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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top 10 Social Media Gurus of 2011

The Pulse's Top 10 Social Media Influencers of 2011 illustrates the variety and importance of social media engagement. Included are professional bloggers, corporate communicators, marketers, consultants, authors, and ordinary citizens. Some favor Facebook, others Twitter and Google+. One is a citizen journalist, another a Howard Stern-like Internet bad-boy who has been banned from social news website Digg.

What's clear about these "influencers" -- as you read their profiles and click through to their sites -- is their undeniable impact on brands, and the size and scope of their loyal followers.

Some of these social media gurus were know to the CommCore team, others were brand new on the radar screen. That only serves to reinforce what we tell our clients – monitoring social media is crucial in today's multimedia, cross platform, real-time communications environment.  The added lesson we've learned after going through this list is that monitoring one's own brand story in social media isn't enough; staying on top of what the leading social media experts are doing in different spheres of communications is essential.

Check out this year's selected experts, and tell us what impresses you the most.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Video: Reasons for Journalists and PR to Fall in Love


Monday, December 19, 2011

What should PR people know about the Media...Yet again.

Think of the wonderful sparring partners in fiction, film and TV.  Is there any better metaphor for the co-dependent relationship between reporters and PR professionals?

As the saying goes, "Can’t live with 'em. Can't live without 'em."  One of the latest versions about the ongoing tension is the 33 Reasons listed by Jackson Wightman in Ragan’s PR Daily: 33 Things the Media Wish PR People Knew.

Whew! 33 reasons sounds like a lot of venom stored up (there are actually 44 reasons on his personal blog). And what about the twitter version of this or the "keep it short" syndrome?  Read all 33 (or 44) and you’ll find that PR and the Media is less Hatfield vs. McCoy than a family feud over information.

A couple of my favorites and comments:

#39 Tough interview questions are not personal attacks.  Journalists don't usually wake up in the morning with a vendetta against a company or an organization.  In media training, we share the perspective that the job and training is to be skeptical and ask challenging questions.
#30 The audience/news relevance of a story pitch needs to be spelled out clearly. This suggestion gets at the heart of a pitch - it's about the journalist and the ultimate reader, viewer or listener.  We call this the WIIFM (What's In It For Me?) and WHAM (What Here Applies to Me?) factors. Make sure the pitch answers the questions.
#8 Rich Media - videos, photos - helps them understand what you're trying to say.  At CommCore we recommend that in the actual interview that you offer videos, charts and photos. Good advice to put these in the pitch. Journalists are time and budget starved.  Since most media have web sites, adding the video and photos will come in handy.

Go read all the 33 or 44 and let us know what you think.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Media Engagement 101

Two items reminded us of the value of proactively engaging with the media.

Item 1: In a recent NY Times profile, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson said: "I'd been in private equity for eight years, and my attitude was I don't talk to the press if I don’t want to. I was very much bothered by what was written. But if you don’t talk to them, they'll define you."  Ergo, the story in the Times included a good deal of Akerson's comments and it was a very positive piece.

Item 2:  In the discussion of the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer, CEO Richard Edelman advocated the need to communicate in four different channels: traditional media, new media, social media and paid.

Absent the few well known situations - ongoing lockdown communications in a crisis, sensitive financial and labor negotiations, gag orders - CommCore is a strong believer in media engagement.  Each of the channels has its rules and place.  At the very least media engagement lends itself to more balanced coverage; in the right situations proactive interactions with the media can lead to you framing the issue for the reporter/blogger and the audience.

Rules we apply:
1. Do your homework on the reporter and the outlet
2. Develop messages that are sticky
3. Know the counter arguments to your messages
4. Provide multi-media support for your messages
5. Build relationships with individual reporters

Do you have any new secrets about when and how to engage?

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Top 10 Social media Blunders: Viral Ooops Won’t Cut It

Social media is now such a standard communications and PR tool that lists such as Advertising Age's top-10 social media blunders are annual postings. The snafus listed in this 2011 edition are instantly recognizable in fewer words than it takes to fill a 140-character Twitter feed. All you have to do is say "Anthony Weiner" or "Weinergate," or "Qwickster Twitter account," or "Ashton Kutcher and Joe Paterno," and millions – not just those of us in the communications trade – know exactly what you are talking about because of … social media.

Which brings us to the frightening word: VIRAL.  CommCore consultants remind all our communications and PR clients: the difference between a media blunder as we used to think of it, and a social media-aided blunder, is the word: "viral."  In the old days we used to say "Once the Genie gets out of the bottle, you can’t put the top back on."

Back in the day traditional media blunders had a chance of being contained due to the disposability of the medium: the newspaper became fish wrap within a day, and the TV or radio broadcast was gone into the ether. Even with the advent of the 24-hour cable news cycles in the 80s, and the internet as an emerging media presence in the mid 1990s, one could eventually find a way to put one's arms around a blunder that had gone public.

But it's different now. With its universally accessible archive of authorized and unauthorized videos YouTube (the world’s no.2 search engine after Google) last forever. Facebook and Twitter are reaching global critical mass as interactive real-time communications tools. You can find anything, anywhere at any time. Deletion is an oxymoron in social media.

Because of the viral nature of social media, communications blunders have to be prevented through awareness. When they do happen they need to be caught instantly. This requires clear rules of engagement by an organization's employees and stakeholders, and by anyone responsible for a brand image. It also requires careful monitoring of social media, and crisis response contingencies that are clear, transparent and quick.

"Ooops, sorry" never sounded so pathetic as when millions of consumers knew what it was about even before it was uttered. Just look at the Top 10 lists.

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