Monthly Archives: February 2008

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Chris Heuer, The Conversation Group”

Like the cold winter wind, today’s biting “3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min” will chill your bones!

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

This week, socialTNT met up with Chris Heuer, partner at social media communications firm The Conversation Group. He’s also an executive and cofounder of the Social Media Club. In today’s episode, Chris tells us his definition of social media and proclaims that PR is dead.

When Chris and I met, we started talking about his book, a discussion of social media tools for internal communications. He enjoyes bouncing ideas off of people to spawn creativity. He also prefers working in collaborative, Socratic environments, so it’s not surprising that Chris cofounded the Social Media Club as a venue to share ideas about emerging media. This manifested itself throughout out our conversation; every time one of us would say something clever, he’d jot down notes in a a Moleskine notebook, potential ideas for the book. After a few minutes, our chat diverged away from his book and into a discussion of social networking, disposable attention, and brands.

As Brand managers everywhere try to stifle social media and maintain a uniform brand image, Chris promotes opening up. Instead of silencing employees, companies have to let go. To maintain, companies have to trust and educate their employees. To support his theory, Chris broke out a power point slide with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“I know of no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but
people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not
to take the power from them, but to inform them by education.”

Fun Facts About Chris

  • Once taught Interactive Advertising at the Miami Ad School
  • Has a Virtual Assistant outside the country
  • Does not have or use an RSS reader
  • Is a hit-and-run Twitterer
  • In July 2007, married Kristie Wells, VP of Customer Advocacy at Joyent, the company that used to host Twitter
  • Prefers in-person, real world communication over its online counterparts, but you can still find him on Facebook and LinkedIn

Ever wonder exactly what social media is? Chris’s succinct definition is not to be messed. He also explains what changes Public Relations and Marketing will need to make in order to stay alive. Check it out:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Wow. A lot to chew on. Is PR dead? Has social media killed it? What do you think PR will need to do to evolve? Is Schizophrenic Branding a problem? How do marketers deal with multiple voices coming out of their company? Let us know in the comments.

Quick Note: Today marks the first day socialTNT’s “3Q’s in 3Min” is available for download on iTunes. Yup, that’s right: Now you can view our video interviews with today’s top reporters and social media experts anywhere you want. Watch us on the train, at the gym or even at the break room of your stodgy PR or marketing firm. The last seven episodes are currently available in high-quality video, with the full library coming soon. Oh, and it’s all available to you for FREE! 🙂
Christopher Lynn - socialTNT - socialTNT

Also, don’t miss a post: Please add socialTNT to your RSS reader [what’s that?]. Better yet, subscribe to socialTNT by email!

[The above photo, “Utterz Meetup House of Shields – Chris Heuer” by Brian Solis, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Enterprise Public Relations, Internal Public Relations, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview

“Luke, I Am Your Blogger: How To Pitch From the Darkside”

Because I’m a PR guy who blogs, I occupy a gray space: not quite hack, not quite flack. As a PR pro, I pitch bloggers and reporters daily. Through my blog, I get pitched by people looking to have their product reviewed or their CEO interviewed. Depending on what cubicle you sit in, I could be on the dark side.

First off, I want to say we’re honored to receive pitches because it means someone, somewhere values socialTNT enough to view us as an outlet they want their product/company/spokesperson to be seen in. Instead of pulling a Chris Anderson, I’d rather use this opportunity as a PR professional and blogger to help those who pitch bloggers understand some best practices.

Pitching is a necessary evil; it’s the only way smaller voices from lesser known companies can get a chance to be seen. Good bloggers and reporters know that they can’t keep track of every new company, and therefore value a good PR professional. But you don’t have to be a PR professional to write a good pitch, you just have to know how to communicate.

Step One: Observe. Listen. Participate.

  • Check out the “About” section. Does it have a sentence or two describing the focus or mission of the blog? Are there any bios or beat descriptions for the main bloggers?
  • Look for a blogger that covers most closely the area you are trying to reach. Read the past several posts from that blogger to get a feel for their style.
  • If you can’t find a blogger that fits, spend a fair amount of time (some say hours) reading the blog. Get to know it like you would a friend.
  • Look for regular features or topics that could work with your product or company. When pitching, mention how your product would fit in that column.
  • If you have something meaningful to say, comment on a post, but don’t use the comments as pitching ground.
    • EX: I read all the comments on my posts, and remember those who have commented. It will help you stand out.
  • If the blogger is on Twitter, follow them.
    • HINT: Because Twitter is more informal, you can have a conversation with them to build better rapport. Pitch only through Twitter if you have been following them for a while and are comfortable with writing a tight (140 character) pitch.

Step Two: Outline the Pitch/Things to Consider

  • How would your product/company affect my readers?
    • EX: There are a lot of really cool social media tools and sites out there. It’s great receiving pitches, but we are a vertical publication. That means we’ll need to know how it fits into the scope of our blog. Marie reviews productivity tools that can be helpful to PR/Marketing peeps or Journos. I like to review tools that can be used for marketing and PR campaigns. Sure, sometimes those applications haven’t been figured out, but the more information we have from you on how it works or how it helps communication/interaction, the better we can try to find PR/Marketing uses.
  • Great Product? Can you demo it.
    • HINT: If you can set up a ready-made, tailored demo of the product as it works in the wild, do so. Send a link to a page created specifically for that blogger
  • Are you pitching a spokesperson? Tell me his/her background, highlighting the areas that would interest my readers.
    • HINT: No more than two sentences. Seriously. 🙂
  • Do you have any other promo materials? Press release? Send it. Better yet: Link to it.
    • HINT: SMNR to the front of the line.

Step Three: Aim. Throw.

  • Bloggers are usually pressed for time. They’re also on a 24 hour news-cycle. They may read your pitch at 1AM after a night of heavy drinking. Help them out: Make your pitch concise and to the point.
    • HINT: Bullet, Link, and Bold
  • Who are you? And what the hell are you doing in my inbox? 🙂
    • HINT: State the most important things up front. Tell me in the first couple of sentences. If I have to scroll, you’ve written too much.
  • Cut the fluff, we can usually sniff the BS anyway. Everyone has the most innovative, greatest new tool. How does it work? This is where knowing the pub/writer is crucial.
    • EX: For socialTNT, how does it help people communicate or connect? Can it build relationships? How does it help with content delivery?
    • PS: I *heart* video
  • VIP pass
    • Because bloggers are short on time, let them know how to get in touch with you. Twitter, Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, IM and even good old fashioned phone
    • Bonus: For me, Spokesperson on Twitter = SCORE!
    • Jackpot: Have an RSS feed or Del.icio.us page for company news? Let me know. YouTube or Blip.tv channel: Golden.
    • Caveat: Don’t assume I have the time to look or the brainpower to connect the dots. The pitch should talk. Also, just cause it’s pretty, doesn’t mean I’ll cover it. Substance.

It all boils down to knowing your pub and writer. Many of the pitches I get are from small business owners or CEOs/Marketing folk at startups. You don’t have to be a PR pro to pitch like one. Just follow the simple steps above, and you’ll succeed. Remember: There is no tried and true method, and even the best pitches don’t always mean bites.

Bloggers and seasoned PR pros: What advice would you give to anyone pitching bloggers? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

[PS: I admit to having crafted my share of bad pitches, or even choosing wrong targets. It happens to the best.]

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“How Media Relations Got Its Groove Back″

Download and print this great “Blogger Relations Quick and Critical Tips Bookmark” from my Colleague, Todd Defren.

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Filed under Best Practices, Blogger Relations, How To, It's A Conversation, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Small Business Social Media, Social Media

“May I Have The Embed Code, Please? Evaluating the Oscars Social Media Strategy”

Can’t get enough Oscar? Neither can we. But, unlike other blogs, we aren’t gonna recap the show or even discuss the stars’ outfits. Stepping out in true geek fashion, today socialTNT looks at the Academy’s social media strategies and offers up tips on how Oscar can stay young.

Best CyberScreen Adaptation

  • Oscar makes his CyberScreen debut in style with his own YouTube channel. We have to admit, we were really impressed! The videos, numbering 69 at time of writing, cover the full gambit of what we have come to expect with video campaigns. The channel includes favorite acceptance speeches and greatest moments in Oscar history.
  • We’re suckers for behind-the-scenes videos, which is probably why our favorites were short video interviews with past winners discussing topics like: What it’s like to be nominated, the voting process, what it’s like to win and how to produce an Oscar montage. Aspiring Future Winners: Avoid the embarrassment of being drowned out by the orchestra, and check out this video on how to prepare an acceptance speech
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ President Sid Ganis did have some videos for a video blog. Check out the last entry chronicling final preparations before the big night.
  • We were a little confused by other cool features like the “Thank You Cam” and Antonio Sabato’s overly produced “Road to The Oscars” journal. They are hosted on the Oscars page, but not found on the YouTube channel. This schizophrenic offshoot requires that you watch a video ad before the clip and it’s not sharable or embeddable. What?!
  • How to make it better? Give nominees webcams and let them video blog the full experience, from nomination to post-awards. Sadly, not everyone can be nominated for the movie world’s top prize, so this could provide a more unfiltered look at the drama and excitement that is the Oscars.
  • Following in the footsteps of the Crunchies, maybe the Oscars could have 10-second video responses filmed by each of the nominees.
  • You know all the technical awards? Well, there are tons of aspiring young make-up artists, sound editors, and costume designers who would love to see behind-the-scenes of the award nominees in action. Those vignettes are shown during the awards presentation, so why not make the full videos available online!

Best Original BlogPlay

  • Yup, the Academy had an official live blogger, Joel Stein.
  • Now, we’re not knocking Joel, but maybe the Academy could have also invited a couple of bloggers from big entertainment or movie blogs to officially live-blog the show from the Kodak theater. Yes, they are probably going to blog it from home, but an official invite is a powerful gesture that could leverage preexisting reader communities’ excitement about the show.
  • Nominees are busy busy, but they could still Twitter 🙂 The academy could also aggregate all discussion on Twitter regarding the academy awards and post it on the home page.
  • What if iJustine could videocast backstage?! HOT!

Best Application in a Social Network

  • You may not have known this, but the Academy has a Facebook widget. According to the Oscar site, the widget has a countdown feature, trivia game, and plays the ad-sponsored videos not found on YouTube.
  • Sadly, Oscar’s widget only has around 1,000 users, with only 32% of them active. This could be due to the oh-so-uninspiring description on the app’s page: “Follow the latest buzz about this year’s Academy Awards! Add the OSCAR Widget today. Click the blue “Add to Page” button in the right column!” *yawn* Also, it looks like it may have just been launched a few weeks ago.
  • Application adoption is really hard to break in to. Some suggestions for Oscar: let users earn points to send virtual gifts, or allow them to create mash-up montages of the nominees or past shows. Also, people love movie-compatibility quizzes.

Next Year’s Nominees?

  • The Academy should try to utilize preexisting communities like Facebook groups to build buzz.
  • Flickr photo stream to compile all the photos tagged with Academy Awards. Also, make the photos already on the site embeddable.
  • Wikis on all the Lifetime Achievement folks we might not know.
  • Tribute pages for the dead Academy members.

All in all, socialTNT was really satisfied with the Academy’s social media efforts. The Academy should be fully applauded for their YouTube efforts. In terms of strategy, our only suggestion would be to start the seeding process a couple weeks–if not months–out. The first videos to be posted were from 5 days before the event. That’s not really enough time to “go viral.”

As Hollywood starts to see online video as a valid and viable revenue stream, and as TV viewership drops, the Oscars will inevitably be faced with doing more CyberScreen adaptation. How did you think the Academy fared? Was there anything you thought could have been added that wasn’t? Tell us in the comments!

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[The above photo, “Oscar” by Alan Light, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Best Practices, Future of Media, Marketing, New Media, Recap, Social Media, Video, Viral video

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Still Sick

Hey Guys:

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with the flu for almost two weeks now. Thank you all for your warm Tweets and emails.

Initially I thought it was tonsillitis, but it has progressed into something more. When not at work, I’m sleeping. It’s been rough trying to maintain my client workload and publish the blog. Unfortunately, I’ve also had to cancel interviews with some great folks.

Please bear with me as I regain my health. I hope to return next week to the timely commentary and insightful profiles all of you have come to expect from socialTNT.

We’ve got some exciting things in the works this quarter, including a bit of a face lift and more audio and video programming. We also are working on some distribution deals across a variety of media so that you can get socialTNT however you want it.

If you haven’t already, please add our RSS feed to your reader.  Better yet, subscribe to socialTNT by email!

Best,

Chris

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“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Liz Gannes, NewTeeVee”

No Valentine? No problem! Today’s “3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min” comes with all the sweet sentiment of a box of chocolates, but without that bad stomach ache afterwards.

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. In addition to helping PR peeps pitch these individuals more effectively, the videos are meant to encourage dialog between reporters, PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

This Thursday, socialTNT chats with Liz Gannes, Editor of NewTeeVee. In today’s “3 Q’s in 3 Min” Liz shares best practices for PR pros, and also explores the future of online video now that the writers’ strike is over.

In December 2006, Liz left her very PR-pitch popular position as writer covering the Web 2.0 beat at GigaOM to edit NewTeeVee, a new media focused blog published by Om Malik’s Giga Omni Media network. If you or your client is a start-up specializing in some aspect of new media–particularly focusing on the convergence with video or broadband–this is the place to be.

When Liz agreed to the interview and gave me a pier number as an address–and then told me to meet her by the docks–I got a little worried; had I sent a bad pitch and was about to get offed? Silicon Valley can be a bit of a mobster state. Plus, Om’s stogie-smoking imagery and all-encompassing media network are pretty mafia-like. Not so, said Liz. They had just moved and didn’t have any markings up yet.

Fun Facts About Liz:

  • Before moving to Palo Alto, Liz used to live a couple of blocks from me in SF’s hipster-haven Mission district
  • Graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelors in Linguistics
  • A night person, she wakes up late and then catches up on the daily news by reading a couple hundred RSS feeds
  • While not opposed to being pitched through Facebook and Twitter, Liz sees those as personal realms — email is best
  • Liz organizes the NewTeeVee Pier Screenings in SF
  • Introduced me to my new Video Valentine: blip.tv

Watch as Liz tells us a little more about her beat, names the most influential new media innovation in 2007, and let’s us know what makes a good communications professional.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What was the most influential new media trend in 2007? Or, for PR pros, how do you add value to your reporter relations? Let us know in the comments!

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[The above photo, “Liz Gannes” by joeywan on flickr, used under Creative Commons.]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Best Practices, Blogger Relations, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video, Video Interview

“Jealous, YouTube? Find Your New Video Platform Valentine”

Today’s post was written by contributing writer, Marie Williams.

Let’s face it: When it comes to online video, YouTube may be your main squeeze, but that shouldn’t keep your eyes from wandering. Ever wonder what hot, new online video service is waiting in the wings to sweep you off your feet?

Today, socialTNT gives you the rundown of most eligible suitors. Let’s make YouTube a little jealous this Valentine’s Day by checking out your options:

Viddler: The girl (or boy) next door
Viddler has a great selection of organic video content created by people like you and me. The coolest part: You can comment at various time stamps in the video. Viddler even has the heart of online lifecasting and social media queen iJustine (she’s even featured in the “How To” video on the site). C’mon, if iJustine thinks Viddler’s hot, isn’t it worth a try for you? Check out iJustine’s original music video, “Lifecaster.”
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Revver: Good for a short-term commitment

The content on Revver is well-produced and slickly packaged. The site is also endorsed by iJustine. The plus for Revver is its revenue sharing programming, splitting the revenue 50/50 between Revver and publishers. I have to admit: The ads running across your screen are a bit annoying, but it’s still a great place for short n’ sweet clips like this one by Mike Burk of Cupid dancing on a stripper’s pole. Dance, Cupid, dance!

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Blip: Content Casanova

Blip, currently in beta, will charm you with its sleek design and professional-grade content. Billed as a TV alternative, it has a lot of cool, well-produced serial shows by publishers like Alive in Baghdad and Wallstrip. Like Revver, there is a 50/50 revenue sharing. Yes, there are embedded ad captions, but, due to Blip’s spacious screen, the ads appear less intrusive than on Revver.

With so much amazing content, you’re guaranteed to find something you like, and may even want a second date (or a third, or a fourth, if you get hooked on one of their original shows). Here’s a video by WatchMojo for you singles (and possible V-day haters):

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Metacafe: You hafta get to know ’em first

With reposted television advertisements and promo vids taking up prime real estate on the splash page, Metacafe initially seems devoid of original content. After we scratched the surface, however, we came across a huge cache of technical videos–perfect for Geek Love!

Metacafe’s publisher rewards program and well-organized interface make it great for distributing content. The below video, from KentChemistry.com, helped them earn a whopping $9,299! But ads BEFORE the videos are SUPER annoying. Who wants to watch a full-on spot for Jack in the Box before you get to the goods? Total deal-breaker. Our reviewers are not giving it a second date.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Now that you have some newbies vying for your heart, tell us: Is YouTube still the top dog, or are you finding yourself attracted elsewhere? Who’s your online video sweetie and what’s your fave place to create and view content? Tell us in the comments!

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[The above photo, “._* { Sometimes I wish my life was a movie, I can puase, rewind and forward when ever I want or need to !! } *_.” by Adoodi , ™ in Manchester ❤ , on flickr, used under Creative Commons license.]

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Filed under Just For Fun, New Media, Product Review, Social Media, Video

“Swollen Tonsils Full of Facebook Fatigue”

Just a quick programming note to say I’ve got golf ball sized tonsils. I’ve also got a fever that’s making me hallucinate about getting on planes and being late to my paper route back in 6th grade.

socialTNT’s Contributing Writer Marie Williams is cooking up a great post for tomorrow, and we’ve got a top-notch blogger slated for Thursday’s “3Q’s in 3Min.”

I’m gonna crawl back under the covers. In the meantime: Coming down with Facebook Fatigue? You’re not alone. Check out these facts from our friend Wayne over at Cynopsis: Digital:

MySpace saw user engagement spike in January, according to the latest ComScore social networking metrics, with users spending an average of 204 minutes on the site for the month, (an increase of almost 14% from Dec.) Facebook’s unique visitors fell 2.3% from December and are more or less flat since August, with users spending an average of 172.1 minutes on the site last month.

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[The above photo, “Waiting for the Judgement” by Jan Tik on flickr, used under Creative Commons license.]

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