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)