Categories
Social Media

Help A Reporter Out!

Although it’s gotten its fair share of blog posts and media hits in NY Times, Marketing Sherpa and MarketingProfs over the last several days, Peter Shankman‘s Help A Reporter Out project deserves a mention here as well for those of you who don’t have your finger on the pulse of the marketing infostream.

Help A Reporter is Shankman’s mailing list for requests from reporters seeking interviewees and experts on a deadline. He runs it to generate good karma, but the list also benefits public relations pros and businesses who watch it as long as they respond when a request is relevant to them.

In short, don’t abuse this system. It’s very bad karma, and Shankman will remove you for repeated offenses. The value of Shankman’s list is in the trust that the emails connect reporters to truly relevant and available experts.

The group began as a Facebook group called “If I can help a reporter out, I will…” that I was lucky enough to stumble upon a few months ago in perusing the words and tips of marketing gurus online. It was growing at the time but has since grown beyond the scope of Facebook’s messaging restrictions. At 1200 members, Facebook no longer allows admins to send out messages to the group members, so Shankman acted fast to create the new site/list system at helpareporter.com.

Shankman sent out a Facebook message to the group members celebrating the new site:

It means our little experiment here in social media and PR is working!

This makes me happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

But, we’re getting bigger! And we’ve outgrown our Playpen!

If you are looking to get your business mentioned in the media or work in public relations or as a publicist, you should get on this mailing list. Remember what it’s all about and keep winning good karma points by responding when you can assist but not pushing yourself into a story where you don’t belong.

As long as we keep this thing going, this list could be the start of a nice mutual network for public relations practitioners and reporters. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get along?

As Shankman says:

It’s a simple idea, and one that can really help not only reporters, but all of us, as well! The bigger it gets, the better chance we have to make sure that reporters get the sources they need. The more they get the sources they need, the more likely they are to tell other journalists, which in the end, gives you more chances to get yourself, your clients, or your company some good press!

Go to helpareporter.com to sign up for the list. More on the list from Shankman himself:

The site’s been built to be as simple as this one: Simply enter your name/company/email, and you’ll get reporter requests sent to you via email, usually immediately after a reporter sends them to me.

It’s simple, it’s STILL FREE, and it’s no SPAM. It’s a double-opt-in list, with an automatic opt-out if you ever decide to leave us. Couldn’t be simpler, and yes, I’m still doing this because it’s good Karma.

So go to http://www.helpareporter.com and sign up.

Categories
Social Media

The Moneyball Method of Marketing

I know that this post by Steve Rubel was posted last year, but in mining my RSS feeds from Google Reader today, I came across this post on the movement towards Moneyball Marketing as marketers look to online and had to talk about it because of how much I enjoyed Moneyball.

In Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, Lewis showed how baseball manager Billy Beane built a successful team by changing the critical stats. Rather than choosing players based on the big time stats that the Yankees liked, the A’s started getting players with good on-base percentages and slugging percentages–players that weren’t as highly sought after in the drafts and had less star mentality.

As Rubel projects, the same could be true for marketing in the online realm. Marketers looking to reduce costs could go more niche and find smaller sites that produced better results. These sites wouldn’t have as much of a “star mentality” and don’t charge as much for advertising.

I had never thought about Moneyball applying to marketing until I read this post, but now it seems like a great way to describe the more efficient way of marketing on the Web. Rubel also lists some ways to start applying the Moneyball method:

Here are three ways you can apply Moneyball Marketer in your organization today:

1) Become a Super Cruncher – Look beyond the common methods for evaluating media and identify more meaningful, perhaps esoteric statistics. For example, make a buy based on a site’s ability to drive consumers to complete high value tasks.

2) Skip Reach, Go Niche – As hard as it is, try forgoing some of the larger sites in favor of emerging niche ones that deliver a higher percentage of your target. Work with them to create measurable, outside-the-box programs. For example, consider Takklean emerging social network focusing on high school sports.

3) Think Relationships, Not Impressions – The most successful companies in business today recognize that relationships rule. Consider launching programs that allow you to hone your relationships with narrow segments of your audience. Go beyond impressions.

Categories
Business Social Media

Is Community Management the future of marketing?

There’s a reason that I want to integrate a role as a community manager into my normal public relations duties. As more and more marketers profess the equal ground that social networks create between marketers and consumers, marketers have to redefine themselves.

Jeremiah Owyang answered his own question on how marketers could stay relevant in a recent post.

Question: Many consumers loathe marketers, now consumers can bypass marketers with social media tools, the power has shifted to the participants, how do marketers stay relevant?

Answer: Marketers must participate, or let consumers participate on their behalf, itโ€™s a new world.

The best way to participate is to become what is today defined as a community manager.

Just like Larry Hryb became the face of Microsoft’s Xbox as Major Nelson and Frank O’Connor became a “Content Monkey” for Bungie, community managers have taken on the role of passing information to the community and letting the community do what they will.

This model works best with brands where a large fan base already exists on the Web. It’s not as strict and defined a communication format as traditional public relations, but it is one that more consumers and fans appreciate.

Community managers produce original content and writing for the community rather than issuing press releases directly to the press. They overcome a greater challenge in establishing a relationship of trust with the consumers since they are affiliated directly with the company they represent, but those marketers that pass on a consistently honest message to the consumer reap the reward of developing a brand community out of their marketing efforts.

By bypassing the media, niche brands can also see rewards. Even though they may be too small for industry journalists to take note, they can develop a cult following through their own blogging and community development.

This passive marketing of the future puts the community managers on equal ground with consumers and allows them to interact and participate in a meaningful way. It will be the most effective marketing communication method in the future, so it would benefit every PR practitioner to integrate community management into normal PR functions in order to stay relevant.

Categories
Social Media

Public Relations 101: Don’t be lazy

Not to offend anyone who was caught in the crossfire of Wired’s Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson’s backlash recently, but one of the most important rules of media relations is knowing your target journalist and tailoring your message to their outlet/beat.

Anderson recently posted the email addresses of anyone who had emailed him as editor-in-chief rather than trying to find the correct beat writer or editor at Wired to contact. Many of the offenders had, unfortunately, purchased his email address from a list service of people to contact for their industry or freelance service–which is unfortunate considering his email is publicly available. It is horrible that list services charge just to compile a list for you.

It’s part of a growing problem in the industry that journalists are getting more and more mail since they don’t have what Godin describes as the “friction” of adding a stamp. An email is free to send and requires no commitment other than one click of the Send button, so spammers and ill-advised public relations professionals can send hundreds of emails and find themselves on the naughty list of many an editor.

The moral of the story: Don’t be lazy!

While Chris Anderson certainly went a little extreme by posting the email addresses and may have puzzled many PR professionals while being championed by journalists, the easiest way to avoid getting on anyone’s bad side is to do your homework and develop your own mailing lists from scratch.

Having a personal relationship is the best way to have any sort of profitable connection with a journalist. Even if your first email message is just an introduction about your company/business and a request to keep them in the loop, that is a better email to send their way than including them in a blanket pitch that may or may not be directed to the right person. Irresponsibility damages the relationship journalists have with public relations professionals–and hurts public relations as an industry.

If you can avoid it, try not to send out anything besides a press release update to a mass mailing list. Personal emails make a much better impression and can be tailored for each individual outlet and journalist based on your relationship. The most successful PR professionals are able to use their relationships and connection with journalists to keep them informed–no spin required.

Keep that in mind when you are starting up a new business or developing a new media list for a client. Doing your homework pays off far greater than trying to contact as many journalists as possible with little personal touch.