Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tapping the Groundswell in PR

The reading this week focuses on three main topics:

Chapter 4: This chapter talks about strategies for tapping the groundswell.
Chapter 5: How should you use the groundswell for research purposes? Listen.
Chapter 6: This chapter shows how to use the groundswell for marketing and PR, in other words, it tells you how to "talk with the Groundswell."

In order to tap into the groundswell, the book details a simple four-step process, which can easily be remembered by the acronym POST. It stands for: People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology. It is important to know who your customers are and how they are likely to respond to your PR. Additionally, one must know their goals, how they plan on achieving, and how technology can be used to accomplish them.

Next, the reading discusses five objectives that companies can pursue in the groundswell, which include listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing. The author mentions that "the clarity of your objectives will either make of break your strategy."

The next chapter discusses listening to the groundswell--another important skill for PR professionals. Overall, the message is: "your brand is what your customers say it is." No matter what you -plan- on accomplishing, and no matter how -you- envision your brand, it is ultimately the customers' perception that matters, so we must listen to them.

Finally, chapter 6 talks about how to talk to the groundswell. This can be accomplished through techniques such as user-generated video, blogs (such as mine!), and communities. An example of such a tool in action is Procter & Gamble's community for young girls:

All of this information is important to know, especially for students of PR, such as myself. I know that what the authors have said here is very true. You cannot hinge on your own perceptions, but listen to your customers. Having a goal is critical too, and means for achieving it. Your strategy can start with something simple, such as this blog I am writing, or a Twitter account, or Facebook page. I have all three, and feel that this can help me build a strong PR community. How about you? What do you think?


PR Measurement- Is My PR Effective?

When working in the PR industry, it is very important to meet your goals established at the beginning of each campaign. This is why it is crucial to understand PR measurement. Basically, measurement ‘evaluates the effectiveness of messaging and provides a way to show whether PR is reaching objectives.’ In fact, it is one of the most important parts of the PR plan. In general, there are three main parts concerning PR measurement:

-Assessment of the objectives

-Agreed PRIOR to campaign

-Adds to the bottom line

-Sets benchmarks

So, how then is PR measured? There are three levels: basic (measures production), intermediate (measures exposure), and advanced (measures attitudes/change). There are many ways in which one can measure PR effectiveness, namely press clippings, impressions, web hits, advertising equivalency (although this method is very unreliable, and seldom used), Information requests, attendance, etc.
Obviously, the first two levels of PR measurement are relatively easy to achieve, but attempting to get an accurate measurement of attitude and change is very difficult. How can we really know if someone’s attitudes have -actually- changed?

Thankfully, there are many online resources that I have found to help. For example, , a blog about PR measurement from the KD Paine PR firm. as well as the following YouTube video both clearly explain PR measurement:

All in all, measuring the effectiveness of your PR campaigns is a vital part of the process, and should not be taken for granted. But which ways do I think are effective? I think that none of the ways of measuring PR are foolproof. How can a person really know if someone who came across your website (website hits) really got something out of it. Just because someone attended your event does not mean their attitudes changed.

What are your opinions?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Are You Really LinkedIn?

I'm sure many of us have heard of LinkedIn. According to their website, "Over 90 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities." But what does that really mean? How many people are using this website effectively?

A recent article on Ragan Communications' PR Daily News feed suggests that Most LinkedIn Users Don't Use the Site. Why not, since it's such a great tool, I wonder? It was recently found that a substantial majority of our members do not visit our website on a monthly basis, and a substantial majority of our page views are generated by a minority of our members. So, do people not care, or are they just too busy to be bothered?

I was sitting in PR class last week, and the professor stated that it may be good for us to create our own LinkedIn presence, so I looked into it. The recent statistics do put me off a little. If no one's using it, what's the point? Can I really build relationships with people who don't check their profile? Reminds me a little of Myspace, and we all know how cool that is these days. Back in the day, everyone made a profile; now most people have abandoned it. You can leave a comment and never get a reply. If LinkedIn works similarly, I don't think I'm interested.

From what I understand, LinkedIn provides contact information and a short "resume-style" profile that helps people network in the professional world. It really seems like a good idea, but other articles agree that the site has seen better days. Hey LinkedIn, Where Did Those Profitable Years Go? is another example of an article talking about the downturn.

Honestly, after reading these articles, I am a little bit skeptical. I will probably still create a LinkedIn profile at some point, since it seems to be a nice networking tool, but I won't hold my breath. If it helps me, great; if not, I tried.

For more info on what LinkedIn does, here's a video "In Plain English":

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Become an Influencer Today!

In today’s day and age, it is important to put yourself “out there” in the digital world. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn and other social media tools can really help in the PR industry (but not only that—having an online presence can be helpful in many careers). It’s not enough to just create profiles on these sites and follow a few of your peers. The key to having a successful online presence has to do with influence. One must become an online influencer.  But what does that mean and how can you become one?

Influence can be defined as the ability to shape thoughts, perceptions, or behavior. So how do you know if you are an influencer? There are several clues to look for.
Several ways to spot an influencer include:

-Popularity: an obvious indicator
-Expertise: to be influential, one must be an expert in their subject
-Listening: a good listener is influential
-Quantity of followers
-The ratio between the number of a user’s followers and the number of other people that the user follows (his audience, or as we designate in this report, followees) -2nd article

Just think about how many times you’ve bought something and it’s been rubbish, so you go to Amazon and give it a bad review (or a good review, if you loved it). In this way, billions of consumers ‘work’ as “citizen marketers,” influencing how brands are perceived by other potential consumers. Brands themselves can do nothing, comment, or encourage such people, but they will still be an influence, no matter what. In a recent article [link], Brian Solis mentions, “Aside from the disciplines and behavior our profession dictates, we are far more than communicators, marketers, publishers or chroniclers of life events.  We are also knowledgeable people with ideas, opinions, observations, and experiences that cannot be discounted.  We bring opinions, experiences, rapture, and frustrations to each conversation as a consumer. But when its time to reach our peers and colleagues, we regress to broadcasters and purveyors of information and lose site of how what we represent truly impacts those we’re trying to reach.” Very true!

A 2009 post entitled Social Media Reading – Influencers mentions that “Under most conditions that we consider, we find that large cascades of influence are driven not by influentials but by a critical mass of easily influenced individuals.” A 2009 post entitled Social Media Reading – Influencers mentions that “Under most conditions that we consider, we find that large cascades of influence

While there may be many ways of measuring influence, there are several things a person ca do to get noticed:


-Listen with care: you are more likely to be influential if you listen.

-Read blogs: know what’s out there—be informed.

-Read comments: not only the blog posts are important. Comments let you know how others feel!

-Comment: create a two-way communication path

-Be authentic: people will be able to connect with you


Focusing my studies in the area of PR, I realize it is very important that I become influential through my online presence. What I say matters, and influences others. I do, however need to take into consideration that I am, at the present moment, not very influential, and should probably do my best to work on that. There may not be a foolproof way of going about that, but using the resources and knowledge I have gained in class this week, I will give it a shot.




Sunday, February 13, 2011

Social Media Leadership- Do You Have What it Takes?

I recently came across an interesting article on Ragan's PR Daily feed the other day, and thought it merited some attention. With the rise of social media technologies, it is easy to get lost or go unnoticed. In the past, if someone had a personal website, this set them apart, and they quickly became noticed by the professional or business world.

Now, many people have their own websites, blogs, and other online accounts. Many people have Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, personal blogs, and YouTube channels. It is a lot harder to show professionalism and stand out among so many people. Because of this, it is crucial to know just how to become a leader in the vast world of social media.

The video included on PR Daily gives wonderful suggestions on how to become a "next generation PR Pro." The CEO of Ragan Communications, Mark Ragan, sits down to present an important segment for the Social Media Leadership Series. Some of the suggestions he makes throughout the 8 minute video include:

-The skills needed today for social media are: PR is "no longer looking for people who can deliver the perfectly crafted message" but rather people who have come from online culture and understand what makes an online community tick. Who know the rules of engagement instinctively."

-The PR industry values people who spend hours on online sites like Digg and Reddit, immersed in weird internet culture.

-Blog content that "organically came to be" is most valued by the consumer than specifically branded information.

-Anyone wanting to succeed in social media needs to "play an amateur psychologist"--get into the minds of the consumer.

These are only some of the many useful tips they provide. I entirely agree. My generation is so involved in online social media culture, that we know how it works. Also, getting into the minds of consumers will help sell a brand or product. I believe that the information provided is good, and useful for someone hoping to go into PR and Advertising (as I am trying to do).

Great info!

Here is the full video for further information:

Dear Delicious, Please stay!

Remember the days when you came across a useful website, and you clicked "add bookmark?" Soon, you opened the bookmark dropdown menu and you could never find the site within the mess? Or maybe you wanted to access the site at school, but remembered that you had only bookmarked it on your home computer. Those were the old days. Or perhaps you still do this? If so, it is time to move on. Keeping your favorite sites bookmarked on your browser at home is just not the way to go anymore.

A [fairly] new system exists to bookmark your favorite sites. The other day in my PR class, I was introduced to an online service called Delicious. It is a type of social bookmarking site which lets a person bookmark sites at an online account, organize them, and share them with others (if you choose to do so). I love this idea! It makes life so much easier. I can now access my bookmarks from any computer with internet access, and others with similar interests can also benefit from my compilation.

Unfortunately, it seems that these might be the last days for Delicious. The site may be shut down soon, but no one is sure. An article on ReadWriteWeb mentions that after Yahoo! became in charge of Delicious, they stated that they might close it down. Yahoo! did not give provide more information, though. Later, they gave an update, stating that they plan on selling Delicious rather than closing it down.

Either way, no one is sure exactly what will happen or when, but many are disappointed. Delicious is very useful, and many people would hate to see it go. Luckily, there are other similar social bookmarking websites, such as Diigo, that serve a similar purpose. Diigo, in particular, may prove helpful if Delicious goes under. They provide an easy transfer tool which allows you to transfer all of your Delicious bookmarks to Diigo, or create simultaneous lists on both sites. Personally, I would be sad if Delicious got shut down. Just in case, I made a Diigo, and am compiling my bookmarks there. Hopefully, we don't have to see Delicious go, but thankfully we can still utilize the wonderful concept of social bookmarking to make our lives easier.


Christie Duffy of the Financial News Network explains how Yahoo! plans on cutting costs by closing Delicious:

ReadWriteWeb article: R.I.P Delicious, you were so beautiful to me

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Yammer: Get the Best of All Social Media Worlds

Most people have heard of Facebook or Twitter, but how many of you have heard of Yammer? I'm sure the number of people who are aware of Yammer are few and far between, but it seems this site may just be the next big thing in social media.

A recent Ragan Communications article discusses this new social media site, but also cautions potential users that there are unwritten rules about using it effectively. The article mentions How NOT to Use Yammer.

Since many may not know what Yammer IS, I will take some time to explain its purpose. In short, "think of Yammer as Facebook meets Instant Messaging meets Twitter meets LinkedIn for internal communications." It's basically a conglomerate of all other social networking sites all bundled into one. Overwhelming? Maybe initially, but it seems that getting used to it could pay off. Yammer's main use is for internal communication within companies and businesses. In order to use Yammer to a company's benefit, there are several things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure to set some ground rules- telling your employees how you plan to incorporate Yammer  can lead to success. Let them know it is to be used for business only.

2. Do not Accept any account- make sure employees have accurate information on their profiles and include a photo.

3. Keep Information Relevant-make sure all posts are related to your company. No random videos.

4. Utilize the "groups" feature- It can be helpful for networking to create "groups." Remember to use but not abuse.

These are only a summary of some of the helpful tips provided by the Ragan article. I think this tool can be really helpful in a business setting, but may take some time to catch on.

Yammer has Apps:
bb-Yammer Pictures, Images and Photos

Yammer explained:

Egypt: Internet Kill Switch Engaged

Just last week after an outburst of civilian protests against their President Mubarak, the Egyptian government enacted the Internet kill switch, shutting off all Internet access, and, therefore, all access to social networking sites. The supposed purpose of this action was to curb protests by cutting off simple lines of communication such as Twitter and Facebook to prevent Cyber warfare. Both of these sites provide easy channels for the general public to communicate and organize actions, such as protests and demonstrations. Additionally, the sites give the people a voice, so they are able to share their opinions on the matter (of the government) to audiences worldwide.

Twitter, for example, lets anyone create a free account and post short messages, called Tweets, about any subject at any point in time. While being a prime networking tool for businesses, Twitter is also used by many ordinary people to get their voice out to the world. It allows messages (news, personal opinion tweets, etc.) to be released quickly and efficiently.

Facebook, on the other hand, provides a great channel for organizing “events,” which could include anything from a small family gathering to a large protest in the streets. Anyone with an account can create pages, which again aid networking of like-minded individuals.

A recent article from The New Yorker  states that, The world, we are told, is in the midst of a revolution. The new tools of social media have reinvented social activism. With Facebook and Twitter and the like, the traditional relationship between political authority and popular will has been upended, making it easier for the powerless to collaborate, coordinate, and give voice to their concerns.” –Malcolm Gladwell. This sums up what I’ve been trying to say very well. Gladwell offers more wisdom on the matter in his article entitled From Innovation to Revolution.

But what does this all mean for us in the U.S, for instance? China controls their communication already. Legislation has been considered to enact the ability for the government to enact the Internet Kill switch in the States, but there has been much opposition to it. It does seem to be in breech of amendment rights (freedom of speech). What if control got in the wrong hands? Could it ever be approved? Even now in Egypt, there are services that help Egyptians get around the lack of Internet access.

And we have to keep in mind, there are always hackers who have their own ways.

Here is a short clip considering the controversy of the kill switch:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Hello all!

Just wanted to welcome you to my new PR blog. Stay tuned for interesting PR and social media tidbits.