Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category
I really want to put a spotlight on the smart thinking I come across that I think deserves attention, but sometimes it’s just too time consuming to do so. Perhaps others are feeling this way too? After all, we are all busy and strapped for time.
This isn’t an all-inclusive list (I am sure you could add more), it’s just my list of what stops me from sharing blog posts—even from some of the most popular and experienced bloggers. I don’t have all of the answers on how to fix this (technologically from WordPress to TypePad to Blogger), but thought I’d kick off the conversation.
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This past year has been truly exceptional and while I love blogging, I am not a writer. So from that regard, I struggle. I know this is *my* blog and I can do with it what I’d like, but I also don’t want to produce crap content. I have SO many thoughts rattling around in my head but the pressure to make them perfect stops me from writing them down. And the time to make them perfect doesn’t exist…so, again, nothing gets written.
My other issue is that I can no longer scale. Trust me, I have really tried. I have been up to all hours of the morning just trying to keep up. But now I need to have time for my family, my home, my life. That means I don’t have 6 hours to write a post (yes, posts take me anywhere from 4-6 hours to write each one. Pathetic, right?!).
As well, I know social media is quid pro quo and while I try my best to keep up with other blogs (reading and commenting), comments on my blog, etc. I am falling WAY short and for that I am terribly sorry. I would completely understand if people stopped commenting/tweeting my stuff.
Thanks for all of your support through the past year; it has meant the world to me.
I am not saying that I won’t be blogging anymore… I just don’t know when. I need to step back and re-think how I want to approach blogging because where I am now is not working for me.
P.S. I’ll definitely be blogging at the Daily Fix because, lucky for me, it’s part of my job. But here at THoM, I am raising the white flag.
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“A guy walks into a bar…”
It actually goes more like this “a communicator walks into a meeting and the VP or client says ‘I want bloggers!’” (or we want a “well known” social media consultant!)
I used ‘communicator’ because I don’t want to be accused of continually beating up the PR rank and file and because it’s not always PR folks, it’s also marketers and organizations/clients seeking social media consultants.
So what’s the pickup line you ask? “I/We LOVE your blog!”
If you have a blog I am sure you’ve heard it before. Someone wants something from you and they figure the quickest way in is to flatter your blog. What annoys me about this pickup line is the assumption that bloggers are so vane that sucking up with an insincere one-liner will make them give you what you want. A lot of us bloggers don’t blog to be self-important. We blog because it’s a space for us to share our thoughts, insights or opinions and to be a part of the community (whether that’s marketing, social media, golfing, wine, shopping, business, whatever…).
When I get this line (and my gut tells me they are insincere), I’ll usually say “Hey thanks! So tell, me what posts have you liked or disagreed with the most?” The usual reply: “er, um, ah…” Yeah, thought so. Another indication of insincerity is that they have never once commented or even tried to be a part of the community.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want something from someone who blogs―whether it’s a blog post you seek or consulting services-don’t enter the relationship with a cheesy one-liner. It doesn’t work in a bar and it surely doesn’t work in business because no one wants to be just a person on your list. (Actually, this is just good advice for interpersonal relations…people know when they are being used, no matter how smooth, suave or smart *you* might think you are.) Relationships do matter regardless of the situation.
Next time you find yourself uttering those words, remember that you have just joined the ranks of being “that guy (or girl).” (In case you don’t know what that means… it’s the obnoxious person no one wants to be near.)
Have you heard any other one-liners recently?
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After discussing the inauthentic nature of PR in my last post, I hope you know that I do respect and enjoy being part of the PR profession (well, except those PR areas that are broken) and truly believe that most PR folks are engaging in PR in a way that is effective. That said, I still believe that ghostwriting from PR pros (or profs) isn’t necessary or authentic (I am not sure that there’s much that can convince me…but I’ll keep an open mind, I promise).
I thought it might be a useful conversation to discussion how PR 2.0 will keep you SO busy providing strategic services/counsel for your clients or employer you won’t need to worry about ghost blogging and tweeting as a source of income or a way to show value for one’s job. And I know for a lot of PR agencies and pros that might not truly understand the nature (dare I say, culture) of social media, those are areas of concern. I get it, I really do.
While this might not be as interesting as a debate, perhaps it will prove to be more useful.
Today’s typical and traditional PR person does a lot of the following tasks:
- Builds relationships with third-party resources (usually the media, sometimes bloggers)
- Maintains existing relationships
- Does research
- Listens/Analyzes (usually online/print pickups)
- Writes plans
- Provides counsel
- Creates targeted messages
- Conveys timely news with constituents (but typically media and maybe bloggers)
- Builds a brand’s reputation
- Maintains a brand’s image
- Deploys crisis communications
- Clips or tracks pickups or mentions
- Provides measurement of campaigns
- Handles some marketing communications (including collateral, website content if a marketer isn’t part of the team)
With PR 2.0 you can add the following to your skills, deliverables and job description:
- Monitors brand in real-time
- Listens/Analyzes online conversations or mentions in real-time
- Responds promptly
- Conducts primary research in real-time
- Engages in two-way conversations with ALL constituents (in-house PR folks)
- Participates in social networking in a value-add way (in-house PR folks)
- Develops new online skills (blogging, wikis, RSS, etc.)
- Understand the importance of building relationships with all constituents (media, bloggers, employees, investors, fans, friends, followers, detractors, etc.)
- Responsible for Search Engine Optimization
- Identifies & engages with influencers and brand evangelists (in-house PR folks)
- Manages communities of constituents (in-house PR folks)
- Integrates new technologies into PR plans
- Shares industry information, not just key messages
- Builds communities
- Engages evangelists to help create word of mouth
- Understands that engaging in PR 2.0 will help at time of crisis
- Stays up-to-date on trends
- Trains management, co-workers and/or clients constantly
I don’t know about you, but to me that looks like a pretty busy job to me! All without having to ghostwrite or tweet (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
I cannot take complete credit for these lists. While I have been engaged in PR for a long time, some people just say things more succinctly than I do…and I like to give the credit they deserve. So, please, seriously, if you haven’t read PR 2.0 by Deirdre Breakenridge, add it to your reading list. She makes the transition to PR 2.0 crystal clear, easy-to-swallow, and provides a lot of proof points (i.e. some of the list information is from her book). John Bell at Ogilvy is another source of great information when it comes to the PR pro of the future (be sure to read John’s post when you get a chance). He’s the guy behind this post’s image and some of the items on the PR 2.0 list.
I am sure that I am leaving things off of both lists, so please be sure to add where necessary if this is too simplified.
Thoughts? Opinions? Objections?
[Image: John Bell]
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Yes, yes, I know you’re all running to get your pitch forks so you can pull a Marie Antoinette on me. Hear me out…
The definition of authentic is pretty simple: not false or copied; genuine; real
I have been thinking about this a lot and recently had a few conversations with folks where I actually said it out loud. One of those places was the O’Reilly Twitter Boot Camp. I was sitting on a panel with Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Marla Erwin (Whole Foods), David Deal (Razorfish), David Puner (Dunkin’ Donuts) and someone asked a question (honestly, I forget what it was) and these words crossed my lips:
You know…PR’s never been authentic. In the past, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written a byline or press release (or my agency has) and after it shows up in print it’s only a matter of time before a co-worker (or a customer or a vendor) comes up and says, “that was a great article by John Smith…I didn’t know he knew so much about X, Y, or Z.” And then I have to tell them “Well, John didn’t really write it. I did (or the agency did). He had some input and reviewed it.”
Two comments inevitably happen after this exchange:
“I KNEW he wasn’t that smart!” (Usually from a co-worker that’s been trying to get ink or dislikes John Smith) OR “Wow, I am surprised… I thought our people were always writing these great articles.”
Either way, it’s been a lose-lose situation each and every time.
As these words crossed my lips at the Boot Camp I thought for sure my panelists and the attendees would disagree with me, but to my surprise, I saw nodding heads.
I know what you are thinking…I shouldn’t be telling people that John Smith didn’t write the article, it’s a standard PR practice that everyone knows about. But you know what? I can’t BS people and never have been able to. I am not going to lie and say someone wrote an article that they didn’t. Now, on the flip side…I’ve worked with many a co-worker that has written their own byline or provided tons of input and I give them all the kudos in the world.
What I am talking about here are the flat out bylines that someone’s name gets slapped on because they haven’t been “given ink” in a while or the press/news release that was fabricated because the VP of Marketing thinks it’s time for one.
Now, I know what you are thinking…that’s just a bad PR practice and I would agree. But I am also not naive enough to believe that it doesn’t happen.
Why has this been rattling around in my head? Because this false notion of PR authenticity is at the foundation of the ghost blogging and ghost tweeting debate and where it goes awry in the social media world.
I don’t know about you, but these days when I read an article, a tweet, or a blog post I want to know that the person’s name on the article is the person who actually wrote it (yes, yes, I know ghost writing has existed for-ev-ah). That it’s their experience, their emotions, their writing and tone. And if I find out that Jane Doe at an agency really wrote it, well all credibility is gone in an instant. And believe it or not, after a while you can tell someone’s style and tone and when it changes (Um, Oprah book club anyone?!).
In our new PR 2.0/social media world I believe people expect authenticity…especially when they are used to it. When they read a tweet, they want to know that it came from John Smith [or at the least someone from John Smith's company. [Marla Erwin swears no one cares who exactly at Whole Foods is doing the tweeting as long as they get the help they need...and I am sure she's right. But I am betting if they outsourced all their tweets, people would start to have an issue with that. Just an opinion, maybe I am totally wrong. Marla?]
So, my premise is simple… if someone didn’t write it themselves, it’s not authentic.
I know people are busy, I know companies are lacking budget and struggle with implementing social media. I think if they can’t engage authentically then they should hold off because social media forces authenticity.
That said, I am open to learning about how you feel about this topic. Especially if you’re a PR practitioner engaged in social media. Am I wrong? Is it authentic to write someone else’s words?
If so, let me ask this: Is it authentic to copy a Picasso and sell it as such because you’ve ‘represented’ it properly?
By the way, I have left out some pertinent PR aspects intentionally because I am more curious as to what your thoughts are/reaction will be.
I am afraid of guillotines, so please…be kind.