I am a professional storyteller for GM's energy & environment communications team.
I'm of the strong opinion that you can't plan for this type of success, no matter how many people are sitting in the brand's War Room for the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl blackout, #technologyandstuff...both of those were very successful for brands and neither of those events could have been predicted. Different forces came together in one shining moment of social media success.
Sadly, I think we're going to see a lot of forced brand tweets on Sunday that are going to be duds..
1 day, 9 hours ago on Newsjacking: The Good, the Bad, and the Super Bowl
This is the first time I've seen anyone ask this question and I think it's an important one. I mean, this demographic has been coddled since birth. And now it extends to the workplace? We are setting a horrible example. What happens when they mature and grow into our future leaders? How are they going to treat their underlings? I shudder.
4 days, 10 hours ago on When are we going to stop coddling Millennials?
@BobtheHouse1303 I'm surprised real estate people (let alone houses-for-sale) don't use Twitter or Instagram (or some other social platform) to help sell houses. Seems like it wouldn't be that difficult to take pictures of a house you're trying to sell and post them to your social account.
I mean, that just makes too much sense.
P.S. I was saying real estate is boring. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
5 days, 5 hours ago on Effective Marketing from Bob the House
Your first point is spot-on. Doesn't it seem like the best examples of marketing always take place in an industry that many would perceive as boring?
5 days, 6 hours ago on Effective Marketing from Bob the House
It's all of the above, really. With more focus on social and content creation, newbies to he profession think they're succeeding when the tweet they wrote gets 50 likes.
Now, I realize this makes me sound like an old man, but I think pitching and landing a story is the best way to separate ourselves as PR professionals.
Hey, you kids! Get off my lawn!
1 week, 4 days ago on Earned Media: Three Steps to a Killer Pitch
You nailed it @belllindsay. Writing a pitch mail is less a lesson in drudgery and more like creating a work of art. I don't know about you, but it's a good day when I can get a reporter to reply to my pitch based on the words I've written
Kids (these days!) just entering the PR today, I think, are not getting the practice they need to pitch a good story. it's a bit of a lost art. They're blasting entire media lists instead of taking the time to find the right reporter and come up with a smart and clever pitch.
We're only as good as the stories we place. And if we can't get a reporter to bite, we might as well find a new career.
1 week, 5 days ago on Earned Media: Three Steps to a Killer Pitch
Yes, very true.
1 week, 5 days ago on Vanity Metrics: Are They Here to Stay?
In my experience, it's harder to discount vanity metrics if you're not selling a product, per se.
I used to work on the GM sustainability team and we were selling an idea, not a vehicle. So the content we shared on Facebook and Instagram was "justified" by the number of likes and shares. The more people who liked our stuff, the more people who became aware of GM's sustainability activity. We were competing for mindshare, not customers. (Even though, ultimately, everything goes back to selling vehicles.)
Anyway, great post!
1 week, 6 days ago on Vanity Metrics: Are They Here to Stay?
@belllindsay @ginidietrich Sadly there's no way to see it unless you do a search for it in Google Images.
*pours out some of his 40 in memory of the Wonder Wheel*
2 weeks ago on An Editorial Calendar Equals Lots of Content from One Idea
That graphic reminds me of the Google Wonder Wheel (RIP) that used to be a great tool for finding topics to write about, as well as subtopics to those topics.
But I digress.
Editorial calendars are a must. Aside from helping to plan out content in advance, they give you the peace of mind to get some sleep at night because you're not fretting over what you'll write the next day.
@ginidietrich Whoa. Deja vu all over again.
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Online Tools that Help with PR
@LauraPetrolino @ginidietrich Maybe I need to revisit in 2015, just like LinkedIn. The first step is to not delete immediately when it hits my inbox.
I'm a big fan of Feedly, but I've never really seen the value in HARO, sadly. (Please don't throw anything at me.)
3 weeks ago on Tips to Renew Your LinkedIn Strategy
Thanks for writing this, Eleanor. I think I replicate everyone else's sentiments when I say that I also need to make LinkedIn more of a priority in 2015. Plus, with part of my billable work spent in LinkedIn for a client, new ideas are always welcome.
3 weeks, 1 day ago on Tips to Renew Your LinkedIn Strategy
This is a nice and comprehensive list, @jessostroff. I second your recommendation for Pocket. It's very easy to get distracted reading an interesting article. Like you, I save for later to read on my iPad when the kids are in bed and I have some free time.
1 month ago on Twelve Digital Tools You’ll Be Using More of in 2015
@belllindsay I also read The Son. I think I like the Harry Hole series better. I'll check out Lars Kepler.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on 14 Books to Read…or Skip
@belllindsay I LOVE Jo Nesbo. I read them out of order but that hasn't taken away from my enjoyment. Nemesis is my favorite, but I'm about to start Police.
@ginidietrich I always enjoy your book posts.
2 months ago on 14 Books to Read…or Skip
I'm of the impression that this might be the one case where the brand doesn't suffer any long-term consequences, even though they've managed to screw this up at every turn. And I think they know this, which is why they didn't act until they were forced to.
As long as gambling and fantasy football continue to be a popular thing, people are not going to stop watching. Even though I pretty much hate Roger Goodell and everything he stands for, I still tuned in over the weekend to see how my players played.
The more pressing issue for the NFL is a lack of attendance. Fans aren't going to stop attending games because the players are accused of crimes. No, they'll stop because they are more comfortable in their own home.
If we learned that a Time Warner executive was videotaped knocking out his girlfriend, there would be outrage and a public commitment to disavow that company because there are alternatives.
There is no NFL alternative. They suffered the worst week, PR-wise, and I'd be willing to bet ratings didn't suffer one bit this weekend.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on The NFL is Missing the Cardinal Rule of Crisis Management
I can't tell you how many times I've tried to start a conversation on Twitter with someone, only to sit patiently for a response that never comes. It really has become a way for the so-called "experts" to blast their content to the masses. But if they're not interacting, there's an easy solution: unfollow.
8 months, 3 weeks ago on A Reading Assignment: Five Articles You Should Read this Week
So what you're saying is, I can break out a book in my cube and tell my client it's work-related?
9 months, 1 week ago on Fiction Makes You a Better Storyteller and Content Producer
Can I say again that I love this series? Okay. I love this series.
And, @mitchjoel, you're the second person in a week to recommend The Circle, so I'm putting it on my list of books to read.
9 months, 4 weeks ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Mitch Joel
This is a great idea. I love hearing about what makes the person tick. I'm looking forward to the new series.
10 months, 2 weeks ago on The Spin Sucks Inquisition is Coming!
So many good points here, Gini.
It can be extremely hard to deal with tough clients. Especially if, like me, you automatically go into defensive mode. PR is a competitive field. Most of us always want to win. Even if it's an argument.
If it gets too heated, sometimes you need to walk away and come back. But you always have to come to a solution. The worst idea is to let it linger.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Five Tips to Deal with Angry Clients
11 months, 3 weeks ago on Remote Work and Staying Sane
Great post, Audrey. As more and more of us get the opportunity to work remotely, we need to understand the positives and negatives.
In my opinion, there is no negative to wearing sweatpants during the workday. Especially during Michigan winters. Having the option to do so has kept me sane.
For those people who think working from means hardly working, I think it's the opposite. I have a 20-foot commute in the morning if I'm working from home. It's convenient to eat dinner, put the kids to bed, then go and do some more work. There's no end to my day. At least when I work at the office there is a set end point (followed by the commute from hell.)
When I write long form content, I try to start it off with something completely off-the-wall that takes readers by surprise.
Sure, the intro usually gets edited out of the final version, but at least I tried, right? Just like most people wouldn't expect your pastor to talk about Justin Bieber, I think it's in our best interest to find ways to hook our readers. Once we have them, it shouldn't matter how many words we've thrown at them.
If it's compelling, they'll stick around.
11 months, 3 weeks ago on The Changing Face of Long-Form Content
@JoeCardillo Thanks Joe. I'm going to read that later (right after I read the Stephen King interview.)
The key to marketers is telling stories is to tell the story so well that people forget they are being marketed to.
11 months, 3 weeks ago on The Role of Long-Form Content in Brand Journalism
@ginidietrich I don't have specific numbers, but I know they always perform well. It's partly why we're trying to do a dozen or so of them this year. Like I said: we're experimenting. But they are stories that can be told, so we will. :)
Getting readers to accept long form journalism is tricky when we've been told for years that our readers want shorter pieces of content. You really have to capture their attention right away, or you risk them clicking elsewhere.
We've been experimenting with long form content on the GM environmental blog (when we have time), but it's usually in the form of a story about a dealership, or another local angle. In other words, something written for a built-in audience.
I guess the best route is to continue to experiment and try to extract those really interesting nuggets. I hate that word.
p.s. Thanks for linking to the Stephen King interview. I've saved to read later.
@ginidietrich @bradmarley If I was going overseas, I'd probably turn off my phone, too. But the only time I put my iPad on airplane mode is when I'm on an airplane. It's just so easy to swap and open my email. I need to just walk away when I feel the urge.
12 months ago on The Power of Time Off
@Patti Agnew @belllindsay
I thought they built iPads without power buttons so that you could never turn them off.
As long as we have iPhones and tablets and light PCs, we are never going to be able to completely unplug, you know?
But this makes it doubly important to recharge while on vacation. The reason most of us work with a team is so we have people to rely on. This also means helping handle other's work when that person takes some well-earned time off.
My response to the Economist article: Well, duh.
(BTW, Grantland ran an oral history of Swingers the other day. You might like it.
1 year ago on Media Relations: Why The Economist Thinks We Have it Wrong
So often, as PR professionals, we are restricted as to what we can talk and write about. Insofar as what can go into the press release. Repurposing the stories (or adding to them in a different medium) is a great way to get more life out of the story, because there is always more that can be shared.
I really love this post. Gini.
1 year ago on Brand Journalism: Breathe New Life into Old Content
@ginidietrich Probably true. Every day when we have to enter time we are reminded, if only indirectly, how much "work" we've done. You know as well as I do that the person who bills 7.5 hours can do just as much as the person who bills 11. Management needs to say that it's okay to shut it down at a normal time - especially to those who are just entering the workforce. A work life balance is important, even if you have no other commitments. That's my thought.
1 year ago on Time Management: A Challenge to Make You More Productive
@jelenawoehr That's everyone's goal, no? To find work that defines us? I'd love to find it. Maybe when I do my opinion will change. :)
Randy - I admire your tenacity in beating a shitty disease into submission and moving your business to the next level.
If I owned my own business (that incorporated elements of my passions) I would probably have a different take on this topic. But in an industry where the number of hours we work is still held in such high esteem, I am almost more focused on ensuring I maintain a balance.
I think a lot of us are scared to leave at 5:30, or not open our computers on weekends, because we think somebody is going to overtake us, and then our future (with the same company or line of work that promotes these thoughts) will be put into doubt.
I've worked hard the past few years to lessen the amount of time I spend working, while still getting the same amount of work done. There are days where I have to work late, but they are few and far between.
I enjoy this saying: Work to live, don't live to work.
@ClayMorgan I love how you phrase it as filling the gaps in coverage. Many, many companies have many, many stories to be told, but they don't. You need a person (or team) in place to tell those stories.
That said, @Gini Dietrich, I'm still confused as to how Grantland is brand journalism. Are we talking about Bill Simmons' brand? ESPN's brand?
1 year ago on Brand Journalism: Embrace the Trend for Your Organization
Where's Hannibal Lecter!?
Let's recap: Eats people? Check. Can force people to swallow their own tongue by the power of suggestion? Check. Is certifiably insane? Check.
I saw him on your Facebook list, but I'm surprised he didn't make the final cut.
Other than that, great post, Gini!
1 year, 1 month ago on Fourteen Greatest Villains in Literature
At a previous agency, I had to provide a report for every. single. journalist who I pitched who was on the media list for a given announcement. It didn't matter what they said. I just had to explain how my pitch efforts went. This made it feel like the numbers outweighed the success.
In other words, if I provided a report that said I pitched 45 reporters, I felt like I had done my job better than someone who only pitched ten. But you know what? Quality should trump quantity. But like @Word Ninja says below: Some companies judge success by the numbers, regardless of whether or not they are the right numbers.
Long story short: This practice will likely never go away.
1 year, 1 month ago on PR Spam: The Haggler Takes the PR Industry to Task
I think it's also important to understand what your audience is talking about, at any given time.
For instance, I follow a lot of people who live and work in Metro Detroit. When Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander was mowing down the A's in the playoffs, seems like everyone was tweeting about him being awesome. (And he is.)
But a few outliers were still tweeting links to their blog posts on how to infiltrate niche markets, or something. It was one of those "Huh?" moments where I realized they were more interested in broadcasting their knowledge, than they were in becoming a part of the larger conversation. So I clicked the "Unfollow" button.
Maybe it was a severe reaction, but I want my community to at least pretend to understand what is important to us when it's happening. Continuing to push out link after link is a quick way to lose a follower.
1 year, 1 month ago on Social Media: Six Ways to Evolve in 2014
Unfortunately, until every PR firm takes morals into account, there will always be firms that are willing to skirt the boundaries of ethics in order to make a buck. And isn't money what drives most PR firms? They will be happy to take our business.
I'm not saying it's right to not be moral. It isn't. But, you know, not everyone thinks that way.
Also: I loved the Meat Puppets back in the day.
1 year, 2 months ago on PR Firm Accused of Wikipedia Sockpuppetry
Hey, @jasonkonopinski. Congrats on the new gig!
1 year, 2 months ago on #FollowFriday: Our New Paid Media Manager
I read the entire post and all I could think was "What's a Kobo?"
Sort of kidding. This is great advice that can be used by both parents and executives. Personally, I know that i need to be more patient when it comes to explaining ideas to co-workers. Maybe I need to present the ideas to my daughters first. If they get, my colleagues surely will.
p.s. But seriously, what's a Kobo? A Canadian Kindle?
1 year, 3 months ago on The Curse of Knowledge
Hooray for storytelling!
From a sustainability perspective, Walmart is the gold standard by which all other sustainability storytelling efforts are measured. (Their Green Room blog -- from the design to the content -- is really well done.) And they have an entire social presence tied to their "green" efforts. It's really well done.
Sustainability communications person, or not, you would do well to follow their lead.
1 year, 3 months ago on Great Companies Have Great Stories to Tell
Word up, @ginidietrich . I think we all need to be reminded of this. Recession or not, these are important tips.
When I began my current work three years ago, I sent a personalized introductory note to some of the key media in the space, letting them know what I would be doing, as well as how I could help them. I also said I would be targeting them, which sort of gave them the chance to tell me if they would rather not receive my pitches.
The emailing took me all of four hours.
It didn't lead to immediate coverage, but it helped position me as a resource for future inquiries, and I have worked together with them on a few stories.
(And sometimes they take pity on me and take an interview, even if they have no intention of writing. I'm okay with that.)
1 year, 3 months ago on Media Relations in the Digital Age
Where's Kenneth Cole? I think they are being offensive on purpose to garner positive and negative attention.
1 year, 4 months ago on Five Epic Twitter PR Fails