93: The Travelin’ Mama

Shannon Hurst Lane and three other professional travel writers were chatting at a conference early last year when they hit upon an idea. They were all moms with copious travel experience. Why not start a blog to advise families on destinations that are right for parents with kids? But this wouldn’t be your usual Mickey and Minnie family travel site. The Traveling Mamas, as they chose to call themselves, would also deal with real-world adult issues like where to get an alcoholic drink in the Magic Kingdom and how to take your kids to Las Vegas.

The Traveling Mamas site features a wonderfully homespun and playful voice layered onto the sage experience of people who know how to travel. Fifteen months after launch, it’s getting 50,000 visitors a month and a bouquet of awards, citations and recommendations from media outlets and other bloggers. The four mamas post prodigiously and their audience is  coveted by destination marketers, who compete to get their attention. It’s all rather overwhelming and unexpected.

Shannon is Cajun Mama. She joins us midway through a trip in the Georgia wilderness. In 93 programs, this is the first time David and Paul have ever interviewed someone under these circumstances. Listen to find out more.

Also listen to find out about the nearly disastrous bicycling accident David suffered last week. He’s okay, but instead of sending flowers, he’d like listeners to support his ride for the National MS Society.

Listen to the podcast (17:01) (right click and choose “Save As…” to download)

92 – Visionary Educator

hanson_hoseinHanson Hosein was a successful television news producer who traveled the world and won an Emmy award working for NBC News before realizing a decade ago that the media world was about to change dramatically.  He ditched the world of “big-box” media and set out with a handheld video camera to learn about the emerging world of citizen journalism.  His travels resulted in, among other things, Independent America, a video documentary of a trip through America’s back roads and mom-and-pop businesses.  Today he heads the masters of communication program at the University of Washington, where his innovative curriculum has created conversation and controversy for its rejection of traditional media models.

Hosein believes that in the future media will be atomized and spread among millions of special interest “reporters,” few of whom will call themselves journalists.  This will ultimately be a superior model, but the process of breaking down old institutions and constructing new ones won’t be pretty.  In this interview, he addresses the question of whether journalism is dying and how aggregation may become the journalist’s most important role in the new democratized media.

Listen to the podcast (21:00) (right click and save to download)

91: Whom Shall We Trust?

Is the disintegration of mainstream media also the death of trust?  Paul recently spoke to a group of university professors of communications who were decidedly pessimistic about the changes going on in the media landscape.  These scholars fretted that the ongoing loss of jobs and potential collapse of some major media institutions will take down with it the confidence that citizens have traditionally had in media sources.

Their concerns are certainly valid, but our commentators agree that new sources of trusted information will invariably emerge.  The problem is that we are currently in an uncomfortable netherworld between the decline of the old and the birth of the new.

Listen to the podcast (16:18) (right click and save to download)

90: Dealing with multiple notification pathways

This week David and Paul talk about how we deal with having mutliple notification mechanisms. In our professional lifetimes  we have seen the rise and now fall of having universal email access to our contacts — now we have IM, Twitter, texting, and even the phone to juggle. Part of the problem is that email is notoriously poor at sending large files (and woe become anyone who sends large files to us without asking prior permission).  The two discuss their own personal communications differences, what PR people have to do to get the word out to the media, and what makes sense for each medium. 

You can download and listen to the podcast here.

90: E-mail Overload Of a Different Kind

E-mail, instant messaging, Twitter, Facebook, what’s a marketer to do?  Today there are more ways to connect to influencers than ever before, but not everyone has the same preferences and not every tool is right for every situation.  In this podcast, David and Paul look at the profusion of messaging options that are available to marketers as they try to engage with the media and they try to sort out the pros and cons of each.  Paul also has some kind words for Yuuguu, a screen sharing service that recently bailed him out of a problematic client meeting.

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89: The generational media divide

There is a growing divide in how we consume media, and it is mostly age-related. But it isn’t as simple as everyone older is using this technology and younger is using that technology – there are a lot more subtle sub-groups. In this episode, Paul and David talk about ways that media professionals have to target and segment their approaches and how to avoid some common mistakes in pitching to the press using multiple communications pathways.

You can download the podcast here.

88: The Playmaker

alan_kellyAlan Kelly is a career public relations entrepreneur who’s taken a different approach to framing PR strategy. The system he’s created, called The Playmaker’s Standard, categorizes the common market “plays” that companies make into 25 types. They’re “the most basic tools and the building blocks of the discipline of playmaking,” says the company’s website. For example, the “Bear Hug” strategy is “the conspicuously public support or embrace of an opponent’s position or message,” perhaps with the objective of smothering the competitor. The “Preempt” strategy is a sudden reversal of competitive position, usually intended to surprise and disable the competition.

playmakers_tableKelly has both watched and orchestrated these plays throughout his 25-year career in public relations. As a strategist for Oracle  in the late 1990s, he helped that company create an anti–PC message in a bid to position itself as a leading rival to Microsoft. The strategy successfully attracted huge attention.

In 2006, Kelly founded The Playmaker’s Standard, a Washington D.C.-based management consulting and software services firm that helps businesses understand and implement playmaking strategies. The company developed The Playmaker’s Table, a grid similar to the periodic table of the elements that provides a graphical representation of a business’s strategic options and advice on how to counter competitive moves. A clip of one of some of the 25 strategies the firm has identified is at right. Kelly also authored The Elements of Influence, a book that describes the Playmaker’s Standard.

In this interview, Alan Kelly describes the thinking behind The Playmaker’s Standard and offers examples of how it is used in the worlds of business and politics every day. He notes that the strategies are just as applicable to collaborating and managing reputations as they are to competing for market share.

Be sure to check out his Plays of the Day, which analyze current events in the context of the Playmaker’s framework. It’s at www.plays2run.com and on Twitter @playmakeralan.

Download the podcast (19:52)