Posts Tagged ‘Valerie Simon’

You’re “Engaging” Oprah… Now What?

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Valerie Simon

BurrellsLuce Fresh Ideas: Your "Engage" Oprah... Now What? (Valerie Simon)There has been much discussion of late regarding influencers. How do you identify an influencer?  How do you measure their value? And how do you talk to people who don’t necessarily understand that influencers aren’t one-size-fits-all? (In fact, Justin Goldsborough, Fleishman-Hillard Kansas City, asked a similar question in a recent post on his blog

After hearing Coyne PR’s Dr. Norman Booth, at the PRSA NJ Measurement and Evaluation workshop on Monitoring and Determining ROI for Digital/Social Media, briefly discuss mathematical modeling to help identify influencers and optimize conversation – that evening, I found myself heading over to  the Coyne PR website. I found a white paper he authored, Mapping and Leveraging Influencers in Social Media To Shape Corporate Brand Perceptions. The paper reviews a customizable valuation algorithm to identify social media influencers.

In examining the strategy to optimize blogger outreach, I decided to take a deeper dive into Step Three: “Engage and Socialize.” This critical step offers the potential to transition influencers into advocates and even brand evangelists. Likewise, there is room for antagonizing influencers and actually damaging credibility.  Booth’s key points under this step, as I understood them, include:


  • Clearly identify intent
  • Topic before relevance
  • Ask, don’t tell
  • Say “thank you”


  • Comment on relevant postings
  • Follow on Twitter and social aggregators
  • Connect on social networking sites

These are excellent points. To them, I would also add “consistency in behavior over time.” The paper concludes, noting, “While the fundamentals of public relations are essentially the same as social media relations, the addition of this new marketing channel allows practitioners to engage with influencers one on one.”

Just as I said in my previous Fresh Ideas post, that no matter how influential a person is reported to be if they aren’t the right one for your campaign or media relations objectives, they’re not going to be able to convince your audience to do what you want.  The same applies for relationships.

Public relations, and social media relations, are about relationships.  So what if you’ve “engaged” Oprah, if you haven’t established a credible rapport? Creating relationships, building trust and loyalty, is not something you can expect to do with a tweet or comment.  And it doesn’t happen overnight. Relationships require ongoing communication (from all parties); social media simply offers you the tools to engage in more frequent and targeted ongoing communication.

Are you using social media to build relationships? What do you think are the essential elements for developing relationships online? Are you using any type of mathematical modeling to help you understand influence and sustain blogger outreach?

Measuring Social Media: The Value of Influence

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Valerie Simon

“Influence is about the value you give,” emphasized Deirdre Breakenridge, author and President of Mango! Marketing at the February 15th PRSA NJ Measurement and Evaluation workshop on Monitoring and Determining ROI for Digital/Social Media. Breakenridge also noted that it is extremely important to consider the platform(s) where those you are targeting spend time. Measuring social media is about going where your audience is; if you are trying to reach teens, for example, consider focusing your efforts on Tumblr.

Here are some additional thoughts on evaluating influencers Breakenridge shared with me during this video interview following the event.


As we continue to counsel BurrellesLuce clients on new ways to identify influencers and listen to them across all types of media and platforms, one thing is apparent: the elusive influencer is not one who can be discovered by simply noting fans or followers. The power of a particular influencer may change based upon their platform, subject matter, and perhaps most importantly, the demographics and interests of your target audience (hint, no matter how “influential” Lady Gaga is reported to be, if you are attempting to convince my dad where to vacation, find another influencer). 

So what is the real secret to identifying key influencers for your community? It begins with taking the time to get to know your community. Listen. Understand who (and what) motivates them. Consider how you can help brand evangelists to become true influencers and how you can encourage influencers to become consistent and loyal brand evangelists.

What is your definition of an influencer and how do you determine the influencers that matter most to your brand, organization, or client? Who are your favorite examples of influencers and why? The comments are all yours. 

Overcoming Blogger’s Block

Monday, February 7th, 2011

What to blog about? Good IdeaThat is the question I’ve been asking myself for a few days. In my pursuit of a topic for a post, I realized I’m not alone… Writer’s block has always been something that communications professionals, and others, have struggled to overcome. But now that audiences expect instantaneous access to new content and materials via blogs and other social media, it’s becoming even harder to keep up and remain, well, “fresh.”  

In hopes of beating my own blogger’s block, I decided to take a look at some PR resources for inspiration. I’d like to give you some, in case you, too, find yourself in a similar situation.

One: Arik Hanson recapped a blog discussion last November on 24 ways to feed the blog beast. I’ve referred to this list several times. In fact, my BurrellesLuce colleague Valerie Simon has utilized number nine, summarizing various Twitter chats, several times since she leads both the #PRStudChat and #HAPPO chats. I especially like number 20 on using best of posts. This strategy allows me to include information from multiple, valuable sources and give some “link love” to other great blogs.  

Two: My Google Reader is a great resource for searching for topics and other blogs of interests. Josh Braaten, Big Picture Web Marketing, notes this tip in his post, Four Tips for Overcoming Blogging Writer’s Block. He also suggests using Twitter to review hot topics and ask for ideas.

Three: The startup, Skribit claims to be the cure to writer’s block. The application allows you to get feedback and suggestions from readers of your blog. Mashable even highlighted the tool in its Spark of Genius series, and based on the comments, I would give it a try.

Four: I’ve asked my network for ideas. I don’t always use the ideas, but the act of reviewing their ideas often leads to new ones. For this post, I asked Peter Shankman for some  good writers’ karma, because he had tweeted about  how a blog post just came to him and he had a great writing session. And he sent it (the good writer’s karma) my way via DM.

Five: And don’t forget the traditional media! My colleague Tressa Robbins recently wrote a blog post, News in Our Digital Lives: “Old” Media Still Matters, recapping the annual joint meeting of PRSA, IABC, and CSPRC.  Amy Mitchell, deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism presented some interesting finds, confirming the importance and reliance on traditional news. “In one American city (Baltimore), a whopping 92 percent of new content came from “old” media, proving that the published story is just the beginning of its life cycle.”

How do you get ideas for your blog posts? What themes have resonated with your readers? What topics would you like to see covered on Fresh Ideas?

Insights from the PRSA-NY New Professionals Committee and NYU PR League HR Roundtable

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Valerie Simon

PRSA-NYChapter_CMYK_72dpiTuesday evening, January 25th, I had the pleasure of speaking to a room filled with PR recruiters and those seeking a job in the public relations industry at the HR Roundtable, presented by PRSA-NY New Professionals Committee and NYU’s PR League.  The HR Roundtable offered attendees the opportunity to meet with recruiters from New York City’s top agencies. Special guests included:

Jami Secchi, Edelman
Katie DiChristopher, Marina Maher Communications
Lucy Cherkasets, Clarity Media Group
Marie Raperto, Cantor Integrated Marketing Staffing, Inc
Mindy Gikas, Ruder Finn, Inc
Sara Whitman, Peppercom
Jennifer Greenberg, Quantum Management Services.

Each offered their advice and insights in small group sessions.

“As the old saying goes, it’s not always what you know, but who you know,” explains Jason Brownely, co-chair, PRSA-NY New Professionals Committee and assistant account executive, M Booth & Associates Inc. “It is for this reason the PRSA-NY New Professionals Committees number one goal is to connect public relations professionals entering the job market at every level with opportunities to meet their peers and gain advice from experts in the industry.”  

Other important insights overheard at the roundtables:

How do I get my foot in the door?
“With the volume of requests I receive, I can’t do informational interviews with everyone so it helps to make a connection, whether through LinkedIn or through someone you know who works in the company you want to work for, says Secchi.

Should someone accept a lower position or even entry-level position if they are moving to a new country, but have experience working in two or three other countries (including the U.S.)? “I thought that was very intriguing, and obviously many people are having to “come in” at lower or entry levels so they can break into agency life or just get a job,” said Whitman. “In this case, I told the person to focus more on identifying how her skills will translate and add value in her new home versus looking for entry-level positions. One of the strongest things a communications pro (and PR pro in particular) is to spend time positioning his/her self first, which will make matching skills and experience with an open position – or even just with a company – much easier.”

How often should candidates touch base or follow up with a recruiter? Once a month, recommends Secchi. “You want to be consistent but you don’t want to be a nudge,” she explains. “Because of the volume of resumes and emails companies receive, we can’t always get back to everyone daily so a monthly check in is totally appropriate.  I also wanted people to know that they shouldn’t be discouraged or take it personally if they don’t get an interview.”

Secchi also reminded those she met that, “It could be timing, it could be the particular specs of a position, it could be that the position was filled internally so you just never know.”

Brownely notes that the New Professionals Committee will be hosting a number of events similar to this one, throughout the year. He encourages anyone looking to succeed in the public relations industry to become a member of PRSA-NY and to join the New Professionals section.

Using Social Media to Find and Hire The Right PR Talent

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Valerie Simon

An article in US News and World Report earlier this month offered some bright news for the PR industry: “Employment of public-relations specialists is expected to increase by more than 66,000 jobs, or 24 percent, between 2008 and 2018, according to the Labor Department.”

But before we break out the champagne and begin celebrating, organizations must pause and pay serious attention to the tremendous impact individual hires have on the organization; after all, PR is a service and a relationship-based business. PR agencies, such as Coyne PR and Ketchum, understand the critical role their people play in assuring client satisfaction, retention, growth. Consider this:

Coyne Public Relations –  “Our mission is not to be the best agency in America, but the best one to work for. If we are the best place to work, we will get the best people. If we have the best people, we will get the best clients. If we have the best people and clients, how can we not be the best agency in America?”

Ketchum’s Ray Kotcher: “But awards only tell part of the story. What truly makes a difference is our people. Ketchum people aren’t standard PR agency ‘types.’ They are uncommonly curious, smart, and passionate about what they do, and they are the reason for Ketchum’s 80-plus years of success.”

As the economy continues to rebound and employers continue to strive to find ways to connect with future employees, social networking offers those looking to hire an opportunity to get to know potential hires in new and meaningful ways. When Arik Hanson and I founded #HAPPO, earlier this year, our goal was to use social media to leverage our relationships to help those seeking jobs in the PR industry make new connections.  As we approached our December 8th event however, I found an increasing number of employers approaching me, hoping #HAPPO could help them to identify the PR talent their organization needed.

Can a social networking event such as #HAPPO really help connect employers with future employees? While there have been an impressive number of #HAPPO mentions in social media (nearly 30,000 since the effort began February 2010), measuring the effect on outcomes is always preferable to measuring outputs. While it is a challenge to quantify the number of new relationships that have emerged as a result of the effort, we do know that earlier #HAPPO events have resulted in at least five new jobs, including the newest #HAPPO Champion Katie Wall.

As Craig Alerowitz, EVP at Lippe Taylor PR tweeted at the start the most recent event, “I found my last employee through #HAPPO (and she’s terrific)… so just know that it works all.”

Here is a sampling of the tweets from employers who participated as well:

lanes0220: RT @SteveSeeman: #PRjobs @Makovsky is seeking #Health #PR AEs – 6-18 months exp! DM me for info or email #HAPPO

MBoothPR: We are hiring for a number of levels and practice areas! Please send resumes & cover letters to jobs at mbooth dot com

dialogopr: We are hiring #PR Account Exec’s. email

RuderFinn: Check here for open positions at our agency

englishyoung: GolinHarris is looking for a SAE and VP in Arlington VA:

It is clear that the talents of skilled communications professionals are in demand. And if the US News and World Report is right – there will only be more to come. So, how are you using social media to connect with and build relationships? Have you had success using social media to drive awareness of a campaign or cause? Tell us how. What direction do you see PR, marketing, and social media going in for 2011? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.