So, you want your CEO to blog?

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As more organizations realize the benefits of social media, there seems to be a real interest in getting their thought leaders to blog. I encourage clients to consider who their true thought leaders are. The first person that typically pops to mind is the CEO. But blogging requires a pretty substantial time commitment, not just to write the posts but to read other blogs, respond to comments and maintain momentum. Does your CEO have the time and focus required to succeed?

As I’ve written before, blogging falls into the social media mix which includes communication, conversation and community. Blogging creates incredible opportunities, but those opportunities need to be fostered.

Here’s an alternate suggestion that still allows your CEO a chance to contribute without a major ongoing commitment. Identify and leverage your subject matter experts. We have found some really creative ways using internal social media programs to give people a voice and help them perfect their point of view before they blog externally. Subject matter experts are great because they tend to be passionate, empowered and well-informed. They are also more likely to read other blogs and bring an extended network that represents a built-in audience.

So how does your CEO fit in? Well, provide them with updates, or better yet, set them up with an aggregated feed with content from each of your subject matter experts. I also encourage organizations to have their CEO comment on their subject matter experts’ blogs. Comments from the CEO, or other visible leaders, carry weight. They are also a great form of recognition and credibility. “Hey, if the CEO is commenting, she’s really following this stuff. She has her ear to the ground and is an active leader.”

This type of approach makes corporate blogging just a bit more manageable and maybe even a bit more engaging.

[tags] corporate blogging, ceo blogs, business blog, social media[/tags]

Targetting a transient audience

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Peter Himler, Steve Rubel and Rob KeyThis morning, I sat in on a session (conveniently held at Fleishman-Hillard) called “What PR Pros Need to Know About Social Media” organized by the Publicity Club of New York and PRSA-NY. Peter Himler moderated a discussion between social media heavyweights, Steve Rubel and Rob Key. Attendees were treated to a bit of a reality check as I like to call it. Steve and Rob discussed how the PR industry is at a critical point of transition. There are significant ramifications for communicators that fail to embrace change.

The world and influence of media is changing. People seek information in new ways and in niche spaces. Steve gave some great advice, suggesting that the most important thing is to understand the trends and what they mean to your business. Rob proposed that online destinations and digital hot spots change regularly. It’s kind of like a “rave“; here one day, there the next.

The new media audience is transient. People go with the flow, especially when they align themselves with a specific community. Word-of-mouth marketing has become a major mobilizer for trend-setters and followers.

I won’t give a full review of the event since Peter has done a great job with his Digital PR Musings post. There are a few concepts that emerged from the conversation that I want to share:

  • Reverberation – Steve used this word to describe the goal of online communication. I love it.
  • Collaboration – Rob must have mentioned collaboration at least 20 times. It is key to social media success.
  • Co-creation – Pretty similar to collaboration, but Steve used it in the context of content and perspective. Control no longer exists. Organizations need to learn how to collaborate and co-create with their publics.
  • Integrity – The nature of social media means that the conversation is wide open. Participants need to develop a thick skin in order to survive. Steve talked about surviving the Edelman-WalMart flogs blogstorm. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for someone so savvy and obviously in the know to see that happen within his firm. It’s a lesson for all social media practitioners and PR professionals.
  • Feed the Ego – When people are reaching out to bloggers with information of interest, you have to clearly identify what’s in it for the blogger. What motivates him or her to keep writing? Why should they care about you or your client? If they “cover” it, what’s it going to do for them?
  • Strategy – Rob mentioned that when he speaks at conferences, he often asks how many people have a social media strategy and the response is always sparse. Few professionals have really figured out how to do it, or have taken the time to realize it’s a different world.

    Finally, I am always amazed at how much information Steve can process. Apparently he is up at 4 a.m. everyday. He has usually updated his blog before I’m on my way to work. He also mentioned that he receives more than 120 pitches daily and only about 2% are any good. As a PR and social media pro, I think he finds it astounding that there is so much crap bombarding him. It really put him on the receiving end. Granted social media pitches are entirely different and new to many. It’s time to get with the program if you haven’t already.

    [tags] social media, public relations, prsa, publicity club, steverubel, robert key[/tags]

        Embracing citizen journalism

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        This post is based on a primer email I sent to colleagues today having read a great article in The New York Times on December 4, 2006.

        Are you taking advantage of the power of the blogosphere? There is an article in today’s New York Times that explores how Yahoo and Reuters are introducing user-generated content through a service called You Witness News designed to “showcase photographs and video of news events submitted by the public.”

        “The project is among the most ambitious efforts in what has become known as citizen journalism, attempts by bloggers, start-up local news sites and by global news organizations like CNN and the BBC to see if readers can also become reporters.”

        This trend creates new opportunities for your organization. While there is “an ongoing demand for interesting and iconic images,” according to Chris Ahearn, president of the Reuters media group, communication teams need to identify which citizen journalists and bloggers wield the greatest influence. Just as we pitch mainstream media, we need to consider how online outreach can land our clients not just in the blogosphere and on the Web, but also in some instances in print or broadcast media. According to the Times, future contributions may also include articles.

        [tags]citizen journalism, user-generated content[/tags]