Category Archives: socialmedia

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)

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.

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)

81: Making connections in Columbus

David recently visited Columbus, Ohio and met with several entrepreneurs and IT managers and came away pleasantly surprised. One of the movers and shakers there was Ben Blanquera. By day he is an app dev manager for a healthcare firm, and his alter ego has him involved in a series of social networking, meetups, and startups that involve connecting geeks from the area together in such forms as Ignite Columbus, and Columbus Tech Life. In this week’s podcast, Paul and David talk to Ben and find out how he managed to pull this off with no money and lots of volunteers, including organizing a conference at the last minute to bring into town some very famous computer industry mavens.

Download and listen to the podcast here.

76: Spread the Viral Love

This week, our hosts talk about viral marketing and questionable PR practices. Paul’s new book, Secrets of Social Media Marketing, shipped from the printer this week. More than 20 reviews have already appeared on blogs, Twitter and the reviews section of the book site. The reason? Publisher Quill Driver Books distributed nearly 5,500 copies in print and PDF form in the two months prior to its release. Remarkably, most of the awareness spread by word of mouth. Paul notes that only 250 people registered for the free PDF, yet more than 5,200 copies were actually downloaded, a ratio of nearly 21:1. Was it a smart idea to give away a book that costs $11 in print? The jury is still out, but Secrets has been as high as 8,000 on Amazon before its actual release, indicating that awareness is high.

David has been writing for The New York Times, among other outlets. He tells the story of a Dutch auto company that ignored his repeated requests for an interview. Why a small company would turn down an opportunity to be featured in one of the world’s most important newspapers befuddles him. Paul has had similar experiences recently. Has traditional media lost that much luster? Paul and David doubt it. They think the level of PR professionalism is sinking.

Stick around for outtakes at the end of this program.

Download the podcast (19:10)

74: Corporate Bloggers See No Evil

Paul did an informal audit of 15 corporate blogs this week and discovered that the financial crisis that has fixated the nation is blissfully absent from their coverage. Just two of the blogs even mentioned the turmoil on Wall Street, and only one of those blogs was in the US. Paul and David wonder why, four years into the business blogging revolution, so few corporations are willing to speak honestly to their constituents. They see an opportunity lost.

Download the podcast (13:39)

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)

71: Mr. LinkedIn

Who says you can’t reinvent yourself after 20 years in the business? Not Chuck Hester. A veteran of technology public relations going back to the days of print, Hester has become a disciple of the business networking service LinkedIn. He uses LinkedIn to organize meetings and group dinners during his frequent travels and to maintain a list of hundreds of business contacts. When he wants to meet someone, he often starts with LinkedIn Answers or a query to his network. The strategy has drawn media attention and made Hester a master connector in tech media. And that’s paying off for his employer, e-mail service firm iContact. Chuck Hester shares some secrets of effective LinkedIn use in this interview.

Download the podcast (15:00)

70: Social secrets of David Nour

This week Paul and David talk to David Nour from Atlanta. He is a champion of using social networks for business purposes, both in terms of using the tools to extend his own networks and also to enhance the connections within corporate types.

David met David at the annual National Speakers Association conference last month and learned a lot of great tips in how to get the most out of LinkedIn and Facebook. He spends about an hour daily updating his profiles and connecting with his networks, and in the process has been able to consult to some of the world’s largest corporations. He says you need to understand what you are trying to accomplish at the outset, and also that these are early versions of the services and have limited functionality (LinkedIn’s Groups is a prime example of that). To be a great social networker, you need both producers and consumers to be active on each network.

He is also a prolific speaker, executive coach and the author of a new book called Relationship Economics: the art and science of social networks that will be out in stores in a few weeks. 

You can download and listen to the podcast here


66: How to Connect With CIOs

Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg

Do CIOs use the Internet?  Perhaps not the same way mere mortals do, but IT executives have intense information needs of demand a unique focus in perspective.  As managing editor of CIO.com, the online wing of the venerable technology magazine, Michael Goldberg is charged with keeping close to the needs of this highly coveted audience.

Don’t approach Michael with technology pitches.  His audience is focused on solving business problems, and there areas of concern go far beyond the newest iPhone.  Successful PR professionals should define their pitches around a solid business context, with customer citations a plus.

And in the true Web 2.0 spirit, CIO.com is now enabling conversations. Its new new Advice & Opinion section enables experts to contribute their wisdom directly, without having to go through a pitch-and-submit process.

Here are Michael’s guidelines for submitting to Advice & Opinion:

We encourage experts to post their pieces directly at CIO.com’s Advice & Opinion section. Simply register at advice.cio.com and post your piece to our website. We strongly encourage you to register under your name.
Our online community for IT leaders is most interested in best practices and problem-solving information for their work, so please join the conversation. Also please know that we reserve the right to delete pieces
that read like sales and marketing materials. At our discretion, we may also take the best submissions and promote them in our newsletters and/or on the home page of our site.

Here’s a quick rundown.

  • Go to cio.com.
  • Click on Advice and Opinion section.
  • Read the articles we have there by staff and contributors.
  • Consider what you want to write. Does it add something to ongoing discussions about something important in IT, management, leadership, careers, technology implementations, value, business. What value do theyadd to the ongoing conversation and why
  • Write your article. Make the outline clear, stick to the specific points you want to make. Take out sales and marketing language –we delete such pieces.
  • Register at cio.com. Please use your real name to add credibility to your post.
  • Post your article. Include the author’s company affiliation at the top.
  • See who comments.
  • Repeat later.

Below are some recent examples of submitted content:

Data Leakage: How to Avoid Security Risks When Sending Large Files

http://advice.cio.com/yorgen/data_leakage_how_to_avoid_security_risks_when_sending_large_files

Zero Contact Resolution: A Proactive Approach to Improving the Customer Experience

http://advice.cio.com/steve_daines/zero_contact_resolution_a_proactive_approach_to_improving_the_customer_experience

Download the podcast (14:47)