Author Archives: Michael Pranikoff

Brand Content in the Age of the Selfie

Our wedding selfie

Our wedding selfie

I got married last November.  It was a great day that was immortalized online via all of my social channels when my husband took his phone, pointed it at us, and said, “Time for our Wedding Selfie.”

We’ve all done it – and on multiple occasions.  We take a self-pic….or Selfie.  Oxford Dictionary stated that the word, “Selfie” was the word of 2013.   Searching  the term “selfie” reveals that this is not just a term that we are using nowadays  in reference to  a younger generation; people are really interested in looking at this content and producing it.

But here’s the question, is this a trend that carries over to brands?  How does the ability for people to easily create their own content today impact the content that is being created by brands as a whole?

Google trends on the word "selfie"

Google trends on the word “selfie”

Throughout history, there have been many defining moments for content and art.  I reference art because in history, it has mostly been art that has depicted for the masses a reflection of itself.  Now, I’m no art historian (but I did take one art history course when I attended Syracuse University), but we’ve seen some interesting changes in how art has gone through a similar evolution as man from depicting the Gods, to the rich, to the common everyday person.   When Renoir first depicted everyday people doing everyday normal things, this was a revolutionary idea to the art world and to us….but not anymore.   Today, the ability for anyone to create a piece of content at any time challenges all of us to work harder as we create.

#KissTed on Instagram

#KissTed on Instagram

Brands are playing with the idea of the selfie and trying to incorporate it into their marketing campaigns.   The clothing brand, Ted Baker, used the idea of the selfie in their holiday campaign using in-store and window displays to display social content using the hashtag #KissTed. Mobile Commerce Daily wrote about this unique program in creating social buzz and a search on Instagram metrics provider, Statigram, found that the hashtag #KissTed was used on Instagram approximately 588 times.

Some brands are even opting to incorporate selfies into their campaigns.  Dove had tremendous success in 2013 with the Dove Real Beauty campaign, earning them the title of Titanium Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.  This campaign was also one of the most viewed releases on PR Newswire last year.  Great success however doesn’t stop the creative mind.  Dove followed up with their #BeautyIs campaign that co-opts the idea with a short-film entitled, “Selfie.”  This campaign follows the same principles and ideas of their “Real Beauty” campaign and has achieved organic results with over 765,000 views to day.

Click the image to view the entire multimedia news release

Click the image to view the entire multimedia news release

So, brands are trying things out…and that’s good, but does that answer how a brand competes with user created content and the selfie?  At PR Newswire, research has shown multiple times that content with multimedia performs better than content without.  However, that doesn’t mean that all multimedia is created equal.  Your content today has to drive connection and action in order to be successful.

This is a subject I will be exploring further in San Francisco on March 27th in a seminar series entitled, “How To Keep Your Content Relevant in the  Age of the Selfie.” Click here to register now: http://prn.to/P8Wi6l 

Pranikoff LinkedIn Headshot - Sept 2013

Michael Pranikoff is PR Newswire’s Global Director, Emerging Media. Follow him on Twitter @mpranikoff or add him to your circle on Google+

I Wanna See! Visuals are the Holy Grail of Storytelling

A 2 year old girl is being recorded on video by her father, and just as he’s almost done recording, she grabs for the camera.  Dad didn’t have time to stop recording, and a two year olds’ hands grasp the camera, you hear her immediate need for gratification, “I wanna see”.

This was the story being told and shown by Jim Lin, VP of Digital Strategy at Ketchum Public Relations in San Francisco and author of the BusyDadBlog, as he finished his workshop at the Visual Storytelling Workshop that was held last week in San Francisco.

The audience gathered to learn from Lou Hoffman – CEO and Founder of The Hoffman Agency; Jim Lin – VP & Digital Strategist at Ketchum PR; Brian Solis (via Skype) – Author and Principle Analyst at The Altimeter Group; and Lee Sherman – Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer at Visual.ly.

Lou Hoffman started the day talking about the importance of telling a good story and how visuals serve as the shortcut to the emotional touch points of the story.  In fact, he spoke about a study that The Hoffman Agency did on articles in the economist and how 17% of the stories over a 3 month period included anecdotes in them, yet less than 5% of press releases do so.   A good story has visuals to connect, and as an example, he offered this video from Caterpillar:

Storytelling today has a new process.  Online, good stories can take on a life of their own.   Lou showed his theory of the new Communicator’s Story Spike:

Jim Lin then spoke up about how visual storytelling can be the cure for the “common meh”.  Good visuals can bring the true emotion to the story.  Piggybacking on those emotional touch points, Jim spoke about how people don’t always remember the stories (facts and figures), but remember how they felt in that moment….yet too many brands leave passion on the table to settle for just the facts and text.   The importance that multimedia can bring to the table…good snackable content…and related the contents of a multimedia story to that of a good lunchable – short text, nice video, good visual all in one box ready to be lunch.  This is truly the way to make your story an experience for the consumer of that story.  At PR Newswire, we know this is true based on our own studies that have shown that visual stories get more views and generate more engagement.

Brian Solis then joined the crowd gather via Skype to bring his passion on the subject front forward.  In just launching his new book, WTF Business – What’s The Future of Business – Brian spoke about creating a business book that was more meant to be a visual experience.  (I know it’s the first business book that I’ve seen that is in a coffee table book format. )  His desire to present his content in this way was developed with his passion to try new things and break the rules of common convention.

When it comes to breaking common conventions today, Brian passionately spoke about this being the best time for PR & Marketing professionals to recreate all the rules.  The trends of content marketing are about “stitching together moments of truth” for the passionate consumer.   Brian explores this “ultimate moments of truth” in his new book, and finds that connecting visuals and stories lead people down the path to purchase because we are now connecting facts & figure to emotional connection.

Finally, Lee Sherman joined us from Visual.ly, one of the most visually exciting companies out there today.   Lee is passionate about connecting data to that visual story.   People are starting to suffer from I.F. – Infographic Fatigue.   So, now we need to be able to tell a better and more cohesive story, and visuals can help do that.  Just check out this video created by Visual.ly:

Visual Storytelling doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to be emotional.   PR Newswire will be hosting another workshop on Visual Storytelling in Atlanta on April 24th.

The New Rules of Modern Communications: From Owned Media to Agile Engagement

Michael presenting at PRSA this week.

The opening of the PRSA 2012 International Conference took place yesterday in San Francisco (#PRSAICON if you want to follow along at home via Twitter) with Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, opening with his keynote.  In his talk to the attendees and delegates he made the following statement (that was then tweeted around the world):

While it wasn’t planned, this was the perfect lead-in for my talk at the conference on the topic of agile wngagement and the new rules that need to be applied.    I started my discussion talking about the role of content today and how the media landscape is shifting faster than I can type out this blog post and upload my presentation to Slideshare.

New Rule: Content Needs To Be Unified

One of the challenges that organizations face today is the unification of their content.   Companies and Organizations are trying to keep up with the pace of conversation and content online today, however we are often moving so fast, that we don’t coordinate all the moving parts.   If you think about all the different groups in your organization today that are creating content – blog posts to tweets to white papers – from different groups such as marketing, PR, advertising, investor relations, sales, human resources, etc…..that’s a lot of content coming out of departments that often don’t talk with each other very much – and that’s just in a small to medium enterprise, what about a multinational organization?

In order for content unification to really be achieved process can sometimes be a very good thing.  Open discussions across the organization for campaigns can help push that message further and deeper into your intended audiences.

New Rule: Content Must Have Context

It’s often said that, “Content Is King” but as I often say,  “If Content Is King then Context Is The Almighty”.

Content today needs to be created with context – especially with the idea of the context that our audience might be coming across our content with.  For instance, today there is a great shift happening with how we view our content.  The screens that we view our content on shift throughout the day, mobile devices, laptops, tablets, televisions, etc…  However, as marketing communications professionals, we don’t often thing about creating our content with the context of devices and location of the person.

As search plays a deeper role in our lives, we search using multiple devices, and now location factors into those results.  This adds another layer of added context to our content.

However, on the simplest level the multimedia that we use such as photos and video only have context by the words that are surrounding them.  Too often we post photos and videos with no real titles or descriptions hurting our ability to make that content easily searchable by our audiences.

New Rule: Make Your Content Easy

We need to strive to make our content easy for our audiences to access, easy for them to view, and easy for them to use.

As we get better at creating content with context, our audiences should be able to easily pass along this information or directly go to where we are asking them to go to next.   This also means that we need to be more direct and proactive with that content.  For instance, there is very little reason to send our audiences to our homepages when we should be sending them to the specific page that allows them to take that action which we really want them to take.   The more proactive we are with our messaging and directive we are, the easier it will be for our audiences to take those actions which include downloading content, purchasing our product, or to just simply pass along and share that content with their audiences.

New Rule: Search & Social Work Together

In July 2012, there were over 17.9 Billion searches performed in the US according to Comscore.  For the last 3-5 years, Google has owned 65%-68% of all these searches.   While social media continues to expand its’ reach, people still turn to the search engine to get the answers to their questions – today, more than ever before.

Over the last couple of years, Google has made too many changes to their algorithms to detail right here, but at the end of the day it still comes down to creating content that reads well to humans – not search bots – and the social interactions that we have with that content is now effecting the future searchability of that content.  The social signals that are sent when we share, retweet, +1, content gives a validation of that content to future searchers.   Today we must think about creating content that won’t just speak to our intended audiences, but hopefully encourage them to give their stamp of approval by sharing that content or simply passing along their approval.

New Rule: Visibility + Engagement = Multimedia Content

We all want the best visibility and engagement with our content as possible.  If that is the case, ask yourself if you are really using multimedia to help tell your story.   The sad truth is that while we are reading more than ever, we still prefer to watch whenever possible.

At PR Newswire, we have just completed our second study that will be released next month, that re-affirms our study from last year that when you use multimedia content with your messaging, you get more views.    Multimedia content doesn’t just get more views, but also encourages deeper engagement with content.

New Rule: Know Your ROI

ROI in the PR & Marketing world can sometimes be a very fickle thing.  While we all want numbers and dollars that we can point too, sometimes that’s not going to be the metric that we can easily point too.  Share of voice, links built, actions taken, are some of the other kinds of metrics that we also need to look for.

In my presentation at PRSA 2012, I use a video of Burberry CEO Andrea Ahrendts speaking about the Burberry Art of The Trench campaign in which she talks about the fact that she is less concerned with the purchasing of the product than the mindshare that they are trying to create.

The ROI discussion is one that is too long for this post, but in a simple way, it boils down to having a goal in mind with each piece of content.  Ask yourself the simple question, “What do I want someone to do next after they’ve finished reading this.”

Michael Pranikoff is PR Newswire’s director of emerging media.

How To Decide Which Conferences Are Worth Your While

September and October every year are prime time for the conference world.   And with so many choices – and new events popping up almost daily – I thought it might be useful to share some ideas for evaluating whether a conference is a good fit for your organization, whether you’re sending a speaker or planning to sit in the audience to learn and network.

Location, Topics, Who

Location is a factor for a number of people, because that sometimes encompasses the cost.  Generally, I do prefer conferences that are easy for me to get to, and I think a lot of people feel the same.   However, location is often trumped by the following:  Topic of the conference; Who is speaking; and Who is attending.

The Topic of the conference and who is speaking are big motivators for me. It’s not always the big name speakers that bring me in, but the caliber of the smaller sessions.  I find that I tend to learn more in the small breakout sessions than the larger keynotes.  There’s something about being close to the speaker in room where the speaker can engage the audience directly.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing keynotes that I’ve been too, but the personalization that can take place in a room of 50-75 people is hard to replicate.   Some of the best sessions I’ve been to in the past month were sessions that had 30-50 people in them where there was more of an opportunity to listen and ask questions and start true conversation.

This is where who is attending plays a role.  If I see that there are a number of people I know or people whom I want to know are attending – based on companies and titles (which is sometimes published in advance), then I’m all there.  I ask on Twitter or other social networks who might be attending an event and look for the hashtag of the event weeks or even months prior to see what the buzz is like. (note, if you are hosting an event – please choose a short hashtag and start talking about your event as soon as you announce the event).   If I know the caliber of the audience is going to be high, then I can also expect not just to be learning in the sessions, but learning in the breaks too.  However, in the sessions, so much can be learned by the audience asking really good insightful questions.

When do I find I learn the most?

At the recent Content Marketing World, there were so many sessions so full of good speakers that I had a hard time choosing which sessions to go to.  Almost every session that I attended was great – but I actually tended to not go to the sessions that most people were going to.

I looked for interesting topics and I tended to focus more on individual presenters vs. panels.   I tend to enjoy presenters who don’t just talk, but ask questions of the audience to tailor the presentation to who is in the room – not always an easy thing to do.  I also learn more when the pace of the session moves at a good click – but not too fast (admission: as a presenter this is sometimes my biggest mistake).   I also tend to like highly visual presentations because if I wanted to just listen to someone read bullet points, I could simply view the presentation on Slideshare later.

Networking Matters

I also get the most out of events where there is conversation and networking done in the halls and even in the exhibits area.  At the recent Internet Marketing Association Conference in Vegas and the Converge Symposium, I got so much out of just talking and networking with other attendees.   Small conversations that even included access to the speakers were tremendously valuable, and that’s likely why I want to go to these conferences again.

Finally, I really appreciate when conference presentations are made available after the conference and forums allow people to continue to connect and converse after the event.  I so appreciate that Content Marketing World encouraged their presenters to post presentations to Slideshare and elsewhere online after the event.

Putting The Learning to Work!

PR Newswire is hosting the Integrated Communications forum in Seattle next week.  What we’ve learned from putting these events on in 4 other cities this year is being put to use here.  We believe that an Integrated Communications forum must integrate the audience into the conversation to be successful.   We’ve put together a great line up:

  • Rod Brooks, VP & Chief Marketing Officer, PEMCO Mutual Insurance
  • Bill Cox, Senior Director of Marketing Communications, Microsoft
  • Jessica Evans, Senior Account Supervisor, Edelman Digital
  • David Patton, Editor in Chief, Waggener Edstrom
  • Tim Fry, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Weber Shandwick

Just check out how interactive our event in San Francisco and Chicago were earlier this year:

San Francisco: http://storify.com/mpranikoff/content-marke

Chicago:  http://storify.com/bdionline/9-19-chicago-integrated-communications-forum

For conference providers and attendees, I hope you found this helpful, and I hope marketers and communicators in Seattle come out and enjoy our forum next week.

Social Media and Your Legal Team

Photo of the panel courtesy of Brandon Fitzgerald of the MCCA. Follow him on Twitter at @MCCA_Brandon.

Last week I sat on a panel discussion at the 11th Annual Minority Corporate Counsel Association Conference held in Chicago.  The panel discussion was a very interesting discussion entitled Law and Social Media: Industry Leaders Forecast the Future

My fellow panelists consisted of Tekedra  Mawakana, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy, Deputy General Counsel, at AOL; Jessica Fredrickson, Associate General Counsel at Walmart; and Richard Weaver, Deputy Privacy Officer at Comscore.   Of the panelists, I was there to represent a view point of the marketing & communications professional who is using social media to engage their audiences and find new audiences.

The view point from many of the companies and organizations that talk and meet with every week is that the in-house legal departments often don’t get social media and the purpose.   I can say from speaking with the panelists and some of the members in attendance, I don’t think that is always the case.  The in house counsels are often conservative and are trying to mitigate risk.  This is understandable and often very much needed.  However, we sometimes have to weigh whether the reward may be worth the risk or if we are just letting our fears get in the way of business being conducted.

Here are a few things that came out this very lively discussion:

Don’t Fear Your Corporate Counsel

We asked the question in the room about how many of the corporate counsels in the room feared social media.  I was actually surprised to see so few hands come up.   The corporate counselors in the room, and on the panel, shared that they often feel left out of the conversation and are only approached on a last resort basis.  Jessica Fredrickson from Walmart said that corporate counsels very rarely feel like they are the decision makers.  In my own experience, the that is often the viewpoint from the marketing & communications side – that they feel that the legal team has all the control.

One thing that we spoke about, and I suggest, is that we need to work together to embrace each other’s roles in the organization.   The more we learn about the view point from the other side, the better off we will be.  I also suggest that marketing & communications professionals, and social media practitioners, reach out to the legal team to invite them to a conference that they are attending.  The more exposure we have to the thought process that goes into making decisions, the easier those discussions will be.

Having better working relationship with your corporate counsel and involving them early in a process or campaign can really minimize headaches and heartaches down the road.

Create a Social Media Counsel Internally

There is no way to get around the fact that the internal legal team has a very valid role in any company / organization.   However, marketing & communications teams can’t live in a social media bubble.  Social Media touches many parts of the organization – customer service, HR, Legal, Sales…etc… The formation of a social media counsel that involves participants from the different parts of the organization and at least one person in the C-Suite, can really help your social media channels.  The more understanding there is of different initiatives, the better coordinated your efforts will be.  Better yet, you will have access to other points of view, and access to people who can help in the content creation process that will fill the chosen channels.

Education = Success

One of the highly discussed topics was about having Social Media Policies vs. Guidelines.   This is definitely a hot topic in many organizations and I definitely have a personal opinion on this.   The panel seemed to come to an agreement that social media is just one of the ever evolving ways that we communicate.  Most companies and organizations have a general communications policy.  My suggestion is that companies incorporate social media into that policy.  However, having social media policies around specific social media channels can often be an exercise in futility.   The landscape changes too quickly to enact policies around every new channel that opens up.   Policy can also be difficult to change once it is enacted.  This is a reason that I am personally more in favor of guidelines that can regularly be updated.

Having a well thought Social Media Policy or Guideline is really only the first step.  Today, education about social media channels, how they are used on a personal and a professional basis is important to discuss internally.  I suggest that social media guidance / training should be a part of any new hire process today and reviewed with staff annually.   Having some simple guidelines in place helps, but also showing people where the lines between personal and professional can often get blurred.   Our U.S. military does a great job of not only educating their employees (soldiers and staff) but also extends that education to anyone by really making this information public and easily accessible (US Navy Slideshare Page, US Army Slideshare Page).   While privacy is definitely an ever evolving thing today, we have to remember that your name is your brand;  if you’re brand can be associated anywhere online with the company you work with or represent then any content you post online then your brands can be connected.

Transparency Matters

One comment that caused some pause, but later agreement is that today “No Comment” is not a choice.   While there was some grousing in the room about this, both the panelists from Walmart and AOL agreed that corporate counsel has to provide better guidance in a crisis situation.  They agreed that while they sometimes have to be dragged kicking and screaming into making a comment, it’s always that better choice – even if it is simply to say that, “we are looking into the matter but need more information before we can comment on the matter”.

Part of the transparency factor in marketing / communications, especially in social media channels, is that we set both standards of behavior and expectations.  An example of this that was pointed out is that Walmart links to their Walmart  Social Media Guidelines from their Facebook page.   PR Newswire also lists our guidelines in our “About” section on our Facebook page.

The importance of setting these expectations comes very true in a crisis situation.   This example of this happened in 2011 when Nestle USA came under attack from environmental group and had their Facebook page, and a number of their brand pages, hijacked.  Since then, Nestle has posted a ‘House Rules’ tab on their Facebook page as well as a number of their brand pages.

I hope you’ve learned a few things from this blog post that covered a 90 minute discussion on the topic.  I know that I was very enlightened by what I learned during this discussion, but many of the corporate counsels and privacy officers whom I spoke with after the panel were also very appreciative for a glimpse at how the other side thinks too.

Author Michael Pranikoff is PR Newswire’s director of emerging media.

Grassroots Advocacy and PR – An Interview with Shonali Burke

As the holiday season begins in full swing, we think back to what we are thankful for and how we can help others.  For those working in grassroots advocacy campaigns, helping raise awareness of how to help others is something that they do all year.

Grassroots Campaigns have been around as long as the PR industry.  Today, there are more advocacy campaigns than ever.  I live in Washington DC, home to thousands of associations and non-profit organizations both on a national and international level.

In the 15 years that I’ve been working in the media industry, I’ve met my fair share of incredible PR professionals who are so passionate about what they do and who they do work for.   Back in 2005, I met Shonali Burke, who at the time was working at Ruder Finn in DC.  Shonali and I have stayed friends.  Today, she is running her own consulting business as well as teaching at John Hopkins University.   She also runs the very popular #measurePR Twitter Chat every other Tuesday.

At this year’s PRSA International Conference in Orlando, I got a chance to catch up with Shonali at the PR Newswire booth.

Here’s a little deeper interview with Shonali.

Q. Please tell us a little about your background and how you got into working with Grassroots Advocacy and PR Campaigns?

A. I’ve been working in PR ever since I moved to the US in 2000, and for a while before (never mind how long!). Initially my work was very publicity-focused, but I found that I really enjoyed ways of incorporating community and grassroots outreach into my work. What I’ve seen over the last few years, as digital and social media have really come into the limelight, is that these are terrific platforms with which to do this – you can reach your end-audience directly, building and energizing online communities to really become your advocates.

Q: Tell us a little about the campaign you are working on right now?

A: I’ve been working with USA for UNHCR since early 2011 on the digital and social aspects of its Blue Key campaign. Since the organization works to raise awareness and support for Geneva-based UNHCR‘s efforts to help refugees, it came up with the concept of a $5 pin or pendant in the shape of a blue key, since the key to a home is what you and I have, but refugees don’t, through no fault of their own. So by purchasing and then wearing their Blue Key pin or pendant, people can really spread the message about how critical the refugee crisis is – more than 43 million people around the world are refugees or forcibly displaced! – since the key sparks curiosity and conversation. Our goal is to get 6,000 keys out to US residents by December 31, 2011.

Q: For the particular campaign that you are working on right now, what are some of the unique tactics that you are trying to raise awareness?

A: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve seen how critical advocates can be to any campaign, and social media gives us the opportunity to reach them directly. So the heart of our outreach lies with the “Blue Key Champions” – people who are cause-passionate and active online, and willing to share the message of the Blue Key with their communities. We ask them to purchase a key and then commit to blogging about the campaign, but over and above that, whatever they do is completely optional.

What has started happening is that as the Champions get more invested in the campaign, they want to do more. So in June they asked to do a #bluekey “tweetathon,” where several of them tweeted about the campaign for an hour each, including the hashtag and interspersing their tweets with the call to action of getting a key, from 9 am – 9 pm ET. This worked really well to the point where traffic to the site shot up 169% over the previous high point and more than half the key purchases for that week were generated by the tweetathon. We’ve now done two Tweetathons, the most recent being on Nov. 17th where we sold 159 keys, which we think is a very respectable number considering that this all volunteer.  The next Tweetathon is will be on Dec. 12th.  Just follow #bluekey that day to participate

In addition, several of the Champions are spearheading Blue Key tweetups or meetups in their cities, so that they can connect with each other offline, as well as share the message of the Blue Key further. Those are probably two of my favorite parts of the campaign.

Q: Are you mixing in traditional PR tactics into your campaign, if so – what tactics and how are they working?

A: When USA for UNHCR created the Blue Key website and began the campaign, it did embark on some traditional media tactics, such as an announcement news release that was issued via PR Newswire.  Also, in April 2011, Khalid Hosseini, author of the Kite Runner and refugee advocate participated in a morning drive radio tour focusing on the issue. However, I was not involved in those initiatives and my work focuses on digital outreach, social media and taking the online community offline.

Q: You’re operating on a shoe-string budget here – as many grassroots organizations do – so how are you making sure that you are getting the most bang for the buck when you do any kind of spending?

A: Good question! We look at what we’re spending very, very carefully and don’t spend any more than we have to. This is partly why we rely so much on our Champions. What we do spend is a lot of time – time in building those relationships, and time in maintaining them. So the costs incurred are mostly time, since our expenses are relatively few.

Q: How are search and social fitting into your campaign?

A: Search and social are very important to us. We created tracking links prior to our digital outreach so that we could see what, if any, impact our outreach was having on our overall goal of getting more people to buy keys. Over time, we’ve seen that the Champions’ blog posts, sharing on Facebook and Twitter have all generated tremendous traffic to the site, as well as in getting people to purchase keys, particularly the tweetathon as I discussed above. In addition, prior to the onset of our digital outreach you wouldn’t have found the Blue Key site on the first few pages of Google SERPs. Now, however, you can.

Q: What advice would you give to others who are working in Grass Roots Advocacy PR Campaigns in regards to measurement?

A: Identify at the outset what it is you’re trying to achieve in a quantifiable and time-bound manner. For the Blue Key campaign, for example, it’s 6,000 keys by December 31. Everyone’s goals will be different, but the clearer you are about your end-goal, the more focused you will be in planning how to get there, and then implementing your plan. I’d also say that you shouldn’t get lost in measuring the tools, e.g. how many Twitter followers do you have, etc. You can certainly track numbers like those, but they shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all. Remember that these are just tools that you have to use in a smart manner to achieve your results, and those results are what you should be focusing on.

Brand Streaming: The Need, Opportunity & Impact

At PRSA this year,  I gave a presentation focusing on how brands are streaming their content today and how we need to think a little more strategically on how we do that.   We can’t simply post all of our content all over the place, but need to have a more focused stream for our content.    This is not an easy process today.  We not only have to be quick with content creation, but also agile enough to change up when the market moves.  Dave Armon from Critical Mention interviewed me about the presentation – that video is at the top of the post, and my presentation deck is below:

Streaming The Brand: The Need, The Opportunity, The Impact

Keys communicators need to keep in mind when developing the content to support their brand’s stream:

  • People love a good true story
  • Developing and maintaining the audience’s trust is paramount (no one will pay attention if they don’t trust you!)
  • Make the content accessible: easy to find, view and use.

Learn more about managing brand streams at this week’s FREE webinar hosted by  PRSA and PR Newswire:  Streaming Your Brand: Managing Brand Conversation and Cohesion in a Real-Time World

Thursday, October 27, 2011
Time: 12:00 PM Pacific, 1:00 PM Mountain, 2:00 PM Central, 3:00 PM Eastern
Duration:Approximately 45 minutes

About the Webinar
Content flowing from brand to constituent – and constituent to brand – has become a real-time, always-on stream…streaming across channels to media influencers, social influencers, consumers, policy makers and decision makers, and then streaming right back to you – full of insight and opportunity.The ability to more effectively and proactively manage this “brandstream” has much to do with your ability to lead conversations, ensure brand coherence, protect reputation and drive business results. From targeting to distribution to analysis, from social to traditional, the technology and tools now exist to allow you to unleash real-time communications and content opportunities like never before.

Join us as we take a closer look at the essential tools, tactics and practices to help you manage and empower your brandstream.

Presented by:
Tom Stein, President and Chief Creative Officer, Stein + Partners Brand Activation
Sarah Skerik, Vice President, Social Media, PR Newswire

PR Newswire at PRSA 2011 – Earn It!

The PRSA International Conference is always one of the highlights of the year for the public relations industry.  It is one of the largest annual gatherings of public relations professionals and students who are getting ready to join the industry.

We here at PR Newswire look forward to attending this conference, exhibiting, and presenting at this conference every year.   However, just attending and exhibiting might get boring year after year – but not when you have stellar keynote presentations from Soledad O’Brien from CNNbest-selling author Chris Brogan, and Joe Rohde – SVP and Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering.

This year we decided to challenge PRSA 2011 attendees to see how creative they could be, and created the Earn It Challenge, an innovative and interactive content creation scavenger hunt.  Attendees registered for the game using their smartphone and then were given all kinds of challenges from taking photos, making videos, and creating text based content.   However, creating content was just the start to the game.  We then asked game players to come back to the PR Newswire booth to upload their content to then be distributed to the appropriate online channels:  The PR Newswire Facebook Page, YouTube Channel, Flickr, Twitter, and the PR Newswire Tumblr Blog.

The conference and game were both a big success, and we want not only want to thank everyone who played, but also to congratulate our top three winners!

Demitra Wilson from Equifax

Karren Jeske from Standard Process Inc.

Kimberly Miles from the Myrtle Beach Kimberly Miles from  Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau / Chamber of Commerce.

It was a very busy week….and one that I look forward to again next year at PRSA 2012 in San Francisco.

Interview – Vetting in the Age of Social Media: Who Do You Trust

Vetting content today is a difficult thing to do with so much content being created and distributed today.   On August 18th, we wrote a post on why we believe that Vetting in the age of social is such an important topic.   It’s the reason that we have submitted this topic to be considered at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference for 2012 in Austin, TX.

Vote for Vetting in the Age of Social Media

The panel we have submitted to talk on this subject includes:

- Amy Webb, CEO of the WebbMedia Group

- Tony Uphoff, CEO of UBM Techweb and author of Uphoff On Media

- Alicia Stewart, Senior Producer at CNN

- Shelli Whitehurst, Managing Dir. & Digital Brand Strategist at Code Name Max

I am really looking forward to moderating this panel discussion on such an important topic today.   I had the opportunity while in San Francisco at the offices of UBM Techweb to speak with one of our panelists, Tony Uphoff on this subject.

If you agree with us that this is an important topic, please vote for our panel at SXSW.  The voting ends tomorrow September 2nd!

Author Michael Pranikoff is PR Newswire’s director of emerging media.

Recapping the Inbound Marketing Summit – San Francisco

Last week I participated in the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco.  This is the second time that I’ve been fortunate enough to participate as a speaker at the San Francisco conference (I’ve also participated as a speaker at the Boston version of this conference last fall, and will again this fall).   Not only is this conference full of great presentations and conversations, but it’s really made up of some great attendees.

This year in SF they went with a new model – pay what you want – to attend.  This brought forward some very interesting conversations and some great participation from small businesses and solo PR & Marketing consultants who sometimes can’t afford to attend some of the big conferences.

There seems to be a push back to basics this year with some of the social media hoopla conversations really giving way to a push towards business metrics and objectives.  The idea of email marketing and automation that was once thought of as old has become new again.  There was also a renewed interest and push towards Search.  This time however, the SEO conversations were really pushing the ideas of smartly written content and using social and search together.

To those who attend a lot of these types of conferences, this is a theme that is being talked about again and again.  Ideas for tying it all together followed by those that are still trying to squeeze out that perfect metric (which in my opinion may never really exist).

While attending and participating in the conference, I was fortunate enough to have PR Newswire Account Manager for the Agency Vertical in San Francisco, Diane Harrigan, along with me and her camera skills.   Diane (who operates a video blog on her own – Postcards from SF) was able to capture a couple of interviews with me and conference organizer and author Chris Brogan; and Social Media Club Founder and President, Kristie Wells.  I hope you enjoy the conversations and the insight that they were able to share.

Author Michael Pranikoff is PR Newswire’s Director of Emerging Media.