Fresh Ideas from BurrellesLuce
What will be the next big “game changer” for communicators? And, how do we use it and interact with it correctly? These a few other questions were on the minds of the attendees to the first xPotomac conference on February 25.
Several presenters discussed Google and the newly announced Google Glass, and how the innovation will allow users to get their heads up. Keynote Vanessa Fox, CEO Nine by Blue, started the discussion with our habit of using Google, and how hard habits are to break. Geoff Livingston, author, marketer and xPotomac founder, along with Patrick Ashamalla, founder, A Brand New Way, said we are getting better at our Google habit. They noted one trick for Google Plus is to put your head-up to engage it. But, it will need to get smarter and begin to understand context to be truly useful. The more things are digitized, the less we are thinking. Display ads will be problematic, and the current model will need to change, especially as voice search expands.
There’s a flaw in our logic in asking Google the best way to drive traffic, because they say, “use Google.” What if Google is not the answer? Ken Yarmosh, CEO, Savvy Apps, says this came out of asking about using Bloggr vs other sites, and agrees attention + influence is what’s next . He believes the looking at other traffic over the speed of indexing is more important.
Dino Dogan, founder, Triberr, believes the next big problem is the getting distribution power away from the big media outlets like the Huffington Post. There is a movement to take back the conversation. What’s next? Dogan says it is attention + influence. He says the ground swell of peer to peer influence is taking hold. He says the noise is not coming from us; it’s coming from the big media companies.
Moving into the visual revolution, Jenifer Consalvo, co-founder and COO, TechCocktail, discussed the use of the new Twitter video service, Vine, and how many companies are actually showing some restraint and waiting for a strategy before using it. She encouraged us to look at the many how-to videos available and think of new ways to use the service. But, she reminded us to have a consistent message across all platforms. Visuals, in general, gain more engagement. Imagery is one of the biggest drivers of numbers for many platforms.
What do you think is the next big think in digital? Are you using any new technologies you can share with the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers?
Every day, my Google Reader is chock full of “how to” and “must do” articles especially when it comes to social media. We read about how important it is to “engage with our audiences.” We hear that we must be “in the conversation.” We’re told that our brand will die if we don’t have a Facebook page – just kidding, but you get the idea.
I’d like to take a step back—back to the basics. I believe many of us got onto social media sites because we thought that was the thing to do. While that may be somewhat true, some may need to re-think why they are there; and, surprisingly (to those of us in the biz), there are a whole lot of businesses and organizations that are just now getting into social media. So, let’s talk about what you should do before making that leap (or if you want to re-evaluate why you’re there).
One thing it seems a lot of folks miss is that before you start posting, purporting, and professing in social media, you should stop, look, and listen. Just like we were taught as kids before crossing the road. Here is a partial list of things to look and listen for:
Track your competitors.
- Who is saying what?
- What platform(s) are most popular in these exchanges?
Observe industry issues/trends.
- What is being talked about?
- Where are they talking
Monitor your own company/organization/issues
- Who’s talking? Are these people in my target audience or are they influencers of you target audience?
- What are they saying?
- Where are most of the conversations happening?
- When are these dialogues taking place?
- What does your company want to achieve in social media?
Once you have the answers to these questions, then you can make an educated decision about whether you need to simply have a passive presence or need to be actively involved and on what platforms. In this way, you are able to create a plan of action and decide how to best allocate resources.
As Seth Godin says, “It’s a process, not an event.” Social media is not something you should just jump in and “wing it.” It takes time, commitment and resources to be done right.
What tips would you offer someone who feels intimidated or tentative about using social media channels?
The advent of digital technology has created some pretty interesting debates over the fair use of copyrighted content and how publishers can be paid for their news contributions and protect their copyrights.
By violating copyright – even inadvertently – PR professionals can expose their organization, clients, and constituents to a number of liabilities. That is why BurrellesLuce has worked directly with publishers and other content providers (for close to 30 years) to establish use agreements that pay publishers royalty fees and allow our customers worry-free access to copyrighted content.
We are staunch supporters of commercial use of content with the expectation that those providing a similar services to ours should also pay for the use of the content. We are also long-time members of the The Software and Industry Information Association (SIIA) and believe that people, including PR and communications practitioners, should pay for commercial use of content. We have had a turnkey copyright compliance program in place since 2008 and we work to educate our customers on copyright compliance and the proper use of licensed content.
The same cannot be said for other companies in the media monitoring and evaluation space. Some aggregators, posing as monitoring services or search engines – depending on what best serves their position of the day – are not curating content, but archiving and hosting a database of publisher’s content. This creates challenges for PR and marketing pros, and some media monitoring firms expose their clients to potential liability.
At BurrellesLuce we curate content on behalf of our clients and charge a royalty. Those royalties go back to the publishers. PR professionals are understanding, more and more, why these measures are necessary. They recognize the difference between a genuine media monitoring service and an aggregator. They realize they may be exposing their organization, as well as their clients, to substantial copyright liability by using the latter.
The difference is best outlined in an article by Neiman Journalism Labs, which discusses the difference between search engines and aggregators. A search engine, like Google and its “free” business model, typically provides links to the original content and pays a licencing fee to the copyright owners, while aggregators repackage the publishers’ copyrighted material, send it to their customers, and charge their customers without paying a royalty to the publishers. As a genuine full-service media monitor, BurrellesLuce uses a business model that ensures that the publishers get paid for the use of their copyrighted content, and gives our customers the peace of mind that comes with compliance with the law.
Taking Control of Your Career: 7 Tips From ‘Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office’ Applicable to All Genders
by Deborah Gilbert-Rogers*
As the New Year progresses, I find myself drawn to reading a number of professional coaching, personal finance, marketing and sales books. Being a bit of a book junkie and wanting to reduce clutter, I now download samples to the Kindle app on my smart phone before purchasing a physical copy. (This is one millennial who won’t give up her physical books.)
One sample captured my attention recently, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, to such the extent that I purchased and downloaded a digital copy of the book right then and there! Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, part of Dr. Lois P. Frankel’s Nice Girls series, examines the unconscious messages women are taught in girlhood – which may or may not be helpful – that are then continued in womanhood and how these behaviors and messages influence a woman’s ability to progress in her career (as well as other areas of her life).
For Frankel the emphasis is on the word “girl” not on “nice.” Dr. Frankel is the first to point out these learned behaviors are not exclusive to women and that men experience their own set of messages in boyhood that affect them in manhood. However, our culture has an insidious way of encouraging woman to continue girlhood messages and behaviors in ways that differ from men.
Here are some of the “mistakes” I think relate to most business and PR professionals, regardless of gender, and tips for taking charge of your career.
1. Not Understanding the Needs of Your Constituents: Whether it’s our client, CEO, stakeholder, customer or target audience – we all have people that we serve. It is imperative to know what they need and want. Otherwise we risk missing an opportunity by not providing value. “The trap many women fall into is thinking they know what’s best for their constituents and therefore not asking the right questions on the front end,” writes Frankel. One way Frankel suggests to overcome this behavior is to “be more concerned with doing the right thing than doing things right.” In other words, don’t be afraid to shift perspectives as new data emerge and as change is warranted.
2. Skipping Meetings: Attending meetings is just as much about personal branding and marketing as it is about the content explains Frankel. She suggests, “Using meetings as an opportunity to showcase a particular skill or piece of knowledge (provided it’s not note taking or coffee making.)” Additionally, “Ask to be invited to a meeting where you’ll have the chance to meet senior management or make a presentation about something for which you need support.”
3. Ignoring the Importance of Network Relationships: Years ago people believed that showing-up for work and doing a good job would be enough to protect their careers, explains Frankel. Unfortunately many still buy into this belief today and have been taught that building relationships at work wastes time and distracts from the job at hand. Frankel suggests actively participating in a professional association and developing relationships before they are needed. If you wait until you need the relationship, it is too late.
4. Making Up Negative Stories: As PR and communications professionals we understand the importance of storytelling and the power it has to influence audience perception and behavior. However, as women we have a habit of creating negative stories and assuming we’ve done something wrong in order to explain a mistake or why something didn’t go as planned, addresses Frankel. In the workplace, this negatively affects our ability to take positive risks and trust our intuition. Frank suggestions beginning to “replace negative stories with neutral ones” and to look at “alternative scenarios that could explain what has happened that have nothing to do with you doing something wrong.”
5. Failing to Define Your Brand: Just like corporate branding and marketing, personal branding involves defining the value you bring to the table and how you stand apart from the competition. Frankel advises coming up with three to five things you enjoy most about your position as a way to start defining your personal brand. The reason? “We tend to be good at what we like,” notes Frankel. Then relate these strengths to your position and what you bring to it. Having these statements in place will help set you apart from the competition, whether that is within the organization or externally when delivering a proposal to a client or prospect.
6. The Inability to Speak the Language of Your Business: While there are times when it is best to avoid jargon, you must still be able to use the language of the entire business. “Influence comes from knowing the business, and one of the best ways you can exercise your influence is to use language unique to your industry and profession,” writes Frankel. Beyond your area of expertise and department, familiarize yourself with the ROI, bottom line, and other performance indicators of your corporation or client. BurrellesLuce offers a great newsletter on Finance for Communicators which is available in our free resource center.
7. Using Gestures Inconsistent with Your Message: Presentation is everything. Your “gestures should be integrated with your energy,” remarks Frankel. Don’t be afraid to take up space – a behavior that runs counter to what many women have been taught. Frankel suggests “allowing gestures to flow naturally from your spoken message” and to “match your gestures to the size of your audience.”
What professional books have you read lately that you’ve found helpful? Share your recommendations here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.
Bio: After graduating from Rider University, where she received a B.A. in English-writing and minor degrees in Gender Studies and French, Deborah joined the BurrellesLuce Marketing team in 2007. As a marketing specialist she continues to help develop the company’s thought leadership and social media efforts, including the copywriting and editing of day-to-day marketing initiatives and management of the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: @BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: dgrogers
Facebook “likes” has been the topic of some controversy for several years now—ever since brands began to get in on the action. The fact that Facebook continues to tweak the newsfeed algorithm and is introducing Graph Search keeps companies on their toes as they are forced to adjust not only their expectations but their approach.
Nearly all companies, causes, organizations, brands—anyone with a page rather than personal profile —on Facebook want to be “liked.” When someone likes a page, that page’s content then appears in that person’s newsfeed. And, that’s what you want, right? More eyeballs? No, actually, it’s not. A Facebook “like” has nearly no real-world value—until you nurture that connection. What you want is engagement. But you do have to have “likes” in order to nurture and engage.
I’ve seen all sorts of promotions and contests to get likes. One method, that is particularly troubling, was brought up by Gus Wagner in the #SocialIRL Non-Profits Conference series recently. And that is, companies partnering with a non-profit organization exchanging likes for monetary contributions. For example, a NPO posts on their page to go like this company and if the company gets x number of likes, they’ll donate x amount of money to the non-profit. The biggest problem with this is it is strictly forbidden by Facebook’s Terms!
According to Wagner, “Facebook audiences are not looking to connect with brands, or non-profits, unless given a call to action. Whether it is a coupon on a pair of Levi’s for a Like or a connection with a local non-profit for someone else to make a contribution, these are the motivations for average audiences to connect with a brand.”
As a matter of fact, there are lots of ways to get Likes. Here are some of them:
- First and foremost, know your audience—inspire them
- Increase your engagement so that others see your brand
- Add a Like box to your website and blog
- Offer something in exchange for Likes (ie. a free drink, a discount)
- Tag your page from your personal profile
- Ask and thank. Wagner says the two most powerful words in social is “thank you.”
- Advertise on Facebook or use Sponsored Stories
- Share original content—especially photos (which have recently shown to produce the most engagement, closely followed by video)
How is your brand or organization growing your Facebook fan base?
As a PR and communications professional you’re no stranger to disseminating information to your constituents. What you may not be familiar with, however, is copyright compliance and the effects sharing protected content may have on you and your clients.
“Most blogs and online sources are subject to copyright and are not in the public domain. Fair-use allows for limited use of content with proper citation depending on the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, how much of the content is used relative to the work as a whole, and whether the use will affect the potential market for or value of the content. Who is sharing and using the content also is considered when determining if the use falls under the fair-use doctrine,” explains this Copyright Compliance Primer from BurrellesLuce.
In this newsletter, we will explore with you the 4 Ps of copyright compliance:
- Proper Sharing
- Proper Copying
- Proper Citation
- Proper Monitoring and Distribution
Read more on of this BurrellesLuce newsletter – PR and Fair-Use: What Practitioners Should Know.
Marketers and public relations practitioners have long known that storytelling is critical to any campaign. Storytelling is about relating to people, about making a connection with your audience. PR has long been a text-based, word-driven method of communicating messages, but it’s no longer enough to simply broadcast these written messages. “PR historically has been about words—telling. Now it’s show and tell,” says Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman in a recent AdWeek article.
I’ve read copious articles in the past year on the “new trend” of visual storytelling. Articles that point out we are a society of “visual learners.” Visual storytelling classes have recently been added to university course catalogs, professional development and continuing education workshops and webinars are abundant. Infographics have become a popular way to socially share messages in the past couple years. Some say this shift is due to how we consume information and communicate in the digital mobile age. But I say this is a trend that actually began more than a hundred years ago!
Over the holidays, my husband and I watched the History Channel mini-series “Mankind The Story of All of Us” that we had DVR’d. In the final episode, they talk about the Congo rubber trade in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s under King Leopold II’s dictatorship and the brutishness of forced labor. A common occurrence was to physically maim children as a warning to villagers. Enter Alice Harris, a British missionary, and her camera. (I know you were wondering where I was going with this J).
Brian Williams, of NBC Nightly News (and one of the commentators in the series) says, “The invention of photography and the means to get them in front of people held more power than its inventors ever imagined. Photos don’t blink and they don’t go away. Once you’ve seen that image, you can’t rewind.” Harris took hundreds of photos of the atrocities—photos which were then published in newspapers across the world, shocking millions of readers. These photographs were so horrific and communicated so broadly that it transformed public opinion and changed society, forcing King Leopold to quit the Congo rubber trade. I would argue that this was the beginning of visual storytelling—at least in the modern mass media age. (Visual storytelling actually dates back to more than 30,000 years ago with cave paintings.)
In addition, “Once you’ve seen that image, you can’t rewind,” Williams went on to say, “The expression ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ –that’s a low ball estimate. A picture, a good picture, is worth so much more than that.”
This is especially true in today’s digital age. As PR and communications professionals we are increasingly tasked with disseminating messages in a crowded online space. The content we produce must not only gain the attention of audiences – but keep it as well.
Like our ancestors, we must create stories that paint pictures – either via our words or via images – to sway public opinion and, perhaps more importantly, persuades people to respond to our calls to action.
Check out this BurrellesLuce Storytelling newsletter for more helpful tips.
It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity. A quote attributed to Albert Einstein and something he might have actually said if the question was asked today, “How would you feel if a social networking site not only could predict who your closest friends were, but also have a say in the matter?”.
A research group from UC San Diego is claiming to be able to predict with great accuracy, who Facebook users closest friends are, by simply looking at their past site activity. In a controlled study led by researchers at UCSD, a survey group of Facebook users were asked to list their closest friends, the researchers would then try to guess who their closest friends were by looking merely at their Facebook activity. Using a model they developed, which takes into account the number of comments, messages, wall posts, likes, photo tags, etc. someone makes – the researchers claim that they predicted within 84 percent accuracy who were close friends. The study concluded, “The model’s success at discriminating closest friends from not-closest friends validates the use of online behavior data as a proxy measure for tie strength in real world relationships.”
But what I find to be more astonishing is that industry followers are taking this a step further. They claim a “prescribing of interaction” taking place at Facebook, one that may actually influence who you interact with more often on their site and, thus, making you closer “friends.” Some think a virtual or real life friendship or a blend of both may be strengthened between two people…. due to nothing more but “subtleties” on a web page. Benjamin Grosser, whose work has looked at Facebook’s role in our culture, says that the subtleties of its algorithms can shape which friends we interact with and how often we do so. “The question is whether the ways that Facebook prescribes interaction are changing how our friendships develop. This is not to say that the effect is strong enough to actually change who our closest friends are but a reminder that Facebook doesn’t merely capture a portrait of our social lives; it also contributes to what that portrait looks like.”
I am not a user of Facebook so I can’t comment whether I believe it is even possible for a web site to have an influence on who I determine to be my “closest friends” – but if this turned out to be the case, the only conclusion I would reach is that I needed to get out of the house more.
As a PR and marketing professional you’re probably familiar with both the excitement and, perhaps, even the anxiety of creating new goals for yourself and your organization. In the past, BurrellesLuce has written about using S.M.A.R.T goals to boost productivity, setting measurement goals aligned with company benchmarks, and how to commit to communications planning and achieve PR resolutions.
Now we are offering you 7 steps to help you achieve more meaningful and satisfying goals. Read more.