Persuasive Picks for the week of 02/22/09

forrester_graph.jpgB2B Buyers Dig Social Media
Jordan McCollum highlights the key takeaways from Forrester’s recent report on how B2B buyers interact with social media. Forrester clients can access the full report here.

Turning your feed reader into a powerful monitoring dashboard
I’m a big fan of using Google Reader to aid in some of my social media/brand monitoring efforts. Mack Collier from the Viral Garden blog shares some tips and techniques on how he uses it in conjunction with Bloglines.

5 Ways To Find & Acquire Customers On Twitter
These days, the economy forces businesses to get creative when trying to finding new clients. Brian Norgard writes this guest post on the ShoeMoney blog to share five ways you can use Twitter for finding new business.

Twitterville Notebook: Jeremiah Owyang
Shel Israel continues his Twitterville series of posts by interviewing Jeremiah Owyang on the topic of personal brand.

Do You Have the ‘Four As’ To Be a Thought Leader?
Dana Vanden Heuvel writes this guest post on Marketing Prof’s Daily Fix to share the four “A’s” you might need to be a thought leader in your industry.

Journalists Are People Too: Chris O’Brien, Business Columnist at San Jose Mercury News

What do Wilco, bowling, parenthood and Scottish fiddling have in common? They are all part of what makes Chris O’Brien more than just a great storyteller.

PPR: You are a business columnist at the San Jose Mercury News; what do you look for in a good story
CO: My ideal column finds a view point or a theme that connects to events in the news, but says something broader about Silicon Valley.

As such, I strive to find topics that are broad and of the widest possible interest. If I’m writing about a somewhat narrow technical topic, there’s a big burden on me to convince the average reader that this is really relevant to their lives.

PPR:  What is the most challenging story you have written and why?
CO: About 10 years ago, I wrote a long narrative about a woman in Raleigh, N.C. who was graduating from Duke University. Her journey to that point was amazing. She had once been committed to a mental institution where she tried to kill herself. And then spent many years living on the streets homeless. She managed to turn her life around, in part through the help of some friends, and reach the point where she was graduating from a prestigious university and had been accepted to medical school. Researching her story took over a year, and it was a deeply personal and painful tale that required a lot of sensitivity and patience to do right.

PPR:  If you had to spend the next 24 hours on a bus with someone, who would you want it to be and why?
CO: Jeff Tweedy, the lead singer of Wilco. I’m hopelessly obsessed with Wilco.

PPR: What is the best pitch you have ever received? What percentage of pitches from PR executives do you think are on target?
CO: It’s hard to single out one pitch and say it was the best. I most appreciate folks who have taken the time to understand who I am and what I do before pitching. To the second part of the question, I’m continually surprised at how many phone calls and e-mails come from folks who truly understand my role here. I’m not saying someone should spend hours of researching me personally. But it’s not hard to peak at our Web site, read a column or two, and get the general sense of my job here. When I get an e-mail from someone mentioning a recent column, I’m more likely to read the e-mail out of respect for the fact that they took the time to get some background before they approached me.

PPR: What do you most like about Twitter?
CO: Twitter remains one of the most useful, innovative means of communications I’ve experienced. At the same time, it remains one of the hardest to explain to other people. For me, Twitter feels like a conversation that I dip in and out of all day. It lets me sit at my desk and feel like I’m in a roomful of (mostly) interesting people. It is so adaptable, that I think it has been able to become many different things to different people.

PPR:  If you were not a journalist, what else would you do? Do you have a dream job?
CO: I actually have wanted to be a journalist since I was five years old. So I am one of those people who is actually working in their dream job. That said, the state of our industry has led me to spend more time thinking about the first part of the question lately. I don’t yet have a “plan B” career in mind. I’ve been trying to distill the essence of what I like about being a journalist. I think that’s telling stories, the sense of discovery from identifying a trend that no one else has seen yet, and the thrill of piecing together a complex story. Most important, though, is that feeling that what I do still has an impact on my community in a very direct way, even in this era when newspapers have been somewhat diminished. Now the trick would be to figure out something that still fills all, or most, of those components in a way that leaves me feeling fulfilled.

PPR: What are some of your personal hobbies?
CO: Scottish fiddling, hiking, biking, traveling. Also, I am an outstanding bowler.

PPR:  What is your favorite part about being a dad?
CO: It is hard to talk about parenting without being cliché. But I’d say that having children is the most profound experience of my life. Every moment with the kids (ages 6 and 3) requires me to make my priorities in life clear, and puts other successes and failures in context. They have taught me more about myself, I think, than anyone else. I hope I’m a better person because of those lessons.

PPR:  What changes are you hoping to see in business in 2009?
CO: I’d like to see businesses become more focused on the long term, and building value for their employees and communities rather than solely focusing on shareholders.

Christine Perkett and Heather Mosley Talk “PR and Social Media” on Lotame’s Social Media Remix

Lotame’s (client) “Social Media Remix” on BlogTalkRadio is described as “a show for all the publishers, advertisers, fans, skeptics, employees, and friends of everything and anything that is Social Media.” As mentioned in last Friday’s Persuasive Picks, PerkettPR’s own Christine Perkett and Heather Mosley appeared on the show last week to talk about PR’s role in Social Media and some best practices that are applied when using it for clients.

What do you think? How do you use social media in your promotions? We’d love to hear your stories and anecdotes as well via comment, links, etc. We’ve embedded the BlogTalkRadio player for easy access to the show – Enjoy!

Persuasive Picks for the week of 02/16/09

Jeff Glasson is on vacation this week so I’m throwing up what caught my eye for this week’s Picks.

Debunking Six Social Media MythsB.L. Ochman of BusinessWeek claims that resistance to social media is futile, and that “If your business isn’t putting itself out there, it ought to be.” This post covers many myths that surround social media that everyone should be aware of “before taking the plunge.”

Cece Salomon-Lee, author of the PR Meets Marketing blog, took it upon herself to dissect the social media prowess of O’Dwyer’s list of top 100 independent PR firms (of which PerkettPR is not a part only because we do not share revenues). Her findings caused quite a stir – 59 comments and counting as of this post. Seems to me that agencies are using some old reasons such as “our clients don’t need social media” and “it’s the cobbler’s shoes syndrome,” as defense against not being involved in social media. As I mentioned in my own comment to the post, they’re missing opportunities in this vein for their own relationship building, whether or not they’re executing campaigns for clients.

On the other hand, Jennifer Leggio of ZDNet took on a bit more comprehensive research, which she unveiled in a survey report “Is ‘Social PR’ for Real; Which Agencies Get It?” – also focused on PR and social media. Her takeaways were invaluable for both agencies and clients – and she kindly reminded us all that client results matter first – whether in traditional PR, social media marketing or both. We’re proud to be included among the firms recognized for having both – and as one of only sixTop Considered”consistently named as a viable consideration for clients considering an agency switch. (To which we say, give us a call!)

Our client Lotame continued the social media and PR conversation on their Social Media Remix radio show yesterday – hosting yours truly and PerkettPR’s EVP Heather Mosley. You can listen here to the recording.

And one of my favorite social media campaigns of the week combined two of my personal passions: technology and fashion. It was Fashion Week in New York and I had the privilege of being involved this year as a Board Advisor to Style Coalition, a new organization focused on advancing professional standards in content creation and increasing the effectiveness of advertising messages within this realm. We held a Digital Moda event on Tuesday night to bring together designers, bloggers and new media marketers – an innovative alternative to the traditional runway shows typically seen at NYFW. So I was thrilled to see a well-recognized fashion brand, BabyPhat, also embracing new media that evening. They Twittered from their runway show, including timely posts of photos, commentary and video – giving consumer fans all over the Internet a feel for being right there in the middle of the action.

How Important is Social Media in PR? Ask us Live Today on Lotame Radio at 11:30 ET

UPDATE:

In a timely twist of fate, ZDNet’s Jennifer Leggio wrote a blog post today titled, “Research report: Is ’social PR’ for real? Which agencies get it?” The purpose as stated was to “determine which PR firms are best attuned to social media and are developing the most beneficial social programs for their clients” and to “get an answer to the question, “Is social media even what clients want?”

In it, Jennifer unveils some interesting takeaways for both PR agencies – how they can improve overall – and for clients. She also talks about some fundamental – but not all new – issues with the PR agency/client relationship, such as these commonly-heard concerns:

  • Only 38 percent of respondents feel they’re getting quality of coverage promised during new business pitches
  • Only 32 percent of clients consistently feel as if their agencies understand their core business objectives

And these newer concerns:

  • A lot of PR agencies want to plug themselves into the social networking channel because it is the hot thing right now but PR is floundering
  • Many high tech PR firms claim to “get” social media, but then turn around and push tactics as strategies in a one-size fits all way

More than 40 percent of respondents claimed that they are considering switching agencies. The top three reasons for wanting a new agency include:

  • Agency does not understand the business / not getting coverage in the right outlets
  • Agency does not have a blog or demonstrate good use of social networking tools
  • Agency does not appropriately demonstrate the ROI of the program

We were of course ecstatic to read that out of all the PR agencies out there, PerkettPR was named as a “Top Considered Agency”one of only six agencies consistently named as a viable consideration for clients considering an agency switch. For all of you who named us – here’s my direct line: 781.834.5852 – we look forward to hearing from you!

Read the full report here for all the details. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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ORIGINAL POST:

At PerkettPR we pride ourselves on staying ahead of the curve and moving quickly. We try to recognize the shifts in our industry before our competitors, and quite often we are successful at embracing the shifts long before our competitors do – perhaps we are more flexible and nimble due to our size and therefore faster to adapt.

We’ve certainly seen this when it comes to social media. While bigger agencies are adopting social media and have begun to execute some interesting campaigns, many PR agencies fail to showcase any sort of social media presence of their own. Making a few videos for clients isn’t exactly a complete social media strategy. It’s just one component.

Cece Salomon-Lee of PR Meets Marketing decided to do her own analysis of which PR firms have a social media presence. Unfortunately, her list only covers those agencies listed on O’Dwyer’s list of Top 100 Independent PR firms. It’s unfortunate for us because we don’t share revenues and therefore cannot be included on that list. But dare I say our own social media presence tops everyone on it? It may be presumptuous – but take just one example – our corporate Twitter account has more followers than the top 20 companies combined and just about the top 100 as well.

Does a Twitter account make us social media wizards? No – it’s only one part of our social media presence – but it’s been a huge part. Twitter has opened so many opportunities for us and consequently our clients, and has led to a great deal of thought leadership opportunities. And, having been on Twitter for about two years now, we have learned many valuable lessons that other agencies are just beginning to read about. In addition, every PerkettPR team member is required to be part of the conversations happening in social mediums and each is consistently well trained on best practices across all these mediums, to ensure we put our best foot forward – for our firm and our clients – on all fronts.

Shouldn’t PR agencies be initiating more personal engagement to teach their clients how to do so? Or is it not important? What do you think? We don’t buy the whole “cobbler’s shoes” theory and how PR doesn’t have time to do PR for themselves. In one of Cece’s reader comments they mention that you should look at their client work and not their own. Is this enough for you if the agency doesn’t have a social media presence themselves? I guess in some cases this may be true, but when it comes to social media, you can’t really pull that off – if you’re not engaged and navigating these waters every day for yourself, how can you be successfully doing so for your clients?

We’d like to hear your opinions – is social media important to PR? Do big brands not yet recognize the value of social media and therefore the large PR agencies handling that work also have yet to care? Should PR firms be engaging as their own brand or just on behalf of clients? Does it matter?

Heather Mosley and I will be talking about this and more today on our client Lotame’s live radio show today at 11:30am EST http://ow.ly/jDX . Come listen, ask questions and test our knowledge. We’d love to hear your thoughts on social media and PR.