Category Archives: interview

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)

86: Building on the Groundswell

josh_bernoffForrester Research Analyst Josh Bernoff co-authored the number one Internet marketing book of 2008: Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies. The book he co-wrote with former Forrester analyst Charlene Li broke new ground by applying innovative principles of audience segmentation and measurement to social media marketing campaigns and by relating a litany of real-world case studies.

Since the book came out, Forrester has been at the center of controversial research that indicates that corporate blogs are missing the mark by failing to communicate with customers in meaningful new ways. Businesses are still casting about to find a means of engagement that works for them and blogs just aren’t doing the job at the moment.

Bernoff believes that corporations will find the right tools, but the bigger goal should be to humanize interactions between them and their constituents. In his frequent writings on the Groundswell blog, he argues passionately that years of cost-cutting and automation have robbed many businesses of their personality. Now they have the means to become genuine, but too many companies simply use new media to force the same old message down the pipe. No wonder Forrester Research has recently shown a corporate blogs have less credibility than advertisements. In this interview, he talks about how social media continues to shake up the status quo.

Download the podcast here (19:14)

85: The Voice of the Customer

pete_blackshawPeter Blackshaw has led the charge in consumer generated media.  A cofounder of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the consumer advocacy website planetfeedback, Blackshaw is also a prolific writer who is contributes regularly to Ad Age, ClickZ and several blogs.  He’s also the author of a new book, Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3000, in which he documents the multiplier effect of word-of-mouth communications.

And that’s in his spare time.  Blackshaw is better known to many people is the executive vice president of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services, a group that helps companies develop online strategies.  Branding in the age of conversation is nothing like it was in the days of one-way communications, he says.  Today, brands are developed cooperatively in discussions with customers whose feedback needs to be seriously considered and incorporated into a company’s message.  He talks with David and Paul about some of the more common mistakes marketers make and also who’s getting it right.

Download the podcast here  (20:39)

82: The Joy of Search

halliganIn the arcane world of search engine optimization, HubSpot of Cambridge, Mass. has made a name for itself by simplifying and automating the process. HubSpotCEO Brian Halligan knows a lot about how search engines work and how businesses can optimize their Web presence for search results. He calls it “inbound marketing.” Forget about playing games, Halligan says; it’s all about delivering quality content. HubSpot offers some free utilities — Website Grader, Twitter Grader and Press Release Grader – that can help. These services assess your site’s search performance and suggest ways to improve it. HubSpot also offers a suite of low-cost, do-it-yourself tools that marketers can use themselves, without paying for SEO consultants. In this interview, Halligan offers some tips for optimizing search performance.

Listen to the podcast (19:12) (Right click and save to download)

78: The Corporate Blogger

krista-gleason-kodak

Krista Gleason

Eastman Kodak Company has been transforming itself from a maker of film-based products into a comprehensive maker of imaging products and services. With a growing line of digital photography, output and online services, the company has been trying to remake its image through multiple channels, including social media.

Kodak maintains blogs devoted to products, photography and the business of graphic communications. It’s also active on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other direct-to-the-customer channels. The social media conversations are based on contributions from some 70 corporate bloggers, who provide a constant stream of information about the company, its markets and its customers. Krista Gleason joined the company a year ago after a career in government and she is learning to apply blogging to the company’s public relations efforts. In this interview, she talks about how Kodak manages multiple blogs, chooses people to represent it online and the remarkable freedom it provides its staff bloggers to write about what they choose.

Listen to the podcast (11:30) Right-click and save to download

73: A Naked Conversation

Shel Israel

Shel Israel

When Paul and David were reporters working for major tech publications, they used to occasionally get pitches from a PR guy named Shel Israel. Israel’s been around the business a long time and knows the ins and outs of pitching reporters. He also understood very early that the rules were changing and that power and influence were moving into the hands of individuals.

In early 2006, Israel teamed up with superblogger Robert Scoble to publish Naked Conversations, the first book to dramatize the increasingly powerful effects that bloggers were having on markets. The book’s success catapulted Israel into the category of industry thought leader. Suddenly, people like David and Paul were calling up asking to interview him!

Which is precisely what they did for this episode. In an interview set up via the great democratizing agent called Twitter, our hosts spent a half hour with Shel Israel talking about the continuing evolution of markets into conversations. In a session that really is more conversation than interview, Israel spoke about the impact that Naked Conversations has had on his career, but more importantly about the changes that social media are engendering in the public relations field. It’s not a matter of if PR pros should engage with online influencers, he said, it’s a matter of how quickly they can rush to learn the new rules.

Shel Israel is brash, funny and very opinionated. This half-hour clip should give you an indication of why he’s become such a prominent voice in new media.

Download the podcast (30:58)

72: Introducing Web Informant.tv

This week, in an act of shameless self-promotion, Paul interviews David about his latest venture called Web Informant.tv, a series of sponsored screencast product reviews using the Camtasia authoring tool. David talks about how he came to create these videos and why they are useful, what the intended audience is for watching them, and the issues surrounding creating Web-based videos. (And don’t worry: we will be plugging Paul’s new book when it comes out!)

You can listen to the podcast here.