trebek and Jeopardy’s Virtual Reality experience. Really?!?!

Gini’s #IPRMustKnow is the removal of share counts by Twitter. You’ll have to find another way to get your share counts. Don’t freak out. It’s OK.

But let’s talk about something cool for our main discussion. Let’s talk sensory metaphors. Jonah Berger’s recent contemplation of why cool is still “cool.” Or it that hot?

Are we talking to ourselves? We hope not. Please let us know what you think about the things we discussed on this episode.

Leave a comment on the blog, send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

 

 

Inside PR 423: Has Big Tech Become Too Powerful?

[display_podcast]

We’re back after a brief end of summer hiatus and start off with this week’s #IPRMustKnow segment.

Martin: Signal, Facebook’s new app for FB and Instagram, gives journalists a set of tools to discover breaking news, curate visuals and stories and share them on various platforms.

Gini: Google and Twitter have teamed up to provide an open-source competitor to Facebook’s Instant Articles, a place for publishers to display breaking news on mobile.

Joe – How do you spell Google Reader? Apple News. Joe gives an overview of the much-touted app. He likes the visual interface but doesn’t think it’s a replacement for an RSS reader yet. And he offers a quick hack on how to get the app if you’re not in the U.S. – but you’ll have to listen to the show to get it :).

And our talk of the big three – Apple, Google and Facebook – brings us to our main topic: a New York Times op-ed by Berkeley prof Robert Reich called, Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful. Reich contends Facebook, Google and Apple have too much influence over the government and regulators and the way we discover news and content.

Listen for our discussion. And please send your thoughts. We’re interested to hear what you think.

We end by answering a question Barbara Nixon posed on Facebook and Twitter: ‘What should new PR pros expect and prepare for when interviewing for an entry-level PR position?’

Gini wants to hear where people see themselves in five years and where their career path is heading.

Joe tries to have a conversation with potential hires to see if the person can exchange ideas with him, and if they fit into a culture of creativity and curiosity.

Martin suggests searching the company to find out about the principals, how they think, and what their culture is. And then search yourself to see if there are any red flags.

Any other suggestions? We’d love to hear from you.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 421: The Business of Podcasting

This week, on Inside PR 421, we introduce our first Inside PR Book Club #IPRBookClub, featuring The Business of Podcasting by Donna Papacosta and Steve Lubetkin. We’re not alone in the book club. Mark Blevis, co-author of Touch, and Kevin Anselmo from the FIR on Higher Education podcast weigh in with their thoughts on the book. On top of that, Donna Papacosta joins us to tell us who she and Steve were thinking of when they wrote the book and what they hope people will take away with them from reading it.

We also have our regular IPR Must Know #IPRMustKnow segment:

More evidence of the power of search to shape opinion. This time, it’s an academic study showing that manipulating search results can affect how people vote. It’s important for us to constantly be aware of the power of Google.

Gini and the Arment Dietrich team tested Facebook’s Notes feature and they discovered that posts written via the Notes feature are in fact extending the reach of their content. If you have a company page, it’s worth taking a fresh look at whether you should be posting content via Facebook Notes.

Martin points out that, after several years absence, Twitter posts are again showing up in real time in Google’s desktop search. The return of a beautiful relationship.

We’d love to hear from you.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Joseph Thornley.

Inside PR 411: Communications across borders

What happens when we are trying to communicate with people who live in another place with a distinctively different culture? Do they do things differently there? How can we be sensitive to these differences?

As communicators, we are attuned to the audience we want to reach. But still we are grounded in the people around us, to where we work and live. It’s hard not to have our approach shaped by “the way we do things around here.” In other words, the local culture. It’s what we’re exposed to each and every day. So we don’t challenge or think about whether it is the best way of doing things.

On this week’s episode of the Inside PR podcast, we explore these questions with two guests who have lived and worked on both sides of the Atlantic.

Suzy Chisholm is head of communications at Philips Switzerland. A transplanted Canadian, she has spent over twenty years living and working in Switzerland, a country at the heart of Europe and a country with three languages.

Sherrilynne Starkie has worked in Washington, London, the Isle of Man and now in Canada.

Both Suzy and Sherrilynne offer their perceptions and insights into the challenges of communicating in different cultures. And then Martin, Gini and I weigh in with our own thoughts.

We hope that this discussion opens some windows onto the different experiences and approaches people may have working as communicators around the world.

What is your experience? Have you had direct experience of the differences driven by culture and language? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: if you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

 

Inside PR 409: Living in a world of micro-moments and video to go

Martin here and excuse me while I check my phone. I’m having a micro-moment. But more on that in a few, er-moments.

This week it’s Joe and me; Gini’s on the road. And because of our schedules recently, you’ve probably noticed May has been a quieter IPR month. But we’re all back in June.

In today’s episode, we have a couple of topics to discuss – both revolving around Google.

The first is micro-moments, or what Google describes as ‘I want to know, I want to go, I want to buy moments’. I call them the frequent times we turn to our smartphones during the day – often when we’re in the middle of something else – to find out some info, daydream, or take a mini-break from what we’re doing.

These mobile interactions are having a profound impact on the way we discover and consume information and what we do with our idle time.

Many of our micro-moments revolve around watching videos. And according to Google, people who view videos on their phones are 1.4 times as likely to watch ads as those on desktops or TVs and are more likely to talk about the ads they saw. Are the dollar signs lighting up?

The challenge for brands is to learn how to produce video that works for the small-screen. In other words, create for the medium – panorama shots may be amazing in a movie theatre, but don’t work so well on a five inch screen. Think about your audience and what they’re looking for and how you can reach them with the kind of video they want to see at the just the right point in time. Here’s a post from Joe with his thoughts on the importance of creating videos for mobile devices.

What do you think about micro-moments, how they’re affecting our purchase intent and attention spans? And when you’re in the middle of one of these moments, what kinds of video content makes you stop, watch and share?

We’d love to hear from you.

And thanks to Breyanna Tripp from Kent State and Charles Cawte for their comments.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

And we have a favor to ask: if you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

 

 

Inside PR 399: Don’t put a Target on your back

Target Canada got itself into big business trouble in Canada. And it got itself into even bigger reputation trouble with the way it is leaving the country.

It has become commonplace for companies to care about being seen to be responsible corporate citizens. And this involves both doing and being seen to exercise their corporate social responsibility. To make the communities in which they operate better places. To give back as well as to receive.

We expect that corporations will want to be seen to be doing more than the bare minimum they can get away with. And perhaps that’s why Target Canada has garnered so much bad media in the wake of their decision to pull out of the Canadian market. They were perceived as doing as little as the law required them to do in order to get out of the country.

Whether this was justified or not, the company seemed almost to be playing rope a dope, absorbing the blows without attempting to fight back.

Did Target give its employees, its suppliers and its partners a raw deal? Were they inept or calculating in their communications? Will this affect their reputation in the United States?

Gini DietrichMartin Waxman and I explore these questions on this week’s Inside PR podcast. Give it a listen and make up your own mind. Does Target deserve the target on its back?

Context

Here is a selection of the media coverage and commentary around Target’s retreat from Canada.

Target closes all 133 stores in Canada; Seeks creditor protection

Target Canada owes more than 5 billion to creditors

Target Canada owes advertising, marketing and PR partners

Top Target Canada Managers get big cash payouts as stores close

More must be done to help laid off target employees 

Target closure causing crisis for independent pharmacies, owners say

Target Canada patient records sold

Ontario pharmacists fighting Target Canada

Target Canada liquidation sales draw crowds and mockery

 

What do you think?

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

We’d ask one favour of you. If you like this podcast, please rate us on iTunes.

******************************************************************

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.