23 April 2009

Blogging Air Force Style

I recently contributed a post to The Page Wonders blog called "5 Things You Need to Know About Social Media Marketing and PR," which discusses the "underbelly" of social media and offers some humble tips for how to prepare yourself (and your company) for stepping into social media.

One point I make is that using social media for PR and marketing can easily take 2.5x the time a traditional PR campaign would along. If you're wondering how social media can possibly be so time-consuming, take a glance at the diagram at the left (thank you to Jerry Owyang for publicly posting this). This elegant flowchart outlines how the Air Force conducts blog monitoring and response (one of the social media programs we also run at Page One PR on behalf of many clients).

Case in point, just as you might monitor print and online news publications for coverage of your business or organization, when you delve into the realm of blogs and blog comments, the gloves come off. Not only do you have to determine whether to respond, but you have to determine how and consider the consequences.

Lisa Hoover at Computerworld wrote about "The newcomer's guide to social networking" today and also discussed the various intricacies that come along with social media for business. One of her takeaways: not every business needs to use social networking tools to communicate and/or promote itself effectively. I don't know that I agree with this, but I think it is less about the tools you use and more about whether you want to conduct business transparently or not.

One thing I will say - social media requires a lot of content. When I say this, I mean both producing and digesting content. Of course, you don't have to monitor social media channels to see what others out there are saying about you, your industry or other things that will pertain to your business. But then, why invest time in social media if you're not going to at least dedicate some time and resources to being social?

02 April 2009

The Summer (or Spring) of Link Love

Ahhh, I haven't blogged in a while! Shame on me, but I promise, I've been off learning some really great things. What, you ask? Well, for one, I now know how to snowboard. I've been twice already and will venture up to Tahoe for a day this weekend. Hopefully I'll come back fully about to carve.

And, while the other stuff I've been learning has been mostly for work, it's really mind-blowing overall. I'm talking about the huge mount of link love going on around me. It's like the summer of love, but for links and it's actually spring.

Despite the corny joke, I'm serious. When I started out in PR, I was a little skeptical about online news articles. At least, with regards to valuing any placed for clients. After all, isn't a tangible article in print much more legit?

I now know the answer: no. It's not more legit, it's more antiquated. Everything is online - that's where people get there information and the trends will only increase. But, along with the death of the print media industry comes new ways to consume and share information and, along with that, comes new ways to think about PR, marketing and sales.

You might think I'm stating the obvious here and, if so, fine, I am. What I'm really trying to get at is that in shifting focus to publicizing a company online, you have to value your website. Not in the way where you try to make it spiffy and attractive, but in a way where you focus on driving traffic to it. If you don't, then you're wasting money designing your website. As I've gotten more looped into various social media campaigns, it's become apparent that beyond wanting to have more followers on Twitter, more fans on Facebook and more corporate mentions in the blogosphere, it's increasingly important to drive and measure traffic back to your website. If you're not doing this, then you're not on the right path.

Yes, it is still good to shoot for getting into what you might have normally considered a "tier one" publication, but at least consider looking at your Google Analytics to see what impact that publicity has on your website. If not much, maybe consider taking your news elsewhere, or at least putting some resources into finding and influencing other outlets.

Okay - that's my tirade for now. My excuse for not blogging is learning about how to turn interesting and useful information into content and how to distribute that content across the Web in a way that will increase a company's public relations awareness and drive people back to their website, or rather, their sales funnel. The economy will no doubt speed up the pace at which more people learn the lessons I'm in the midst of learning, but what I can say for now is that this is very strategic and exciting and I look forward to learning more!