pr is dead social pr

PR is dead — long live social PR

pr is dead social prPR is dead.

Did you hear me? The career I’ve been in for 18 years — dead. Over. Toast. Done.

It’s evolved into something much more powerful and effective. Social PR.

I think that PR and social media are not separate anymore — and are in fact the same thing.

I’ve seen social media evolve over the past 30 years, from CompuServe to the WeLL to AOL to Craigslist to Ryze, then Friendster, MySpace, Tribe.net, blogging, and today, Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook is just another chat room. It’s all just a big virtual cocktail party.

But what has changed — dramatically — is how we influence other influencers today. And who those other influencers are.  They’re not just press anymore.

You cannot separate “PR” and “Social Media.” They must be on the same page. The strategy must be interwoven.

Your social media, PR, marketing, web and advertising teams need to talk to each other.

Your marketing strategy must be a social marketing strategy.

Your PR strategy must be a Social PR strategy. You must evolve from the 1990s idea that “announcing to the media” is any different than “talking to your customer”.

You’re communicating directly to the public.

Your brand isn’t just B2B, or B2C. It’s person to person. Human to human.

It’s not a one way broadcast anymore. It’s a multichannel conversation.

Today you talk to everyone at once.

Your customer is there. Your investors are there. The press are there. All in the same room.

You must take social media seriously as the front line of your brand, pay attention to it, and stop posting lame, idiotic, poorly written, typo-riddled, boring dreck.

Social media is the front line of your brand!

Social media is marketing + branding + advertising + PR + analyst relations + investor relations + customer service rolled into one.

Why is Facebook worth billions — and newsracks are empty?

Today, a single Facebook post can easily reach 1 million people. That’s more than the circulation of most daily newspapers.

A Facebook ad can reach more customers for $5 than any other form of marketing ever devised in the history of mankind.

But you’re blowing thousands of dollars on ad agencies, PR agencies and print ads?

And you’re outsourcing social media to the cheapest possible, lowest level employee you can find?

Get rid of that 1990s idea that a newspaper article is more influential than a Tweet, a post or even your own blog.

You used to have to own a TV network to have influence. Today, a kid in their bedroom could have more viewers on YouTube than Oprah.

A musician or DJ who happens to have 100,000 fans or friends could be much more influential than a columnist or a journalist. (Many magazines don’t even reach 100,000 subscribers.)

Have you taken the train to work lately?

Do you see anyone reading a print publication? I don’t.  This is what the train looks like on a typical morning in San Francisco.  And these guys in t-shirts are your target audience.

Do you see them reading the banners on the bus? Billboards? Newspapers? Do they look like businessmen in stock photos?

And they’re probably not reading your website on that little screen unless it’s mobile-enabled.

Morning commute in San Francisco on the MUNI train, 2014. Do you see anyone reading a newspaper? Most of these people are probably reading Twitter and Facebook.

Morning commute in San Francisco on the MUNI train, 2014. Do you see anyone reading a newspaper? Most of these highly influential business people are reading Twitter and Facebook on their smartphone or tablet.

You need to start taking Social Media seriously as the front line of your communications strategy.

It’s not an afterthought to be delegated to Interns, your receptionist, or “maybe I’ll get to it later”.

Social media is the front line of your brand.

Social media is where you get to tell your own story. Where you generate your own news. Where you build relationships with the media. And where you let your customers know about your press coverage.

But just social media isn’t enough. Because newspapers and magazines are still important. That’s because most readers discover the news on Social Media, and because reporters and publications have influential followings on social media.

Newspapers and magazines are still very influential -- they have high page rank and authority in Google, so getting mentioned in them does wonders for page rank and SEO. They drive traffic to your website — forever.

Social PR blends traditional mainstream print/TV/radio news media Press Relations with “content marketing”. (That’s a fancy word for: “photos with words on them.”

To do viral content marketing effectively, your messages must be created specifically to reach influencers who spread the word further. And you must include those influencers in your community.

This also means, simply, that your “friends” on your social network also happen to be reporters, freelance writers, columnists and editors and they “discover” the story ideas you share on their news feed. (This is kind of like sending out a press release only much faster.)

These days, instead of relying mainly on email pitching and press releases to announce news, I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to build relationships with press and influencers.

Try following and befriending every member of the media or influencer crucial for your product. You’ll be surprised how many follow you back.  And they’ll follow what you say — so make it great content, moderated by a professional who is talented in storytelling, community building, customer support, relationship building and conflict resolution. (Hint: they’re probably not even close to entry level.)

They spread the word for you to their networks, which include their Fan pages, Twitter and the blogs and publications they write for.

Some of these influencers are traditional print or TV press.

Others are simply well connected on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — but have influence equivalent to or greater than that of traditional media.

Try discovering who among your followers and friends champions your brand and spreads the word most frequently. Reward them. Thank them. Give them free tickets and favors.

Over time, you create authentic, engaged communities who will be advocates of your brand. Who tell your story. Who spread the word for you.

Do Social PR. Because, social media is the new PR.

Is Facebook fan page advertising useless?

This week, a controversial Gallup poll declared that social media was all but useless, and that nobody was influenced by social media ads and it was all a bunch of hooey.

I was immediately suspicious that results from the Gallup survey were skewed by the print and TV media. Mainstream media are late to the social game and totally threatened by the amazing reach of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and You Tube — now reaching millions and even hundreds of millions–numbers that vastly exceed print media.

They’re also probably very threatened by Facebook advertising, which is much cheaper than print/broadcast, and reaches that oh so desirable Millennial demographic that doesn’t read or watch TV anymore.

Since I live in Facebook stats all day long, I know the truth — one post can reach more people than an article in the New York Times. Sure, Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner are no doubt losing sleep over that.

Facebook ads, and Yelp, also, can be targeted with laser-like focus on extremely niche local demographics — something print media can’t do quite as well because print is either niche and national or broad and local . Print media and TV are rarely niche and local.

Internet radio still does a lousy job of targeting its ads to any meaningful niche. Local radio still thrives because it’s both targeted and local.

I’ve been doing PR (press relations) since the days when we used fax machines and FedEx — before the Internet existed. Back then, print media was king. Getting an article that reached 100,000 readers in a national print magazine was a big deal. I think some people are still attached to the “prestige” of Print but do not realize that they can actually reach bigger numbers with social media, with far more control over their message.

Print is still very valuable — but now more because it drives traffic to your website and gives you SEO rank in Google.

In the good old days, it was an even bigger deal to end up in a big newspaper like the New York Times and reach 1 million readers. If you got on TV you might (woo hoo) reach an aggregate of 2 million people through multiple TV news stories and a video news release after spending $250,000 on a press conference and a product launch.

Times have changed. Now you can reach just as many people in a few minutes with a single Facebook post or self syndicated blog post — or half a billion with a You Tube video.

PR IS DEAD — LONG LIVE SOCIAL MEDIA?

I’ve been saying “PR is dead,  long live Social PR” for a few years now. I was a little ahead of the curve. I was also sitting around listening to the phone not ring from PR clients, and watching stories not appear in publications that were disappearing, so I was ahead of the curve and got into social media.

Now it’s clear that shift has happened.

Social media is not optional anymore. If you’re not leveraging social media to amplify your message, it’s as if you don’t exist.

Social media is now the front line of most successful marketing programs. Social media is where you distribute your message first — and later it’s picked up by the news media.

(The exception is if you are a publicly-traded company. If so, then SEC regulations require that you announce news on the newswire first, and your key media are pre-briefed under a non disclosure agreement.)

Traditional PR is still very important, but it serves a different role now–in tandem with social media. After your story appears in the news media, they use their larger networks to “syndicate” your message to their networks. You then in turn amplify the message further by syndicating their content on your networks.

Articles and reviews in mainstream media also provide credibility and great content for your website and social media to leverage, and they will boost your search rank (SEO) in Google forever.

WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU MAKE YOUR OWN NEWS

Social media is the “information hub” of your marketing wheel — and your personal social networks at the “hub” that links to other social networks and communities worldwide. The press and publications are some of those networks–but no longer the primary one.

In the old days, you sent press releases to actual members of the press for distribution. Newswires were only available to the press.

Nowadays, you are the press and you syndicate your news over social media, in addition to the press. A press release on the wire now reaches everyone on the planet at once.

Here’s an example of the reach a press release typically gets now on the Internet. As days go by, this number increases, infinitely, and many of these impressions remain on the web forever.  A press release mentioning a company traded on NYSE or NASDAQ would get much more impressions — this was what I got for a small business — 32,000 in two days. This doesn’t include the amplification from self syndicating this story on the client’s social networks. It would be difficult for a small business to get out the word that fast with traditional media.

Example of the traffic generate in two days from a well written, key word tagged press release.

Example of the traffic generate in two days from a well written, key word tagged press release for a small business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTS COMMUNITIES GLOBALLY

Here’s another example of that from the Unify.org campaign that illustrates how the Unify Facebook fan page links to other Fan pages and organizations, creating huge amplification for each post. (A single Unify post is often shared more than 5,000 times, reaching literally millions of people worldwide with no advertising.) Even with Facebook’s new restrictions, by utilizing this kind of networking, you can spread your message very rapidly and globally.

Illustration of overlapping social media communities. This strategy helped build Unify.org into one of the largest communities on Facebook. I helped write the strategic plan for Unify and was part of the core group of social media experts behind Unify.

Illustration of overlapping social media communities. This strategy helped build Unify.org into one of the largest communities on Facebook. I helped write the strategic plan for Unify and was part of the core group of social media experts behind Unify.

This strategy helped build Unify.org into one of the largest communities on Facebook. I helped write the initial strategic social media plan for Unify and was part of the core group of social media experts that helped ramp the page up. This is now one of the most viral social media communities on the planet.

As you can see in the screen shot above, it’s very possible to reach 1 million people with a single post if it’s shared, tagged and amplified with well targeted paid Facebook “boosting.” 


 

7 lazy ways to shamelessly promote your blog and social media posts to get more traffic

Put your social media on autopilot - reach thousands of influencers, worldwide while you're still asleep or drinking your first cup of coffee.

 

1. Use “Share This” widgets to shamelessly self promote.

Whether you’re using WordPress or any other blogging or web development tool, you can use the “Share This” widget on your website to quickly promote your posts .  Just install the widget on your site and right after you file your post share it shamelessly! Take an hour and share your story with every possible site out there–especially Digg and StumbleUpon. The more you share, the more links you are generating back to your site — and the more traffic you’ll get.

2. Use the “Publicize This” feature in Wordpress.

Yesterday WordPress announced some improvements to make their Publicize This feature more friendly.  Follow the instructions and watch your traffic soar.

3. Time your posts strategically.

In the world of old school journalism and PR, we have learned to strategically project which times and days will generate the most pick up for a news announcement. Tuesday at 8 am EST is when I’ve found press releases get the most pickup.

Why? Because on Monday at 8 am, everyone’s still groggy and drinking coffee (or they’re rolling in late to the office, or sitting in meetings.)

Tuesday is when business gets rolling. And it’s the day when publications traditionally have their story meetings.

Wednesday is the day the weeklies traditionally file their stories.

Thursday is still ok, but your story might get forgotten by the following Monday when reporters are writing again.

To bury bad news, you use reverse psychology. To bury bad news, announce on Friday afternoon, or right before a holiday weekend when everyone’s jetting out of town early. (This is the day for announcing the departure of a CEO or dismal profits that you don’t want to influence the market with.)

Well, I’ve discovered the same theory works with blogging, Tweeting and Facebook:

Tuesday at 9 am EST is the perfect time for a Tweet or post you want to get noticed because:

- It’s 9 am on the East Coast and everyone’s drinking coffee and checking their email, Twitter and Facebook.

- It’s 12 noon on the West Coast and everyone’s checking their social media profiles while on lunch break.

- It’s 6 pm in London, and everyone’s finished their work day and are checking their PCs.

There are lots of tools that help you write your Twitter posts in advance and time them. WordPress also let’s you schedule a post in advance so it blasts out just at the right time.  Marketing consultant Gary McCaffree has this great chart that helps you predict the “sweet spot” for a Tweet — he says the best time is between 9 am and 3 pm.

4. Have everything connected so your WordPress updates your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, automatically.

This is so easy and so potent. (And you can even rig it so that it’s on autopilot while you’re still asleep — tricking your clients and colleagues into thinking you are a hard working early riser!)

- Set up the Wordbook plug in to post your WordPress to your Facebook wall.

- Now set up the WordPress to Twitter plug in so that your WordPress post automatically goes out to your Twitter subscribers.

- And use the Twitter to Linked in widget to set things up so your Tweet automatically updates your LinkedIn status.

Wow! You just got out the word to thousands of professional connections while you were still asleep!

5. Use a press release to dramatically boost your story’s pick up.

There are hundreds of free press release sites that will help you blast out your story to the planet, or you can use a professional press release wire service for a fee.  You can time your news in advance to go out at a strategic time, and you can load up your press release with key words that will make it stand out in the search engines. Plus, if you use a paid newswire, your news will automatically go out into Yahoo News and Google News where it’s picked up like an AP or Reuter’s newswire story.

With one well written article or news release, I have consistently generated from 50,000 to 100,000 links back to a client’s website. (That’s not a typo.)  And your traffic will only increase as spiders and bots pick up your news, reprint it on RSS feeds and blogs throughout the web, and yes, generate more links back to your blog which in turn permanently increase traffic and search rank.

But the key word here is “well written.” You can’t get this kind of pick up for self serving fluff — your content has to be genuinely newsworthy, interesting, engaging, funny, controversial, keyword-rich or relevant. If you’re not a wordsmith, hire a professional.  Ultimately it’s a juicy headline and great content that gets noticed, reprinted, passed along virally and linked to.

6. Time your email newsletter to go out at the same time.

Start a news virus! Put your blog post in your email newsletter and time it to go out simultaneously to your customers, internal company employees, investors, partners, influencers and your press/blogger list.  With everyone hearing about your news announcement at the same time, it has more psychic impact and feels more important.  Also it’s courteous to give the news to your most valued contacts just as it goes out to the blogosphere.

7. Spin it and send it out again.

Tweet your story several times in one day or week by simply spinning your Tweet slightly and changing the headline to focus on a different aspect of the story. For example, my headline here is: “7 lazy ways to shamelessly promote your blog posts.” My next headline could be: “7 lazy ways to get more traffic on your website,” and then “7 shamelessly lazy ways to get more Twitter traffic,” and then, “Get more web traffic while you’re still asleep,” and so on… and yes, you can even set them up in advance so they go out on autopilot.

Well, (gloat, gloat) just wanted to let you know that this post went out to thousands of friends and influencers, all over the planet, boosted my search rank and increased my credibility while I was lounging around doing my morning yoga and drinking my first cup of coffee.

That’s why I love social media!

Executive social media jobs exploding. (It’s not just for ninjas, gurus and interns anymore.)

Look how fat I am on your airline.

Commedian Kevin Smith posted this Twit Pic with the caption: "Look how fat I am on your airline," after Southwest bumped him off a flight for being too fat.

2010 was the year of the uber-embarrassing social media blunder:

  • Southwest Airlines threw celebrity Kevin Smith off a plane for being too fat to fly in one seat. Smith’s Tweets about the incident were not only widely read and hilarious, but a PR nightmare for the airline.
  • The Gap changed their logo and the blogosphere errupted by ridiculing it with the “Crap” logo and the “Gag” logo.

In the wake of so many embarrassing social media disasters, smart businesses are finally starting to take social media seriously. This week, social media hit a new Tipping Point and the Fortune 500 started creating new jobs and investing in seasoned professionals.

Today I did a search in one of the employment databases and found an astonishing 3,193 new jobs created in the US in the last few days for social media professionals! But more amazing, most of these jobs are senior level, VP, Director or Manager positions. This is a dramatic shift from even a few months ago.

Here are just a few of the major brands that are advertising for new social media posts:

Sony, Corning, American Express, Coca Cola, Ingram Micro, Intl, Nike, Accenture, EHarmony, Red Cross, Forever 21, Vocus, View Sonic, ToysR US, IBM, BBC News, Lowe’s, DSW, Chrysler, L’Oreal, Chase, COX, Este Lauder, Yahoo, Vonage, MGM, Citrix, GNC, Kellogg, Equinox Fitness, Bloomberg, HP, Ann Taylor, Starwood Hotels, Omnicom Group, CitiGroup, Lily Pulitzer…

Many web-based businesses and tech start-ups are also searching for social talent: Amazon.com, Tiny Prints, Elance, Moxie, Diapers.com, Yahoo, Tripadvisor, EHarmony, Shopzilla, Vocus.

But not a single ad looking for a social media “guru” or “ninja.”


Seven lame, business-killing excuses for not having a social media presence.

It's time to stop making lame excuses for not having a social media presence.

It’s time to stop making lame excuses for not having a social media presence.

This article was selected as 1 of 1 million WordPress posts to be on Freshly Pressed where it created a momentary sensation and 15 minutes of social media fame for me. It’s two years old now, and clients are still making excuses so I am running it first to remind you all that it’s about time started on this Facebook thing.

1. You’re too busy.

I don’t think social media is optional anymore. A professional presence in social media is now a marketing necessity, like a business card or a website. You can’t afford not to have a social media presence. You’ll look like a Luddite, like you’re out of step, like you’re stuck in the Eighties — when people actually got their news from a newspaper, bought things from ads, looke for businesses in the Yellow pages, and were influenced by television.

For most businesses and professions, social media is important. Make an investment in social media, plan your strategy first, do it right, and you’ll be paid back ten-fold.

Updating your profile and sending out Twitter updates can become part of your regular routine — like brushing your teeth, answering email and checking your voice mail.

Using free tools, you can interlink all of your social profiles — so that your Twitter automatically updates Facebook, your blog and LinkedIn. You can update everything simultaneously from your mobile phone in a few minutes a day.

2. You don’t “get” this social media thing.

When you tell stories in public, not only do they have to be true (fact checked, verified, libel-free and legal), accurate, spell-checked and well written, but your story needs to be interesting, engaging and continually evolving. If you’re not naturally good at that, or you don’t have time, you’ll want to hire professional help.

Ultimately, you’ll need to be engaged on a daily basis. Celebrities, consultants, musicians, workshop leaders, public speakers and CEOs who “get” social media make it a priority and are personally involved. You can also outsource social updating to a pro. But make sure they take time to truly know and understands your business, know how to tell an engaging story, have a “voice” and “get” the culture, ethics and rules of the community you’re trying to reach.

3. You can’t afford it.

Everything you need is free. If you hire a consultant, you can get a lot of value from a few hours of his/her time setting your site up and coaching you on the unwritten secrets, tips and tricks of really using Social Media brilliantly.

4. You don’t need it.

Just like you “didn’t need” a website back in 2000. Everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, killed brick and mortar businesses, got all the cool urls and are now worth millions. Are you going to miss out on this land grab too?

500 million people worldwide are utilizing Facebook to create their personal brand. Many events are solely promoted on Facebook. You are really late to the program and totally out of the loop and out of touch if you have a stagnant, unupdated profile or none at all. These days a lot of people think you don’t exist anymore if you’re not in the social sphere because they aren’t even using email anymore and use Facebook or LinkedIn as their main way of communicating with colleagues, or Twitter as their main way to announce breaking news.

5. You’re doing fine with Google adwords.

Oh yeah? Why are you buying search results that will disappear as soon as you stop paying — when you could be using social sites and a blog to build a search ranking that will last forever. Also, you’re totally missing out on a highly targeted market if you’re not also advertising on Facebook.

6. You already hired an SEO guy.

In my opinion, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is dead in 2010. It was important in the age of static HTML websites in the 90s.

Why? Because search engines can only search text! The most important thing you can do is generate tons of text and mentions of your URL that will drive people back to your website. More about this later.

7. It’s not necessary.

If you are not on social media, your business reputation is at risk! Ignore social media at your peril–because people are probably talking about you, your competitors and your brand. They’re building relationships without you. They’re inviting people to cool events that you’re not learning about. If you’re not on social media by now, it’s as if you don’t exist.

Bad PR used to be quickly forgotten when the newspaper was tossed in the trash. Now it lasts forever in Cyberspace. Bad customer reviews can quickly destroy a new product launch, a new event or a beta program. Bad word of mouth on social networks will severely damage your personal reputation.

Negative reviews on Yelp can kill a restaurant in a few days. Don’t worry, you can now pay Yelp a monthly fee (aka bribe) to remove bad reviews. Better off to not get them in the first place.

You need to be prepared to brand yourself and position yourself wisely. And you need to pay attention to what your peers, competitors and partners are saying in the social realm.

If your business is large, you’ll also need to track the coverage and monitor feedback so you can respond to customers immediately. It’s all quickly becoming as complex as a traditional, mainstream media PR program.

Whatever you call it — Social Media, Emerging Media, New Media — it’s all just a conversation.

But it’s a conversation you can’t avoid anymore. Ignore it at your peril or it will happen without you. It’s time to lead the conversation.

Even the richest men in the world can’t maintain Internet privacy.

Somtimes you don't want attention. How do you bury unwanted news in the search engines?

A gossipy story about Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been making the rounds on Twitter today. It’s old news — about his “break up” with Steve Jobs from a pay phone while he was on the lonely road to Burning Man in 2007.

But what’s fascinating and newsworthy about this story is that even if you’re the CEO of Google, and one of the richest men on earth, you can’t protect your privacy in the search engines!

Schmidt was also unsuccessful in getting his ex-girlfriend to permanently remove her tell all blog from Google’s own Blogger.

Google’s own FAQ states:

We run into a lot of people who think that Google runs the web and controls all the sites on it, but that’s really not the case. The sites in Google’s search results are controlled by those sites’ webmasters.

The moral of this imoral story? Even the CEO of Google can’t remove negative publicity from Google.

So if you don’t want unwanted attention to linger, forever, in the search engines and on the web, what can you do?

There’s a cheap PR trick I’ve used with clients that can help you bury news you don’t want people to find.

Flood the web with good news of your own by sending out tons of free press releases (and paid releases on PR Newswire or PR Web) filled with feel-good feature “stories” with the same keywords embedded in them that searchers will likely use to find the negative story. This turns the “needle in a haystack” factor of Google in your favor.

Eventually you’ll knock the bad review so far down the ranks in Google that only the most intrepid researcher will be able to find it.

The other technique? Ignore it, and eventually the fickle public will be twittering about the next scandal and it will be as stale as a Tiger Woods story.

Tiger who?


Social media — it’s just a very, very short story

Social media is nothing to be afraid of. It’s just a story.

A very, very short story.

In the world of PR, you send out a press release once a month, maybe if you’re in the Fortune 500, once a week.

And you wait  and wait … and wait and hope and pray and wait for the press to write and publish it in the news.

Which for a daily newspaper could happen instantly. And for a weekly or monthly magazine could take months, even a year.

And then by the time your audience read the story, and responded, in a letter to the editor, a lot of things could have changed. Your story might not even reflect the truth anymore by then.

And your customer just really wasn’t hearing much about you, because if the news media didn’t deem you newsworthy, (which is most of the time) your story never got told at all.

So if you wanted to tell the story, you could only tell a very, very short story, in a paid advertisement.

But in new the world of social media what matters most is telling a soundbite-sized elevator pitch of a story — in just one or two lines of copy. Every day. Sometimes several times a day.

And seeing how your audience reacts.

And then you can respond, change your product, change your message – immediately. I mean, like in seconds.

This very short story over time becomes a longer story that will draw your audience, the customer, and engage them in a conversation.

Reputation building and relationships happen at warp speed this way–and they happen publicly.