Archive for the 'Social Media' Category

Does the Executive’s LinkedIn Profile Hurt or Help Your Media Relations Effort?

LinkedIn logo - business communication

In preparing for a storytelling workshop in Asia last week, I spoke with six different journalists from blue-chip properties like Reuters and The Next Web.

I asked a simple question –

How do you prepare for an executive interview?

While each journalist has formulated his or her own approach to due diligence, two common denominators surfaced.

They google the executive’s name.

They check out the exec’s LinkedIn profile.

I realize this isn’t exactly a revelation. In fact, when we hosted LinkedIn for a “lunch bucket” a couple years ago, we heard how the company spent considerable time educating journalists on how to navigate the platform … and we were given an upgraded account at no charge.

But here’s where things get interesting.

In my recent talks to journalists, I learned that more than checking out an executive’s background, they’re extrapolating from the executive’s LinkedIn page to make broader judgment calls.

In one journalist’s words:

“LinkedIn is the best place to get a sense of the person, what they did before, their career trajectory. It also tells me how much they want to project themselves to the outside world.”

That one phrase “how much they want to project themselves to the outside world” is pretty darn revealing.

Everyone talked about understanding the executive’s personality and style from LinkedIn. Two journalists went as far as to say they use LinkedIn to qualify an executive before accepting an interview.

For all of these reasons, PR should be guiding executives in applying storytelling techniques to their LinkedIn profiles so they make an impression on the outside world.

For example, 99 percent of people put their current title under their name when the format already allows slots for both current and previous titles. The real estate under the name  can be put to better use by sharing something about the role, the person’s passion, etc. You can see example of this in my own LinkedIn profile below.

CEO LinkedIn profile - business communications

As a second idea, the summary section is the perfect forum for a glimpse into the executive’s take on thought leadership, not just a laundry list of skills and achievements.

And sharing a personal tidbit or two can round out the profile.

These three changes can transform a drab LinkedIn profile into a preconditioning tool for media relations.



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The Blurring Line Between Third-party Media and Owned Media

A few months ago I discussed how third-party media (earned) and owned media overlap in the Forbes online property.

In short, here’s how the proposition works. Forbes gains inexpensive – or to be more precise, free – content to attract more clicks. In exchange, companies enjoy the Forbes halo and still control the storytelling.

To paraphrase from Chili Palmer in Get Shorty, “It’s a win win.”

With this in mind, The Huffington Post is another property that should be on the communicator’s radar.

A recent post in HuffPo from Josh Rawitch, senior VP of communications for the Arizona Diamondbacks, offers a new wrinkle to the concept.

business storytelling public relations huffington post

As you can you see in the shot above, the fourth paragraph is a quote from the CEO of the D-backs. In fact, the post incorporates six quotes from six different D-back staff members. Rather than the traditional first-person narrative in contributed posts, Mr. Rawitch goes third person playing the role of the journalist.

It’s a technique with the potential of further blurring the lines between earned and owned media.

Like Forbes, HuffPo could care less about the purity debate.

It simply wants eyeballs that get the cash register ka-chinging.

And so everyone can keep score, the property has a page called the “Blogger Index.

business storytelling public relations huffington post

For contributors like Josh whose tactic is part of building a brand, they don’t need a staggering number of views, just enough for HuffPo to justify the space.

I think we’re going to see more permutations on how earned and owned media interact with each other down the road.

For example, to increase credibility of a company’s owned media property, it might pay a Forbes or a HuffPo for stories carrying the publication’s moniker as the next take on branded journalism.

Now wouldn’t that be fresh?

Publications find an unexpected revenue stream in selling stories to companies.

Who knows?



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Four Reasons to Invest in Corporate Blogging

Corporate marketing and PR types pay attention to the business section in USA Today.

How else do you explain the questions coming our way on whether corporate blogging is worth the effort that started when USA Today published “More companies quit blogging, go with Facebook instead”?

More companies quit blogging, go with Facebook instead

First off, this story has nothing to do with blogging and everything to do with Facebook. It was eyeball bait, capitalizing on the intense interest in Facebook prior to its IPO.

A company moving from blogging to Facebook makes as much sense as replacing the Friday jelly donuts with recipe handouts.

Still, it’s a useful exercise to periodically dust off the “why” behind any marketing activity, so here goes

At its best, corporate blogging delivers four distinct benefits.

It offers a platform to show thought leadership and share views on industry issues. More than one-way communications, these views can trigger dialogue across a company’s ecosystem. The end result is people perceiving the company as smart, engaged and plugged into the community.

Two, on the intangible side, corporate blogging puts a “face” on a company. The platform enables companies to address lightweight topics – sometimes with a touch of levity – and communicate with conversational language. And by sharing information about the person or people contributing to the blog, the outside world gets reminded there are real human beings at the other end of the transaction. Just writing in the first person can make a difference.

The third benefit lies in establishing a another digital door to the company website. By developing a keyword taxonomy that complements the SEO (search engine optimization) strategy of the main site, you can bring incremental yet relevant traffic to the site.

In a sense, corporate blogging was content marketing before the term came into vogue.

Finally, the proper cultivation of a corporate blog eventually produces credible owned media. You always have a pulpit to put forth your position in a timely manner without depending on third-party media.

I always think of Google’s decision to change its approach in China as a milestone for the corporate blog.

Google didn’t send out a news release.

They didn’t hold a press conference.

It was announced on the Google corporate blog.

Those four macro benefits constitute our justification. We welcome hearing others.



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How Nieman Lab Protects Its Twitter Turf

I like the work that comes out of Nieman Lab.

While the property caters to journalists, it’s a good read for communicators who push beyond the status quo with features like “Why’s This So Good?” (reverse engineers storytelling).

I’ve always thought PR professionals should spend more time analyzing the storytelling techniques in a range of publications. This way, you gain a better understanding of what journalists are looking for and can hone your content accordingly.

With companies redefining owned media with greater investment, this only makes more sense.

It turns out there are tidbits to be had from media properties like Nieman Lab on the digital side too.

For example —

No surprise, Nieman Lab uses @NiemanLab for its Twitter handle.

Nieman Lab twitter

The wrinkle comes from anticipating people who will misspell the property.

Check this out.

Nieman lab twitter handle 2

You’ve got to love the levity in reminding the world, “I before E, except after C!”

And yes, I did stumble across this by forgetting the axiom (please forgive me, Mr. Tuttle).

I suppose the fact that this dead account with one tweet on May 15, 2009 has secured 372 followers shows people will follow anything.

Still, it doesn’t exactly reflect well on CalPERS – the investment arm of California’s state employees which manages an investment portfolio of $237 billion and change – that it happens to be one of the 372.

Nieman lab twitter followers

Moving along—

Neiman Lab has even covered those who misspelled through the plural path.

Nieman lab twitter handle 3

A technique to consider with your company’s Twitter account.



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LinkedIn Encourages Bad Behavior

The underpinnings of any social network revolve around the interactions.

By personalizing those interactions, we share a little about ourselves and make connections.

For all the things that are great about LinkedIn – there are plenty, not the least being pulling other social feeds into one’s profile – it defies logic that LinkedIn encourages impersonal interactions by defaulting to a boilerplate when someone sends a let’s-connect message on the platform.

Here’s an example of the boilerplate that arrives in my inbox 90+ percent of the time.

linkedin default

Not exactly brimming with a personal touch.

If I was Reid Hoffman (not related, but open to offers on www.hoffman.com), I would simply leave the box blank, prompting the sender to write a personalized note.

What a concept.

In such a scenario, Mr. Gladwell might have written the following:

linked in personal message

How hard is it to start with the person’s name?

Even if you don’t write for a living, crafting such a note takes less than 120 seconds.

120 seconds for a personalized let’s-connect note on LinkedIn.

Seems like a reasonable ROI.



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