Content Creation, Curation And PR

As usual, when reading Gini Dietrich’s latest post, I started thinking about the topic (in this case, whether creativity is lacking in PR) and veered off on a tangent as I followed commenters’ links.

On one of those tangents, I read an interesting quote in an article by Danny Brown, titled Lack of Real Vision is Stalling the PR Industry. While I was not fond of the title of the post, I did find an interesting quote:

Ken Eudy, CEO, Capstrat: “The PR firm of 2017 will increasingly help its clients become publishers and broadcasters… communicating directly with stakeholders without having their messages filtered through traditional media.”

This vision of the PR firm as not one that “gets the word out” but one that gets closer to crafting the word that gets out… gets sort of to the point, but just misses. Brands are already publishers and broadcasters, in their advertising efforts.

From a PR perspective, what brands need help with is getting a new legion of publishers to broadcast their message for the brand. This means working with publishers of all sorts of new media….blogs, YouTube videos and Tweets, as well as, Facebook posts, texts and several new publishing ventures that we have not thought of yet.

This quote gets to the meat of how to successfully do that.

– Maril MacDonald, CEO, Gagen MacDonald: “The successful firm of 2017… will be interested in relationships, not transactions. It will think about the long-term strategy, not short-term tactics. It will add value through a technology-driven collaborative dialogue…”

But, both quotes miss the role of the vastly greater number of curators, those that take the content developed by the publishers and amplify it on Pinterest, or Twitter or on their own blogs, many of which feature more curated information than created.

Approaching curators and content creators is not so different than traditional, relationships matter. It’s just…there are a LOT more relationships to develop in the new world of PR!

For our clients we use a mix of third parties who maintain relationships with key content creator and content developers. They bring us new opportunities as they develop their business models. But we also create client specific relationships with key leaders in the category in which they operate and they too bring us opportunities to promote the brand through events, activities and new relationships with other brands.

PR in the digital world is not so different, in terms of relationship building to build a brand. What’s different is the sheer number of players.

Maryanne Conlin, CEO of RedRopesDigital likes maintaining relationships especially when they lead to good conversation and good food.

Things That Brighten My Day

Sometimes you get a phone call that just brightens your day. Yesterday I received a call from the folks at PRSA Los Angeles. Isn’t that fun! We are in the running for the best social media campaign for our work on Avocados From Mexico.

If you are in LA – hope to see you at the awards ceremony on November 7th.


A Time to be Born. A Time To Post

With 5+ years experience posting on brand social media platforms, I’ve developed a bit of a sixth sense for best days and dayparts to post content. Not that I don’t aggressively splice and dice the analytics, but as I’ve mentioned before, there is an art to posting engaging content and  it’s a creative leap from pure number crunching to the gestalt of effective posting.

Be that as it may, I always eagerly  read research that confirms or makes me reconsider the truths I’m holding that day.  So, in the latest research in MediaPost – my optimal days and times were both confirmed and questioned.

I think we’re missing early morning, Friday evening and Saturday day for consumer posts.


What do you think about the minutia of effective part of the hour for posting? I think it depends on what is happening that day.


Frustrated by Facebook et al.

Ask any marketer what they think of social media and you are almost guaranteed ambivalence. We love it. We hate it. It’s a constant challenge. So, it was interesting to read Chief Marketer’s 2012 Social Marketing Study, which spells out exactly what it is that drives us crazy.

The most common frustrations linked to profits of course, are something that social media platforms are going to have to play a big role in figuring out… to stay in business. Those linked to content (creating, curating and managing) though, speak more to experience than anything else.

As I mentioned in this great post  on Spinsucks, which sparked a lot of conversation, there is the technical time management issue around social media which overwhelms us.  But in a classic forest versus trees conundrum, streamlining to seemingly optimize time spent, ends up costing more in terms of both resources and dollars than focusing on optimizing the delivery of the brand message.

It’s not so hard to reduce the frustration of providing content and reduce the work involved, when you focus on the brand voice and not the time it takes to deliver it.

Social Media Is Not For Interns – KitchenAid Tweet ‘Nuff Said

Making the rounds in the digital press this week is the epic fail by  @KitchenAidUSA during Wednesday’s presidential debate.  This tasteless tweet was sent out by a member of the KitchenAid social media team who…quite obviously, thought he or she were using a personal account. O0ps.

Since many of us were watching the debate live streaming or on channels featuring a Twitter stream of the debates, this was a really, really bad time to hit the wrong button on Hootsuite! It shows though, that it’s really, really important to make sure you have the right people on your social media team;  by right people, I mean experienced people.

Now, I must admit, that I have, a time or two, accidentally hit “reply all”  without meaning to, but I’ve been managing brand social media accounts for far too long to not have set up safeguards to avoid just the sort of thing that happened on Wednesday night. It does happen though, far too often, if perhaps not so publicly to brand after brand who mistake personal social media experience for expertise.

As you would not dream of having a PR intern or junior staffer be the spokesperson for the company, it is clearly inappropriate to assign the public mouthpiece of the company online to the most junior of employees, rather than to experienced social media managers..

Professional social media managers,  go beyond tweeting or posting and engulf themselves in the marketing of the brand. This means immersing themselves in the personality of the brand to engage the passion of the users. This means knowing which tools make life easier and which make life easier…but too often set you up for failure too.

While barely a profession yet, incidents like these make us see the need for training in social media. When we do our full day and half day sessions one of the biggest questions we are asked is about tools. What do you think of Hootsuite? How about Tweetdeck? How often should I schedule posts? This is what leads to tweets like those one put out by KitchenAid.

The real questions should be: How do I best get to know our fans? How can I tell when I’m engaging?  How can I avoid making mistakes!



Food: Porn, Paparazzi and Pleasing To The Eye

The intersection of food and photography, while always important has, if nothing become democratized in the past few years.

Last week during Social Media Week, LA I had the opportunity to attend a few of the panels, one of which was Feed Me – How technology and social media are changing the way we eat.

I would probably be more specific. While the channels (social media, mobile computing, etc.) have changed the way we broadcast what we eat, I’d be more apt to say that the biggest revolution is the way we communicate information about food to each other. More pictures, fewer words. That is, along with taste and smell, visual appeal has gone well beyond something engaged in by food stylists to something to strive for by everyday cooks and small, hole-in-the-wall  restaurants.

A few tidbits I learned that exemplify that:

  • Over 40% of photos uploaded on Pinterest during the Superbowl were of food.
  • Desserts and well presented dishes are most shared on social media
  • Eighteen percent of food photo tweets are of food
  • Most uploaded food photos on Twitter occur at dinnertime!

My takeaway, surprisingly enough, was not “ feature lots of food photos on your brand site”. It was, what I have been successfully implementing with one of my clients right now – give your visitors an easy way to share their own food photos, recipes and tips.

Do this on your Facebook page, on Twitter and Pinterest and on your website. Easily double the number of ways you show your consumers how they can use your product by encouraging content developer fans to contribute.

And keep taking those pics yourself!