Tag Archives: online video strategy

“And…Cut! How Not To Pitch Video Content”

Last night a top-tier blogger told me they were having problems with people using video to promote and pitch their company. To make sure video doesn’t become the new press release that pisses journos and bloggers off, I wanted to share the problem and discuss a couple of ways to pitch video effectively.

Problem

Startup Z wants Blogger X to write about their new product announcement, so they send a video. Nope, not a link to YouTube. Not a link to a social media news release. Nope, they send a 60+ MB file as an attachment with no textual support. They also offer a link to a YouSendIt type place to download. Why is that a problem?

Think about it like this:

  • Assumes blogger is near a connection that can download
    • Many bloggers travel like nomads going from conference to conference
  • Assumes bloggger has time to download 60+ MB
    • As a rule of thumb, if you can’t send it from your email, maybe you should rethink the file size
    • Is a link better?
  • Assumes blogger will open it
    • I generally don’t open unsolicited attachments for fear of computer viruses
  • Assumes blogger has the proper program to play that file format
    • Sadly, we don’t have universal standards on video. Some blogos are Mac-based while other are strictly PC (shocking!)
  • Assumes blogger has time/brainpower to sit and watch the video
    • At the end of the day, I just dont have the strength to watch another video

Solution

I love video more than most people in PR and applaud anyone trying to create content that tells their story in innovative ways. As we as an industry try to figure out how to integrate these new technologies into our campaigns, we may encounter a few hiccups along the way. You want journos and bloggers to be interested in the content you are creating, so be mindful when you pitch them

To make sure your video gets the attention it deserves, try these steps:

  • Load the video to YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, Blip.tv (Need help choosing? Read our review of the top video platforms)
  • Under Embargo? Not ready for the world to see the video?
    • Blip.tv allows you to create password-protected videos. Send a link with the password to the bloggers and reporters you do want to share the vid with
    • Blip.tv also allows your viewers to download the video in a variety of formats that the viewer chooses
  • Send a text summary (preferably bulleted) in the email alongside the video
    • Watching a 3 minute video may not seem like a big investment, but it is. Give journos and bloggers an alternative
    • Bullet out the key points so the journo or blogger can see if it’s something they are interested in
    • This also helps ensure that all the messages and facts you want them to pull from the video will at least be acknowledged

We all want to do the best things for our clients. Whether the video is featured in a post on a top-tier blog, inspires another post or gets picked up by several long-tail bloggers, the visual format can have a significant impact on your audiences. Just be mindful of the people you are pitching and you can guarantee your content gets the attention it deserves!

How do you pitch out your video or audio content? Let us know in the comments!

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[The above photo, “Digital Alarm Clock” by Endless Studio on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Best Practices, Blogger Relations, How To, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video

“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

“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

“2.0 Politik: Do Republican Candidates Make the Grade?”

Today’s post was written by socialTNT Contributing Writer, Marie Williams. I promise we’ll get personalized bylines showing soon. 🙂

“vote for this guy” by switch_1010 on flickr

With Rudy Giuliani’s withdrawal from the Republican presidential campaign yesterday evening, the competition for the Republican nomination is heating up. Social media tactics have the possibility to tip the balance, but which candidates are using social media to their advantage and which are missing the boat? Today, socialTNT separates the cool kids from the amateurs.

Ron Paul, Class Valedictorian (Overall Grade: A)

  • Online Video—up-to-date and frequently refreshed YouTube channel, a Justin.TV channel (although that hasn’t been updated for two months), and Mogulus Live Streaming Video. Impressive, Ron! Grade: A+
  • Blogging—There’s a hidden bloggish section called “daily updates” (click here and scroll down to below the Flash-animated banner to find it) and a very difficult-to-find blog called The Daily Dose campaign HQ blog. While not very aptly placed, both blogs are well updated and contain some good, meaty posts. Grade: A-
  • Social Networks—Very active Facebook profile updated with hundreds of posted items and notes pertaining to Paul’s campaign. While his MySpace page is definitely not as snazzy as his competitors with all the bells and whistles, it is very personal and includes all pertinent links to more information on campaign activities. Grade: A
  • RSS—You can subscribe to the daily updates blog, as well as The Daily Dose, although the newsroom sections don’t have RSS feeds available. Grade: A-
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—Unlike all the other Republican candidates, Ron has an official Twitter page.

Mitt Romney, Second in Class (Overall: B+)

  • Online Video—Of course, Mitt has the token YouTube channel, but the Mitt TV section of Mitt’s site is what sets it apart in terms of visual online content. The section is incredibly well-organized and catalogs videos by category, including events, interviews, news, and even a section for “fun” videos. Grade: A+
  • Blogging—Mitt’s “Five Brothers” blog, which includes posts from Mitt, his wife Ann and five sons, is updated on a regular basis, sometimes more than once a day. The posts are often made by Mitt’s sons (Mitt himself hasn’t updated since 9/11 of last year), and add a great personal element to the blog even if Mitt isn’t the one posting. Grade: A
  • Social Networks—Facebook profile? Check, and it’s well fleshed out and updated with news and videos to boot. MySpace page? Check, and also very well-organized with personal profile info, a video welcome, and Slide photo show. Mitt also has a Meetup page and a Flickr account that includes photos from the campaign trail. Grade: A-
  • RSS—While the “Five Brothers” blog does have separate RSS feeds for all authors (click here and see lefthand corner), there’s no RSS feed for Mitt TV and no RSS feed for the news section. Bummer! Grade: B
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—Nope! But if Mitt decides to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, someone’s already parked the MittRomney username and has 34 followers (no updates to speak of).

Mike Huckabee, Average Abe (Overall: B)

  • Online Video—Typical YouTube Channel and a video archive in the newsroom. Nothing special, nothing innovative. *Yawn* Grade: B-
  • BloggingMike has a very consistently updated blog that runs the gamut from video posts to general news announcements to calls to action. Also includes a great, incredibly lengthy blogroll of other blogs supporting Huckabee’s campaign. Extra credit for some cool blog widgets for supporters to load on their own blogs. Grade: A+
  • Social Networks—Very basic Facebook profile, but brownie points for the active discussion boards. Standard MySpace profile with a video welcome as a nice personal touch. Mike goes for the basics but could stretch his social networking skills much farther. Grade: B-
  • RSSRSS for the blog, but nothing else. Eh for minimal effort to syndicate content. Grade: B
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—No dice. Not even a parked page for this one.

John McCain, Barely Passing (Grade: C)

  • Online VideoYouTube channel and some videos on MySpace. Blase, much? Grade: C+
  • Blogging—The blog is a very basic set of general updates and video posts with little to no personality. Grade: C
  • Social Networks—Blah Facebook profile, although his MySpace page boasts some multimedia facets and a few videos. Overall pretty weak. Grade: C
  • RSSFeeds are available for the blog but there’s no feeds for the newsroom or any other part of the site. Grade: B
  • Extra Credit: Twitter—Nope, but as with Romney, someone’s parked the JohnMcCain username and already has 28 followers (no updates to speak of).

And that’s a wrap. No doubt as the race for Republican nominee continues to heighten in intensity, candidates will consider additional social media tactics as a way to boost their visibility among their wavering constituents.

But don’t worry Dems, we haven’t forgotten about you. socialTNT will be posting on the Democratic candidate reviews this week. In the meantime, tell us how you’re following the presidential race using social media technologies. Is it Twitter? Blogs? Online video? Let us know in the comments!

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[The above photo, “vote for this guy” by switch_1010 on flickr, used under Creative Commons license.]

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Filed under 2.0 Politik, Future of Media, Politics, Social Media, Social Networking

“MacBook Error: Six Tips To Apple On Social Media Marketing”

It’s MacWorld fever in San Francisco. I think their new Macbook, the MacBook Air, is beautiful, but everytime I hear the new name, I hear MacBook “Error.” Today I want to address the biggest MacBook Error: the thinness of their conversation in the social media realm.

Yes, I know they are on top of the world, but there are voices from the blogosphere that point to cracks in the MacBrand base; early adopters and super fans feel left out. As Apple becomes more of a consumer brand, more mainstream users will purchase Macs. This means more complaints, stretching the ardent fans–and customer service–thin; no longer will every negative Apple post be bombarded with super users flaming the blogger. To address this, Apple will need to stop pushing products and messages at its community. Instead, they will need to become more engaged with their community.

Steve, are you listening? Here are some of my top tips for Apple on refreshing their Social Media efforts to revive the Fan Base:

  • Stop trying to silence your superfans!
  • Beautiful Ads and Demos, set them free!
    • Sharing is Caring. Let the videos into the wild by allowing them to be embedded into other sites and shared. Just by sending a link back to the page is tres 1.0. Do this with Steve’s keynote, too.
  • MacBook Air: Behind the Scenes
    • For movie buffs, the “Extra Features” on a DVD are one more reason to buy. Same goes for tech geeks. Show us the behind the scenes of the MacBook Air. Intimate video chats with the Hardware Design team. Live podcasts (with call-in) featuring the User Experience team.
    • Too hardcore? Ok, open up developers’ blogs!
  • Like a shepherd herding the flock…
    • A Community Manager could address the worries early adopters are having re the MacBook Air. They can also hit up the Green bloggers upset about Apple’s lack of true environmental concern, or just common users P.O.-ed about Leopard’s constant crashes. Go and address those posts head on. Cut the messaging and speak to them like people.
  • Open up a dialog
    • Apple currently has a web-based form for feedback, but it feels like you are sending it out into a void. Make it a community, like Dell, where users can submit suggestions/concerns and then vote on the ideas. Yes, there is a forum, but it relies heavily on super fans…and forums are SOOOOO 1.0.
    • Customers also need to know that they are taken seriously. Close the feedback loop. Let them know the status of their suggestions.
  • I’m Streaming of a Live MacWorld
    • Ok, it may be a little far fetched, but I want a cam to be following someone through the MacWorld experience, like a fly on the wall. Bonus points if that fly is STEVE JOBS!

I love all my Apple products, but I’ve been a little upset since upgrading Leopard. No longer can I play music on Front Row through my Airport Express. I filled out a comment form and have not received any sort of follow-up. I’ve dropped so much money on my desktop, laptop, keyboard, Airport, Airport Express, and I deserve some sort of acknowledgment.

What do you think? Is Apple heading towards Dell Hell or are they on the right track? What suggestions would you give Apple on reinvigorating their fan base?

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Filed under Best Practices, How To, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Rants, Sharing is Caring, Social Media, Video

“Stick It To The Man: Choice Shirts, California Cosmetics, Technomic Asia”

//www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=76988191&size=oAs the rest of the blogosphere debates Enterprise marketing, we at socialTNT want to bring it back to the people. Big corporations meet behind closed doors to figure out social media, while thousands of people are trying out new ideas every day. This week, socialTNT is gonna “Stick It To The Man” by showcasing small businesses and individuals experimenting with new media as promotional tools.

Choice Shirts is a t-shirt site where visitors can browse, purchase and create graphic t-shirts. I know, there a literally tons of online t-shirt purveyors, but how many of them use Twitter? Choice sends out daily special tweets with discount information. There are only 20-something followers right now, but this could increase if they promoted their Twitter-stream on the site.

California Cosmetics, mentioned in my post on rethinking online video strategy, is the product of a 20 year old girl named Lauren, a certified cosmetologist working her way through college. She uses YouTube to give video tutorials on achieving certain looks. Since starting on October 29th of this year, Lauren has more than 570 subscribers and is the 16th most subscribed director in the “guru” channel. Many of her posts come from requests and questions she receives from her fan-base. By listing upcoming posts, Lauren keeps her viewers coming back.

Technomic Asia is a strategic consulting firm for businesses moving into the Asian market. The firm has approximately 25 employees. Their (mostly) weekly podcast includes tips for executives visiting China or special news relevant to companies doing business in that market. According to feedburner, their podcast has about 550 subscribers. With most episodes rack up to 2000 downloads, Technomic Asia places itself in a good position to establish thought leadership.

By looking at these three examples, how can you reach your customers directly and in real time? Do you have special knowledge or skills that you can offer your customers? What’s holding you back!

How are you using social media to promote your small business? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email or hit me up on Twitter. We will be showcasing unique angles all week!

[Above photo by Mika Hiironneimi under Creative Commons]

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Filed under How To, New Media, Product Review, Small Business Social Media, Social Media, Stick It To the Man

“Please Standby: Rethinking Online Video Strategy”

Ahhh, what a difference a year makes. Last year, “You” won Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, user-generated content was king, and everyone wanted to create a viral video.

This week, there has been a lot of discussion of online video. The magicians are telling their secrets. And as the magic wears off, it seems many times the Emperor is actually wearing no clothes. Today, we’ll take a look at what the last year has taught us about online video and try to find ways we can make it a conversation.

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

This week, two articles came out, both promising to provide readers with tips on viral video making. Let’s take a look at some of the tips and see if they are fully utilizing social media to engage the consumer

The first, a post on TechCrunch by Dan Ackerman Greenberg, felt like I was reading something dirty. He does outline several good specs on the video itself, but it’s the more outreach oriented tips that pose dangerous:

  • “We reach out to individuals who run relevant blogs and actually pay them to post our embedded videos.”
  • “…kickstarting the conversations by setting up multiple accounts on each forum and posting back and forth between a few different users.”
  • “We get a few people in our office to log in throughout the day and post heated comments back and forth (you can definitely have a lot of fun with this).”
  • “Also, we aren’t afraid to delete comments…We can’t let one user’s negativity taint everyone else’s opinions.”

Sounds like old-school, one-sided, totally opaque marketing to me. This is truly pushing content at the consumer without caring what they have to say. In fact, it reminds me of a modern day laugh track; the consumer is fooled into believing that others have thought about, commented, and enjoyed the video.

The second article comes from Kevin Nalts in a guest piece for Advertising Age. He offers several of the same specs (keep it short, quality doesn’t matter, proper tags, etc.) but gives brands suggestions that seem more community-focused.

  • “We’ll watch your advertising and even spread it for you — unless you promote gratuitously, insult us or, worse yet, bore us.”
  • “The smarter play is to sponsor popular video creators to create entertainment with product placement. This requires brands to let go of overt marketing messages and trust the instincts of creators to please their audiences.”
  • “Some brands fear running a contest because they don’t want to be ridiculed. But brands will be bashed by disgruntled consumers via online video whether or not their companies dabble in the space. Quietly watching from the sidelines is no insurance policy and certainly won’t grow revenue.”

I think Kevin’s piece gets closer to the idea that social media should engage a community. Considering the user-base and realizing the conversation is already in progress are great suggestions, but can we take it deeper? How can we better engage our audiences?

Turn That Pumpkin into a Carriage

In a NewTeeVee post yesterday from Craig Rubens, the question is asked: “Online Video: Is It Really Interactive?” Although specifically about online entertainment series, what he says can be applied to marketing and PR video campaigns:

Although the online video experience would appear to be this mythical, multilateral, interactive video utopia, the reality is, in fact, quite different. Because while it’s certainly possible for a network of collaborative video artists to work together, online, to piece together a long-term video mosaic of participatory brilliance, the reality has often been more of an ad hoc, trivial mess of mediocrity.

As we awaken from the spell of online video, we have to take it to the next level. I know online videos are entertaining ways to convey messages, but can we use the medium more effectively? It may be a Utopian dream, but we have to incorporate all the features and beauty of social media into our online video campaigns. What can we do?

Contests seem to be the most common approach to getting the consumer involved. Most companies simply have users generate commercial content for the company. But is this really two-sided?

In order to converse with users in their community, we have to learn how those communities work. On YouTube, most people post videos which are then replied to in either video or text form through comments. Full threads sprout and conversations go back and forth.

With that in mind, here are some tips:

  • You’ve got a blog, great! What about a weekly video series?
    • You can create a company channel on YouTube and then embed into your blog.
    • It’s Really easy to set-up. Just buy a digital point-and-shoot camera. I recommend the Canon SD-series.
  • Don’t spam. Offer tips or tricks. Or Industry trend commentary.
    • Make the content valuable, not just forgettable. Give people a reason to share the video and return to your channel.
  • Post casual conversations and interviews.
    • Mini press conferences, these can inform your community or be re-purposed by vertical blogs.
  • Live videocasts of press conferences, company events or trade shows.
    • Set-up a Ustream.tv account and do
    • A spokesperson can be a newscaster interviewing other top execs.

Hopefully this infuse some creativity into the use of online videos. What other ways can we jumpstart our video campaigns to engage our audiences and actually communicate with them instead of just pushing content? Or is everything cool in YouTube-land?

Oh, and if you think consumers aren’t creating their own dialog with your “viral video” campaigns, check out this mash-up created by a guy who realized that Dove and Axe are both owned by the same company. Both have viral videos with conflicting messages. Take a look:

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Filed under Best Practices, Community Relations, Enterprise Public Relations, Future of Media, How To, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Social Networking, Viral video