“The agency — much maligned for its sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina over two years ago — arranged to have FEMA employees play the part of independent reporters Tuesday and ask questions of Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, the agency’s deputy director.”
Here are six things that they did wrong:
- Had employees imitate reporters
- Called a press conference with 15 minutes notice
- Provided an 800 number to listen to the press conference but not participate (Hello – note to FEMA – participation is in. One-way dialogue is out)
- Positioned this as a way to “get information out as soon as possible”
- Asked softball questions to position FEMA in a positive light
- Still haven’t punished anyone for this “stunt”
Here are five simples things that they could’ve done differently:
- Hold a one-hour daily morning briefing to provide status updates on the most important issues
- Answer questions after the FEMA update and limit each reporter to one question
- Media brief your spokesperson on how to handle the Q&A and practice with questions that will be asked by the media
- Create a FAQ document on the FEMA website to answer the most commonly asked questions
- Provide an 800 number that allows two-way conversation
WOW! Who would’ve thought a $15 billion valuation for Facebook? I figured so many people are blogging about this that there’s no need to include in this weeks digest. Here’s your Weekly Digest:
It’s the Positive that Counts. NOT!David Meerman Scott writes an interesting post about the power “negative” headlines to drive traffic on your website. Who knew, my glass half-empty perspective may actually help drive traffic! =) Where’s My Abacus? Accurate Online CountLouise Story of the New York Times highlights the frustration of web visitor counts – those reported by ComScore versus the online property itself. Would this issue be less relevant if we moved to a cost-per-click or action model versus cost per impression model? Probably not. People want to be able to say that have the largest slice of eyeballs.
Know When to Fold ‘em…I’m an avid player of Texas Hold ‘em, so this post from Distilled caught my eye. Tom highlights how Absolute Poker’s slow response to cheating allegations is impacting their reputation. Take this piece of advice, when you have pocket Aces, don’t assume that slow playing is the best strategy!
Measure Twice, Cut OnceA key point in construction is making sure you have the right measurement before acting. KD Paine summarizes 10 pieces of website measurements you should consider for your PR and marketing efforts.
It’s a BBS. Not It’s a ForumWow – it’s interesting how some things come full circle. If you remember the term BBS, then you might find this article from Dee Barizo of netbusiness eerily familiar. She highlights the benefits of participating in niche forums for driving website traffic.
When Social Goes EnterpriseThis sucks. I just learned from paidcontent.org that CrispyNews was acquired by Salesforce.com earlier this year. Good thing, the PR group will still remain. Bad part, no new groups will be opened by non-corporate users. Granted, the RSS feed for the group seemed inconsistent at best.
Another Reason Not to StealFor those Apple employees trying to get $100 rebates off a free phone, Apple acted swiftly and decisively. Seth Rodin writes that over 800 Apple employees were fired for stealing. Personally, this was the best thing Apple could do. Demonstrates a strong sense of ethics that is sorely lacking from our society.
Brian Carroll writes the B2B Lead Generation blog and posted an interesting point about doing less may drive more results for sales lead generation efforts. Though Brian is writing this from a lead generation prospective, I wonder how much transfer to the media field? Imagine dissecting my pitch process to determine what yields better results with reporters and bloggers. Interesting thought indeed for me to consider.
I attended my first Lunch 2.0 at the Oracle campuses today. Lunch 2.0 is an event that is starting to spread not only through the Bay Area but also overseas (Jeremiah Owyang of Web Strategist brought it to Hong Kong recently).
The event had excellent food and presentations about Oracle’s upcoming Web 2.0 tech for enterprises. This leads me to think about the pros or cons of holding such an event.
- Great way to discuss your products and services over a free lunch
- Can leverage the event to look for new employees
- Position your company as forward thinking by hosting a networking event
- Network for prospective business by having employees in attendance
- If people are just attending for a free lunch, is this the right audience? Ironically, one of the speakers even pointed out the issue of a “free lunch” versus interest in the products
- There seemed to be an equal amount of Oracle employees as attendees
- The event was centered around the product reviews, so not much “networking” by the time I left
- There was a iPhone promotion to get contact information, but I don’t know if I would have done it based on questions you should ask before doing a promo/sweepstakes.
Here are the weekly articles that I found interesting. There were so many that I’m posting a day early. I may revise my schedule to get this up on Thursdays instead of Fridays, because frankly, I can think of better things to do on my Friday. Here you go:
Hello, hello hello? Andy Beal of MarketingPilgrim points out the problem with the multitude of top blog lists and the risk of creating an echo chamber of self-importance.
All a Twitter B.L. Ochman provides some great reasons why marketers should consider Twitter. As she highlights, it’s important to give as much as take for any tool you use. Alternatively, David Berkowitz writes on Search Insider that maybe listening to Twitter is more important than participating. The issue is, do marketers really listen? =)
When Advertising Isn’t Marketing I just started reading David Meerman Scott and I don’t know why I didn’t start earlier. David points out the Forrester’s recent interactive marketing report if focused on the old rules of marketing versus the new rules. Check out David’s perspective on what new marketing means.
Don’t Be an Ugly American – Crossing Cultural Boundaries Ann Holland of MarketingSherpa provides an interesting look on crossing cultural boundaries for blogging. And who knew that she’s blogging from Serbia!
Fox Pisses Off Blood Thirsty Fans For fans of Buffy the Vampire TV series, you’ll love CK’s recent post about how Fox just pissed off tons of fans by serving a desist order for a sign along event. And you haven’t seen it, it’s one of the best TV episodes that’s been copied by other shows.
Trucking Down the Brand Fast Lane – Does Waggener Edstrom Have the Answer? KD Paine’s PR Measurement Blog had a quick post about this article in AdWeek. Waggener proposes an interesting brand management concept by visually mapping key words and their prospective impact on your company’s stock price.
Tracking Your Online Videos Michael Pick writes an interesting review of Tube Mogul for MasterNewMedia. For anyone trying to start a video marketing campaign, Mike outlines the pros and cons of Tube Mogul’s service. The cool part? Submit your content to several video sharing sites while getting an analytics overview. Now where are those old salsa videos…Disclosure: My company has a service that shares videos, podcasts, webcasts and online demos. Though not directly competitive, I felt it was important to disclose this.
Another Sign of Web 2.0 Exuberance? The New York Times ran a story about the Silicon Valley’s fuzzy math. So add fuzzy math to my list of signs that the Web 2.0 Exuberance is upon us. And Brad Stone outlines a conversation with Carlot Perez, who provides a historical look at tech bubbles and busts.
PR Folks Starting to Get Bloggers? Robert Scoble had an interesting post about PR folks gaming Techmeme. What interested me more about his post was how he highlighted some interesting way to get bloggers’ attention, both proactive and reactive. But then again, he was massed email press releases. I don’t know – emailing press releases to a blogger you know or don’t know doesn’t seem to be the right way to approach bloggers. Food for thought.
I’ve been thinking about ending the week on articles that I find interesting throughout the week. Hopefully, you’ll find them useful for your PR and marketing efforts. I welcome any recommendations that you have to make this a useful list of articles. I will categorize this under Weekly Articles so you can just skip to the summaries in the future. Here we go:
Why CEOs Should Be Careful about Blogging
Jeremiah Owyang discusses the challenges of writing a CEO Blog. Jeremiah highlights the key points about why CEOs should be careful before starting a blog, from time, cool factor, to just being plain boring.
Perils of When Marketing Buzz Hits Reality of Customer Service and Product Quality
Marketing Pilgrim highlights the perils of Apple’s reputation based on recent goofs and whether this will impact Apple’s marketing machine.
Using Social Media to Raise Money
B.L. Ochman gives a refreshing look at how one nonprofit organization raised $1 million in 4 weeks. That’s more than some for-profit start ups out there!
Falling Technorati Links – What’s the True Picture?
Mack Collier at The Viral Garden writes about the decrease in links on Technorati. Is this a good barometer of authority when twitter, Facebook and other types of incoming links are not being counted? Interesting question for our reliance on Technorati for pointing us to “popular” blogs for PR and marketing outreach.
The Multiple Faces of Social Networking
I previously wrote about managing my online reputation here and here. Max Kalehoff posted to the OnlineSpin about this growing social network illness and what needs to be done to “cure” it. From a marketing perspective, the question I constantly ask myself is which network should you participate in, monitor or just plain ignore?
So I just started reading Marketing Pilgrim and by telling them why I like them, I have a chance to win $500. This got me thinking about the value of sweepstakes or promotions. Frankly, I never used to be a sweepstakes person, but when I won a trip to London last year, I can’t get enough.
Whether it’s Home Depot surveys or putting my business card into a fish bowl, I seem to be drawn to it. Sweepstakes, as a marketing tactic, can be great for driving tons of people to your promotion, but what is the value to your company?
Before I highlight why I like reading Marketing Pilgrim, here are My Top 10 Questions for Sweepstakes Promotions that you should consider before engaging in one:
1. How does the promo/sweepstakes positively tie back to your company, messages and/or product?
2. Which is more important, the number of people who register for your promo or the quality?
3. Is the goal brand awareness or lead generation?
4. Once you have people registered, do you have a program in place to convert them into customers?
5. And if they do become customers, how do you maintain a long-term relationship versus the short burst from the promo?
And if your PR agency recommends a sweepstakes or promo, here are additional questions to consider:
6. How will the PR team measure the success (short and long-tem) of the initiative?
7. Who’s doing the work – the PR folks or you, the marketing team?
8. How much will this cost to do?
9. How will you manage this program with the month-to-month activities?
10. Besides doing the promotion to get eyeballs, which media outlets or blogs will write about this?
Now back to Marketing Pilgrim. I read them because they really do get it. For example, their $500 promo directly appeals to readers to explain why they like reading the blog and the money is a token of appreciation. This benefits both sides with increased awareness, while giving me food for thought for my posting. They have a good sense of humor while providing nuggets of wisdom for my personal blogging and my day job. And they’re prolific – I know that no matter when I check my Google Reader, there is something I can read. It’s not fluff but relevant to me.
What else can I say?
In the world of an agency, the mentality is one of the Borg. The goal is to highlight team achievements and not individualistic ones. From an agency perspective, this is practical so no one person becomes integral to an account. If one person leaves, it minimizes impact to the collective.
In the classic Star Trek: Next Generation “I, Borg” episode, a single borg is separated from his collective and learns to exist as an individual. His seminal moment is stating, “I, Borg” – the point when he no longer refers to himself as part of a group but as an individual.
Like Hugh, I left the comfort of the agency collective when I went in-house. I’m not saying individual responsibility was overlooked in an agency. It’s just the client may not be aware of which team member was directly responsible for the achievement. After spending most of my career at an agency, the change in mentality is difficult to adjust to.I’ve noticed how this has impacted my work in three ways:
1. No Hiding: Now, I’m keenly aware of how my individual contributions are being evaluated and measured. Every decision, media placement, customer case study and press release directly reflects on me. There is no we, it’s only me. There’s no one to hide behind.
2. Better Decisions on Media Outreach: I am more attuned to which media placements drive traffic to my website based on Google Analytics. And when there is a call to action for my media activities, I can add source codes to link to track traffic and measure results. Based on this, I can determine how much effort to put into one media outlet versus another. Not an exact science, but useful information nonetheless, especially if queried about which outlets to focus on.
3. The Value of I: I’m learning how to slowly drop the “we” for “I.” Again, don’t get me wrong, I do acknowledge when things are a team effort. But I also have to recognize when and how to take individual responsibility for my work. Understanding the “value of I” is very key for moving beyond the agency world.What do you think? I would love to hear from others who have made the transition – either to in-house or to an agency.
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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