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I'm totally w/ you on the unplugging not being a requirement; wrote much the same in years past. It's not the tech, it's how we use it – and we use technology to live and play (as well as to work). 


When I travel, the apps are so so useful: TA, as well as Priceline and Kayak. One of my faves is TripIt b/c it keeps all my bookings/confirmations in one space, puts everything on your calendar. I also load up the iPad w/ ebooks (downloaded from the e-library) when on vacation, even bring a long a portable BT speaker so I can have tunes in my room or relaxing outside. FWIW.

1 day, 7 hours ago on Technology enhanced summer fun! Unplugging not required.

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That's just it -- writing (via keywords in this case) for the readers you want vs. the ones you have, for what would help you and your blog vs. what would just fly off your keyboard. 


What are people searching for relative to my business .. and it's always 'free publicity' or press releases; cheap logo design; how to make money off a Facebook page. So if I write around that, I get more low hanging fruit that's not worth the effort. Do I write more on my job search, as I look to move to a full time gig (and maybe still do a LITTLE small biz consulting on the side)? That's all that icky 'me me' branding stuff, which no one searches for either. 


In a way writing for dollars is it. Circling back to what those that do the hiring (be they owners or managers looking for an agency, consultant or employee), they are searching for ways to better their business, make it more money. Hmm.. now you've got me thinking and thinking, how to write (and keyword) for that. FWIW I'll let you know if my thinking ever pays off. :)

1 week, 5 days ago on Should Bloggers Write With Key Words?

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@ginidietrich I see it already. The 'news' that hits the front page of the various media sites isn't. It's junk or celeb gossip or the same 'feel good' post from some other state that's gone 'viral' so every news org picks it up. (that I've already seen b/c I read my fair share of crap too.) Why? Because they are moving towards catering to the audience -- thereby polarizing society depends on who their target demo is. They prey upon viewers and readers.. you want to talk about SPIN.. work everyone up - all for ratings, clicks and eyeballs to sell ads against. And they do it now, real time lest someone else beat them to it, truth be damned. 

I get they want to be FOR their audiences and not just talk TO them, as they should. I totally think a role of journalism is to also entertain as well as educate and inform. Agree they have to balance the 'backyard' stories w/ the big picture. But it's also not so cut and dry. Reality the hard truths of the world, they don't always make for fun shareable stories or easy reads. I fear that in order to be more Twitter and Facebook friendly, perhaps the media is tilting too much away from what we should, what we need to know -- whether we 'like' it or not. 

That's the big part of it. The other is who's quoted and not, who is doing the spinning, how that pool of 'expertise' can be completely tainted, biased; the battle of filter bubbles and echo chambers. IDK trying to win the SM war (please everyone, never offend or challenge b/c you may lose viewers, ratings) ..  think I'm still clinging to romantic notions of the greatness of journalism (that maybe never was). FWIW.

1 week, 6 days ago on Thought Leaders, Not Organizations, Are Enticing to Publications

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Your reply to @Danny Brown kinda summed up what I wanted to say: If you're going to lead, do it. Walk "your" talk. See also @ClayMorgan and 'by thinking.' Now I must offer a truism: leaders have followers. I do a lot of my own thinking, alas haven't amassed a cult of CEO worshipers (clearly missing out on my brilliance). 

Now to my air quotes, circling back to agree w/ the point of the post: it's YOU, not your hired help. Whether it's the two-faced VP in dire need of a pink slip or the integrated agency, they can only get you so far. You have to 1) do the thinking; 2) put it out there; and 3) not be talking out of your hat, know WTH you (and your ghost writing, commenting, engagement team) are talking about. Which brings me to the most important thing: know WHY you're talking about it. If the WHY is just getting a bylined post on Forbes and dubbed a 'thought leader' by the NYT, that's not much of an end game. As you say, can't simply write a check and expect magic; you've got to work w/ the team to earn that media, then do something w/ it by actually leading. 

Quick side note on the media tilting towards social shares; read elsewhere on how 'news' orgs are shifting to be more 'digital' and audience-focused vis a vis SM which.. FWIW, scares me.

2 weeks ago on Thought Leaders, Not Organizations, Are Enticing to Publications

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Forget 'every' message; most content shouldn't be about you or your brand. Social should be just that - people being people, employees, fans and followers acting and sharing, socially. As you say, it's not about broadcasting, it's about being in the 'now' to know and share what will interest others. FWIW.

1 month ago on Has Your Social Media Strategy Become Stale?

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What a strange story. 

I'm w/ @ClayMorgan and others on the mob mentality. We've lost that filter in some circles, somehow being ourselves and transparent or honest translate as license to say or post anything and everything. People get worked up and when their fury is rewarded w/ likes and RTs, when there's a chorus egging the trolls on.. just adds fuel to the fire.

What's all the more dangerous is that the match is often lit by those who've never made it past the click bait headline. Like @jennimacdonald I take time to read what I share; just a couple weeks ago I held off on sharing something b/c it didn't seem quite right and turns out, it wasn't (taken from original w/out permission). Which is exactly the point here: it's not that you don't appreciate the share; it's that context matters. An sponsored post on Facebook, bought and paid for, says something, probably many things to different viewers. That you rep SME or Cindy; that you work w/ the org that paid for the post and so on. You are certainly smart to watch for that, right to want to protect your biz. 

Now from the other side - which is what we're considering - is all the miscommunication. They (mistakenly) took the 'why are you paying to show our post' question as a take down request. Then everyone teed off on that - b/c they hadn't heard your side. Makes me wonder if this is an exception to the 'don't feed the trolls' rule; that if you'd commented to set the record straight, then let it go? IDK if it'd help or not, I know I'm reluctant to the enter the fray. Agree w/ your moral. I remind myself of this all the time - there's at least 3 sides to this: yours, theirs, then there's the 'truth.' FWIW.

1 month ago on The Social Media Mob

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Thank heavens for Pocket, or I might of missed this. Or rather, might never have made it back to comment. 

If you want 'old' Twitter.. it's kind of G+ but not really. That's too open in searches, too limited in its active users that it's still 'all biz, all the time.' IDK once in a while I'll +1 or share something there that's more for fun or just 'me' but for the most part, it's not the platform for 'personal.' What I see just repeats what's been posted elsewhere. That said, because it is smaller there is more of a chance to make an impact. (Gotta make more time in my day for it.) 

I couldn't agree w/ you more that much of what's posted is 'schlock' and the same 'headline' being recycled as a news article or blog post by anyone, everyone jumping on the same topics and bandwagons. TPTB rigged the game, then bailed on the vary game that made them. Others trying to break in only broke the stream littering it w/ autospam noise. It's not just that businesses and brands are trying to use Twitter (all SM) for marketing and SELL!, it's that they're doing it so so badly. 

Then there's the backlash of b.s. in that 'one bad tweet' can ruin a career, a life. I'll skip that rant but it's a big reason why people don't have conversations, don't share their bad days or possibly offensive humor or act in any way like a human -- humans are flawed, mistake making creatures and you can't do that in social. Gotta be smart and perfect all the time. And no platform is 'safe' you're being watched and judged everywhere... grrr.. I said no ranting. 


That typed I still like Twitter. I still read and share, selectively; and then schedule around my live posts. I still have chats, even make a point to watch for conversations rather than scheduled posts. Disappointing to me is that, even when a post seems real time and chatty, I can tell you almost always my engagement gets no response or acknowledgement. Many people it seems are there to be seen, but only care about a select few. 

Alas what I need – clients, a bloody job – isn't there. The intel is there, the professional development is; it's why I can't do PR/SM conferences, I get so much online. As others mention LinkedIn.. only so much time to go around, you fish where the fish are more likely to be biting. I'll be seeing you around the waters for sure. And FWIW, I owe you a call. :-)

1 month, 2 weeks ago on I’ll Never Forget The Glory Days Of Twitter

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Yeah, another reminder I need to do more mixed media - been spending more time on Pinterest and Instagram. And I really have to get over my fears of being on camera, find a comfort zone w/ video. The quick vids on Vine, IG may be a place to start when I find my courage. FWIW.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Content Creation without Ever Writing a Word

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I use the 'work backwards' technique, it's a good way to help business owners and managers see the map, what it will truly take to get where they want, need to go. 

I quibble with 'easy' - takes a lot of work Danny, and therefore money. It takes time, it takes knowing which metrics to watch and how, it takes expertise to understand what it means and then apply that understanding in a useful way. 

I.E. Sentiment - very key - determining what someone thinks, how strongly they think it, how much sway it has in their buying decisions, the influence they have over others - that's not something you can 'set and forget.' 

You're right, you have to start with your goals and weigh them against meaningful outcomes for your organization. Measuring IS part of Doing ITA, but for small businesses w/ even smaller budgets, it's just not so 'easy.' FWIW.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Six Easy Metrics to Measure an Influence Marketing Campaign

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Sigh. It's a knee jerk reaction, the default that any comment that isn't flowers and rainbows praise is critical and therefore bad, therefore an attack, probably written by a hating troll. Or that if you can't find something 'negative' then you're not looking hard enough? IDK I think we got there out of fear -- we fear losing our jobs, think 'perfection' is the only security; we fear not being liked; we fear a closer look at our house of cards, b/c we can't walk our transparency cards. 


Forget business, let's look at entertainment. One of my favorite sites, Television Without Pity.. incredible content w/ well-developed discussion boards, was recently shut down b/c they took the time to take a more critical look at the TV shows they recapped. They called out bad acting, terrible writing, horrific lapses in 'plot' and story. They did this out of LOVE: they like TV, the love fans of TV, they respect and admire the work that goes into it and they needled the industry when it was warranted. They also lauded praise where deserved and really made you think about what you were watching. 


Work smarter, look closer even if it hurts. That kind of critical analysis is like anything else; sure it may sting a bit but when you get over that and learn something, it'll make you better. FWIW.

2 months ago on Critical Thinking and Thinking Critically

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Guess I know what I'll be reading today. Every one of these sounds so in my wheelhouse, trust you to find the good stuff. And FWIW - having not yet read the piece on Twitter - I too have seen some drop in conversations. I've modified one of my TD streams to take out any tweet w/ links. It's something I need to do myself - tweet more of 'me' without just dumping 'content' via links; but even so, I've replied to a few folks, to those tweets that seemed more 'real time' and ready for engagement; more often than not, crickets. Shame b/c it's Twitter that has connected me to more 'different' people , that's how/where I've met people I'd never have otherwise. FWIW.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on A Reading Assignment: Five Articles You Should Read this Week

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Caught that Foodroom thing a few weeks ago, hilarious. Conan and Trebek were pretty funny too. Saving Frozen for when I see the movie (don't want to spoil the 'wrong' ending). :-)

3 months, 1 week ago on Gin and Topics: Alex Trebek Gets Even

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Wow, love the idea of a VC. The big thing as you mentioned is the audience, people comfortable learning and attending in a virtual environment; I know many who wouldn't be. I see all the upsides you mentioned. Another one that I think could be key from an org standpoint, speakers. You mentioned the travel costs of attendees, the logistics of a space. Well a VC you don't have that budget - so maybe you can bring in more, better, bigger name speakers? Just skipping the expense of the business class flight and hotel room, maybe opens up the budget for those speaking fees. On the cons.. the technical stuff is big; if you're gonna DIY I'd expect an army of techies to be on standby for all the what ifs, many many dry runs to make sure all is up and running. And for meal breaks and the after hours networking (which yes is totally one of the best parts of a conference) ... why can't that be virtual? You could build time into the program, book a 'brown bag lunch' or evening mixer where everyone chats and swaps LinkedIn cards? I could easily enjoy a presentation while sipping a glass of wine, hopefully not spill any on my keyboard. :) FWIW.



3 months, 1 week ago on The Pros & Cons of a Virtual Conference for Community Engagement

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Strong communications skills; listening and empathy, balancing creativity w/ measured responses, sticking true to your voice while appealing to a broad base - you're spot on Scott. Right people, right places - can't agree more. The followers in a LinkedIn group may be different than a G+ community or FB page; the team needs to recognize and respect that. Help, caring, enthusiasm - these are human qualities of real people, not automated algorithms. That's being social and as always, aligning your needs to where your audience is social, and with your overall comms and biz goals. FWIW. 

3 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232181

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It's marketing.. and not. Best example I've got is positioning by.. excellence, by delivering 'more' across the board. Plenty of brands offer rides and theme park experiences, but every time I go to WDW, it's those little extra somethings that make the Disney difference. Part of that ethos is exceeding expectations, dealing w/ issues - they don't want this bad X or that bad Y to mar an otherwise positive vacation experience. Visitors are guests, not customers. Part of it is never resting w/ the status quo, always working to improve. Yes it costs more than other 'comparable' options but then, the value is there.. it's worth it b/c it's Disney. FWIW.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on 9 Timeless PR Positioning Strategies

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I remember the Avis story, how funny is that?!

Yesterday there was an on the radio - online reputation management - all about fixing the bad reviews, but no mention of fixing the bad product/services. The kicker: it also talked about using the law to clean these up, as they damage and defame your business. It's a thing now - vendors putting it in contracts that they can sue you if you post a negative (but accurate, provable?) review. *shakeshead*

Brands have to protect themselves, customers aren't always right and expectations are a challenge to manage. No matter how hard you work, you can't be perfect all the time. Negative - true or false or troll - will happen. You have to monitor, you have to train employees, you have to expect it and plan to address it. If only sense were common; people can and will read between the lines. They can tell when an irate customer expected miracles on a nothing budget or when they're misdirecting blame. Build a strong enough community, they'll keep coming, supporting you, even set the record straight. And FWIW, I'm always cautious about anyone w/ nothing but 'perfect' glowing reviews; plenty of things I think are fantabulous but rare is it that I find something perfect without room for improvement.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on Seven Tips to Manage the Critics Online

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@Soulati | Hybrid PR Thanks... if I think it'll help, I'll email you. Congrats again.

3 months, 4 weeks ago on What’s Happening With @Soulati?

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Congrats on the book, the new site .. well done by all. Look forward to more now that you're back. FWIW.

3 months, 4 weeks ago on What’s Happening With @Soulati?

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Agree there's untapped potential in blogging and really the rest of social media, as brands put emphasis on sales. Like you said Frank, people don't like to be sold or networked; treating SM like a broadcast sales channel is a mistake IMO when it's real power and potential is in connecting and helping people. See so many benefits in CRM and support, HR and of course PR. The other stat that surprises me is the mobile vs. app; tons of surveys about this but IIRC, most users would prefer a well-designed app to a stripped down mobile site -- provided that app has real function and benefits. FWIW.

4 months ago on 13 Statistics from an Inc. 500 Social Media Study

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@RobBiesenbach hat tip sir. that's almost exactly how I've approached commenting these many years. Very well said.

4 months ago on Why We Won’t Shut Off Blog Comments

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"Only if they want to succeed." That's my well DUH response. If you're not digital or are a very small independent (and use an individual account) or are plenty busy, don't need people to find you online - then fine, don't bother. But for most businesses, a big part of success means being findable on Search. Since Search means Google, an active G+ profile is a necessary part of any online identity. FWIW.

9 months, 3 weeks ago on Should Your Company Be on Google+?

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So much WORD Heather. As I commented on Jason's post, and on Gini Dietrich's follow-up:

1. It's not us it's them; it's the CEO and management who can't, don't, won't measure, won't invest past vanity likes and pointless AVEs. The splash profile piece in X mag or this empty celeb RT, that's all they 'get' so it's what they focus on. 

2. There is so much more to sustainable business success than sales; profit much? What contributes to a company's bottom line - their market cap and value, what Wall Street thinks, what top talent looking for the right gig, what keeps customers loyal in tough times - those X factors like reputation, like relationships. It's how Disney charges what they charge; customers see a 'value' their they don't in other brands, pay a premium for it. 

Working w/ small biz as I have it's hard to show these very important intangibles; they focus on (and pay for) end tactics, nothing else. Plenty of studies show the big $ Super Bowl ads don't sell, don't work - but they're not always "failed" campaigns. I use these examples for something they can "get." No matter recalls and other issues, your F&F and local mechanic still say Toyota's a good brand to buy, has resale value, etc. - that's brand reputation, that's PR. Look at Apple, Disney.. I ask them about their favorite brands and WHY. When my answers are typically the intangible X factors.. that's when I get them to see past ads and clicks and sales, see their are other forces that drive success - and biz comms (PR) is one of them. Doesn't always work, but I'm fighting the good fight. FWIW.

4 months, 1 week ago on PR: You Can’t Sell What You Can’t Explain

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@ginidietrich not stealing from, repeating myself I guess. :)

4 months, 2 weeks ago on Vanity Metrics in PR May Be a Necessary Evil

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Agreed. Gonna plagiarize myself a bit, as I read and commented on Jason's post. It's not always a small minded PR, not the person w/ 'soft' skills that doesn't know how to measure, or doesn't see the value in measurement. It's very often these very same PTB demanding results and ROI who want these vanity numbers, who think this is what generates success - and then refuse to invest in any true analysis or measurement.


Awareness, credibility, reputation - those are three core PR tenets that can contribute as much to an organization's bottom line, to its value as anything else. Brand X hotel doesn't get away with charging 2, 5, 10x what Brand Y does because of FB likes or web content; it's because they've built a relationship with their customers, a reputation around offering better quality/service, and they can charge for it. ITA we need to connect the dots, map that out for the clients and execs, certainly do our jobs to integrate and educate. For me that includes teaching that leads and sales are important, but not the only business goals that matter. There is more to a successful organization, and more that business communication - in the guise of PR and SM, as Employee Relations/HR, as Investor or Media Relations, as MarComm and CRM - can do. FWIW.

4 months, 2 weeks ago on Vanity Metrics in PR May Be a Necessary Evil

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This list drills down to one thing: you're not really social. That's why you ignore and delete, that's why you only broadcast and hype your own brand, that's why you sell, sell, sell but never listen to your customers, don't bother to make real connections. Per Clay's comment, success in SM will all depend on goals. If all a brand is interested in is dumping a sales pitch message out there, then by all means broadcast away. But a broadcast in and of itself doesn't always reach an audience, doesn't connect, certainly doesn't influence or prompt action. 


To do that, you need true communication, both directions. For companies that ROI is more than a quick sale  -- they're about building a sustainable brand, a reputation as a quality company, about being a better business -- that means being (not doing) social. Reducing SM to a stripped down advertising channel or customer service center not only taints the waters of fans and followers, it limits the brand to what it can really do. FWIW.

4 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231912

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The last few RFPs I read, I was like - I've got the smarts, know what to do, can assemble the team - but the process seemed rigged for big game. The red tape, the insurance requirements, everything seemed too out of scale with what a small or independent consultant can affordably do. Shame, think companies hurt themselves limiting their options this way.


I won't say NEVER, instead it's risk vs. reward. If it's a case like @HeatherWhaling and it's 1) a brand I'd love to work with on 2) a project I'd rock and 3) am very much in the running to earn the biz.. I'd consider a reply that I'm comfortable putting on the table. FWIW.

5 months ago on Why I’m done with RFPs (for now)

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This, this, this. Those three quotes from the reporters pretty much explain why, though I may follow and engage on social, I've always pitched via email. Along w/ the exclusivity piece and trying to make the pitch less ad, more newsworthy - it's the customization. Each reporter, each media outlet wants their take, wants to do a story unique for their audience. To do it right, you're going to repackage a story differently almost every time so it's simply best to stick with email. And yes, they got - no need to follow up 27 times in 3 days. FWIW.

5 months ago on Do Journalists Prefer Contact through Social Media or Email?

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This is at the core of what I learned, have tried to do. Integrated organizational communications.. it is PR, it is business. So many key publics impact the bottom line, have no contact w/ marketing/sales depts. It's HR, CRM, R&D, IR etc working together .. enough w/ silos and this exec b.s.


Your "SM cop" is perfect example, policing employees instead of motivating them. It's the newsletter rant I'll write someday, when the front page is some meaningless 'letter from the CEO' no one will read. (Hint, WIIFM: unless you're firing them or giving them a raise, the rank and file employees doing the actual work don't really care that much.) Why not have the building engineer who really likes his job, the company on the blog? Why not open up the newsletter to feedback - even negative - and gain insights, discover new opportunities? You'll be a stronger company, earn the respect and loyalty of your employees - and build some 'savings' for that rainy day. FWIW.

5 months, 2 weeks ago on Internal Communications Lessons from a PayPal Fiasco

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This is made of so much win, it ought to be criminal. Hilarious! Love.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Follow Monday: Say Happy Birthday to Gini Dietrich!

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@Soulati | Hybrid PR I actually did apply years ago at WDW, but for the limited PR/corp dept. I'm not a good fit. And last year I sent an ambitious, out of the box cover letter (read: outspoken blog post) for a SM gig w/ Carnival - crickets. Part of the problem is my lackluster resume (a priority for a major overhaul; see also my website that I've been saying the same of for years). But the real issue is companies like that, they get job apps by the thousands. A day. You need an IN to put your name on a short list of 5 to have even a shot at a chance. And those people already get netWORKED to death, so what's a girl to do?! 


My site isn't built for travel blogging; that's not the audience I have/want.. would not dare enter that already way, way overcrowded market sector. And remember, I'm talking the backend, the corp side not front line service. I'm talking doing what I do, bringing my style of PR/Comms to the exec table, the biz. It's the sector I like b/c I like food and wine, travel and vacations; but the biz of PR/Comm is still kinda the same if that makes sense. 


So... that's what I've been doing lately, typing rambling blog comments. You? Hope all is good in your neck of the woods. :)

5 months, 3 weeks ago on 10 Steps Using Social Media For Business Development

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"If you ignore Twitter, it ignores you." True, very true. Flipside, if your target is ignoring you and Twitter, and people who know your target are ignoring.... all by way of saying if the fish ain't biting, go to other waters. This is what many need, esp. the DIY small business owner/manager who doesn't have the capital to invest, this plan to work - which all starts w/ developing a smart plan that's about earning work. That said, why can't I stalk Disney or Carnival? ;-) FWIW.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on 10 Steps Using Social Media For Business Development

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I have these thoughts.. esp. when I see people say and write one thing when they think, do another. I think authenticity and voice matter, as do goals and strategy. But when the goals are eyeballs and clicks to get social cred and vanity metrics that'll somehow turn into a payday b/c that's how the game is played - IDK, I think some tend to throw caution to the wind and go for it. It's a job after all. 


I don't look at my GA that often -- very bad of me. I also don't worry so much about those referrers and keywords when in reality, I should. Doesn't mean I'd change my voice or personality. I do that now in so much as when I do post, it's out of obligation, it's from thinking 'hmm, what would a SMB owner be searching? would this get me the reader that connects me to my dream job?' And my lack of ROI is why (as I was just telling @CraigMcBreen) I'm on/off the blogging wagon these days. 


Bringing it back to the GA-- it's not just authenticity you risk if you write ONLY for that; it's reach, it's audience, it's opportunity. My problem has always been the battle of writing for the audience I have (insiders mostly, no one doing the hiring, a few tire kickers) vs. the ones I want (those outside the echoblogochambershere, those hiring, not so small budgeted SMBs, and esp. a few major brands looking to shake things up). So if you focus only on what's already bringing clicks and eyeballs, don't you risk losing everyone else? don't you limit yourself to thinking that's why and what got people there, when it could be something else? And so on. Like everything else, the tools and data are meant to support, to aid not to drive, not to lead; you manage the tools, you don't let them manage you. FWIW.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Authenticity On The Path To Professional Blogging

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H/t for having the guts to put this out there. I didn't spend too much time on my streams yesterday, but now that I've done a quick scan.. egads. Everything from this to serious, hate fervor (on both sides) to 'I liked it, unfollow me or shut it' and all things in between. I don't get political, I avoid any such 'controversy' as best I can for this exact reason, b/c you and @finecraftliving have it exactly right. It's a shame we can't be ourselves w/out judgement, that we have to watch and filter b/c it seems everyone is open to having hundreds of friends and thousands of followers - provided they think just like you. As to the ad itself.. I have an opinion, more than one actually. That I'm gonna keep to myself. ;-) FWIW

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Dear Coke: Stop Making Waves!

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I ended up not watching much of the game, nor seeing many commercials. I do fall for the sappy cuddly animals sometimes, can't help it. I'm cynical of anything that's all 'home, apple pie, soldiers, USA rah' manipulation, so yeah ... when it's for one of those "American" brands that's not made/owned in America, I just cringe. (IIRC didn't Chrysler make similar mistakes in the last few years?) I liked the VW angel wings spot but like many people I didn't think the ads all that remarkable or memorable considering the price tag, nothing to make me run out and buy. FWIW.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Gin and Topics: Special Super Bowl Edition

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The Onion ran a post not too long ago - amazing tale of a man found the elusive work/life balance, got to exercise, cook, read, even see his family whilst getting a decent night's sleep. All it took was getting fired. :-)

Everyone is different. It's that not-so-simple. Some people Energizer bunny it, others not so much. Some businesses and jobs allow for such flexibility, many others require much more structure. What works for this organization or that person won't for others. People work to live, (to me) living means having time off and flexibility, maybe unplugging and taking more control of how and when and where they work. Alas that's not always the case, for every visionary business there are too many who can't figure out how to operate if everyone isn't there, in the office, M-F, 9-5 week in and out. Shame.

I'd love to work at the kind of company that really respected downtime as part of the process, that appreciated the work got done no matter if it was cranked out over a weekend or while I was on a workcation some sunny beach. So long as work was rewarding and stimulating, so long as I got my job done, that's what matters. FWIW.

6 months ago on The Power of Time Off

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It all starts with the first one. If you don't know your audience, you're not gonna understand them. If you don't get them and why they're there.. how can you set the right tone, energy? select the visuals that will compel them? How will you tell a relatable story? Etc etc. Can't make the webinar, shame b/c you're right - it's not just the large audience speaking, everything is a presentation... 'all the world's a stage' so we need to learn that skill. FWIW.

6 months, 1 week ago on 11 Deadly Presentation Sins

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@Howie Goldfarb Short memory, ITA and it's a big part of this crisis discussion. I've written (and writing again) about brands being 'marketing proof' and part of that is being 'crisis proof' to the point that they may take a hit, but no they won't go under. BP is still here. Once upon a time people drove past Exxon and perhaps even dumped the stock, yet look at them today. People need gas and oil, they want strong investments that make money and yes, some of them like chicken. 

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Crisis Communications: How Chick-fil-A Weathered the Storm

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@RobBiesenbach @Rieva @HowieGoldfarb @FranchiseKing @ClayMorgan  I think that's it - it all comes down to how devout we are in our beliefs. It's not that we don't like X or really, really don't support Y or that we SAY we do  -- it's how strongly we do in so much as we ACT and change our behaviors. And when it comes to our likes and dislikes, what's convenient or cheap or easy or our personal wants and needs, those beliefs often take a back seat when voting w/ wallet or stock portfolio or car full of hungry kids.


I'm in Atlanta, CFA backyard. Can't think of a single person I know that stopped going or even voiced any opinion as to the religious/political 'crisis.' Yes CFA has its following and yes they did certain things well from a comms standpoint. But I don't think nearly as many people kept going to CFA to 'vote by wallet' in support of the company or its political/religious views. IMO they kept going (perhaps in spite of those views?) b/c they like CFA sandwiches, lemonade, and service. FWIW.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Crisis Communications: How Chick-fil-A Weathered the Storm

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Lots of good points here, can't really do much better. Big or small, I think you're right @ginidietrich - the agencies that evolve, that integrate and get a better handle of who and how and WHY customers behave, shop and buy the way they do, they'll be the ones to come out ahead. And yes that starts w/ data, metrics, w/ creativity, knowing where digital meets the traditional road; and then showing what they're really worth.


To that end are my thoughts. Like many other comments, the 'way it's always been done,' the powers that be (CMOs and their bosses too) circling the wagons. It's that "we're not changing the product/service/brand - and you're just PR, so what do you know of R&D or HR or anything? Fix the bad reviews and negative comments, get us some happy buzz and sales" attitude. When you're asking for the social meets winning ads meets content driven meets data optimized integrated agency to prove results – but they don't have any genuine influence on the business/brand itself – that old school mindset that silos Communications is as big a part of the problem. I guess my meandering point is: as we evolve, we need to show TPTB we do more than tell/sell good stories, we help build better brands and stronger companies. FWIW.

7 months, 3 weeks ago on Agencies Must Evolve or Die

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@sydcon_mktg I'll let you know if/when I get to test the bands. I too think it'll add to my visit, but then.. I'm a planner (as you wrote a lot of folks like to go w/ the flow and not have to pre-plan their whole trip). Sadly don't have a trip in mind, but hopefully soon. :-)

8 months, 1 week ago on Experiencing Disney via new technology utilizing apps while traveling

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@ginidietrich I wasn't saying you have this attitude, nor was I attacking this well-intentioned blog. Of course this was a mistake and of course brands, large and small, can learn from it.

I was speaking in general about the hype machine, seemingly every time this kind of thing happens. I live and work w/ many who aren't in the biz or 'social.' But they are online, they read and watch the news. You can talk about X mistake or Y disaster, they've never heard of it. Or if they have, they shrug it off and keep buying/shopping/watching what they want - sometimes as wary of the media pile-on as I. FWIW.

8 months, 1 week ago on Home Depot Crisis: Social Media Requires Being Human

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I have a couple of the WDW apps on my phone, they are helpful and smart planning for Disney. Wait times; maps; show schedules, dining reservations. -- We're moving to a 'self service' culture and many of us just as soon let our fingers do the tapping vs. having to spend time dealing w/ a person. Know some others who got to test these wrist bands, they liked the features. And I know, reading message boards, that many Disney faithful are UNthrilled by this latest change. Esp. w/ FP+. As someone who's unlikely to pay the $$ for ON property (and believe me, we could debate that 'value' all day) it's another of those exclusives that split the haves vs. the have nots. shrug.

I could go on and on w/ my Disney likes and dislikes, but in the end they're gonna do what they do. TPTB are moving forward w/ what they think will make a better overall experience -- and of course, what's in their own best interest (support and staffing expenses, tracking, logistics, you know there's a lot in the plus column here). I will say this - you and I probably both agree that Disney requires planning and guests that don't likely have the lowest satisfaction. I think they've done their homework; Disney gets that 1) as stated, we are an app and iToy using society and 2) technology can be designed to improve guest experience, service. FWIW.

8 months, 1 week ago on Experiencing Disney via new technology utilizing apps while traveling

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Agree the process failed, though I am not certain that's the main story. At least, not one people will really care about.. or did HD's stores empty, was its FB page unliked en masse, did its stock plummet? Don't misunderstand me, I know full well the weight of public opinion, and PR's role in brand reputation, how much that truly correlates to brand value and worth. Random thoughts, FWIW:

1. This was a mistake. And poor judgement. And bad taste. Wrong to tweet, right to pull. And apologize for it – though the finger-pointing at outside agency was a weaksauce excuse that I cannot imagine anyone buying anymore. 

2. The firing - back to the process story. Who hired, what was the arrangement, how was the agency and its staffed vetted? Was there an approval process in place – or was this a 'trust us.. now set and forget' kind of arrangement? What was HD's plan?** On and on.

3. Making mistakes – in marketing, taste, style, humor, judgement, strategy, cooking, TV choices – is about as HUMAN as it gets.

The 'joke' picture was terrible. The robo-apology is absotively wrong. Period. But so is this sterile, sanitized, knee jerk, no forgiveness attitude we, as the armchair quarterback observers of social media marketing, and the-all-to-happy-to-hype-it-up-for-clicks-and-ratings mass media. Aside from water and oxygen and blue skies and rainbows, is there anything that doesn't have the potential to offend, to be misinterpreted, to be... stopping before I really get ranting about the hypocrisy of preaching "authenticity" and "transparency" and companies, brands acting like 'real' humans. Provided they make zero mistakes and are 100% appealing to all 7 billion on the planet. And see, I ranted anyway. :-)

** BTW I'm in Atlanta and have seen HD advertising a number of new social media jobs. And the bugaboo for me is: 1) I've got a great PR mind and a solid understanding of social, but w/ little major social branding experience and no 'insider' at HDHQ, my application would be for naught. 2) Why are they looking for 'social' experts? Why not home improvement, building experts who also happen to be social, understand PR, etc.? There aren't people on staff - in R&D, accounting, logistics, etc. - who, in partnership w/ a better agency, make great members of the Social, Marketing, Communications Round as true HD brand advocates?


8 months, 2 weeks ago on Home Depot Crisis: Social Media Requires Being Human

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I've been meaning to reach out to you John, since I read that LinkedIn post updating you to leaving Vox, being an independent consultant. All I can say is CALL ME. Not sure I can be of any help, but I'd be so happy to try in any way I can. (And h/t to you Frank, for this post.)

I have to say, I LOVE what you wrote about SM 'expertise' - b/c every time I pursue an opportunity these days, it seems that's what TPTB want. And it's kind of absurd. Just this morning, there was another of the old "oops, we a major brand w/ major $ mis-tweeted. something seemingly funny but if you thought about it, could easily be very offensive to some and should have been obvious. we fired these people and will do better. our bad" stories. Never mind that all they want is a numbers crunching sales person. Ahem. 

FWIW that world of experience I think prepares us more than bouncing from one grey cubicle to another; you'll be a great teacher and educator, what every consultant truly is. 

8 months, 3 weeks ago on Off Script #5: John Barnett; PR, Twitter, and a Navy Master Chief

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Congrats.. nice to see the AD team growing, shaking things up. 

9 months ago on #FollowFriday: Our New Vice President of Operations

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@ginidietrich Can I get a witness?! Amen. I'm getting to the point now that, if I'm not at least a ranking member of the overall Comms team (design, branding, PR, social, CRM, etc. etc. and then some) and limited to just media/publicity.. I have to tell clients that there really isn't much I can do for them. Same w/ 'just fix our FB page or Yelp reviews' and I'm like, 'no let's fix your company.' Sadly some of this comes back to rather narrow view of communications, of PR and limiting all business and success and value to just sales.

9 months ago on PR: What Business Leaders Need to Know

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You know I love, love this - so let me get my quibble out of the way first. "part of an overall essential-to-BUSINESS Communications program." From my point of view, Communications makes business work; there's so much more to successful organization than 'just' marketing; and PR is more than 'just' a subset of marketing. :-) /end soapbox

That's why you need to bring the PR firm 'inside.' They need access to people, to get to know the ins and outs of the business (and hells yeah, those business goals!), to help you connect the dots and tap the resources you already have. CRM, HR, ER, IR, R&D, CS all play w/ PR. Down w/ silos, right?! Lots and lots of time, strategy and realistic expectations are all good, as are risks and getting out of the comfort zone. (Like everyone, LOVE what you wrote.) This all starts with you and your willingness to listen and learn, to roll up your sleeves and work. 

If your PR team comes and says "you overprice and under-deliver, have a terrible reputation w/ customers and the biz community; here's what you need to do" - you can't just come back with 'tart up a new slogan, get us some positive reviews.' It's about a genuine, long-term commitment. So you fix the problems, not the reviews. If necessary, change the business - not 'just' the PR/SM/Marketing - for the better. FWIW.

9 months ago on PR: What Business Leaders Need to Know

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It's funny.. in our overly litigious world, companies are so afraid of the apology. It's not always an admission of guilt or liability – in fact, the acceptance of responsibility and disclosure of regret can often stop that litigation or customer complaint in its tracks. A simple, genuine 'I'm sorry.. lemme make it right' is so powerful and can make a big difference. In CRM, in PR, in marketing, in SM we talk about mistakes and transparency and being human all the time; mistakes are part of that - so is how we manage them. FWIW. 

9 months, 1 week ago on How One Small Business Pre-Empted Negative Feedback

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@ginidietrich sigh.. once again, schooled on what I woulda, coulda, shoulda done - a blog post!! Have to rework my schedule so that when those moments hit, I can seize the day so I too can get a post out it. :)

10 months ago on Great Companies Have Great Stories to Tell

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Read that post, thought it was a great headline on a so-so 'story' that was nothing more than a puff piece for Walmart. And that's all well and good, I was just irked that it ran in HBR. I mean almost every brand 'gives back' and has positive stories (sometimes to divert attention from other issues)... and guess I'm just a little jaded and skeptical. - MMV. 

That said - I totally agree about great stories beginning w/ great companies. 

I've been writing on a certain meme now, reaction to some PR leads I've been getting, along the lines of : 'No Don't fix your FB page, fix [insert brand/company name]!!' Oy. It's not the negative reviews you want to 'fix' - it's the mistakes and issues that brought about said reviews. Again, ITA it starts w/ the right attitude, the right leadership; it starts from within and empowering employees; it's about more than the bottom line and appearing to be social and good -- it's about actually listening, thinking, living, breathing, being better. Then the good stories to tell, they kinda write themselves. FWIW. 

10 months ago on Great Companies Have Great Stories to Tell

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