Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category
Last week marked the one-year anniversary for The Harte of Marketing and what a year it’s been thanks to so many amazing people! When I first started THoM I really didn’t think anyone would read it, let alone care about what I had to say in regards to marketing, PR and social media. With so many other well-established and great blogs out there I almost considered not blogging at all but, I hated Twitter at the time (imagine that?!) so microblogging was out. And, apparently, my thoughts are too verbose for 140-characters (i.e. I talk too much).
My blog is a place for all the ideas swirling around my head to take form and have a home. And, being a marketer, I test a lot of things too…different topics, types of posts, etc. some work and some…well, not so much. I’ve also written posts that I wish I hadn’t and some posts that I re-read and think “wow, I wrote that?!” But, at the end of the day the person I compete most heavily against is myself and I don’t see that changing anytime soon…it’s just my nature.
And please know, I recognize that my blog would be nothing without the people who read it, recommend it and talk about it. I have had so many people come up to me at confereneces and say “I love your blog!” And you know what? Each and everytime I feel a mixed bag of emotions…giddiness, embarrassment, pride, thankfulness, honor and humility. I am honored that you take time to read my thoughts, opinions and rants, but it humbles me to know that you do.
While I could never thank everyone the way they deserve to be thanked, know that I am truly grateful that everyone takes time out of their busy lives to read my posts and leave thoughtful comments. What I love most about this experience is that everyone feels comfortable enough to kick off their shoes, share their opinions, get into debates and make this blog as much theirs as mine.
I always hate making lists of people to say thank you too because I fear leaving people out, but there are some folks that I would be remiss without thanking them publicly because they have always been there to support my efforts and they continuously encourage and inspire me.
Liana ‘Li’ Evans – My dear friend who opened up the world to me in so many ways, I am forever grateful.
The Original Plurk Posse – Mack Collier, Connie Reece, Amber Naslund, Sonny Gill, Deb Robison, Kellye Crane, Frank Martin, Andre Natta, Tim Jackson. I am not sure there is enough space here to share my gratitude for all of you and what makes you as individuals so wonderful! You helped me not to trip and fall, you showed me what it means to develop friendships, you shared all of your smarts without asking for anything in return, and… you put up with me!
The Philly Gang – Whitney Hoffman, Gloria Bell, Annie Heckenberger, Cecily Kellogg, Marilyn Moran, Wil Reynolds, Steve Lubetkin, Christine Cavalier, Linda Mills, Melissa Thiessen, Joe Geoghan, Cathy Larkin, Lindsay Lebresco, Leigh Fazzina, Anne Buchanan, Jocelyn Canfield, Rick Alcantara, Brian Branca, and Matt McDonald (even though he deserted us for SC!). It’s been a pleasure to get to know you all and no matter what anyone else says…you’re the real brain trust of Philly!
Thought Provocateurs – Kami Huyse, Shonali Burke, Lauren Vargas, Ann Handley, Narciso Tovar, David Mullen, Lisa Hoffmann, Arik Hanson, Scott Hepburn, Paul Chaney, Gavin Heaton, Adam Cohen, Danny Brown, Shannon Paul, Christina Kerley (CK), Doug Haslam, Steve Woodruff, Gennefer Snowfield, Dave Fleet, Kyle Flaherty, Heather Rast, Greg Verdino, Doug Meacham, Ike Pigott, Gabriel Rossi, Richie Escovedo and many, many more!
Valeria Maltoni – Having known Valeria for nine years, I can tell you that she has always understood the value of conversation! Not to mention that she valued the importance of networking long before social media was even a buzz word. Valeria was one of the first people I followed on Twitter and her words of wisdom to me were “listen and then engage.” Which I, of course, took as, “read and then respond immediately” (might explain my dislike for Twitter back then). Valeria is a true mentor, thought leader, genuine passionate marketer and connector.
Geoff Livingston – I remember when I first reached out to Geoff for copies of Now is Gone to hand out as prizes at the local PRSA like it was yesterday. I was a bit nervous to email him, but Geoff was amazingly graceful and generous to a complete stranger. Thank you again for supporting our local efforts and for becoming a friend!
Jason Falls – The first well-known blogger I had ever publicly debated with about where social media’s home should be either marketing or PR. Well, since PR falls under marketing, I guess I won that debate! [Kidding, couldn't resist.] Jason was great about letting me keep coming back to debate him. What’s best…he never told me I was wrong, even though he might have thought it. I don’t know where I’d be without his smarts and kick-ass sense of humor!
Major apologies if I have left anyone off!
Your Top 10 Picks of the Year
- 25 Signs You’ve Got a Strong SM Consultant or Agency (written with Geoff Livingston)
- Chicago Domino’s Gets Social Media Right!
- Personal Brand Equity: What’s it worth?
- Is social media the same as marketing?
- Personal Branding: Be careful what you wish for
- Who owns your Twitter or Facebook Connections?
- The Four Faces of Social Media
- Social Media Ghostwriting: The Great Marketing/PR Debate
- Top 25 Ways to Tell if Your Social Media Expert Is a Carpetbagger (written with Geoff Livingston)
- The Seven Deadly Sins of Public Relations 2.0 (written by the community via #pr20chat)
I don’t know what the future holds. But having been engaged in social media for five years (before it was called social media and social networking), I’ve witnessed how things trend, move on, break off, and fade away as part of the societal lifecycle. And you know what? If my blog fades away, I am okay with that. It’s just a sign that it’s time to mature, move on and do something different.
Again, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to get to know me, friend me, debate/challenge me, agree/ disagree with me, and share your lives with me. Cheers!
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Are you hearing Carly Simon in your head now? Good. That’s the effect I wanted, although I’ll probably regret it later [when you want to kill me because you can't get the song out of said head]. Maybe I am just taking a note from my friend Narciso Tovar over at Method + Moxie, he always equates his posts to music and a serious point.
I have been mulling this over for a few weeks now and I think it’s just something that has to be said. My blog posts are not about you. Let me clarify, they are about us as collective marketers and the marketing industry…but they aren’t about any one person, company, or situation in particular.
As marketers we have a lot of experiences and interactions with different industries, bosses, co-workers, agencies, customers, etc. and each leaves a lasting impression, especially for analytic types.
Now, think of all those experiences from the point of view of a marketer that also blogs. We look for trends (people are getting bored with Twitter…), we see trends recycling (just like flair bottom jeans & clogs), we learn about and analyze what’s effective and ineffective (Motrin, anyone?), we look for what’s new (oh, hello latest new social tool!), etc., etc., etc.
And, of course, marketers who blog are usually also very socially connected. That means we use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, forums, etc. We go to offline association meetings (like the PRSA, AMA, IABC, SMC, etc.). And we read…a lot! Especially other blogs with viewpoints other than our own, books and magazines.
All of these additional experiences, social interactions, conversations, debates, and reading often spark an idea or thought that leads to an entire post for a marketing blogger.
- Is this post even about me/us?
- Is there any truth to this post?
- Is this post completely untrue?
Essentially ask yourself is the blogger holding a “mirror up to nature?”
For most marketing bloggers, the answer is a resounding “YES!” We are holding up a mirror to our experiences, the profession, and more. If we didn’t, we’d be quite boring!
So the next time you’re reading a post and the thought crosses your mind that it could be about you or your company, think twice, maybe even three times, because most likely it’s not. Marketers, especially those who are passionate about being marketers (you know they type, they eat, sleep, drink, tweet, blog marketing 24/7) are, for the most part, blogging to be reflective, thoughtful, analytic and well, marketers…
Now you can scold me for Carly Simon bouncing around in your head.
[Hat tip to Rachel Reuben for leading me to Nikki's post. Thanks Rachel!]
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This post is for the attendees (and anyone else who stops by) of the March 20, 2009 IABC meeting on Writing for the Web. My portion of the panel discussion is writing for social media. And instead of having boring handouts, I wanted to share the information via a blog post and hopefully get attendees to engage in conversation…because that’s what social media is all about!
Social media is surely the buzz word these days and perhaps you’re ready to tip your toe into the social waters. Before you do…Ask yourself the following:
- Can I comprehensively write in 140-characters?
- Do I know the best practices for blog writing?
- Am I prepared to change how I write news releases?
- Do I know how to write with the unwritten rules of social media in mind?
Twitter and Facebook
On a basic level, Twitter is a microblogging and social networking that allows you to share your daily events (microblogging) and have conversations with other people (social networking) in 140 characters. Facebook, another social networking tool, also lets you connect with people and share ‘what’s on your mind’ in 160 characters. Marketers and communicators tend to be verbose, so how can you chat in 140-characters without sounding like a 14-year? (u know what I mean, kthxbai.)
Shorten your words and say exactly what you mean. Sounds basic, right? But you’d be surprised how hard it can be at first. Writing in 140 characters has really strengthened my writing skills and I have heard the same from other marketers. Also, it’s okay to shorten common words…for example:
- About – abt
- Great – grt
- Good – gd
- Thanks – thx
- And – &
- People – ppl
- Social Media – SM
- Social Networking – socnet
You get the drift…
Best Practices for Blog Writing
Because everyone blogs for their own reasons, styles and mileage will vary. But since we are talking, for the most part, about corporate blogs here are some quick tips:
- Always write your own posts (i.e. don’t outsource to a ghost blogger)
- Don’t use a blog as a vehicle for collateral or news release delivery (that’s what websites are for)
- Use a blog to expand on your news and have conversations around it
- Find and have an authentic voice
- Write about something interesting to your audience
- Use your search engine optimization (SEO) keywords in your copy (but not overtly)
- Always use outbound links to other blogs and sites (just like I did here)
- Ask questions that generate conversation
- Consider having multiple bloggers (Graco’s corporate blog is a great example of this!)
- Write often (1-2 times a week is a good start)
- And don’t forget to have fun
Want to get more information on blog writing? Check out Debbie Weil’s awesome book, The Corporate Blogging Book and be sure to subscribe to her blog too. Another good source to get you started is Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.
Writing a Social News Release
The Social Media News Release (click on the link to see the format) was introduced in 2006 by Todd Defren (the principal of SHIFT Communications). Todd is truly a pioneer because people are just starting to use this format in varying formats. What’s different? The Social Media News Release focuses on less writing and more concise, targeted content. But better yet, it includes information that can be viewed (videos), listened to (podcasts) and shared! Because these days, public relations isn’t just about the media…it’s about putting the ‘public’ back in PR.
If you aren’t quite ready to dive into a Social Media News Release, try an optimized and shareable release that is social without giving up the traditional format. Services like PitchEngine, PRX Builder, PRWeb, Business Wire’s EON, MarketWire, PR Newswire offer the ability to optimize your releases for search and come with the option to make your release shareable (i.e. Digg, del.icio.us, Newsvine, etc.). As well some provide multimedia features that let you add collateral, videos, podcasts, etc.
The Unwritten Rules of Social Media
As a company [or non-profit, agency (government or creative), university, etc.] engaged in social media you’ll find that a community starts to develop. They’ll be the ones to let you know how they want to how they want to be communicated to/with. In other words, there aren’t any hard and fast rules to social media or writing for social media…just guidelines and best practices.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you engage (and write) in social networks:
- Be real
- Be nice
- Be respectful
- Listen then talk
- Give then take
- Try to be consistent
- Apologize when you make a mistake
- Say thank you
- Don’t broadcast (i.e. self promote)
- Don’t stalk
- It’s not a numbers game
- Don’t publicly or privately unfollow/unfriend
Seems like basic etiquette, right? You’d be surprised how often companies [or non-profits, agencies (government or creative), universities, etc.] get off track and then have to deal with fixing their snafus. Try to keep Emily Post in the back of your mind.
What would you add to this information? If there are any questions, don’t be shy and be sure to ask…we’re all here to help!
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Customers and prospects searching the Internet for products, services-and conversation-and the world of marketing has changed forever. Your company, brand and industry are being discussed online… Are you prepared? We know times are tough, but we also know that business owners and marketers/communicators need to get a leg up on competition (whether you are competing for business or that new job). Now is your chance! We have three tickets available…will you be the lucky winner?
The Online Media Boot Camp is April 9th, 2009 in King of Prussia, PA. The three lucky ticket winners will be picked on March 20th!
For more details visit: www.onlinemediabootcamp.com
- Want a chance at winning a free ticket to the Online Media Boot Camp (a value of $349 before 3/16 & $449 after 3/16), you have to be nominated by someone else.
- A person can be nominated in one of four ways: a blog post, a video, on Twitter, via an e-mail sent to OMBC (beth [at] onlinemediabootcamp [dot] com). All four must include: Who you are nominating and why. You must include a link to the Online Media Boot Camp (www.onlinemediabootcamp.com) in your post. If you tweet it, use the #OMBC hashtag.
- If you nominate someone, you can buy a ticket for $349 after 3/16. A savings of $100! (Code: OMBCFTW)
- f you are nominated for OMBC and you want to go to OMBC, you must do one of the following to accept the nomination: a blog post, a video, or send an e-mail to OMBC accepting the nomination (beth [at] onlinemediabootcamp [dot] com).You must state that you will cover all travel costs, that you will attend and why you deserve to win. You must include a link to the Online Media Boot Camp (www.onlinemediabootcamp.com) in your post. If you tweet it, use the #OMBC hashtag.
- All posts, videos and e-mails of those nominated will be posted to the OMBC blog too.
- The three winners will be selected by the OMBC speakers. Criteria includes: creativity, passion, honesty, statement of how online marketing/social media will help you as a business owner or marketer/communicator/etc. and any other items that you think make your case to win a free ticket.
- If you are nominated for a free ticket, but don’t win, you can buy a ticket for $349 after 3/16. A savings of $100! (Code: OMBCFTW)
- If you win a free ticket and have already purchased a ticket, we’ll refund your money. Or, if you are feeling generous, you could give your purchased ticket to a friend…
It’s that simple! Have questions? Contact Online Media Boot Camp on Twitter: @onlinemediabc
Added 3/6: And because people don’t read…here’s a video to make the process a little bit easier to understand. ‘Cause, really, they are pretty straightforward.
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I embrace social media 100% and as a business owner social media has been proven for me. But, I know that a lot of marketing and PR professionals who are now just sticking their toe in the proverbial social media pool have questions; especially around the meaning and implementation of transparency.
As social media evangelists we talk about social media transparency and the importance of being forthright, authentic and honest. We also discuss that it’s about the “who” (people) not the “what” (brand or company), an important part of being transparent when it comes to social media.
That said, recently two incidents have happened that are making me re-think the term transparency.
As a business owner the first one is personal, but I think it’s important to share. In early February my father-in-law passed away and I was offline for over a week. A lot of people were contacting me because it wasn’t the norm and they were worried. When I jumped back online, I finally left a comment on Jason Fall’s blog (Kevin Palmer’s guest post) that I had told Kevin weeks before that I would write. Kevin might not have even notice that I hadn’t commented, but I wanted to keep my word. In commenting I apologize for the delay “due to a family situation.” And in retrospect, that was probably a mistake. Honestly, I didn’t want to be transparent…it was a private family matter, not for public consumption (even though there was a very public obituary). But, in trying to be transparent, I might have ended up seeming non-professional. I should have just said “sorry to be late to the party” the usual comment for tardiness. The thing is, people did know what had happened and offered their condolences online, it wasn’t a secret if people were paying attention to my Twitter stream. I have talked about my family before on Twitter, but this was different for me.
The second incident happened just yesterday. During the ghost writing debate, I was publicly annoyed because I felt that Heather and Mike Whaling were not being transparent in their use of social media (Twitter) while debating me (i.e. meaning that they were tweeting as two representatives from two agencies versus a married couple). I found out after the fact from Mike’s client, Eric Brown, that Heather and Mike were actually married. When I learned that, I just felt that the situation was disingenuous (not that they are disingenuous mind you, there’s a difference and I don’t believe that at all). Mike left a really nice note in which he explained that he didn’t think it was necessary to mix personal with professional. I totally get that, but I stated that in this particular situation I thought it was indeed very important to be transparent. But at the end of the day, it’s Mike’s personal decision to determine the level of transparency that’s best for him, his business and his family, right? Not all of us are on the same page for how much transparency is appropriate.
For a brief moment, let’s think about these situations from a non-social media perspective. Would they have happened in a traditional, offline environment? I bet they would, but would have been handled differently. We understand business conduct and yet we are still trying to work out how social media best works for business when we all have a voice and the desire to be “real.”
Here’s the one way we could potentially look at the spectrum of outbound communications (I am basing these loosely on light transmission definitions since we are talking about transparency):
- Opaque – where most companies lie in the spectrum. One-way conversations (i.e. normal marketing/PR)
- Translucent – Forthright, not revealing all, but still two-way conversations. (Ex: a person can be very professional on Twitter, engaging, but still not discussing his/her personal life)
- Transparency – Crystal clear, real two-way conversations (you know about this person’s personal life, business experience, product/service they market/brand, etc.).
From a business perspective is being translucent okay when it comes to social media? Are we using the word transparency correctly? Do we need to know everything? Do we care or not care to know everything? Do you want to feel like you have a transparent relationship with a brand/company? What happens when transparency goes wrong? What works?
Lots of questions here…