Trends of the Trade

Trends of the Trade: Traditional Versus New Media

This article originally appears on the WWPR blog, posted on August 16, 2013

I just received my latest Fast Company (September 2013) and the cover story is all about Jeff Bezos, or as the text reads “King Bezos”. The issue went to press before the announcement that Bezos had agreed to buy the Washington Post for $250 million, cash. This announcement was on the heels of the sale of the Boston Globe for $70 million to John W. Henry, principal owner of the Boston Red Socks.

When the Boston Globe sale was announced, the scuttlebutt had more to do with the difference between the purchase price of $1.1 billion in 1993 to the sale price 20 years later of $70 million. Makes one wonder, not for the first time, about the future and value in the market place of traditional print media. Mind you, I’m not suggesting that this trend is a new one. Print journalism and traditional media outlets have been struggling to find a balance between business as usual and new ways in which consumers receive and interact with news stories.

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Trends of the Trade: Achieving Audience Engagement

This article originally appears on the WWPR blog, posted on July 26, 2013

If you attend any of the networking events hosted by the myriad of PR and Communications groups, including WWPR and PRSA, you’ll likely hear discussions about audience engagement. It’s the ultimate goal for any public relations campaign and the ever-elusive goal for many organizations.

The sweet spot to achieving successful audience and client engagement lies in the intersection between content marketing, targeted communication, and technology.

While creating quality content that customers and audiences want is always the challenge, sometimes the larger challenge is ensuring that they are receiving said content.

More than a few tools exist that can help you organize, track, distribute and proliferate your messages. Here are some that can get you started.

Gaggle Amp is “the social marketing platform that lets companies amplify their social media reach by leveraging individual employees, customers and partners.” The application allows companies, non-profits, political campaigns, and major brands share information and engage more of their audience by managing their social media channels and measuring the impact of campaigns. SoapboxTM is a service that helps expand your Twitter network by introducing you and your tweets to a new community of like-minded individuals. By refining your profile to identify the types of individuals and organizations with whom you’d like to converse, Soapbox finds quality new followers who are tuned into your message, resulting in more robust sharing and conversations. Greg Chase, an advisor to vTricity, the company that created, says that Soapbox lends a hand in building quality and credible audiences by engaging users and promoting Twitter handles to an as yet unknown network of influencers. The result is the same if you had the time and energy to do it yourself, just makes it easier in a shorter amount of time.

Kapost is a content marketing platform that allows users to plan, organize, manage workflow, distribute, and analyze content across a variety of platforms. Managing where content exists, who’s seeing it, and how successful campaigns are in achieving their goals is invaluable to an organization. Kapost also has a wealth of resources for companies in any stage of the content marketing process. From strategy and ideation to distribution and analytics, Kapost has eBooks, videos, presentations and blog entries to help users refine and plan their best approach to their audiences and messages.

Creating, delivering, and measuring messages can take teams of staff to ensure an organization is spending valuable resources in the right place and on the right messages. The tools above can help an individual or a team maintain and manage messages to maximize return on investment.

Trends of the Trade: Influencers and Game Changers

This article originally appears on the WWPR blog, posted on June 10, 2013

In this season of graduation speeches and life advice for emerging youth leaders, there is an overflow of “words to live by”. From  Steve Case at UNC to  Joss Whedon at Wesleyan University, inspirational words are conveyed to graduates and non-graduates alike.  Case lists his three Ps: people, passion and perseverance, while Whedon tells his audience to pay attention to contradiction and see things from a different perspective. What you absorb and implement can have a great impact on not just your personal life but also your career path, your interactions with colleagues, and your choice of future employers.

Even the most erudite professionals know that you never stop learning.  Tapping new sources for new ways of thinking, approaching business, and interacting with colleagues and clients is a great way to stay on top of trends and continually refresh your approach to your chosen profession.

Written in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has been on the shelf of aspiring business leaders since its publication.  Many of those lessons are still applicable today. Books, podcasts, networking events, and paid workshops are ever present and teach you the latest skills to stay attuned to the most effective ways to reach clients and influence people.

But which ones are really worth your time? As  Washington Women in PR prepares to evaluate the latest crew of nominees for the Emerging Leaders Awards, it’s worth taking some time to review some influencers and resources that can help propel aspiring communicators to become tomorrow’s leaders and game changers.

Obviously we each have different interests and drivers but one thing we do have in common is our interest in communicating and reaching an audience.  Evaluating what inspires you to do your best work is a great place to start this exercise.  Determining your “personal brand“ is akin to evaluating your value proposition and again, what inspires you.

Tapping into  mentors in your organization or during events such as WWPR’s Minute Mentoring event in April helps you learn from the experience of others and put these life lessons to work.

I subscribe to Fast Company as a way to keep tabs on trends in business, design, technology and communications. Articles are timely, topical and offer insight into business trends and creative innovation.

I find authors such as Chip and Dan HeathDan Pink and Malcom Gladwell universally appealing regardless of your industry. The information they impart make you think, stretch your imagination, and maybe help you conceive of a new way to approach a problem or make a decision.  Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind, touts design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning as the six essential aptitudes on which professional success and personal fulfillment now depend.  Business Insider has an interesting list of their  top 15 thought leaders in marketing.  I encourage you to take a look and see who strikes your fancy.

TED speakers and seminars are also great sources of inspiration and innovative ideas. Some of my favorites are Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight and Oliver Sacks’ talk about hallucinations, Hans Rosling: Stats that reshape your worldview and Susan Cain:  The power of introverts but there are many others.

So in the end, take to heart the information and advice you glean from influencers and game changers, and figure out what inspires you.  As you incorporate more information and tap into your inspiration, you will end up doing more of what you love to do and we will all be better for your efforts!