GR8time2IMPosted by on June 23, 2006 at 10:43 AM
If I could do without email, I would. Really. I’d love to ditch Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, Google Mail and all my other email accounts and instant message my day away.
Yesterday, I was out of the office, checking email messages on my Treo. One series of emails eventually became a conversation that took place across two different email platforms. A conversation that could have taken place in 60 seconds took three hours.
Contrast that with an IM conversation I had with a friend who was in the stands in Kaiserslautern, Germany, watching the U.S.-Italy match. We conversed real-time about the game as he sat behind the Italian goal and I sat on the sofa and watched the match.
We are missing a huge opportunity to incorporate IM into our work lives. Imagine my first scenario done through IM. Instead of waiting for a document to clear my client’s server, clear our server and make it to my inbox, my client could have sent me an IM with the file attached, totally secure, but without the wait or the hassle of wrestling with Outlook or Yahoo! Mail.
Through an IM interface, you can webcast, conduct Internet phone calls, attach files (documents, video, audio, etc.) – and do it all through multiple devices. And if you’re still anchored to email, hop onto Google’s GMail where email and IM are integrated.
IM isn’t a complete replacement for email – archiving, sorting and searching messages remains clunky. But now is a good time to get the hang of it, if only to communicate with your kids.
Storytelling 2.0Posted by on June 21, 2006 at 2:45 PM
Students of journalism have a healthy disdain for the “ad hole,” the place where news stories go to die but where ads live in order to pay the journalists. If you haven’t noticed, the hole is getting smaller, but it’s not causing the edit staff to jump for joy: shrinking hole, less revenue, less money to pay reporters, fewer reporters. It’s enough to make a guy go into PR.
So when the Washington Post leads a story with this: “The news industry, congenitally nervous about its future, looks at the Web this spring and sees cause for panic,” you can imagine news rooms around the country crouching in a collective “Shhh!”
We’ve talked about the potential demise of newspapers – and other news media for that matter – but since that time, we’ve shifted our focus to the news itself. The same WaPo article also says “News consumption has fractured and fragmented in the United States over the past 30 years, but the demand for news is strong.” It’s that last independent clause, “…the demand for news is strong,” that should fuel faith in the institution of news gathering and reporting – and consumption.
The idea of a news gathering-reporting-consumption marketplace thriving in a channel-neutral environment will provide the smartest media ample opportunity to generate revenue through multiple streams. WaPo and The New York Times are examples of ancient media learning new tricks.
At some point in the next five to 10 years, the shakeout started with the Knight-Ridder breakup will have scoured the news landscape and left those media who can’t figure out the revenue models (mid-market dailies, radio, struggling cable outfits?) bereft.
The good news for the PR industry is, as WaPo points out, the strong demand for news. It will have to be told, and there will be tellers. And as long as there are tellers, there will be the PR industry. We just need to be a step ahead of the media – and our clients – by coming up with strategic solutions that use more than media relations if the strategy allows for that.
Ad spending on word of mouth "infinitesimally small" and that's BIG!Posted by Bob Brin on June 20, 2006 at 4:59 PM
BtoB Mag's June 12 issue led off with an article on word-of-mouth in which PQ Media says ad spending on blogs, podcasts and and RSS will reach $49.8 million in 2006. eMarketer pipes in, saying that's "an infinitesimally small number compared to online marketing."
Isn't that the point? Aside from the rather lost-looking ads that now grace some blogs, WOM or CGM is not an ad buy. Sure, strategy and creative may come from ad agencies, but we all know that's a tiny part of an ad budget, compared to the media buy. What these guys may be saying is "Holy (rate) sheet, where's the space?"
Not that PR folks should feel too smug, as we try to figure out how to pitch a story to a blogger.
Yes, traditional marketers aren't spending much on the word-of-mouth . . . yet. But tracking it as a portion of the "total advertising spending" is like measuring hybrid cars based on their contribution to the oil industry.
No CEO Music Videos, Please...Posted by Matt Kucharski on June 20, 2006 at 4:54 PM
In high-tech, National Semiconductor is one of those "behind the scenes" companies that nobody has heard of, but everyone is exposed to (their products are inside just about every electronic device around). The company moved to center stage in the Social Media world, though, with its announcement that it has bought every one of its 8,500 employees a 30GB video iPod
Obviously National executives want these to be used for sharing employee information, training, etc., but it'll be interesting to see if they'll be at peace if only half of the employees use them for their intended purpose. Hey, given the pitiful readership levels of most employee newsletters, 50 percent use rates would be a coup! Let's hope that executives have the patience to let this innovative initiative percolate a little bit. It could have some pretty big implications for employee communications...
The Best Publicity Money Can't Buy...Posted by Matt Kucharski on June 20, 2006 at 4:30 PM
It's pretty common for public relations pros to dream up stunts that generate media attention, but sometimes you've just gotta let the daisies bloom, as is the case in this video that's been circulating around our offices http://eepybird.com/.
All similiarities to the fountains outside the Bellagio in Las Vegas are purely intentional.
Selling a blind horsePosted by on June 13, 2006 at 10:54 AM
I have soooo tried to resist commenting on Ann Coulter since her ignominious interview with Matt Lauer on “Today” last week. Seems everyone else has commented, and each time someone writes about her, the legend grows, so why bother?
Because she’s good at what she does. Disclaimer: I’m no fan of anything Ann-ish. But if her goal is to sell a half million books, she’s well on her way. That, my friends, is success.
She’ll sell books to the like-minded, the unlike-minded (who would read the book as if they were looking at a traffic accident) and everyone in-between who wants to find out what the hubbub is all about.
She’ll go on the “Tonight” show tomorrow evening and rev it all up again by shaking her finger and her blond mane at us, and then she’ll get in an argument with fellow guest George Carlin. Then on Thursday morning, you can bet the “Today” show will show clips, the discourse will hit the blog world with fury and there will be wire stories about the battle. The well-planned battle. Designed to sell a lot of books. A lot.
There’s an old German proverb that goes something like this: a person selling a blind horse will always praise its feet. It’s like that with Coulter and any of her ilk. I’ve read plenty that gave us the old “any PR is good PR” line. I’m not a believer in that (remember General Motors and the make-your-own Tahoe commercials?). And to call what she’s doing “any” PR or even bad PR is to miss the point. She doesn’t care about those who denounce her, though some will buy her book. No. She’s speaking right at people who think like her. She’s targeted an audience with a specific message.
In that light, this is “good” PR. It’s also dangerous. So be smart out there, kids. Good PR isn’t always good for you.
A Little Communications Math...Posted by Matt Kucharski on June 10, 2006 at 9:38 PM
Okay, people in our field are notoriously bad at math. I’m sure there are a couple of you out there who live for a Sudoko puzzle, but suffice it to say most of us would rather turn to the crossword instead. That said, here are two pieces of math that every communications professional should have handy:
Equation 1: Advertising is neither <, > or = to PR.
They’re different disciplines in the same field. Advertising is the strategic purchase of space (and I mean any kind of space) in order to place strategic messages designed to persuade or sell. Public Relations is the planned effort to use action and communication to build relationships with people important to your success. Are they related? Absolutely. Are the substitutes for each other? Absolutely not.
Equation 2: V = N squared.
Huh? This one’s a little less obvious, but those of you who are networking geeks will recognize it as Metcalf’s law. Bob Metcalf was the guy who invented Ethernet (think of that cable running into your laptop that’s connecting you to the Net). According to Metcalf’s law, the value of a network is equal to the square of the number of nodes on that network. A single fax machine (you remember those, right?) is useless. Two fax machines have value. Three fax machines form the basis of a network. The same holds true in human networking – a relationship among two people is great. A relationship among three is better. A relationship among thirty people is powerful. So, you ought to be thinking about continuously looking to add nodes to your personal and professional networks. Doing so increases your value and your marketplace competitiveness.
Enough math for now. Back to my crossword puzzle…
What's Your Personal Elevator Story?Posted by Matt Kucharski on June 10, 2006 at 9:30 PM
There’s no better place to practice your personal, professional and company elevator story than on a plane waiting for takeoff. As one of the world’s worst networkers (I really have to work at it!), here’s how I used to do it:
Me: Do you travel to Dallas often?
…and on and on.
Sound familiar? This seems to be the way that most people on planes carry on conversations – forgetting that there’s a very good possibility that the person next to you could be a future client, partner, employer, employee or connection for really great concert tickets (yes, it’s happened.). Some of our very best clients came as a result of “airplane conversations” that went something like this…
Me: Do you travel to Dallas often?
… and we went on to chat for the next 15 minutes about the people we knew, the challenges facing his business, and the ways in which companies like my client could help make life easier. Now compare the first conversation to the second. By giving a slightly longer answer – one that gave my seatmate a little bit of insight into my job and my company, he also had a cue to open up a bit. We had a conversation that was meaningful, helpful to both of us, and ultimately was a lot less painful than the verbal pingpong I used to do.
Lesson – have your personal, professional and company elevator story at the ready, and be prepared to link them together. Networking will be a lot less intimidating and a lot more productive.