Thursday, November 22, 2012

IABC Directions For 2013

I'm a member of the Canberra Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). A global reaching organisation, IABC helps communicators develop their careers and businesses.

Watch as President Kerbey Meyers and CEO Chris Sorek share IABC's plans for 2013.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Social Media Tactics From Obama and Romney

Watch out Wednesday! 

That's when the US Presidential race is finally over after a year of intense campaigning.  And, when there will be a vast outpouring of analysis on how the successful candidate used social media to support his bid.  

Both the Romney and Obama teams have extensively used social media to engage Americans through Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other platforms. Early on they took heed of research showing social media users are more politically active, more issues-oriented, better connected and contribute more money than non-users.  

At least that's the view of David Almacy who spoke on social media in the US Election at the recent PRSA Conference. Almacy a senior executive of Edelman PR and a member of the Republican digital media team at the party's Convention in August, gave an engaging presentation, particularly for the few non-Americans in the audience. 

He believes both parties have used online channels to push out information, take the pulse of voter sentiment and draw people to candidate websites where they are invited to volunteer their time and money. 

What's missing of course is talk about engaging in real dialogue.  It seems minor candidates are more likely to engage in two way conversations than the two major parties, who remained focused on pushing out messages on an almost industrial scale, in the hope of avoiding journalistic filters.

Almacy also noted those participating in social media do not necessarily increase their political knowledge because most of the chatter has amplified traditional media coverage of events and issues.

An August article on the impact of social media on elections in the US publication The Atlantic reached similar conclusions.

Four Ways To Drive Content Marketing

Recently I heard US content guru Lee Odden talk about the power of content marketing.  Lee is the author of 29 Content Marketing Secrets.

The conversation was timely.  Today there are over seven billion connected devices and the number grows each day. A few weeks ago Facebook hit the one billion user mark.  Five years ago could you have imagined so many people communicating from a single grid?

In this age of connectivity we create, consume, publish, interact and transact at will.  

But what exactly do we communicate?  Is there quality in our conversations?

The answer is simple - if your social media horizons are personal.  You share the details of daily life with friends and family.  But a government, business or not for profit can't and won't do that.  Nor can they afford to fall into the trap of using social media as an electronic brochure simply blasting out their stuff. One way, self-centred conversations quickly become tiresome.

You can achieve far more if the content in your social media dialogue is grounded around a few essential basics such as
  • Your audience and their ambition, goals, needs and problems.
  • Stories of people who benefit or are impacted by what you do and stories of frontline staff interacting with others.
  • Your commitment to respond and interact, share information and cop criticism along with compliments
  • Communicating with passion and energy - the qualities which will really make you stand out and stand for something. 
This mirrors our real world conversations that add value to our lives so craft content along these lines and you're bound to succeed.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three PR Lessons from San Francisco

My recent visit to San Francisco for this year's Public Relations Society of America's International Conference was an eye-opener. 

Just as the Bay City led  the 60s with its flower power movement, the convention showed it remains a powerhouse of new ideas.

When 3000 PR-types from across the globe gather, you're bound to meet interesting people and discover good ideas. It's always a buzz tapping into the energy of PRs from all over the world. Akin to having communications jumper leads (or booster cables as Americans call them) wired up to your brain.  

This particular conference  revealed insights and emphasised three themes:  

  • Social media is now baked into every significant piece of marketing and communication.  PRs must be able to strategise, deliver, integrate and evaluate a social media program.  If you can't, then you stamp a sign on your forehead which shouts you have no future in the industry. Bosses expect you to be as adept as social media as you are at writing media releases or staging events. And, there can be no excuses when we are all surrounded by free advice, tips and techniques on the web and PRs willing to share their experiences.
  • A social media crisis can hit at  tweet-speed. And just as quickly it can pass by leaving a trail of busted reputations and broken staff. The risks of doing nothing are too great in a world of instant dialogue. The PR professional is expected to respond quickly which puts a premium on crisis communications skills.  Once the province of specialist communicators, managing crisis communications has now moved to the front row of PR competencies.  
  • Social media is introducing a new era of transparency.  The citizen, customer or client is king and queen and can and will vent frequently and fully.  The social media spotlight penetrates like a miner's lamp further and faster into the back offices and factory floors of government and business. Everyone needs to adapt.  That means HR as well as PR, and also count in the folks in finance, production, distribution and R&D.
If you're not using social media and using it effectively, be confident your competitors are -  to out-organise, out-sell, out-strategise or out-think you. 

While our core business objectives may not have changed, San Fransisco shows the communications landscape around them certainly has. We are going to have to do more in less time.