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When you handle social media initiatives for one organization, it is easy to develop linear thinking. Even when you follow the trends, stay on top of all the latest developments and devour all the social media news you can stand, you still tend to apply it to your own company or think about how certain tactics can work for your industry.

This is certainly not the case for everyone so please don’t take offense. I know when I worked at a news organization I was very focused on how we could adopt social media or better yet incorporate social media into our products to better serve the needs of the readers and viewers. I did think about other industries, mostly because I was intrigued at what they were able to accomplish when mine couldn’t even come close. But that was the extent of it.

Now that I am social media manager at a communications agency working with a myriad of clients from very different industries, my horizons have broadened. I think much more deeply about strategies and tactics.  I am challenged in ways that sometimes make me extremely exhausted but I know I am better for it.

I think a lot more about regulated industries, because many of our clients fall into that category and their barriers to entry are real.  I am grateful for all the work the Dachis Group has compiled in that regard. Research is much more important to me than it ever was and I often dissect it into small pieces. Read the rest of this entry »

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This is a cross-post from my company blog.

Blogger outreach is serious business. But it is also hard work. If you underestimate the level of research and personalization needed to do it well, you will fail. Okay, maybe you won’t fail, but you will limit the level of success that could potentially be obtained with a thoughtful, smart and engaging strategy that is not about you as much as it is the individual blogger and his or her audience.

The term “blogger outreach” is being thrown around a great deal, and from what I can tell, many see it as an extension of media relations. Well, it isn’t. Not from my perspective. And here’s why my perspective is valid:

  • I worked in broadcast, print and online news for 16 years, many of them as an assignment manager who received and discarded tons of pitches from PR professionals.
  • I am a blogger who is pitched from time-to-time.
  • I managed an online community that was quite averse to outside marketing.

You still with me? Good. Allow me to highlight two key differences in reaching out to journalists and bloggers.

Journalists require minimal personalization. What I mean by this is you can send 15 journalists the same press release. As long as you know the topics and industries they cover and you align your pitch accordingly, you can send a blast with very little personalization.

You have to know much more about a blogger before you pitch. With bloggers, topics and industries are not enough. You have to ask yourself these types of questions, and then find the answers before you even begin to craft the pitch: Read the rest of this entry »

The journalist in me makes it impossible to stop reading press releases. I just can’t do it.  Once a news assignment editor, always a news assignment editor apparently, and part of that job has always been to forage for news via press releases, police scanners, newspapers, beat calls, while eavesdropping during lunch or through any other means that brings in a good story.

But now, since I am no longer responsible for determining what to divulge to the masses during a 22 minute news hole, I’m reading and digesting them a bit differently.

I can now analyze them a bit, laugh at the long-winded nature of many who write them and look for cool things to share with people in my networks.

There is a trend I’m noticing of late. It’s the press release announcing a new twitter account or Facebook page.  (I’ve written about this before.)

If you’re expecting a rant on this one, I may disappoint because I want to think this through a bit more as I type. It seems insane on the surface, but is it really any different than announcing a new product or service?  If your twitter account is a new service, then perhaps it does require a press release. Today I came across 2Insure4Less.com announcing its new twitter page to “share insurance news and answer consumer questions.” 

And before I say anything bad, I have to give them credit for not assuming that every reader would be well-versed on twitter as indicated in this excerpt:

The posts, commonly known as “tweets,” provide insurance-related guidelines, advice and news about legislation and others’ missteps.

They even take it a step further to announce what types of tweets a follower might expect to see:

Many tweets are for national or international trends or phenomena such as a link to a report from Insurance News Net about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s reinforcement of its tsunami warning systems within the United States since the Indonesia 2004 disaster. The article also describes the National Weather Service’s TsunamiReady program and shares recommendations from the Insurance Information Institute. Other posts address the interests of residents in specific states.

And if you want to read a few previous tweets, just to be sure following the account is a good idea,  there’s this: Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a phrase that’s  tossed around more than a football at the Superbowl, and everyone claims to have the secrets of success. I’m talking about internet marketing. I’ve written many posts about the failed marketing efforts I witness in my online community and even offered tips on what to avoid when marketing through online communities. So who’s getting it right? I’ve received some valuable advice from Miller Mosaic’s Phyllis Zimbler Miller and Yael Miller (who designed my book website) so when I heard they were launching a new affordable business to help others wrap their arms around the concept I felt compelled to share.

Here is a Q&A with Phyllis Zimbler Miller about her new endeavor.

What void are you trying to fill with this new endeavor?

When I started learning internet marketing, the information was frequently so much that I was overwhelmed and yet the information was not specific enough for me to act on it.  And then I would find expensive programs or programs only on one aspect of internet marketing when I wanted to learn about all the major aspects.

The Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program is designed to provide one internet marketing topic each month at a reasonable price and in a manner that won’t overwhelm people and that they can implement in easy-to-follow steps.

What are some of the common misconceptions about marketing on the internet?

The major misconception I believe is that people marketing on the internet often act as if their potential customers/clients are mind readers.  Because the people marketing products and services know the benefits of their offerings, they don’t make it easy for potential customers/clients to quickly grasp what’s on offer.

How will your new program help build community and how important is having an established community to successful marketing?

The program will help build community as people going through the program become more confident and reach out to others on social media sites and blogs for cross-promotion and joint ventures.

The expression “no man is an island” is especially apt for internet marketing.  As an effective marketer you want to have as many people as possible to help you spread your reputation as you help them spread their reputations.

There is an ongoing debate about the percentage of marketing one should do on Twitter. Most say less is better. I’ve even heard a 70-30 ratio. What are your thoughts on that?

I’ve heard this same ratio and other ratios.  For me it all boils down to common sense.  I try to share as much information as I can and to support as many other people as possible.  These efforts come before promoting my products and services.

While I can’t give a ratio because it varies for different people, one thing I can caution about is sending an automatic direct message when someone first follows you that gives a link to a product or service being sold.  To me this is “in your face” marketing, which is not a good strategy on Twitter.

How do you successfully market without becoming “that guy?” You know the guy that sells every time he opens his mouth.

You need a sharing mindset.  All my life I’ve always shared information with others.  Thus for me internet marketing is an extension of my natural inclination.

If this is not your natural inclination, you should cultivate a sharing mindset.  What do I mean by this?  I mean first thinking of how you can help others on the internet and only second thinking of how you can occasionally get out the word about your products or services.

How do you gauge success? It has to be more than sales, right?

Correct, it’s more than sales.  For me it’s the connections I make with people.  And these connections don’t have to pay off now.  I’m patient and I believe that, if I sincerely help others, eventually people will help me too.

Do you feel that “social media marketing” is a new phenomenon or is that just a new term for something that has always existed on some level.

When you need a plumber, don’t you ask a friend for a recommendation?  So this level of asking for personal recommendations has always existed.  And now social media marketing has expanded on this concept to create a global village where we can all share our recommendations.

How do you separate the good advice from the bad? So many people claim to know the secrets of internet marketing.

Number one, I’m leery when anyone says he/she is going to reveal the “secrets” of internet marketing.  Do I believe there’s good information that only a few people know?  Absolutely.  But I’m leery of the promise of “secrets.”

In the Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program we are NOT revealing secrets.  We are revealing the information we wish we’d known when we started doing internet marketing.

And it’s an ongoing project to separate the good advice from the bad.  I constantly read new material and evaluate it in terms of what I already know.  I have the kind of mind that puts together pieces of information from different people to see what the result is.  Thus many of my internet marketing decisions result from a synthesis of advice I’ve received.

Okay, now tell us about your service and what you hope it will help others accomplish.

The Miller Mosaic Internet Marketing Program at $19.95 per month is designed for busy people who want to learn how to market their brand, book or business on the internet.  The minimum “requirement” is listening to the one-hour monthly conversation teleseminar on their computer or downloaded to their iPod or reading the transcript of the teleseminar.

Then if people have time for another hour of information in that month – they can participate in or listen to the replay of the mid-month question-and-answer teleseminar, which can clarify any questions about the topic of the month.

There’s no long-term commitment – this is a month-to-month program.  If you’re a member that month, you get access to that month’s material.

Our goal is to make it easy for people to learn internet marketing to promote their brand, book or business without feeling overwhelmed and giving up.  And we want to make it easy for people to implement what they learn.

You can get more program information now at www.WeTeachWebMarketing.com.

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According to a new poll, not many. Actually…very few.

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Do you use social media to guide purchases? I have. But, perhaps it just isn’t yet mainstream.

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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