If You Write it, Will They Come?

Happy to share my first post on the Lightbox Collaborative blog.

This post picks up where all the posts extolling the virtues of storytelling end. As communicators, we can sometimes become so enamored by what we are writing and the stories we are telling, that we believe people will naturally want to read it. Sadly, our audiences have other things to do and are bombarded with so much information on a daily basis, that finding our stories can be like finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.

That’s why content marketing is so important. We can’t assume our audiences will come to our content we need to find ways to take it to them.

Check out the full article on the  Lightbox Collaborative blog.

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Syndicating Content

I recently had the pleasure of writing Sharing Your Content Through Syndication with my friend and mentor, Diane Lofgren. It was published on PR News earlier this month.

In the process, we had a great conversation with Tomas Kellner from GE Reports. It was fascinating to learn more about the brand journalism strategy at GE and I appreciated the simplicity of his guidance: “I find and report many of the great stories that are inside the company and that really deserve to be told to a wide audience in our online magazine, and then syndicate the stories via Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and even SnapChat.”

 

Check out the full article: Sharing Your Content Through Syndication  on PR News.

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Content Marketing: More than a Buzzword

Content marketing has become a popular buzzword. While it may seem like a new and trendy concept, in reality, the practice of content marketing is the application of traditional communications and storytelling strategies.

The Content Marketing Institute defines it as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Technology and the proliferation of digital media options are changing the way people consume information. Opportunities for communicators to tell stories about the brands they represent abound. The effective application of content marketing techniques can improve search results, word of mouth, and earned media placements.

BLOG digital media

Put Your Device Away, Already

Let me preface this by saying I love my mobile devices. On an average day, I carry four — a personal tablet and iPhone and a work tablet and iPhone. Even on vacation, I’m carrying two and staying highly connected to friends and family via text messages, email and social media.

Yet, despite my appreciation for devices, I recognize there are times where they are just inappropriate and downright rude to be using them.

The other night we attended a Flamenco performance in a small venue in Madrid called Casa Patas. Throughout the venue “no camera” signs were posted, but throughout the performance in a darkened room, many smartphone screens lit up to take pictures and even record video of the performers. At certain times I noticed at least five active screens within my line of sight. Do people not realize that when you hold a brightly lit up screen in a dark room that everyone behind them sees it?

As if that wasn’t annoying enough, the couple next to us spent most of the performance texting others to make plans for after the performance. They would receive a text, chat about how to respond and then text back, continuing the cycle. All while the performance was going on.

Then there are museums. On this I feel somewhat conflicted. On the negative side, I saw people wandering through museums just recording mindlessly their route through galleries (and I’d do my best to avoid their camera line).

Then I saw someone holding his iPhone up to a painting. Initially I rolled my eyes and then I realized he was zoning into one specific element of the painting, presumably using the device to enable him to better study a technique. Essentially the digital age version of students sketching these pieces.

There is certainly something to be said for the belief that focusing on recording every activity prevents you from appreciating them in moment. Yet, that’s ultimately a personal choice. If that choice interferes with someone else’s experience, doesn’t that cross a line?

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Beware of “Experts” and “Gurus”

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the rising importance of digital media in the last few weeks.

What used to be something I took an interest in during my spare time is now a central part of my job, day-in and day-out. In truth, new media is not particularly “new,” but it has evolved quickly in recent years. Fortunately, I’m comfortable with technology and have been able to learn new technologies and be an early adopter, as appropriate, for my clients/employers.

I’m very proud to say that I took my first (and only) HTML class in 1994, developed my first client website in 1998 and started this blog in 2004. I even met my son’s father on a listserv in 1997 — long before online dating was trendy! Digital and social technologies became a part of both my personal and work life when the domain was reserved for self-proclaimed geeks. Today, digital technologies are more than mainstream, they are a way of life. There are endless platforms available for promoting brands and engaging audience. As a result, virtually everyone in the PR, communications, marketing and advertising industry seems to be in catch-up mode, clamoring to prove their expertise in the space.

Earlier this month at the PR News Digital PR Summit, I had the good fortune of presenting on a panel about Creating a Digital Dream Team (scroll through PR News TV at PR News Online for an interview by me on the subject). During Q&A, I was asked what kind of expertise I look for when I am hiring someone for a digital media role. My answer was direct and, to my entertainment, widely Tweeted: “I’d be skeptical of people who bill themselves as ‘gurus’ or ‘experts’ in #SM. We’re all making it up as we go.”

Ultimately, expertise in the digital space is not about knowing the trendy new platforms nor even about successfully executing one or two campaigns. When I evaluate whether people can be successful in the digital space, I want to know they will begin with a clear strategy (what are we trying to accomplish?) and are willing to invest the time to develop meaningful relationships with the audiences they are trying to engage. I want to know that they will fully integrate digital and social strategies into their overall plans, not see digital or social platforms as separate programs. The ability to understand the value of integration is what matters most to me.

Diving deeper into the subject of integration, I recently published “Integrating Social Media into PR Plans: What You Need to Know” in the PRSA Strategist.

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