Category Archives: It’s A Conversation

“Chow Down: How to Use Friendfeed for Better PR”

So we’ve held off on posting about Friendfeed for several months.  As adoption has slowly increased, we have started to warm up to it.  While it may be too soon to ditch Twitter and throw all your efforts into Friendfeed, it can be a great tool to add to your arsenal.  Today, socialTNT takes a look at some of the ways Friendfeed can help you build relationships and more effectively reach your target reporters and bloggers.

What is Friendfeed?

  • Friendfeed is a “social aggregator”
  • In non-Valley speak: Friendfeed is like the Facebook newsfeed, except it lists all the actions you do across more than 43 sites, including YouTube, Flickr, StumbleUpon, Digg and LinkedIn
  • Also like Facebook, you can share items directly into your feed.
  • Most exciting: Every action in the feed becomes a blog post, letting you comment in a conversation thread

Friendfeed for Media Research

To be the good PR person that you are, you do your due diligence by reading all articles and post by your target journos and blogos–if not daily, then before you reach out to them.

With Friendfeed, you can see:

  • All of their latest posts
  • What they are reading
  • Twitter-feed
  • Pictures of the fam
  • Videos

Take a look at the page from Chris Nuttall of Financial Times (click to enlarge):

You can stay up-to-date with any of the blogos or journos you follow by adding their feed to your reader.  Scroll down to the bottom of the feed and click the RSS Logo:

Get Involved With a Reporter’s/Blogger’s Community

Friendfeed isn’t just a stalking device, it’s a great opportunity for PR peeps to form relationships and have conversations not usually possible.

  • Become a member of the reporter’s or blogger’s community by:
    • Adding thoughtful comments to their items
    • Participating in discussions

Check out the screenshot, below, from Robert Scoble’s feed. The red box shows you where to go to comment.  Click “more” to link to this item or share it with your feed.

Click on “more comments” (as indicated by the green box, above) to see the full conversation thread related to that action’s comments.  Robert even answers comments:

Getting Started with Friendfeed

  • Sign up for a free account
  • Add the info from the sites you want to share
  • Add me
  • Add some Reporters/Bloggers (a few listed below)
  • Join “Rooms” or groups based on your interests or your clients’ industry
  • Share posts, articles, interesting thoughts

Reporters and bloggers on Friendfeed

Just a small sample:

With Friendfeed and Twitter, you have a great non-intrusive way to get to know reporters and bloggers.  You also get the chance to join their community and share ideas.  Go ahead and give it a shot!

Also, check out the new widgets Friendfeed (like a Blogger Badge, Share This, RSS and others) has recently launched. It also looks like they are trying to speed up RSS. Cool!

Are you using Friendfeed? What has your experience been like? Like/dislike? Let us know in the comments!

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Filed under It's A Conversation, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“Breadcrumbs: Using Curiosity to Strategically Reach Audiences”

Last week, Robert Scoble declared Tech PR useless.  My response, a light-hearted post to shake off the negative energy, called for change within the PR industry.  Many of you emailed me asking about the future of PR and marketing, so today I wanted to share those thoughts.

Changing Landscape

The founders of our industry, in my opinion, did not intend us to be keepers of the keys and intermediaries, but actual creators and facilitators.  The original press release was not an announcement, but rather a creation of compelling content that editors wanted to print.  They looked for stories to tell and then pitched these to reporters.  And it worked, as long as the mainstream media was in control of the information.

Things have changed.  Today, the Mainstream Media is struggling and the walls are crumbling.  The rise of the Internet has moved content consumption online.  Also, thanks to social media, everyone has the ability to create content themselves.  Translation: The Internet is a REALLY REALLY noisy space.

Information Overload

Technologies like search and RSS feeds make information easily accessible–but they never seem to find *exactly* what you want.  Also, social networks and bookmarking sites have added the human element to finding content, but even that isn’t always enough.  With traditional media, reporters distilled the real world into articles.  Likewise, bloggers take information on the Internet and present what’s good.

With decentralized information filtering, how do we make a significant impact to reach our audience, whether they are bloggers, reporters or consumers?

Curiouser and Curiouser

If I understand Robert and the other Tech bloggers, they are finding information through community and curiosity. They listen to what others in their online peer network (whether Facebook, Friendfeeed, Twitter, RSS Feeds, etc.) are saying/sharing.  They also track and discover products and services the same way consumers do: word of mouth and surfing/searching.

What does this mean for PR and marketing practitioners?

  • The goal is to leave breadcrumbs your audience follows to find you as if by magic
  • To do this, we have to think like our audiences
  • Instead of asking “What do we want our customers to think?”, we have to ask “What are our customers interested in? How can we reach them?” and “What can we teach them?”
  • We no longer create stories, we look for conversation
  • We execute strategy to reach audiences where they share ideas
  • We engage in industry wide discussions with our clients as the moderator

We Are The Music Makers, We Are the Dreamers of the Dream

Instead of just producing viral videos, widgets, blog posts and (gasp) press releases, let’s create content people will want to consume.  Let’s build rabbit holes of discussion that our curious audiences can crawl into.

The ultimate goal: Be known for facilitating stimulating conversation around topics related to our clients/services by creating content our audiences will be interested in.

How do you see the future of PR? How do you inspire curiosity and conversation to energize communities and build awareness?

[This post inspired by a conversation with Tim Dyson, CEO of Next15 (the holding company that owns my firm, Text100) and numerous conversations with Todd Defren and Brian Solis]

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[The above photo, “Down the Rabbit Hole” by valkyrieh116 on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Future of Media, It's A Conversation, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“Say No to No Comment: How to Answer Negative Blog Posts”

Someone wrote a scathing review of your company’s product on their blog–now what?

Well, you can either ignore it or you can respond. In traditional PR, you’d be shirking your duties if you didn’t follow-up with the reporter. Same goes with social media, except the world can see your response. Whether the post is positive or negative, you have to comment.

Here are a few tips to ensure you comment with success:

  • Take a deep breath!
    • Sometimes the excitement (or hate) can cloud a clear head. Remember, it’s the Internet and everything will be a part of your permanent record. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your mother/future boss/customer/client to read
  • Acknowledge and thank the blogger for their feedback/comments/insight/linklove
    • Remember, we are listening now. Whether you agree with it or not, they put effort into their post and their feedback can provide a snapshot of what your customers or other reporters/bloggers are thinking
  • You’re building a relationship, which means accountability and honest discussion.
    • Try to address the concerns and tell them what you are doing or plan on doing to fix any problems. If it was a positive piece, write something that can help build the discussion or add deeper insight into the topic
    • Cut the marketing speak and messaging. Read what the blogger is saying and respond as a human, not a PR-bot
  • Transparency and full disclosure
    • Let readers know you are with the company or represent the company. It’s about ethics.
  • DO NOT try to pad the comments with anonymous or fictitious posts
    • You may not see it when you read the post, but bloggers can see the IP address of every comment. Several comments from the same IP addy looks suspicious and a simple search can rat you out

Some stellar examples from comments in socialTNT’s past:

Kevin Cuneo’s reply to a potentially critical post in “You Are Doing Your Clients a Horrible Disservice”

Hi Chris,

Over here at Yoono we completely agree that Twitter is a great way to connect with our community. And we find Summize to be the best way to monitor Twitter. I love how it lets you know there’s more results since your last search. (I was also using it to track my replies when that feature went down on Twitter.)

We’re going a mile a minute over here so unfortunately there’s only so much time in the day to respond to negative comments and assist users via Twitter. However, we try to get to as many as we can and if they aren’t responded to, users can rest assured they were read and taken into account. Although we love good feedback, we think any feedback is worthwhile in helping us craft a superior product.

With that said I’m off to check in on Summize, looks like I have nine results up since my last search.

Great post, keep up the good work. And we’re all looking forward to Marie’s review!

Cheers,

Kevin Cuneo
Yoono Community Evangelist
kcuneo (at) yoono (dot) com
http://twitter.com/kcuneo

Kevin didn’t make excuses. He acknowledged the concerns and addressed the problem thoughtfully.

Reply to a positive post from “Dell Hell Freezes Over: A Great Example of Turning Lemons into Lemonade”

johnpatdell

Chris – As a member of Dell’s digital media team, I think you’ve done as fine a job as anyone to summarize how the company has worked to move on to a new chapter. It’s been a wild ride, but the journey has only just begun. Today, we view the integration of social media technologies as a natural evolution of our business and an exciting new dimension in which to deal directly with our customers.

In this comment, John acknowledged the statements in the post. He also adds to the post by telling the readers what Dell will be doing in the future.

Conclusion: Both John and Kevin effectively stated their company’s point of view without sounding arrogant. It’s a delicate balance. Just imagine you were having a discussion with your mom/girlfriend/boyfriend/brother or anyone else you love but sometimes have disagreements with.

How do you respond to negative comments? What tips or tricks can you share? Any examples of stellar commenting in action? Let us know in the comments

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[The above photo, “Message Board” by Emmy_P on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Community Manager, Community Relations, How To, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0

“Gina Responds! And: About Yesterday’s Post”

Late yesterday, I received the following email from Gina. My reply is further down the page:

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your email. My name and further explanation appears on the
wiki, which anyone can leave a comment on. (You just need to log into
PBwiki to do so.)

Also, as I say on the wiki, I welcome story pitches to tips@lifehacker.com.

Have a good weekend,
Gina

I also received some Tweets and emails saying yesterday’s post/email was a little harsh.

The post was about accountability, communication and education. If someone creates something that could impact people’s pocket books, that person should take responsibility for their actions. Especially if that person is already involved in social media and understands that nature of how it works.

On Gina’s blog and in her books, she helps educate people by offering tips and tricks to do things more effectively. That’s what was so irksome about the situation. She could have easily taken the same amount of time to write an educational post–or really any post at all–and could have positively affected the conversation.

My reply to Gina is below. As always, please feel free to comment.

Hi Gina:

Thanks for your email, and thanks for changing the wiki. I’m 100% for sharing opinions. I also 100% understand your frustration.

From what I can see from your blog, you and I both have the same goal: to help and educate. That is probably why I found your actions so upsetting. Instead of using your talent and skill to help people learn and perhaps prevent the mistake, you chose a negative action. You used your position of power and influence to negatively affect an industry on which you rely. You may say, “I shouldn’t have to educate people on how to do their job,” but you do it daily on your blog.

Check out these posts from Mashable and this one from ReadWriteWeb. By offering tips with best and worst practices, these guys are helping to make it easier for themselves and the PR pros that pitch them. After receiving several really really bad pitches of the course of a few days, I also posted “Luke I Am Your Blogger, How to Pitch From the Dark Side” as a way for me to vent my frustrations. It also allowed me to use my unique role as both blogger and PR pro to help others grow from my experience.

Remember, what you say/post can affect people’s pocketbooks. Please think about that and look to find ways to positively impact the conversation.

Thank you,

Chris

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[The above painting is by my favorite guerrilla artist, Banksy. His book says “Copyright is for losers,” so I don’t think he’ll mind if we use it]

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Filed under Blogger Relations, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“Unsubscribe Lifehacker: My Email to Gina Trapani”

This morning, the Twitterverse was a flame after Gina Trapani from Lifehacker tweeted a link to a wiki she had created. The wiki, PR Companies Who Spam Bloggers, is a ready-to-paste-into-your-spam-filter list of domains belonging to a good chunk of the tech PR firms out there. Her response, thus far, has been linking back to this blog post from Matt Haughey. [UPDATED: Gina emailed saying she had changed the wiki to include attribution and reasoning. See the email, my response and my reasoning behind this post here.]

In the past, socialTNT has responded with blog posts on how to increase communications (you can find those here and here). Since there is no attribution on the wiki, I had no clue who had created the until someone shared Gina’s original Tweet. Because I found this semi-anonymous approach to be rather old-school in nature, I decided to send her the below email. It may be a little harsh, but the bottom line is that her actions affect the wallets of PR professionals everywhere. If you find my email to be a little agitated, you might prefer Todd Defren’s open letter to Gina or Brian Solis’ post discussing PR “spam.” Also, please feel free to unsubscribe Lifehacker from your RSS feed.

What do you think of Gina’s actions? Or my email? Please share your thoughts.

—————–

Hi Gina:

My name is Chris Lynn. I edit a blog called socialTNT. Our mission here is to create a discussion between PR Pros, Marketers, Bloggers and Journalists on social media and its role in our respective professions. While not as big as Lifehacker, we still receive a nice amount of traffic. I would love to expand socialTNT into something larger, but I don’t have a lot of extra time to invest. You see, I work full-time as a PR professional.

As a PR person in the new media age, I work daily with bloggers and journalists, sometimes through the phone, sometimes through email/twitter/IM. No matter what the medium, I try to devote 100% of myself to the process. I say “try” because we all have bad days, but it’s a job. I’m sure you have at least one post that wasn’t your best, so maybe you can empathize.

After I finish working 9 hour days, I come home and work on the blog. That can mean anything from reading through my feeds to planning the interviews, tweaking layouts, researching emerging tech, or just learning editing software. Then I write about it. I try to stay tuned into trends in media, marketing and PR–like I said, I don’t have a lot of time to write, but I do have a lot of ideas.

With my professional life (both with the blog and at the agency) I operate on these 3 principles:

  1. Accountability and as much Transparency as possible
  2. Communication and Conversation
  3. Education and Peer Development

Your wiki doesn’t do any of the above. [UPDATED: Gina emailed saying she had changed the wiki to include attribution and reasoning.] Sure, you semi-transparently Tweeted the link. Those who stumble upon the wiki won’t know this. By cutting off domains, you stifle conversation. Had you blogged the list, there might have been debate/discussion in the comments. Yes, Twitter is a discussion, but it’s not particularly contiguous, nor is it associated with the list. Finally, your post did nothing along the lines of education. In my eyes, your move was an aggressive one that came from a place of anger instead of looking towards understanding.

In the new media age, information is currency. By limiting the flow of information, you could find yourself bankrupt. Just remember: there’s always another up-and-comer in the wings who might just be a little thirstier than you. Oh, and another thing about the new media age: your audience is fluid. As soon as they find something better, they are quick to change their click.

In true liquid fashion, I’m exercising my right to click by unsubscribing Lifehacker from my RSS feed until the wiki is removed or until you start a more genuine dialog–on my blog or on your own. [UPDATED: Gina emailed saying she had changed the wiki to include attribution and reasoning.] I don’t support negativity. At all.

Just remember that your flippant actions and comments can affect the livelihoods of real people with real families. Please don’t take that lightly.

Best,

Chris

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Filed under Blogger Relations, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0, Rants

“Yahoo’s Jerry Yang Doesn’t Understand Blogging”

Jerry YangThis weekend, all eyes turned to the blogosphere to watch as the Microhoo deal fell through. Jerry Yang, CEO of Yahoo, also turned to blogging to plead his case. Sadly, the blog became a PR mechanism and one-sided message delivery system. Take a look at a few quotes:

“Our first quarter was probably one of the most exciting quarters in our history in terms of delivering innovative products and services that really move the needle and make a difference for our users and customers: Acquiring Maven Networks. Launching Buzz, OneSearch 2.0, voice-activated mobile search, video on Flickr, Shine….”

“So, what’s next? With Microsoft’s withdrawal, we’ll be better able to focus our energy on growing our industry leadership and maximizing value for stockholders. We’ll continue to execute on our plan — making your Internet experience as personal, relevant, open and social as possible, serving advertisers so well they insist on working with us, and opening up Yahoo! in a way that developers dream of.”

It’s a great letter to shareholders–or a press release–but it’s not a blog post. As we’ve mentioned before, a blog is a conversation. If Jerry wants to use it to put out company messages, that’s fine, but what’s the point. He’s losing a chance to re-energize the Yahoo user base.

Take a look at sampling of some of the comments:

A user named Jive sums it up best: “Above all, listen to us, your consumer, because we use your products and have specific wants, habits, usage etc.”

Wanna make it back on top, Jerry? Here are some suggestions:

  • First off, read and respond to some of the comments on this post. There are a lot of people with great ideas. You also need to think about the harsh criticism and respond thoughtfully.
  • Ask questions and listen.
  • Set up an Ideastorm type forum for people to leave suggestions and then close the feedback loop. Let users know they are being listened to and that their ideas are gaining traction. You want people to know that Yahoo! has changed? Show them by letting them get involved in product development.
  • Set up a community manager and go address the concerns in the blogosphere head on. Let them know that Yahoo wants to embrace the Internet again. Stop thinking 1.0 and start embracing your users and their voices.

Jerry, I love Yahoo. You guys have so many great properties, but they are all disconnected. If you read the comments on your post, you’ll see many users feel the same way. You’ll also see that most of them still love Yahoo. Give them something to get excited about. Your users make or break the company. If you listen to them–and interact with them–they will welcome you back with open arms. I guarantee it.

What do you think? Did Jerry’s post legitimately address user concerns? What do you think Yahoo should do to reengage its user base?

add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: Stumble It! :: seed the vine :: :: TailRank

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Filed under Community Manager, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“3Q’s in 3Min: Geoff Livingston, The Buzz Bin”

It’s May Day, and people all around the world are marching towards better rights for workers. That’s right, people everywhere are chanting for more time on Facebook and the ability to watch “3Q’s in 3Min” at their desks.

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, journalists and marketers on the future of media.

Last week while at Web 2.0, we caught up with Geoff Livingston from the Buzz Bin. From media relations to branding and online marketing, Geoff’s fifteen-year career has covered the full gamut of communications. Geoff’s blog is a must-read for anyone pursuing new media marketing and PR, and his book, “Now is Gone” should be required reading for marketing executives. In today’s “3Q’s in 3Min,” Geoff breaks out his crystal ball to look into the future of marketing and PR, and gives some practical advice on strategy.

In the age of new media, the same principles for marketing and PR strategies remain, it’s just the tools that have changed. Instead of trying to force the strategy to fit the tools (blog, twitter, video, etc), Geoff reminds us that it’s important to choose the tools that best work with the strategy we implement.

One of the first steps to developing any strategy is knowing your audience. With social media we have more chances to form conversations and relationships with our audience. Geoff stresses that we have to meet them on their turf, using the tools and platforms they use. It’s part of Geoff’s theory of learning to “think liquid”–move with the community without getting hung up on one particular tool.

In the video below (probably sTNT’s most raw video to date), Geoff postulates the future of communications and the steady march towards humanization of marketing. Oh, and he’s tired of talking about blogs.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So how do you perceive the future of PR and marketing? Is it more humanized? Let us know in the comments!

No time to watch the video at work? Get “3Q’s in 3Min” free from iTunes and watch it on the go!

Also, don’t miss out: Got RSS? [what’s that?]. Or, start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox!

[The above photo, “You Da Man” by CC Chapman used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Blogging, Future of Media, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview