Category Archives: social media

What Does an Hour Using Social Media Tools Look Like?

More and more I encounter people who are, to put it bluntly, freaking out about which social networking tools they absolutely MUST be using right now. They’re fearful that they’ve missed the bus on all of this stuff and they hoping beyond hope that it’s not too late to “join the conversation.” You know what I say to that? Chill out. Here are some social media beginner’s tips that will cost you only one hour per week:

1) Just pick one thing… whether it’s Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook and commit to posting some sort of status update about twice a week to start off.  10 minutes

2) Bookmark good social media sites like Mashable.com and peruse it about once a week. 15 minutes

3) Learn a new feature on one of the social networking sites that you might not be familiar with like setting up a YouTube Channel or posting a new widget on your blog. You don’t have to learn everything all at once. 15 minutes

4) On your blog post a link and an introductory paragraph to a news article that is relevant to your personal interests or business. Send an e-mail to the journalist to give her a heads up. 10 minutes

5) Read someone else’s stuff. Whether it is looking through fan pages and groups on Facebook or commenting on a blog, remember– it’s about being part of a community. 10 minutes

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Filed under social media, social networking

A New Beginning and a New Range of Services… PR, Writing and More

Call me a dreamer, but I really do think I can do everything I need to do and keep up with this blog… really. Why have I been so remiss? Well, my business is changing– has changed quite a but in the last few months. I’ve stopped offering certain services, and gone back to old favorites. Strangely, not so much because of supply and demand, but because of my own personal interests and direction. I figure, if I am passionate about what I am working on, I’ll do a great job. And I do.

One of the reason I was on a mini-hiatus from my blog (not my job, just my blog) is because I have been spending some very productive and happy time on the other side of the fence. I started a new media company called Soul Lab which is both a blog and an internet radio show. This is where I get to share my personal interests, talk to really fascinating people, and keep my journalistic muscles fit and lean. Like most PR people from my generation (30-40), we started out as journalism majors. In fact, there were no real formal degrees in PR when I went to Emerson College. I think I prefer that, because what you need to know about PR comes from being in expert in a field you believe in, and actuallt working as a journalist. So check out Soul Lab Blog and Soul Lab Radio if you are into everything from pop culture to spirituality, from parenting to art. You’ll dig it.

In the meantime, check out a handy new range of services:

  • Freelance writing for online/offline publications and blogs
  • Webinars and teleclasses for companies, groups and non-profits on a variety of subjects including PR, media relations, Web 2.0 strategies and more
  • Communications training via phone or 1:1: Preparing people for media interviews or presentations
  • Digital media strategy: Social media and networking to grow your business and online/offline PR
  • Professional Writing: Developing messages to deliver to audiences from 15 to 15,000; press materials
  • Screenplay Doctor: Reviewing your screenplay and writing coverage. I’ve read screenplays and provided coverage for development executives and other decision makers at Tri Star Pictures (Red Wagon Productions), Spelling Films International, Keystone Entertainment and Turner Pictures
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    Filed under blogging, journalism, marketing, media, media relations, Media Training, PR, PR for Non-Profits, PR for Small Biz, PR Resources, Press Releases, publicity, social media

    Can Blogging Kill You?

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    Great post from my friend and colleague Nettie Hartsock answering the question, “Can Blogging Kill You?” in response to M.J. Rose in her article “Is Blogging Right for You?” recently published in Writer’s Digest.

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    Filed under blogging, journalism, social media

    Five Ways to Resolve to Make PR a Top Priority for Your Biz

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    Happy New Year, everyone! We all know that the business of publicizing and promoting your business is always on your mind. In November and December, however, PR sometimes has a tendency to run aground in the swirl of holiday activities, last minute accounting, and the rush of media surrounding retail trends. So here are five down and dirty ways to kickstart your resolution to pay much needed attention to the communications program that will take your business to the next level:

     1) READ: Whether your business is targeted to general consumers, or a more select audience, make a list of the top ten print publications that your customers read. Think about everything from websites to national magazines and subscribe to them. When you take your morning coffee or tea, spend just ten to fifteen minutes browsing these publications so you can get an idea about what your customers are reading about and, as a result, buying.  Don’t forget to figure out which print journalists in your hometown are the best match to report about your product and resolve to really spend some time reading their articles throughout the year so when you’re ready to pitch, you know who you’ll be dealing with.

     2) WATCH: Do the same thing with television. Think about everything from one-hour documentaries on TLC, A&E or The Discovery Channel to your local weekday morning new shows. Cultivate the mindset that you’re not just interested in telling people about your service or product but, rather, you’re giving them information that you can use.

    3) ACT: In other words, fake it ’til you make it. Believe that you can be a valuable spokesperson or resource on anything and everything related to your industry. This not only makes you a more attractive interviewee for journalists, it can force you to really pay attention to the core messages of your business when you may be on camera at the drop of a hat. Remember to dress the part, take care of yourself, and get enough rest. Like in every area of life, being happy and healthy are major attractors to getting what you want, when you want it.

    4) WRITE: Even if you don’t know how to get started in starting or revamping your communications program, it all starts with the basic raw materials: copy. Sure, you may not be a great writer. But you need to have at least a few rough drafts that you can hand off to a pro once your ready to get going. Take a swing at writing a one-page professional biography on yourself, then ask your executive team to do the same. If your stuck, start off with a list of ten questions that need to be answered about you and the company including:

    • What are some of your professional highlights from the last ten years?
    • Why did you decide to get into this industry?
    • What was the genesis for starting the company?
    • How has business changed over the last few years?
    • What makes you qualified to be in this industry?
    • How are your products/services unique?
    • What are some things that partners say about you?
    • What are some things that customers say about you?
    • How have your products/services evolved over the years?
    • Where are you from, and where did you go to school?
    • How many employees do you have and what are your plans for growth?
    • What sorts of media coverage have you received in the past?

    Once you answer some of these questions, categories, stories and fact sheets begin to emerge. Then simply hand off what you’ve generated to a writer, and you’ve got the beginnings of a basic press kit.

    5) COMMIT: It goes without saying that you can’t do it all alone. The most successful people are that way because of the people they surround themselves with. Do not trust communication with the media, developing important talking points, or sending out a press release to your office manager. If you can not afford a full-time or part-time in-house communications pro, negotiate a contract with a respected PR consultant who can at least help you navigate these sometimes tricky waters. Make a commitment to yourself and to the health of your business to take that first necessary step to work with a communications professional, even on an hourly consulting basis. It’s an investment you can not afford to scratch off your budget. 

    ***

    OK– I admit that I can be an overachiever. That’s why I need to add a SIXTH way to get your PR on in 2008.

    LEARN: I know we’re all pressed for time, but there are a LOT of great PR/Communications/Marketing blogs out there that are literally giving away trade secrets for FREE. I absolutely love that so many smart and talented people are sharing years of experience through the wonderful world of social media. Expand your business know-how and check out The Bad Pitch Blog for a funny inside scoop on good PR practices gone bad. Also, try visiting The Buzz Bin for intriguing posts on marketing, social media, PR and all things related to communicating who you are.  And I’ve recently discovered The Viral Garden, a really information-centric blog for those interested in learning more about how to incorporate and utilize social media for small businesses, among many other things. And if you’re itching for some interesting insight into the mad world of the ad world, stop by HeeHaw Marketing. You’ll dig it.

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    Filed under journalism, marcom, marketing communications, media, media relations, PR for Non-Profits, PR for Small Biz, PR Resources, Press Releases, Public Relations, publicity, social media