Inside PR 367: Reflections on SXSW and PressFriendly

Martin here.

When we recorded this show, I’d just returned from SXSWi and I offer my thoughts reflections on this year’s Festival.

There’s no doubt SXSW remains a one-of-a-kind event with a unique laid-back energy and excitement for all things tech and social. That’s something you see first-hand watching the featured speakers and keynotes and in many of the smaller sessions, too.

And while there weren’t any big new platform launches in 2014, there was a lot of big thinking.

SXSW is still a defining event. Yet with so many people and ideas in one place it can seem a bit overwhelming. Before you go, do your homework and figure out what you want to see and do and who you want to meet; the Festival offers such a friendly, open vibe, you can meet anyone.

And if you’re looking for a more intimate conference with the South-by feel, check out the second annual SXSW V2V in Las Vegas that happens in July.

You can read more about my SXSW highlights on the TFC blog.

Oh and here’s Kevin Bacon’s hilarious video explaining the ’80s to millennials.

In the second part of the show we talk about PressFriendly.

After receiving a pitch, Gini asked Laura Petrolino to test out the product and Laura wrote about it on SpinSucks. Essentially PressFriendly helps automate media relations. It’s aimed at startup entrepreneurs who are frustrated with the PR experience and want to try it on their own.

Gini feels they have the right thinking but that it’s difficult to automate relationship-building. She also wonders if reaching out to media and bloggers is the best use of an entrepreneur’s time or if they’d be better off hiring a professional.

Joe’s not sure building a media list should be handed to the most junior person or to an algorithm. That can lead to spammy pitches that hurt the reputation of the entire industry.

Finally, I mention that one of the students in my UTSCS hybrid Foundations Course produced a video, Joey Loves Water, and it went viral. It was part of her class assignment and as of this writing, she has nearly 200,000 views.

Joe notices the video has been picked up on a lot of cat sites as well as on Huffington Post. Once it got on the circuit, he observes, you can almost trace its virality by seeing which sites help amplify and pass it along.

The lesson? Ditch the corporate spokesperson and bring in a cat. Or…maybe not.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, 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.

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 Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 366: Kelly Blazek, LinkedIn Connections, and Proper Communication

Martin Waxman is back and we are grateful because he is much better at the intro and closing than Joe Thornley and me.

We kick the show off by talking about the Kelly Blazek crisis situation that happened a couple of weeks ago.

As a quick refresher (or the story, for those of you who missed it), the 2013 Cleveland Communicator of the Year received an email from a young professional who is moving to Ohio and searching for a job.

Because Blazek runs the 7,300 member marketing job board for the Cleveland area, this young woman sent her a LinkedIn message, explaining who she was, her business expertise, and what kinds of jobs she could do. She then asked to join the jobs board.

What she received from Blazek, in return, was both unprofessional and … strange … for a communicator.

Kelly-Blazek-Response-to-Diana-Mekota

While we don’t beat this horse to death, it did create an interesting conversation about LinkedIn and how we each use the tool.

As it turns out, we have three different uses for it: Ambivalence, referrals, and contact management, which makes it an interesting look at how there really is no right way or wrong way to use social media. Except to not take your bad day out on someone asking or help.

Martin also mentions he hates the generic LinkedIn requests. You know the one. The, “I’d like to add you to my professional network” with no mention on how you know the person or why you’d like to connect.

He also talks about his pet peeve, which is people who have never worked with you asking you to write a recommendation.

After you listen, we leave the floor to you. What are your personal rules about LinkedIn connections?

P.S. While Terry Fallis’s new book, No Relation, doesn’t come out until May, as is his modus operandi, he is podcasting it for you ahead of time. Check it out!

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, 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.

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 Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 362: The importance of conflict in video storytelling

So you’ve made a video. And you’re disappointed that it just sits there, with few viewers and little discussion. Why do so many videos made by companies and organizations fall flat? In many cases, its because they lack an essential component of effective storytelling – conflict.

Think of any story you love and you’re sure to find conflict at its core. That’s what Mike Edgell, the Video Creative Director at 76BrandFilms, tells Martin Waxman and me in this week’s episode of Inside PR.

What are the essentials of storytelling? A hook, context, conflict, build, and resolution. Omit any of these and the viewer is lost, the narrative falls flat. Of these, the essential component, the one that drives the story, is conflict. And this can be a problem for brands who hear the word conflict and immediately run the other way. Who take a black and white view of conflict.

In fact, conflict arises in virtually every situation and with a nuanced approach, it can be built into virtually every video story. So, how does a brand do this? Mike has some tips.

1) Find a conflict that the organization can overcome. An internal challenge can ring true and does not run the risk of pitting the organization against outside forces.

2) Have empathy. Be sure that the conflict relates to the interests of your target audience. Don’t start with what the organization wants to talk about. Start with what the audience fears, wants and cares about. If tell your story with the audience in mind, your content stands a higher chance of resonating with them.

3) Finally, make sure your conflict has some significant risk. There has to be a consequence to failure. Otherwise, why should a viewer care about the story? This risk can embrace both the loss of something and the continuing absence of something desirable. In both instances, tension can be built up and the situation resolved, providing the audience with a satisfying experience.

Simple rules often overlooked.

Listen to the full podcast as Mike develops these ideas and illustrates them with real life examples of videos that met the challenge of incorporating conflict to engage audiences.

Gini Dietrich fans, don’t despair. Gini couldn’t make this week’s recording, but she will return next week.

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We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Inside PR is part of the FIR Podcast Network.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, 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.

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 Kristine D’Arbelles and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 3.32: How do you assign authority and credibility in the era of instant news?

This week, Gini Dietrich talks about what it was like to be in Europe when the news of the Boston marathon explosion reached her. The reality of knowing almost instantly about something combined with a sense of distance fed by different mainstream media news agendas and the sense of being out of sync that occurs in a different time zone.

How can we assign credibility to sources we encounter for the first time during a fast breaking news event? While mainstream media may occasionally lapse, can the application of professional journalistic practices be counted on to produce more reliable coverage in the whole?

Martin points to the recent AP Twitter hacking incident, which he says drives home the responsibility we all have to approach anything we hear or see with a degree of skepticism.

Joe likens this to moving around in a darkened room. We know we’ve had contact with something, but we can’t really see what it is. Judgment and speculation become overly close neighbors at times like these.

How do you assign authority and credibility in the era of instant news?

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Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, 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. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.

 

Inside PR 3.31: How are you making your living in the world of integrated communications?

We’re living in a period of profound change in communications channels and tools. How will you change your communications practices to reflect these underlying changes in the communications networks, expectations and participants? What are the opportunities? What are the challenges?

Gini says that the current set of changes are accelerating a move to agency consolidation that she has been observing since the turn of the century. But while we as professionals are finding ourselves in integrated agencies, we are feeling pressure to become expert in related fields – SEO, content marketing, paid promotion. We have to be able to operated above and across the silos as they break down.

Martin Waxman feels that the greatest challenge for PR practitioners is to break out of the publicist mode once and for all. The move to content journalism and content marketing plays to the PR practitioner’s traditional storytelling strengths. And if you’re looking at your career, don’t disregard this path to the future.

Joe points to the trend to anchor integrated communications in marketing departments and marketing programs, places and activities that measure real results against defined objectives. PR practitioners must become platform agnostic, married not solely to earned media, but open to paid media as well as owned media.

Gini notes that she has seen search firms competing for some of these assignments. The challenge for these firms is that they are great at writing for robots, not for human beings. The complete firm will write for both human beings and the search robots. The success of PR firms or any firm will rest on their ability to pull together in one team the analytic and storytelling skills to offer truly compelling, effective content marketing.

Finally, Martin asks how people will be able to make a living as content creators when online outlets like Huffington Post and Forbes.com pay nothing or very little for quality content. Joe suggests that most won’t. There are few Mathew Ingrams or Om Maliks, few people who have something to say, day in and day out. Most of us write more infrequently on a narrower range of topics. As it ever was, few will make a living directly from their content creation. Most of us will of necessity rely on earning our living in jobs in which we benefit from reputations enhanced by creating and publishing smart content.

Also in this episode, Martin gives a plug to the digital communications class at University of Toronto. The next course starts in May. So, if you’d interested in taking this, contact Martin.

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Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, 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. Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer. Inside PR is produced by Kristine Simpson and Ashlea LeCompte.

Inside PR 2.91: We talk of many things

This week, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley talk about new social management tool Jugnoo, tablet computers, Facebook timelines for pages and a new feature in social media measurement tool Sysomos.

Last week we reported that Jugnoo, a new social media management console service had launched in open beta. We received a comment from Danny Brown telling us we pronounced it wrong. Oops. And Gini and I talk about when a service like Jugnoo should ask potential users to install a plug in or open access to a user’s Website data.

We also talk about the rapid adoption of tablets in the workplace. Two years ago, we considered our notebook computers to be the go-to mobile devices. Today, we each use a tablet computer. We wonder how long it will be before we will be able to reduce the number of devices. The limiting factor on this is the evolution of tablets to include both the hardware and software to support all the content creation we want to do.

Timelines for pages is being rolled out to all users at the end of the month. Gini is keen on timelines. She’s watched as content that she had long ago posted to the Arment Dietrich page had resurfaced. Old content becomes more accessible. Joe is skeptical of the value of timelines for small businesses. Many small businesses have limited resources to devote to social media. And it seems to him that corporate page owners will have to devote considerable energy and resources to keep their content fresh. And this may not be a priority for may businesses.

Finally, we talk about the integration of Google Analytics into Sysomos’ Heartbeat social media monitoring service. A nice addition that makes a good service better.

What do you think? Are we on the right track? Missing something? Do you have a different view?

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Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Katie Charbonneau. Inside PR producer: Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 2.77: Jay Baer Talks Corporate Culture

This week, Jay Baer, of Convince and Convert and The Now Revolution fame, is our guest.

We interviewed him at the PRSA International Conference in Orlando last month and thought now was a great time to run it.

It’s 2012 planning time so we discuss with him the things people ought to remember when using the social tools, trends to watch, and what to consider for next year.

A few things you want to pay particular attention to while you listen:

- His keynote topic at the conference was the goal of corporate culture in speed, authenticity, and response, not about social media.
- He talks about how social media success isn’t about the tools and technology. It’s about corporate culture and being social instead of doing social.
- He wants you to remember that the tools always change. If you focus on the tools, when they die, go public, or get bought out, you’re going to be left with the smoking wreckage of a plan not focused on strategy.
- He says the goal is not to be good at social media. The goal is to be good at business, using social media.

We ask him what are the three things he wants you to take away and he outlines them for us.

We also discuss how, as consumers we have so much more information about at our fingertips, it’s important for companies to be sustainable, human, approachable, and engage to help us make our decisions.

Ending with what’s next for Jay Baer and the four words Martin takes away every time he hears Jay speak.

It’s been said multiple times during the podcast, but if you’ve never heard Jay speak, you’ll quickly understand why he’s one of the industry’s most sought-after experts.

He walks the walk, is highly engaging, and is really, really smart.

Enjoy!

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We’d love to hear from you.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 2.62 Hanging Out on Google+

It’s two weeks since Google+ launched and the Inside PR hosts, Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley, have been testing it for its strengths and weaknesses. This week we  talk about our experience so far.

One of the things that has caught most people’s attention is Google Hangouts, the feature that lets Google+ users set up video conference calls with up to ten users. So we thought that we’d use this feature for our recording. Well, as you’ll hear in this episode, there’s a reason why Google+ is still in the “test” period. Not everything works the way that you’d like it to. We lose Gini part of the way through. But she rejoins us by the end. We also experienced the same problem that Shel Holtz noticed when he and Neville Hobson recorded a special episode of the FIR podcast using Google Hangouts with Camtasia studio. The video recording had several defects – frozen screens and video that lagged behind the audio. Hangouts is quite ready for this use. But we’re hoping that Google will keep improving this feature and we’ll keep testing it. Eventually, I’m sure we’ll be able to produce a video version of Inside PR to accompany the audio version.

Have you ever sat down with a long time partner and said, if we could do it over again, what would we do differently? So far, I think that Google+ is the Social Network that’s doing it over and is doing it right.

For me, Facebook started as a place that suggested we could have private conversations with friends and family. But as Facebook developed its business model, it broke the faith with us on that. Bit by bit, it pushed our information onto public feeds – and it wasn’t always up front about what it was doing and didn’t provide us with easy control over how we could control our information.

Martin has been focused on rebuilding his network on Google+. And he’s found that it feels like the early days of Twitter, before the celebrities invaded it and the network became obsessed with numbers of followers. Martin’s finding that he can connect with his real community of interest on Google+ and have much higher quality conversations than he’s experienced on the other networks.

So far, I’ve had an experience similar to Martin. I’ve found that I share the interests of most of the people who have followed me. And by using the Circles feature to sort people by topic, I can dip into different areas just as I would if I were choosing between sections of a newspaper. A great way to increase the signal to noise ratio.

Martin also finds that a strength of Google+ is the ease with which users can adjust their privacy settings – on a general basis and on a post by post basis. It’s intuitive and clear.

Gini also points out that the Circles approach is different from the asymmetrical following on Twitter and the symmetrical friending on Facebook. And this means that we’ll have to develop a different way of figuring out how to manage ourselves in a way that takes full advantage of the unique properties of Google+

So, that’s our Google+ discussion this week. It’s the biggest thing that’s happened in social media in the past couple years. We’ll continue to test it and share our experiences in future weeks.

And what about you? Are you using Google+? What do you think of it? It’s strengths? Its weaknesses?

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.

Inside PR 2.46 – Happy Birthday Twitter!

It’s no surprise, if you spend any time on Twitter, that they celebrated their fifth birthday on Monday.

Yes, on March 21, 2006, co-founder Jack Dorsey sent his first tweet. And, according to Martin Waxman, they are “officially a toddler. They can walk and talk and are past their terrible twos.” It seems incredible that it’s only been five years, but also amazing that it has been that long.

A few interesting statistics:

  • It took three years, two months, and one day for Twitter to reach one billion tweets. Then it took one week to reach another billion.
  • There were 465 tweets per second when Michael Jackson died last June, but the current record is 6,939 tweets per second.
  • A year ago, the average number of tweets sent in a day were 50 million. Yet last month there were 140 million tweets per day and 177 million just last week.

But, on their fifth birthday, they’re changing their terms of service because they have to make some money. And, in the process, they’ve turned away the developer community who helped them get as large as they are.

Alexandra Samuel said it best in her Harvard Business Review blog.

So as Twitter locks the door, some geeks somewhere are coming up with a new idea that will fill the void. This infinitely more flexible and risk-embracing startup will explode onto the social media scene with the next thing, or maybe even the Next Big Thing. And then sometime in 2015, it, too, will trade in creative chaos for business sense.

And, perhaps what Dave Winer, the father of podcasting and RSS feeds, has in mind with his new Minimal Blogging Tool that allows us to keep our content on our own servers. It allows us to push that content wherever we need to to reach our audiences, but we own it so it can’t be affected when the social networks change their terms of service.

Additionally you’ll hear in this week’s podcast:

  • Springtime in Gov 2.0 in that Canada is finally joining Australia, the U.K., and the States in the social and the open movement;
  • Third Tuesday this month is the best (and misses) of SXSW;
  • The “Dear CEO” eBook has been published and can be found at Spin Sucks;
  • The New York Times is charging for content; and
  • Martin talks about what he’ll receive as immediate past president of CPRS, come June.

We’d love to get your thoughts on Twitter’s birthday or any of the other topics we discuss this week.

Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Yasmine Kashefi.

Inside PR 2.39 – LinkedIn Recommendations and Social Networks In Egypt

We’re trying something new starting this week. Rather than give you the time sections of the podcast, we’re taking a cue from NPR and writing an accompanying blog post with each podcast.

So here we are…on our 39th (can that be right??) episode of Inside PR. This week we answer a bunch of questions from our listeners and we touch on the crisis in Egypt.

Shel Holtz sends in an audio question (we love him!) and Guy Skipworth asks about former employees having online relationships with your clients after they leave your agency. You can listen to our discussion about both in the podcast.

Long-time listener Danny Starr says,

“Just catching up on old episodes and the discussion on “making” viral video was really good. One thing that I think needs to be pointed out about viral video is that you never know what’s going to hit it big… and while there are things you can do like capture something funny or unexpected in the footage, I think that anyone setting out to achieve the result of having a video go viral – and we need to be clear that viral is a result, not really a strategy – needs to be putting up many different things.”

The thing is, Danny, we agree with you. In fact, at Arment Dietrich, when we get a call about making a viral video, we always joke internally that we’ll create the video the client wants and then have two guys kicking each other in the nuts so it does go viral. Not really a strategy, but we’re certain it would work! And yes, I say “nuts” in the recording.

And, while we don’t spend much time talking about what’s going on in Egypt, we do ask (and answer) an important question, “Is Internet use a human right?

Hope you enjoy this week’s Inside PR!

And tell us…what do you think of the new format? Do you have other comments? Send us an email or an audio comment to insideprcomments@gmail.com, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, or message us @inside_pr on Twitter. Or connect with Martin Waxman, Joe Thornley, and me on Twitter.

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

This week’s episode was produced by Yasmine Kashefi.