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Rule 4 is my fave; think the same w/ texts.. if it's that much back and forth, then a call is best. And if necessary, one tip to make sure everyone is confirmed: sum up the call in a bulleted email later. Another tip, ala rule 3 - don't feel compelled to reply immediately to every email. Manage those expectations, set those boundaries so that clients know an email coming in on a Friday before a holiday weekend may not be acted upon until after. FWIW.  

1 day, 18 hours ago on 6 golden rules to responding to client emails


@Soulati | Hybrid PR wasn't so much about mapping exactly, more the mixed messages I was seeing from various comments, social media sources, etc. and how to frame unpopular changes. But it's kinda on point:

Happy to see you too, back blogging. I make myself do it - plan to go again in earnest if and when I finally revamp my whole site to WP. 

4 days, 10 hours ago on Message Mapping The Philip Morris E-Cigarette


@ginidietrich if I had a dollar for every "research? how long?! can't you just hit the ground running?" And then another five bucks for every 'why didn't it work?' after I wasn't afforded the time, given the access and insights to do my job, b/c how dare I the 'PR lady' make suggestions on pricing or labor, then ... grr.  I mean I still get this; this is why I can't get coverage b/c clients won't share news, won't respond, won't engage; yet expect earned media. 

It's a deal breaker for me now; I either get the intel and access or they can get someone else. It's a partnership, only way it works. 

4 days, 10 hours ago on The 10 Percent of Communicators Who Get it


There are risks and dangers w/ many products, personal responsibility vs. addictiveness vs. corporate lies. Not gonna get into that. FTR I'm not a smoker, know people who do.. I can deal w/ the bars and clubs up to a point. The issue that's hardest is it's not just a risk or inconvenience to those who smoke but others around them who don't. That's why car companies have big fines - cleaning the cars gets expensive, it devalues them for resale, etc. 

Hell I just blogged about Carnival - and the failures in their message mapping - when they adopted a stricter non-balcony smoking policy. Several messages came out - 1) by overwhelming customer request, which the unhappy smokers seems to shout over questioning the demand for the change; and 2) it's more in line w/ industry standards and it's 3) a safety issue. IDK it was a well received change by some, hated by others. From what I've seen on ships (and years in food service) smokers drink and gamble, two big profit margin centers so I'm not sure if there wasn't some middle ground there. In the end though, they're still the biggest most value oriented option, so 'never' may not be as long as they think... some smokers will return; some smoke-haters will go now that they know their balcony won't be next to smoking?? 

Anyway, you're right about mapping and strategy.. making sure that's solid throughout the organization. Mixed signals, conflicting messages are about the worst way to start. FWIW.

4 days, 15 hours ago on Message Mapping The Philip Morris E-Cigarette


Gonna put it back on the other side and argue it's also the companies that don't 'get' it. 

Can't tell you how many times I've been told not to talk to customers, not to go to that meeting, that I could go to X event if I wanted .. being it's my own time, dime and they wouldn't pay for it. Why? Because I'm "just PR." Because they'll pay for outcomes, not all the steps it takes to earn them; they want to hire PUBLICITY and walk away.. get media hits and then poof, sales magic would happen. Or they could send out one newsletter and presto, the franchisees or employees would 'get' it and step to. And not for nothing, often b/c the people doing the hiring are in the marketing silo and IME are equally 1) misguided about what PR (and now social) can or 'should' do and 2) cautious about turning over the keys (aka budget) to anyone but them. YMMV.

Had a little debate not too long ago about sales not being the only, sole, lone driving force to business. Of course it's a key metric; yes money matters. Maybe I'm naive, I rank profit above sales; I put efficiency, sustainability, growth potential up there as well. Sales are what you're doing today; and what are they costing you? How about 10 years from now, what are we doing then? That's when the strategy comes in, that's why you need to have no barriers between silos, so that R&D can talk to customer support, so that PR can work w/ HR about recruiting and retaining the best talent, so that PR can do some IR, keep vendors happy, investors interested and execs all focused on the bottom line. Growing a successful business, building a reputation is not accomplished by sales alone. It's not either or; both PR and sales drive business success. That's my 'new Coke' always been the hardest sell; the consensus I can't seem to make others 'get' is that improved, integrated communications across the board is an investment in their business, not just an expense. FWIW.

4 days, 19 hours ago on The 10 Percent of Communicators Who Get it


Hmm... I think this is actually several different, very good rants in one.

First, the lack of communication is as highlighted in the comments, very bad business. Being 'busy' is zero excuse for never returning calls, not replying to emails, taking longer than what's reasonable to respond. It's a matter of priorities, and clearly the persons on the other end of things have no respect for anyone else's. Seriously if I'd flown across the country for a meeting - and someone was a no show -Damn the punishments I'd devise for that.. ahem.

Second it's the 'badge' thing, the symbol of being busy as some honorific. (Another one I HATE is the 'no time for TV' whilst looking down on anyone who does, as if that is so so special or they don't have their own time sucks.) You mentioned technology being a way to help. I just ranted about poor cell phone etiquette b/c I've dealt w/ a lot of 'too much work, not enough time, so busy' - from people constantly on their personal cell phones at work, not using them to work. Then there is the work and time management itself. I've always thought 'looking' busy was a sign of a bad employee. It's one of the few things I like about setting my own work schedule - most people only get X hours of real work done a day anyway.. so let me do that and get done. Cut out the busy work, the filler, the idle nonsense. 

Lastly is @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes and true story or no, I've been there. I've had those kind of clients whose priorities are themselves. But what's worse or more telling is that entitlement; their job, their title, their payday puts them above others, makes their time more valuable. To themselves and everyone else as far as they're concerned. THAT I've handled from a client that I just could not take, the lack of respect for my talent, expertise and time; coupled w/ the idea that I always had to work miracles w/ no time and no budget, and should feel grateful for what little time I got. as if?!

As you write, we're all doing more w/ less. We're all busy. We all have lives outside of work, things to do and get done; less judging, more respect. FWIW.

4 days, 20 hours ago on The “I’m Busy” Badge of Pride


I captured a listing for a job, read like a mid-level PR meets SM manager extraordinaire type and you can guess the punchline.. it was for an unpaid intern. Sigh.. they're there to learn on the job, to be trained by the professionals you've hired and I'm gonna stop typing before I start sharing the first things that come in my mind. Anyhoodle I'll save this for later.. gotta a blog rant that'll run someday. FWIW.

1 week, 2 days ago on Hiring An Intern Is Not A Social Media Strategy


Hmmm.. gonna save this one Danny as it gets me thinking about 'marketing proof' that 70/30 Jeff mentioned about investing in delivering better, being better. 

It irks when as a long-time 'loyal' customer I don't get the deals at the bank or w/ the cable company; but not so much that I'm willing to endure the hassle of switching every year. I'm 'loyal' to one airline over another, when they waive bag fees and offer cheaper fares. I'm a Kool-aid sipping Apple fan, loyal yes but not so naive as to think they can't or shouldn't do better. To wit, I like the competition, I like when it drives them not to presume loyalty - something they've always enjoyed - and to work harder.

Therein as you pointed out was the mistake RIM made; the mistake a restaurant makes ignoring bad Yelp reviews when there are 20 more place in a 2 mile radius, frankly the same mistake the 'local' stores make when they promote 'small business' shopping w/out really trying to compete w/ the big.

Presuming I'm going to be 'loyal' to anyone or anything isn't a safe bet; the lesson to be learned by a lot of businesses -- answer the 'what have you done for me lately, what will you keep doing?' I'm like a lot of consumers I know – most loyal to me: my convenience, my time, my benefit, my experience (yes! h/t Danny) and most of all, my wallet. FWIW.

1 week, 2 days ago on Loyalty Is Not a Given – Like Trust, It Needs to be Earned


This this this. Saving this one, for another draft languishing in Evernote, on brands caught doing it right. Even when they make mistakes, especially when they make mistakes b/c that shows who you are, what you'll do to make things right. FWIW.

1 week, 3 days ago on Bad Reviews: A Crisis or a Blessing?


@Erin F. THIS! which is why I've stopped with the job/sales pitch at networking meetings and usually quip - "travel, drink wine, nap when I can." It's a good ice breaker and a better way to stand out when everyone is looking for or being looked at for a job or a lead. 

Plus I don't like that 'what I do' – and the perceived success or failure of such – that it defines me; it doesn't. I'm smart and good at what I do, even if I've always struggled ya know? And those struggles or lack of success don't make me any less smart or talented, less capable of doing the really big job. At least that's what I'm telling myself as I go after some positions that on paper at least seem out of my league. Now to convince those doing the hiring. Whew, that was a lot. ;-) 

2 weeks, 5 days ago on Is Writing Something You Do or Something You Are?


I write for me, I have hobby stuff I write that no one reads and I don't care. I write for work b/c it's what I do and if I could, I'd write all the time. Sometimes it's good - I send friends crazy long email rambles that amuse and entertain, keeps us more in touch. Sometimes it's bad - I've been known to type like a crazy person, a rant email to a boss or manager or colleague that maybe shoulda been a little less wordy and official, as what's written down has that kind of influence, can't ever be taken back. 

IDK about the label. Sometimes I'll come up with a clever quip and everyone looks at me funny and I'm like, 'duh, writer!' Other times I struggle - to find time, the inspiration, the words, the point. It's me, it's what I do but it's not all that I am if that makes any sense. FWIW. 

3 weeks ago on Is Writing Something You Do or Something You Are?


@ginidietrich  if I could get away with blogging about the wine, what pairs best with various grilled cheese creations, I might do better. BTW I 'captured' a few ideas yesterday, the trick will be if they make it out of Evernote and out onto the Internet. :)

3 weeks, 1 day ago on How to Capture Blog Post Ideas


@Frank_Strong that's why 'maybe someday' - how to measure these is the trick, something I haven't figured out yet. 

Take sentiment - it's got value but only in context; it's not enough to know the sentiment, it's how strongly they feel it in context of their decisions. A lot of sentimental noise may surround this 'bad tweet' or that political view, but until it impacts jobs and sales and market cap, it doesn't matter. For example, I may not care for a certain biz organization, but if a subsidiary had a good manager offering me a great job.. in all fairness, I'd put sentiment aside and take it. :)

3 weeks, 2 days ago on 5 Categories of PR Metrics Pros Should Measure


I use a hybrid of these - minus the St. Bernard, plus the wine sometimes - with mixed success. 

I'm often walking or driving around somewhere, and my brain will do on a little rant and I'll think 'this would make a good post' but alas, when I get to the keyboard - mind has gone blank. Then there's Evernote and WP, Readability and Pocket, my iToys; sometimes I do capture and draft posts, other times it ends up in Erika's digital purgatory. 

Inspiration - that's reading, watching, listening; really almost anything can be fodder. The trick is making it work for the blog, that balance of writing for myself, my biz, the readers I have and the ones I want. FWIW. 

3 weeks, 3 days ago on How to Capture Blog Post Ideas


@Frank_Strong I'll get back to you on the compare and contrast, maybe a rebuttal post some day. :) In that argument, PR metrics would include qualitative measures like sentiment, value and reputation. 

You mentioned marketing not setting price anymore; I'd also offer that PR has little influence on Employee Relations in some orgs, as HR has taken over. Thinking retention, recruitment, employer reputation in the community, employee advocacy in SM. Internal comms is important, I'd always advocate HR work with PR vs. silos we see. 

I do get what you're saying about share, about pricing.. in that is control of the narrative. P&G may tell great stories but they're dumping a lot of brands b/c consumers no longer believe in their value. IDK -- I guess I'm saying that brand, organization reputation play their part; so even if a biz doesn't make profit exactly, they have convinced investors they have the share, the potential and strength of brand to do so. Ergo they're worth more than what's on the balance sheet. 

Apple's stock seems to underperform, b/c of the high expectations of the 'next big thing' vs. where they're already winning, losing, market share, etc. Some start-ups; they manage cash flow via VC investment - often earned b/c of the reputation of the players involved as much as the business model they're selling. But eventually, I think someone's gonna want some performance -- and yes sales! -- an earnings report that shows them in the black, a healthy return for their investment. 

Which I type totally wishing I'd had the money to buy stock in Facebook and Twitter when their IPOs struggled and the sharks smelled blood in the water. FWIW. 

3 weeks, 3 days ago on 5 Categories of PR Metrics Pros Should Measure


Hmm.. IDK Frank, this is smart stuff but I'd argue these are marketing metrics, not PR. As you alluded, the scope of PR goes well beyond - it's about business. Which is why I'd say the ultimate metric is not sales, it's profit and sustainability. If the goal isn't longevity, then the life cycle has to be planned to cash out at max value before shutting the doors. Remember the "You Got Mail" movie; all the shares and support and leads did nothing to help Meg Ryan's sales, she lost. To a Borders-like book store who, b/c they neglected other means for leads and discounted at the expense of profits, would today also have gone out of business. 

That typed.. "Often business problems can be solved through more effective communications, and that more than mere appearances, ought to be the specialty of PR professionals." I totally and completely agree with that statement, across all silos and departments. Communications is I think one skill all professionals need yet is taken for granted, underdeveloped as a discipline throughout many companies - and not for nothing, 'poor communication' is often cited as the greatest fault line. While I know PR is more than 'just' communications, that's at its core, yet many comms objectives that drive business success don't include PR. You call it the glue; if ever I go completely nuts and try to write a PR book, I'd argue something along those lines. FWIW. 

3 weeks, 4 days ago on 5 Categories of PR Metrics Pros Should Measure


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 month ago on Technology enhanced summer fun! Unplugging not required.


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


@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 month, 1 week ago on Thought Leaders, Not Organizations, Are Enticing to Publications


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.

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


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.

2 months ago on Has Your Social Media Strategy Become Stale?


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.

2 months ago on The Social Media Mob


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. :-)

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


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.

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


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.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Six Easy Metrics to Measure an Influence Marketing Campaign


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.

3 months ago on Critical Thinking and Thinking Critically


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.

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


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). :-)

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


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.

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


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. 

4 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


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.

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


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.

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


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

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


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

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


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.

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


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

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


"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.

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


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.

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


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

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


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.

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


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.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @


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.

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


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.

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


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.

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


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

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


@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. :)

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


"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.

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


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.

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


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

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


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.

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