Freelance PR Project Mgr wanted

My friend Betsy Raymond Stevenson is looking for a part-time freelancer to help organize student entries for a Pecha Kucha event (life sciences). Here are all the details:  RSHC Freelance Project Position

UPDATE: Resource found!

Half-Right on the Massachusetts Left

I read David Meerman Scott‘s article on the Huffington Post today, about how the social media divide may be very telling in the close Massachusetts Senate race.

I believe that David is half-right. Read the article (it’s well-thought-out). In it, David decries that poor efforts the Coakley campaign has made to use new media to reach voters, compared to the Brown campaign, and especially to the prior Obama campaign.

He concludes:

The Coakley campaign is underestimating the importance of social media and the new rules of marketing and PR.

John McCain relied on what worked to elect George W. Bush and he lost mainly because of social media. Now Martha Coakley is relying on the playbook that elected Ted Kennedy and she may lose because of social media too.

Now, while it is true that the Coakley campaign does appear to be pretty sparse in its use of networking tools, I think the most substantive divide is not the tools – it’s the passion. Passion + networking will bring about success. However, networking tools without passion won’t cut it.

Martha Coakley, the candidate, is not inspiring (positive) passion. Scott Brown is. And that is a primary reason why his networking efforts will be more successful. It’s not just how you highlight the use of tools. It’s whether you ignite people, who will then use the tools themselves. There’s no excuse for any campaign to poorly employ Facebook, Twitter, and other tools. But these approaches cannot, in and of themselves, inspire people when the candidate does not.

True in business. True in politics. True everywhere.

Or am I missing something here?

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“Social Media” and Business, part 1

Earlier this week, I enjoyed a robust Twitter conversation with a few folks (thanks, @lizscherer, @kellyferrara, @lindabeth!) on how “social media” fits into the pre-existing business silos that we all know and love (Marketing, PR, Sales, Customer Service, etc.)

Instead of putting out 140-character fragments of thought, it might be more valuable to sketch out some big-picture ideas about how this all, perhaps, fits together, and continue the discussion in the comments.

First, I’ll freely admit that I don’t much care for the term “Social Media.” I think it’s limiting. I tend to prefer either Community Networking (more on the inter-personal level), or Networked Communications (more on the business level). Take your pick; we’re talking about person-to-person or organization<–>person communications and connections mediated through on-line tools.

Let’s think about business. I think a lot of these legacy silos are not particularly helpful, so let’s imagine for a moment that they are swept off the table and everything is encompassed under one umbrella term: Communications. PR, Marketing, Social Media, etc. – it’s all about communicating to the world at large (people unaware of the company; prospective customers; imminent buyers; existing users; other stakeholders). These communications take various forms, including direct advertising, word of mouth (on- or off-line), press, or what have you, but it’s all communications, and it should all be strategically tied together.

For a business, then, let’s take this practice of communication and view it through the prism of the main goal: increased uptake of offerings and therefore, increased revenue. Business growth. From the perspective of the business, and using rather sterile terms, there are three main stages of this: Customer Awareness, Customer Acquisition, and Customer Retention.

What is the process – the pattern – that occurs to reach this goal of business growth, and how does the discipline of Communications fit? Here’s a suggested way to view it:

Awareness Communications – strategies and tactics that elevate some level of understanding of the company’s existence, offerings, and value. An analogy: this is walking into a party with an attractive, attention-getting outfit.

Qualification Communications – think pre-sales marketing here. Expressing, at some level, what the nature and benefits of the offering are. But this need not be one-way anymore – through networked communications, businesses can much more readily understand the needs and desires of potential customers. Ongoing analogy: chatting up at the party and gauging if there is interest in more than just a polite chat.

Commitment Communications – assuming that the potential customer is seeing genuine value, now the parties discuss how they might get together to meet mutual goals. This is a deeper dive into needs and offerings, and gaining a comfortable feel for overall compatibility. Ongoing analogy: entering into a committed dating relationship.

Satisfaction Communications – the company realizes that its best hope of gaining new customers is by keeping current customers not only pacified, but satisfied to the point of being advocates. Time and two-way communications are invested to build the relationship and improve the offerings. Ongoing analogy: the diligent care and feeding of a marriage relationship.

This is the typical linear process of how business is obtained and grown, and if we range our Communications options and methods along these lines, we can see how a strategic approach to the various legacy disciplines (PR, Marketing, Advertising, etc.) can now be achieved. Each stage of the continuum requires different types/mixes of communication, with differing levels of two-way exchange. “Social Media” plays a role throughout, not as a separate discipline, but as an integral part of two-way communication that should mark an entire process.

When you look at this continuum, ask yourself: does your business have a consistent message that is woven throughout the entire communications landscape? It should.

Oh, and for an interesting twist, swap out the word “Customer” for “Employee”. Sorta makes sense on the recruitment/retention side of things, doesn’t it?

Kind of a mind dump here and lots of loose ends. What do you think? Speak your mind in the comments!

:: So far, we’re attempting to define the landscape of business communications – but in a follow-up post, I want to take something implied here and make it more explicit. Successful business will increasingly be marked, not by a transactional view (I am using communications to persuade you to buy my product so I can make money and you can, maybe, gain a benefit), but by a more holistic relational view. That is, customers and companies will increasingly seek out ways to determine if they are right for each other, something networked communications truly helps enable. My consulting business is built on a “matchmaking” network model and I’ll share a few thoughts on why I think there is tremendous value in this approach…

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Five in the Morning 022409

Seth Godin, on the milestone of his 3,000th blog posts, considers himself the “luckiest guy” – and, lets everyone know that the first 2,500 are the hardest! If you like what he does, send him a note of congratulations (seth at squidoo dot com).

Marketing Basics: Conversation. An excellent summary and set of links from that folliclly-challenged Texas marketer, Jay Ehret.

Top Documentary films – an interesting on-line resource for your viewing pleasure. Hat tip: Director Tom Clifford.

Your Pitch Sucks? An interesting service provided by Jim Kukral and a team of PR pros. I like this business model – using on-line tools to rapidly offer distributed, scalable, on-demand expertise. In this case, in the much-needed area of creating GOOD press releases! My question for some of you: can you create a similar business model in your niche area of expertise?

Tom Peters. From Action to Excellence. 57 very pithy points.

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Shannon Paul, Social Media Maven, Named new Head Coach of Detroit Lions

shannon-paulIn a startling move that has taken the blogsphere by storm, Shannon Paul, Chief Social Media Goddess of the Detroit Red Wings, has just been named head coach of the floundering Detroit Lions football franchise.

William Clay Ford, owner of the team and descendant of iconic Henry Ford, decided on Ms. Paul after witnessing the spectacular success of Scott Monty, recently-appointed social media guru of Ford Motor Company.

“Scott single-handedly kept us from from bankruptcy, from taking the poison pill of federal bailout money; and he also crowd-designed all of our new hybird vehicles right from his blog-thingie. He Twitterized us out of a death spiral by creative use of these new-fangled socialized media gadgets. I figured if one social medium expert could turn around Ford, surely another could take on the greater challenge of making the Lions competitive.”

It was also revealed that Ms. Paul was found after being “friended” on Facebook by unnamed Lions front-office staff, who also vetted her qualifications using Google and StumbleUpon.

Ms. Paul wasted no time assembling a top-notch support staff, including hiring Geoff Livingston, renowned for offensive prowess, and luring away “Big” Jim Connolly as head of trackbacks. Gary Vaynerchuk will be leaving the Wine Library to be Chief Sideline Libation Engineer, as part of his training for eventually taking over the NY Jets. Connie Reece has agreed to come on board as chief archivist for the Lions Championship Museum, currently housed in a corner of Ken Burbary‘s closet. She also began immediate negotiations with fans and the UAW, both groups of which had threatened a permanent boycott of the Lions.

Local Detroit blogger Karen Swim was initially non-commital about the news, having been bypassed in favor of her cross-town rival Ms. Paul, until being unexpectedly named head coach of the Detroit Pistons. “My goodness!” said Ms. Swim, “I figured I might have a shot at the Tigers, but the Pistons have actually won a few things! That’s a slam dunk FTW on you, Paul Shannon!”

“What I’m really looking forward to is the upcoming blogger draft,” exclaimed Ms. Paul. “We’re going for 140 top characters! I’ve had my eye on some serious talent, like “PR” Sarah Evans for Eighthback,  Jason Falls for Tight End or Wide Receiver (depends on Twit2fit progress off-season), and Barefoot Exec for Punter. Unfortunately, it looks like we’re losing Steve Olenski to the Colts, who traded Peyton Manning and two FriendFeed accounts to be named later to get him.”

Reaction around the NFL was mixed. Apparently, Chris Brogan has been approached by the startup Boston Pirates franchise to serve as their new head of operations, but he replied with 15 Reasons Never to Hire a Freshly-Shorn Blogger. The New York Jets are in secret discussions with 5-year veteran blogger Paul Chaney, who is robo-twittering negotiation progress from Brett Favre’s living room.

Meanwhile, Guy Kawasaki, who first broke the news on Truemors, capitalized on the trend by launching SocMedCoaches.Alltop.com, a news item promptly re-tweeted by 21,544 of his devoted disciples.

The ROI of hiring social media mavens for positions of leadership with sports teams is yet unproven, as is the ROI for just about anything social media related. Your mileage may vary. However, we have it on good authority that those with the most followers are the most important and authoritative, and so should provide the best bang-for-the-blog when making hiring decisions.

Oh, and I have to mention Ann Handley, of course. Just because…

Happy 2009 to all!

(Previous StickyFigure spoofs)

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Five in the Morning 120408

If you Twitter, you’re probably wondering about some of the potentially “corrupting” trends. Here, Paul Chaney opens up a discussion about Twitter automation – as you’ll see in the comments, I am not in entire agreement. What do you think?? (btw, if you’re not following Paul, you should be: @pchaney)

Want to do free press releases? Dana Willhoit has the list of sites that do just that for you!

Tom Peters recommends two books on Design.

Robert Lesser talks us through Lead Generation using Web 2.0 approaches. From MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog.

Demogirl – now this is a cool service, pointed out by Greg Verdino. Quick, distilled “how-to” screencasts. Good, basic, useful implementation.

Extras – today only! Click before midnight and get 2 links for the price of 1!!!

Say – what does Steve Woodruff/@swoodruff/StickyFigure actually sound like? Find out! Four bloggers share in the latest AOC2 podcast.Thanks to Jay Ehret, @themarketingguy!

Hot off the blog presses – 40 Ways to Deliver Killer Blog Content. From Chris Brogan. Here’s my #41 – Aggregate Information that People Want.

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Five in the Morning 112108

Well, I’m back from a 2-day trip to Chicago, and it looks like my little experiment in time-queued blog posts and tweets for Five in the Morning worked OK (yes, the last 2 days had been prepared in advance on Tuesday). I know, I know, this is hardly a cutting-edge technology advance, but I’m of a generation that still marvels a bit when stuff like that actually works!

So, without further ado, some fresh posts for your Friday:

I have lived in New Jersey for many years (still cannot bring myself to say I’m “from NJ” – sorry, but I’m from Connecticut). Anyway, there’s a lot that happens in this state that can make a resident grind his/her teeth into gnashing nubs, but Spike Jones points out this fabulous – and creative – and really helpful – promotion by the New Jersey Nets. Wow – now that’s how to take care of your fans!

The AdverGirl (Leigh Householder) has a series going on How Companies are using Social Media. A number of posts are already up – this link is to the first one. Tune it!

Legendary customer experience marketer and wanna-be rock star Doug Meacham has begun his own series on the Transaction vs. the Customer Experience (in retail). Here’s the first entry.

Seek criticism. From the creative David Airey. Sound counter-intuitive? Not if you want to keep improving!

Mack Collier writes a helpful post about GE’s initial foray into blogging/Twitter. What I want to point out here is Mack’s tone of helpfulness and his call for patience. After the Motrin fiasco of the past week, I think we all need to take a deep breath and be sure not to crucify companies that dip their toes in the social media water. Mistakes will be made, initial forays will be incomplete or askew. Let’s follow Mack’s example and be helpful, instead of battering newcomers and scaring them off. It’s a supportive tone of understanding and support (which has always marked our community) that will grow utilization. We all stumbled our way into this not many months/years ago, right…?

PLUS: Every blogger will understand why this is funny! Do not sip coffee before reading lest you snort it all out on your keyboard…

Oh…and did you know that you’re owed a free Dr. Pepper?

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