Persuasive Picks for the week of 01/25/09

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Community Managers Must Deliver ROI: Commandments For Surviving a Recession
Jeremiah Owyang provides sound advice to Community Managers on how to step up their game, provide continuing value and (most importantly) help keep their jobs in these tough economic times.

Are we really ready to move beyond Social Media 101?
Many of us in the PR and Marketing space have been teaching the basics of Social Media for quote some time now. Some might think its time to elevate those teachings to the next level. However, LiveWorld’s social media evangelist Bryan Person shares some incite in this MediaBullseye.com guest post on why that’s not the case and advises those who teach to “keep beating the drum.”

How Lisa Genova used social media to turn a self-published book into a NY Times bestseller
Best selling author David Meerman Scott shares an abbreviated version of fellow writer Lisa Genova’s success in using social media to propel the promotion of her book “Still Alice” all the way to the top of the charts. Her complete success story and many others can be found in David’s latest book entitled “World Wide Rave.”

Podcasters report their top 3 podcasting tips (Part 1 & Part 2)
Marketing consultant Devon Dudgeon shares TONS of podcasting tips in this two part post. The tips were submitted by seasoned podcast veterans around the globe and are aimed at those who have been thinking about getting there own podcast off the ground.

Why blogs matter
“Q: Who reads blogs? A: Journalists”; Shannon Paul delivers another thought provoking post that shows why blogs might just be the ultimate tool in your social media arsenal.

Image Credit (sans modifications): Jade Gordon

Uncertainty Equals Opportunity for New Leaders

With the frightening economy, massive layoffs and a new focus on personal branding, employers need to work harder than ever to keep employees motivated and working together. Leading teams in a time when uncertainty abounds is not an easy task.

Yesterday in our staff meeting, I shared this sentiment – we’ll continue to be successful by working closely together and showcasing our ability to not only survive, but to thrive. I am also adamant that just because we’re being vigilant about smart spending, we don’t have to put a hold on growth. I don’t only expect our agency to continue to innovate and grow, I insist upon it.

You may be thinking, “Growth?! Who is trying to grow during a time like this?” But let me explain.

When I say growth I don’t always, or only, mean in the physical or financial sense. I mean in the sense of continuing to challenge each other and our clients, push our creative limits and bring new possibilities to the table. Growth of our ideas and improvement in the way we run our agency is something that should never stop. This can be applied to personal career growth as well. Down economies often spawn a new generation of businesses founded by unemployed but tenacious entrepreneurs – or open up new possibilities within your company when vacancies need to be filled. Step up and show your strength to deliver results and lead your colleagues when times are tough – I guarantee this is a time when those who shine, shine bright.

On that note, I have been so impressed with the results from the staff here at PerkettPR, and the loyalty and faith that they have shown in each other and in me, that I had to shout out to them today. We elect and honor a monthly MVP and choosing just one yesterday was hard to do! Times are certainly uncertain, but with a strong and intelligent staff that continues to turn out amazing ideas, valuable insights and a darn good sense of humor, I couldn’t feel better about our future.

How about you? How are you embracing these times as an opportunity to stand out as a resilient leader either at your company or on your own? We’d love to hear your inspirational stories, ideas and comments.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 01/18/09

Our Persuasive Picks series returns this week with five social media, marketing and PR-related posts that caught my eye this week.

Online Reputation Management Done Right: What CEOs Can Learn From Hulu’s Jason Kilar
Marjorie Kase from Markyr Media chronicles how Hulu CEO Jason Kilar made the right moves in responding to the online backlash of an abrupt and unannounced change in Hulu programming.

How Not to be a Key Online Influencer
There is certainly no shortage of posts on the web about all the “right” ways to use Twitter as a communications tool. David Henderson shares an eye-opening story of one bad judgment “Tweet” and the importance of thinking before you type in the social media space.

A Crash Course in Comments
Chris Brogan shares 15 tips on improving blog comment interaction with your reading community.

Community building: Getting members active and addicted
Martin Reed from the CommunitySpark blog presents the 10th entry in his series of posts on developing a new online community from scratch. Be sure to go back and check out the previous posts in the series for more excellent advice.

Tech PR in Troubled Times
This pick actually came out last week, but definitely falls into the “must mention” category. Robert Scoble interviews Joshua Reynolds of Hill and Knowlton’s global technology practice and gets his take on the Tech PR landscape in the middle of the current economy.

Can I Do My Own PR?

Last week I was in New York City to speak on a Fashion PR 2.0 panel about the use of social media in PR and marketing for the fashion industry. During the course of the evening, many interesting questions were asked. One in particular that stood out was from a budding fashion designer who asked, “Can I just do my own PR?”

Let’s take a quick look at a few things you can do yourself:

- be your own legal representative

- bake your own wedding cake

- file taxes

- be your own Realtor

- sew your own clothes

Obviously, there are many more things you could do yourself. But you choose not to because it’s not your area of expertise, you know someone else can do it better (i.e., the professionals), you don’t have the right amount of time or resources to do the best job, or a variety of other reasons.

With the rising popularity of social media, many people are implying – or outright stating – that PR as a profession is dead and that everyone can do their own PR. This sentiment is just silly. PR is not dead. It’s not a dying profession. Social media isn’t killing it – if it were, PR would just be about the tools, and not the people. If anything, social media is simply forcing an improvement in PR – thankfully.

That’s a key point people are missing – PR is about the people and how they execute their professional skills, not the tools they use. Think about it – social media is just making it easier to connect with more people, more often – but even before social media, the main tools for PR professionals were mail and phone, and before that, postal mail and fax. These are tools that – like social media – anyone could have used to execute PR in the past – so why suddenly does everyone think that just because it’s easier to communicate, everyone is good at it?

Trust me, I’m well aware that there are many, many PR professionals that do a bad job. I’ve received horrible, off-topic pitches myself as a blogger. But is this really different than any other industry? Or is PR as a profession just more visible to the outside world and thus more of a target to have bad work exposed?

PR isn’t brain surgery. I’ve always said that. It’s not impossible for anyone to do. Of course you can do it yourself. It doesn’t mean you’ll be good at it, or as lucky as Jason Calacanis was, and it might take time away from what you’re really good at – or worse, you might cause yourself more damage than good. So while hiring a full service PR and social media agency isn’t right for everyone – certainly a budding fashion designer would be better off hiring a consultant to start – it doesn’t mean that doing it yourself is the right option either.

People seem to view it as an “either/or” situation. Just because you hire a PR firm doesn’t mean that they are the only ones promoting your company. it also doesn’t mean that they don’t believe in your brand, understand or even use your product. We use plenty of our client’s products and are avid brand advocates even before – or after – working with them.

Good PR and marketing firms help everyone involved to properly promote the company – and to keep messages honest, transparent, consistent and persistent. It doesn’t mean the CEO shouldn’t also be participating in conversations – together, PR firms and their clients can all work together to spread brand enthusiasm and “be amazing, be everywhere and be real.” PR isn’t a synonym for fake – and the implication is tiring.

Rather, if you are already involved in social media, use it to ask the community about good PR firms or some great consultants. Keep in mind, however, who you are asking – be sure they are either reporters who work with these executives, or that they are industry executives who have had more than one job and truly understand both sides – corporate and agency – of PR and communications.  Just because someone has a lot of followers on Twitter doesn’t mean that they know corporate communications or how to help with other areas of PR such as crisis communications, marketing and sales positioning, corporate branding (as opposed to personal branding), and other crucial facets to great and successful marketing. Trust me – personal brands are one thing, corporate expertise another.

What do you think? Should everyone do their own PR? Can they?

Business Leadership Lessons from President Obama

Today was a day that should inspire and encourage everyone. Young or old, black or white, Republican or Democrat. Today was about change. Today was about progress. Today was about hope, humanity, faith and courage. It was about presence and tenacity – the welcoming of a new leader for a resolute country.

Many things that President Obama said today could be applicable to any business leader tasked with motivating and retaining a discouraged staff. The nuggets of wisdom bestowed upon us today can serve as guiding principles for business leaders and words of encouragement for budding entrepreneurs – tough decisions are necessary, challenges should be met head on, unity of purpose leads to greater success,  greatness doesn’t just happen and hard work is a privilege.

If you missed President Obama’s speech, you can read it in its entirety here. Some of my favorite parts – ones that I will lean on during what is sure to be another tumultuous year – are below. I have bookmarked this speech and will continue to go back and read it when I need a reminder to keep leading with courage and integrity – and most of all, faith that we will all carry on and prosper, especially when we work together.


Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.

With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.