Blog Archives

Latest Reads: Week of March 26

Image Courtesy of fracasnoir.com

Image Courtesy of fracasnoir.com

What a beautiful weekend! I had a great time visiting with old friends and colleagues, and seeing family in Kansas City! Now, it’s Monday and back to reality. To help make your morning coffee a little easy breezy, here a few of my favorite reads from the past week. [Sorry apparently this didn’t publish this morning, #fail]

Pinterest Updates Privacy Policy, Terms of Service (via Mashable)
As you’ve probably heard, Pinterest is updating its TOS and Privacy Policy. So what does this mean? Well, my quick translation is: “Dear Pinterest users, we’re trying to make life simple, so (a) we’re not trying to make money off you, (b) you need to keep it Twilight PG-13, (c) you can pin all your secrets privately, and oh, by the way, we’re up the API soon! Yay! Sincerely, your favorite time-suck, Pinterest.” 

The Rise Of The Explainer Video (by TechCrunch)
Overview videos are a great way to share your visual/audio elevator speech! If you can’t explain how your product works in a brief video, you have bigger problems. Also, we spend a lot of time talking around things, but overview videos give you a step-by-step look at how something works, making it immediately actionable. Who doesn’t want that? 

Clever App Finally Cracks the Code for Facebook Dating (via Mashable)
If you saw the latest infographic on online dating [Does Online Dating Work], you know that survey results state 27% of couples say they met through mutual friends, and 38% through work or school. So, it may not be a surprise to you that Huffington Post alumni Rob Fishman and Jeff Revesz launched a matchmaking app for Facebook this week designed to help you meet your friends’ single friends. Genius or just creepy? Guess you’ll have to see for yourself!  

Five Ways to Optimize Video for Search Engines (via Entreprenuer)
Search is not dead, even though sometimes we seem to forget about it! Here are some great ways to optimize videos for search engines. These are great tangible and quick tips that really can make a difference in video views. Let me know how it works for you! 

7 Best Interactive YouTube Videos
I love an me an interactive YouTube video! Check out these videos, enjoy and let me know which one is your favorite.

How Tech and Social Media Are Changing Travel [INFOGRAPHIC]
Sticking with the theme to share an infographic each week, here’s this week’s infographic on how social media and technology have changed how to plan for, document and catalog our travels!

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Latest Reads: Week of March 12

Here are a few of the latest reads for this week. Happy reading!

More than half of consumers ‘overwhelmed by brand messages’ on social media (Ragan’s PR Daily)
I appreciate the top highlights in this study that was published by Ragan. If you read nothing else, here are the findings that were spotlighted. If you are engaged in social media on behalf of a company’s brand, DON’T POST every day, give people something meaningful, and more than anything – keep it simple. 

  • 40 percent of respondents felt that brand promotions are too complex to enter;
  • 20 percent felt incentives are not worth the effort;
  • 75 percent said that one or two Facebook messages per day is too much to receive from a brand;
  • Nearly 40 percent don’t want to share brand interactions with friends
  • 20 percent proactively post messages to brand pages.

15 Most Frequently Asked Questions by WordPress Beginners (WP Beginners)
I love WordPress, and I loved these FAQs! Hope this is helpful! Want a blog or Website?  I enjoy BlueHost’s How To Use WordPress tutorial too! Check out the Playlist.

What People Are Pinning on Pinterest (Mashable)
By now, you know I love Pinterest (Pinterest InfographicWhat’s So Awesome About Pinterest). Well, the latest article shares what eople are posting. Top categories for posting are Home (17.2%), Arts and Crafts (12.4%) and Style/Fashion (11.7%).  No big surprise there! 

A Store in Your Pocket: Retailer Mobile Websites Beat Apps among US Smartphone Owners (Neilsen Wire)

The latest Nielsen study shows that smartphone users prefer to visit mobile sites rather than mobile apps. As more and more companies start thinking about how to use mobile technologies, I always urge for mobile optimized sites, rather than creating dozens of apps! Ask yourself, what makes your app something a user can’t live without. If you can’t answer it, maybe you should wait.

Infographic: How To Train Your Employees To Handle Your Social Media  (MindFlash)
Arming employees to use social media in a way that is safe for the company and safe for them is a critical project for me in my current role. Once I roll out, I’ll be able to share some of our results and best practices on my blog, but for now – enjoy this infographic from MindFlash! 

Appreciating the Anti-Social Side of Social Media Managers

If you’re taken the Myers-Briggs, what are the ABCs of your personality? Well my results always teeter totter on that first letter of those four letter results. Oddly, the others always remain the same. Today and most days, mine is INTJ – I being for introvert. In more uncomfortable moments, I play chameleon and land on E.

For those of us who do digital and social media for a living, the expectation is that we are, in fact, highly social beings. Business requires us to be extroverts, especially those of us in social business, so where does that leave introverts who need time for themselves and do businesses/companies appreciate the introverts who just need a social time out?

In my Sunday morning TED video binge ritual, I came across Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” It left me feeling a little empowered, and yet a little frustrated. Empowered because I want the change, and understand that if you want something, you must demand it and have the courage to not just believe but to act. Frustrated because it only stirs up moments of self-doubt and frankly guilt for my need for solitude.

In January, Forbes published an article entitled, “The Secret Power Of Introverts” highlighting Cain’s book – Quiet. I’ve included a video of Cain’s TED talk below. In the video, she talks about the advantages of introverts, the need for us to share our strengths and talents, and the need for a societal shift to appreciate introversion through behavior and action.

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts (TED talk)

Susan concludes her talk with these 3 Call-to-Actions:

1. Stop the madness for constant group work
When I graduated from undergrad, I remember the incessant amounts of group work. Yes, we do need to learn the skills of working together, but we also need to learn to work in solitude. As I get ready to start my MBA, I am fully aware that the program will require LOTS of group work. Ideas are often sparked by interactions, but there is supreme value in autonomy and independence – for introverts and extroverts alike.    

2. Go to the wilderness
I love her call for us to unplug. We live in a constantly connected world. I spend approximately 85+ hours of my week engaging and interacting with people, whether online or offline. So, when it comes time for the weekend, especially Sundays, I need a time out! For years, I felt shame and guilt for my need for solitude. Now, I mainly think, “Screw it! I need me-time.” And that’s perfectly okay.

3. Look inside and share what’s in your suitcase.
Many of us forget to listen to our own voice – find time for reflection and deep thought. We’re running. Running here, running there, running off somewhere. But rarely do we make the time to commit to ourselves. I may not come up with genius or innovative ideas or thoughts that I’ll share with the world, but I believe in process. And hopefully, as I process through those ideas and challenges for my company and our world, I may make some sort of lasting impact. So although I may not open my suitcase to everyone, all at once, we introverts can give little peeks.

And, what about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert? What are your thoughts on Susan Cain’s “Power of Introverts”?

 

What Happened to Innovation?

Last week, I happened upon a Bloomgberg article spotlighting Merck’s new CEO – Kenneth Frazier. The article was named, Merck New CEO Frazier Vows Innovation, Wider Markets. Of course, you can imagine my intrigue as a pharma marketer and lover and advocate for innovation. So, I read on.

Line after line, I read empty meaning to a word I hold so dear. At the end, all that was left with a slight feeling of resentment. Has “innovation” simply become another buzzword with subjective meaning? My colleague Wendy shared a great post with her thoughts on what innovation requires. At it’s root, innovation is about renewing something existing or introducing something new. Our hope is that this new whatever-it-is will solve a problem, bridge a gap and be a positive change within the organization, company, industry and world.

For the purpose of this blog, innovation is two-fold – how it’s done and then how the story is told. For companies who are truly innovative, there is a specific type of leader, culture and goal. You can feel it when you walk into their office. We know these companies. They’re the Facebooks, Amazons, Apples and Googles of the world. For a full list, check out Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies.

As for how you communicate it, my fear is that innovation was inserted into a key message document to perk our ears. It worked, but left me disappointed. As communicators, we need to stop inserting in words that make our clients sound smart, but fall short. Tell us the true story, in their own words. The next time you create a key message matrix, look at it, highlight on the buzzwords, and revise.

Have you seen companies be truly innovative? If so, what are they? Any bad experiences with buzzwords? Please share!

Back to PR Basics: Public + Relationships

I can recall the semester I took my only PR class.  I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy the actual course work. I hated writing press releases, probably because I wasn’t really any good at it. Fast forward. I find myself at a global PR agency.  I had the chance to work on projects that sought to change behavior, change lives. It was fast-paced, ever changing and a chance for me to truly grow. No matter what people say, communications is critical and can solve problems.

I never thought I would love public relations – the truth is – I love communications and I appreciate the role it plays in our lives – both professionally and personally. When trying to explain to people what I did, I never uttered the words “press release,” except to deny that it was the only thing I did. Instead, I spent more time trying to explain the difference between PR and advertising, and clarifying all the practices of PR.

Today, I feel like I spend less time explaining PR, and more time defending it. PR isn’t about spinning, it’s not just about media relations and pitching, and it’s not DEAD. PR is rooted in relationship building – with employees, consumers, stakeholders, key opinion leaders, and yes – media. Like Shonali Burke shared in her post, “It’s [PR] a business function that supports and helps to achieve organizational goals and objectives.”

Today, there’s an undeniable shift. Communications and marketing focus back on our consumers, and further away from media relations and pure sales.  Our role as communicators will require a mindset shift. The way and the channels through which we communicate have changed, and they will continue to do so. We no longer hold the power – to be honest,  I’m not sure we ever did. But today and in the future, our consumers drive our overall strategies and even our tactics.  We need to be more timely and even more relevant to get through our audiences’ filters. We need to spend more time asking better questions, then giving our consumers what they want. Gone are the days where we simply use market research to drive a 2011 plan. Enter the days when we ask for feedback, and we implement their recommendations. The days when companies take transparency and accountability to a new level.

Domino’s Pizza dramatically shifted their approach after their YouTube crisis situation. Today, they asked consumers for feedback on their product, they changed their product, then asked for consumers to send in photos of their actual pizza. Talk about a high-risk effort that I hope will get them great rewards. Regardless, I respect you more for your efforts.

PR isn’t about the number of impressions that we can garner. It’s about listening to the conversations happening in print, in broadcast and in the social space. From there, it’s about finding opportunities to answer questions, provide customers with the service they deserve and helping build better relationships among companies and their key audiences. These relationships have never been achieved through press releases or “spinning.”

And if companies believe that social media should be in the hands of marketing, I have to ask: Does it matter what team manages your social media presence, as long as it’s done right? Whoever owns social media and the relationships to stem from engagement, this group must truly believe in a customer-centric model, where sales is not a goal but an outcome. Until then, let’s hold tight on implementing – and think more about the questions we should be asking.

What are your thoughts on PR and the evolution of communications? How do you explain your role in your organization?