360DigitalInfluence

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

Mike Vizard, former editor-in-chief of Infoworld and CRN, former editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise and now entrepreneurial blogger with the IT Business Edge Network, attended CSC’s Technology and Business Solutions Conference in Orlando, Florida, recently, as did I. One evening, CSC hosted a social event by the Hilton Orlando pool and Mike generously gave a couple of hours of his time to talk about the technology industry and the evolving media landscape.

Mike’s blog is called “IT Unmasked” and he definitely unmasked for me some of the mysteries of blogging today. A few of the topics Mike opined on can help all PR professionals:

  • On Exclusives. While important to him in his Infoworld days, they are no longer a high priority. He would like to be pre-briefed on news so he has time to develop his story, but the advantage goes now, not to the first mover, but to those that wait a little. If he waits 48-to-72 hours, he can link to other stories on the same news and improve his search engine optimization.
  • On Video. In the future, all text stories will have a video lead-in, according to Mike. He believes consumers of information will want to watch a short preview video and, based on that experience, decide whether to delve deeper and read the text of a story. PR professionals will need to think about creating and supporting video used in this way.
  • On Infographics. Mike accepts and likes to use infographics and screenshots but for business as much as for journalistic reasons. He likes to deploy three text paragraphs followed by an infographic because it brings the readers’ eyes further down the page, where the ads are. PR professionals will need to think about how to support the success of entrepreneurial bloggers in both the realm of news-gathering and in the realm of business.
  • On Content Distribution. “No one wakes up in the morning looking for IT news and information,” pointed out Mike. Therefore, he gets about half of his traffic from Google searches and a quarter from social networks, primarily LinkedIn and Twitter. He doesn’t see a future in which many readers will download apps of IT media. Search engine optimization is important to his success and he works hard at it. If PR professionals can provide content that helps him with SEO, then it’s a winner. Mike wants to work with PR professionals that link back to his stories through social networks and vendor web sites to help improve the search engine optimization of his blog. He calls this “the new social PR contract.”

Being a Denver Nuggets fan, I was recently reminded that Mark Cuban has said some off the wall things.  Having said that, he often provides some very interesting and thought provoking ideas on the world of social media.  His recent post in late May “Who Cares What People Write?” is a good example of the latter.

Cuban shares some interesting ideas around “Outties” (content creators that fit into professional “Outties” as well as amateur “Outties”) and “Innies” (who are “passive consumers of web writings” or consumers who “read watch and listen to the professional “Outties” and ignore the amateur “Outties”").  The idea being that professional “Outties” are generally established, branded sites with strong/large readership and amateur “Outties” are people looking for an audience (commenters, retweeters, reposters, etc.) who are creating content to be discovered.  Read his post for the full scoop and he closes with a pretty interesting wrap up of the concept…

The moral of the story is that on the internet, volume is not engagement .  Traffic is not reach.  When you see things written about a person, place or thing you care about,  whether its positive or negative, take a very deep breath before thinking that the story means anything to anyone but you.

It was also a concept expanded on by the Progress & Freedom Foundation’s Senior Fellow and Director, Center of Digital Media Freedom Adam D. Thierer.  Adam’s blog does a nice job of framing Cuban’s thoughts and adding some additional parallels to them around Power Laws as well as Chris Anderson’s Long Tail theory.

I think the one area that is not captured in either blog is the importance of recognizing the conversation that is happening — whether they are driven by the professional or amateur “Outties.”   While I agree with Cuban that volume is not engagement and traffic is not reach, but I also believe that all comments, re-posts, link backs, tweets/re-tweets, blogs expanding on a topic or theme, etc. (like this one) are part of the conversation that is taking place.  The collective conversation is the piece that matters for brands.

A simplified example of this would be to search for your brand on Twitter and see what’s being said.  One person with 15 followers may be saying something that may be able to be dismissed, but if 10, 20 or 50 people with 15 followers each are saying something, after you take your deep breadth, it may be worth taking a closer look and joining the conversation.

The role of communications is indeed changing and how we think about creating or sharing a message is something that needs to be considered.  I think this is one of the key reasons companies are starting to act more like publishers or content providers — to ensure anyone (either professional or amateur) can participate in their story, share it and share their perspectives on it.

Regardless of which outtie you are thinking of or the innie you are trying to reach, always consider the importance of helping foster conversation through your communications initaitives.

Lexy Klain

by Lexy Klain
Category: Technology

So I’ve been toying around with Twitter a lot more these days. So much so, I have been abandoning my blog. I think more and more we will start to see the quality of blog posts decline with the emergence of microblogging - thanks to Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter. Twitter gives you the option to update your network/ neighbourhood on what you are doing in a mere 140 characters.

The instantaneous nature of this means that you can easily update those that are following you on what you are up to and track what others are up to as well. I was originally critical of Twitter but I am starting to find it more useful in a professional work sense. In fact, in my perception it is taking over Facebook as one of the most valuable social networking sites.

The interesting thing here for me is that you can apply it to every day work. My Twitter neighbourhood, albeit small, is a circle of PR people and journalists. The aim = to expand my small neighbourhood! Anyway, I digress…

Although many of the posts that we upload don’t necessarily provide too much insight - I find out when people need to go to the bathroom, what they had for breakfast and when they are on the train but on several occasions it can really useful. You can pick up a lead on a story that a journalist is working on, what topics he/ she covers, when he/ she is going overseas, find out what they think of products they are reviewing and reporting on, what topics light a fire under them and so forth. It’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse and stay in contact. Now that I think about it more, I would actually compare this to LinkedIn - it seems to be quite valuable as a professional networking tool.

I’d be surprised if blog subscriptions weren’t in decline due to the rise in Twitter feeds. This has strong implications for mobiles as well. These days, new and emerging technologies are mirroring the lifestyle trends of today’s consumers’. As people want to access to real-time information from friends, access to news, entertainment, and be able to communicate from anywhere at anytime - we are finding that today’s technologies such as mobile phones and web 2.0 tools such as Twitter are accommodating these needs.

Feel free to pipe up if you have some answers because I haven’t done all my homework in this area. Are we seeing a trend now - as people become more time poor are we seeing blog posts getting shorter? Rather than well-researched, quality blog posts - are these increasingly becoming short excerpts and randon bursts of one’s thoughts?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…

Lexy Klain

by Lexy Klain
Category: Technology

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at work only to find a few blog post links in an email mentioning that I ranked number 29 in the Top 50 Australian Marketing Pioneer Blogs. This said list was compiled by Julian Cole. See below.

Total
1 Banner Blog 6 6 8 6 8 9 43
2 Servant of Chaos 9 5 8 6 6 5 39
3 Duncans Tv Adland 6 5 7 6 8 5 37
4 Corporate Engagement 8 5 5 4 5 8 35
5 Better Communication Results 8 3 6 5 6 6 34
6 Young PR 7 5 6 5 5 6 34
7 Small Business Branding 7 3 0 8 7 8 33
8 Get Shouty 8 5 7 5 4 4 33
9 Personlize Media 8 5 4 4 4 5 30
10 Brand DNA 6 4 6 5 5 4 30
11 PR Disasters 7 5 4 4 4 5 29
12 Ettf.net 6 5 5 4 4 3 27
13 Oneplusoneequalsthree 5 3 5 4 5 5 27
14 Business of Marketing & Branding 6 5 6 4 4 1 26
15 Media Hunter 7 2 6 4 3 3 25
16 Australian SEO Blog 4 4 5 4 6 1 24
17 Wide Open Spaces 8 5 4 3 3 1 24
18 The Marketer 7 3 6 4 3 0 23
19 Three Billion 6 4 0 4 4 5 23
20 Innovation Feeder 6 5 3 3 3 2 22
21 Campaign Brief 6 4 0 3 5 3 21
22 EcioLab 7 5 2 3 3 0 20
23 Adspace-Pioneers 7 3 3 3 2 2 20
24 Publicity Queen 8 4 1 1 2 3 19
25 Filter Media 6 4 0 2 3 3 18
26 Marketing Easy 6 3 0 3 5 1 18
27 Hothouse 6 4 1 2 4 1 18
28 Mark Neely’s Blog 7 3 2 2 3 0 17
29 Lexy Klain 7 3 1 3 2 1 17
30 Peter Sheahan 6 4 0 1 4 2 17
31 In my atmosphere 6 4 0 3 2 1 16
32 Elbow Grease 4 4 0 3 2 3 16
33 Falkayn 5 4 2 0 2 1 14
34 Pigs Don’t Fly 6 4 1 1 2 0 14
35 Diffusion 7 4 0 1 1 1 14
36 Australian Small Business 6 3 0 0 4 0 13
37 The Jason Recliner 4 4 1 2 1 1 13
38 The Wayfarer 7 3 0 1 1 1 13
39 Adnotes 6 3 1 1 2 0 13
40 Ryan’s View 6 4 0 2 1 0 13
41 B&T 7 4 0 1 1 0 13
42 Zero Budget Marketing Ideas 6 3 1 1 1 0 12
43 Blackwatch 5 3 0 0 0 3 11
44 Fresh Chat 5 2 1 1 1 1 11
45 Latin Ocean 5 2 1 1 1 1 11
46 Arrow Internet SEO 7 2 0 0 1 1 11
47 The Sticky Report 7 0 1 2 0 0 10
48 Naked Communications-The Flasher 8 0 0 1 0 1 10
49 Pixel Paddock 5 1 0 1 0 1 8
50 Send up a larger room 7 0 0 1 0 0 8

The blog list was compiled using a set of criteria, including Google Page Ranks, Technorati Blog Reactions, Alexa page ranking and Blog Lines. Additionally, a subjective ‘pioneer’ score was also included, measuring the ‘blog’s ability to have pioneering thoughts about marketing’.

The Top 50 Australian Marketing Pioneer Blog list will appear in the August edition of Marketing Magazine. It will also be updated every three months, with the next update this September.

I try and give my blog as much love and attention as possible, but unfortunately find that my time tends to get cannibalised elsewhere. This new found, albeit short, burst of fame is exactly what I need to give me that extra bit of motivation to make sure that I am regularly contributing my thoughts on the latest emerging technologies and Web 2.0 developments and how these are impacting on the marketing and PR disciplines.

Here’s to crawling up the ranks :) Stay tuned for the next instalment!

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide