April 2013 Issue #5
In Media Monitoring News this week, we've gathered some of the most interesting articles shedding light on new opportunities for PR pros, which include integrating SEO tactics, collaborating with the media and incorporating SEC guidelines into social media and disclosure strategies.
In response to The Associated Press getting hacked on Twitter last week, our feature article assembles security measures to ensure safety of your social media accounts against hackers and other intruders. The articles also describe the characteristics of phishing emails that can lure you into scams.
There's also advice on growing your social influence, steps to use guest blogging to increase your audience and insights on important components of an effective inbound marketing strategy.
An article on skills necessary for PR work will help both the job candidate and the employer during the hiring process. For a lighthearted read, view our entertaining article that presents a visual list of cheerful facts.
Hacks and Attacks in Social Media: Is Your Account Safe?
Media Bistro / Chicago Tribune / Slate
How secure are your corporate social media accounts? The hack on The Associated Press's
Twitter account last week alerted communications professionals to social media security issues. Two key points: First, no social media account is safe from hackers — even a prominent and credible news organization's — without proper security measures. Second, such security breaches can cause serious damage outside the company, as well: the rogue tweet in the AP's account claiming that the White House had been attacked sent the stock market plummeting by 143 points
, a paper loss of $136 billion and a real loss to investors who had stop orders on their stock holdings.
The AP social media disaster serves as a reminder to secure both your company social media accounts and personal profiles, Meranda Watling advises in How Secure Are Your Social Media Accounts?
Examine your social media strategy and ask: Who has had access to these accounts? How strong is the password? How would you react if the account was hacked? Accounts should be updated periodically with unique, complex passwords, recommends Amy Guth in 7 Ways to Protect Your Social Media Accounts
. Ideally, passwords should contain a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, symbols and numbers and have at least 8 characters. Social media account passwords should be unique and not used on any other account. Finally, plan for the worst: If your account is ever breached, know what and how to shut it down and react publicly.
While it's not clear how the hackers obtained the AP's password, phishing is the usual culprit, Will Oremus observes in Would You Click the Link in This Email that Apparently Tricked the AP?
Recognizing the telltale signs of a scam is proving to be more and more difficult: scammers can now feign your identity and contact followers and friends on your email list or profile. Often the perpetrators ask for money or other private information. "Now it seems we have to watch out for work emails from colleagues that are properly spelled and punctuated, on-topic, and generally plausible, if a little vague," Oremus explains. Lesson: Be skeptical of emails with generic topics and scant information. Call or directly contact your friends before clicking on anything that looks suspicious.
For PR Pros:
The So-What Rule of Media Measurement
The Measurement Standard
So what if you got um-teen thousand followers or millions of impressions? What has it done for your business? That's the "so what" question of Katie Paine's irreverent rant entitled The "So What" Rule — Put Your Big-Girl Panties On and Deal with It
. "To get coverage" is not the goal of public relations. "To get followers" is not the goal of social media marketing. Effective PR and social media marketing impact business goals of increased sales (or donations, applications or any other growth metric), improved customer relations or reduced costs. Those are the ultimate metrics. PR and social media activities must align with those corporate goals — with or without panties.
New PR Model Demands More Content, More Channels
The New York Times
Using FleishmanHillard's recent expansion as an example, The New Look of Public Relations
affirms that PR agencies are now striving to evolve into total communications resources. Now, firms like FleishmanHillard seek to be "channel agnostic" and integrate paid, owned, earned and shared media into their communications strategies. This means adapting from "trying to connect people with brands" to "trying to connect people with people to connect with brands," as Mark O'Brien of DDB Worldwide is quoted in the article. Such a change signifies the importance of PR pros having marketing and social media experience to be able to deliver brand messages and news releases across multiple channels.
New SEO Tactics Essential to Improve PR Strategies
Sword and the Script / iMedia Connection / SpinSucks
Search engine optimization (SEO) technical requirements may be Greek to some PR pros, but tactics like link building and relationship development are gaining credence in public relations. PR pros are perhaps the best means for authoritative link building, Lee Odden avers in his new book "Optimize." In a review of the book, 9 Take-a-Ways from Lee Odden's Optimize
, Brian Solis summarizes that quality news releases and content aren't enough; PR pros must be able to get that content in front of customers and key influencers. There are a number of ways to improve PR strategies and tactics via SEO. 11 Essential Tools for Link-Building
recommends using a media monitoring service, as well as social tools like Klout and Google Authorship.
Google's AuthorRank will ultimately benefit PR because it ranks content by identity and authorship, not subject matter. It's another way to identify influential online authors, notes Andrew Isidoro in Public Relations SEO: How AuthorRank Can Help
— enabling those in PR to develop relationships with the right authors, get content placed in authoritative websites, and use the author's influence and online social contacts to put that content in front of other authoritative authors.
What to Do with Negative Reviews Online
Plenty of online reputation management advice crowds the Internet, but 8 Steps to Clean Up Your Online Reputation
is one of few that offers detailed advice to managing
negative criticism rather than preventing
it. The first step is to get a complete view of what's being said (accomplished easily if you have a media monitoring system in place). Create a clean-up list of all the profiles and review sites that need mitigating, and get to work. Your first priority should be to engage when and where you can with the users. Then, work with customer service departments of the sites in taking down inappropriate and false reviews.
PR Skills to Look for When You're Hiring
The hiring process can be just as difficult for employers as it is for those being interviewed. Skills Entry-Level PR Hires Should Have
provides an important list of skills for prospective employees. Number 1 on the list: writing skills. Social media knowledge is a plus, but those skills can be taught quickly on the job — good writing can't. Favor prospects who present a variety of writing samples. This includes examples of traditional writing assignments (such as news releases) and new media as well, such as blog posts, tweets and Facebook posts for the prospect's prior company or organization. For successful hires, hiring decision-makers must set high writing standards and recognize superb writing quality. One caveat: Try to determine how much editing by a superior is embedded in the writing samples.
Shrinking Newsrooms an Opportunity for PR-Media Collaboration
Society for New Communications Research
PR pros have a unique opportunity to collaborate with journalists and bloggers, as the latter are relying more heavily on outside content as a solution to downsizing of newsrooms, according to the SlideShare Working with the Media
. Earn media placements by working with journalists to produce great news stories, urges slide creator Sally Falkow. This can be as easy as embedding photos, videos and downloadable files into your press releases. A successful PR team is one that can help produce a continual stream of timely, relevant and shareable content for the new "social-creative newsroom."
Online Civility Must Be Protected
Social media gives both personal and professional users the opportunity to say mostly anything they want, but that privilege must not be abused, preaches Geoff Livingston in The Devolving Civility Situation
. Referring to a recent event where Guy Kawasaki's followers verbally abused him after he continued to auto-tweet following the Boston bombings, Livingston stressed that PR and social media specialists must always interact professionally — even in a time of crisis. "Sustainable business relationships need more than transactions, and must also include respect, decency and civility, if not friendship," Livingston maintained. No comment, no matter what the situation, is worth compromising a relationship or future PR opportunity. (Editor's note: Why is it that so many bloggers feel compelled to use vulgarity in their posts and articles? It's absolutely unnecessary. And it's unwanted by and unacceptable to the vast majority of the audience. Being branded as crude or vulgar certainly does not help any writer's reputation. Maybe I'm just showing my age?)
How to Think More Clearly and Creatively
In a world where problems are increasingly complex, the ability to think clearly and quickly has become the most important skill and talent of all. Fortunately, deep thinking and problem-solving can be learned. How to Think
assembles 10 rules to think more creatively, with suggestions on how to implement the principles. Important: When learning something new, always try to make connections to problems and ideas you are confronting. The ability to connect disparate information distinguishes the most effective problem-solvers. In looking for solutions, the Steve Jobs mantra usually applies: make it simpler.
Companies Start Off Slow with New SEC Regulations
The New York Times' DealBook
Businesses are proceeding with caution as they work the new social media regulations into their disclosure reports. Ever since the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled businesses can use social media
to disseminate market-moving company information, most companies are playing it safe and still relying on news releases to communicate material. As Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz clarified, the new regulations will treat social media as a supplement to, not a replacement of, news releases. Still, experimentation with social media is likely, and more companies, especially in the technology space, will soon utilize social media more heavily to release information, according to Businesses Take a Cautious Approach to Disclosures Using Social Media
For Marketers & Social Media Specialists:
Building Traffic with Guest Blogging
How to Score the Guest Posts that Will Get Your Freelance Blog Noticed
recognizes the difficulty in being a novice in the blogging world. Traffic will increase once you utilize guest blogging as a way to build a following, the article promises. Key message: Reach out to the blogs that your prospective audience is reading, and take the time to read through some of the most popular articles on the blog so your content is a match with its prime topics.
Secrets to Compelling Content: "Negative" Headlines, Contrary Views
In content creation, negativity can actually be a good thing, according to 20 Exclusive Copywriting Tips Even Gurus Will Be Surprised to Know
. Since the human brain reacts more strongly to negative stimuli, writers should leverage dramatic or negative headlines to compel readers (example: "Why Your Content Strategy is Failing"). Another great tip: Play devil's advocate. Take a controversial stance to prove a point.
Monitor, Measure, Take Action
1to1 Media / Social Marketing Forum
Monitoring is an important part of marketing, but it's not enough, insists Avoid the "All Listen and No Action" VoC Program Trap
. ROI only comes when you use metrics to improve strategies and processes. Monitoring should produce a clear, actionable report that explains how and where your company needs improvement. The ultimate objectives for monitoring should center from the "Big 3" business goals: Raise revenue, increase customer satisfaction and lower costs, as outlined in Social Media Marketing Metrics Explained
. Bottom line: Media monitoring is the crucial first step toward improving marketing, sales and customer service.
Social Media Monitoring Exemptions: Valid or a Breach of Privacy?
The Wall Street Journal / Computerworld
In the midst of states attempting to bar employers from monitoring their employees' social media activities, Wall Street's financial self-regulator is seeking an exemption from such laws
— claiming it is necessary for the company to keep an eye on their brokers and dealers. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is the second security organization to join in an effort to combat similar social media laws that have passed or are under consideration by states. Are the regulators' and employers' arguments valid? Perhaps, as a Computerworld article mentions
, since business accounts are beginning to blend with the personal accounts. "Business use includes, among other things, reading and posting commentary, monitoring and sharing relevant news, business promotion and brand building, sharing best practices, and obtaining customer feedback," according to a Security Industry and Financial Market Association statement. The laws still vary by state, so every company's employees should know their rights, while employers must learn their limitations.
Universal Analytics to Revolutionize Marketing
Now that Google's Universal Analytics has launched into public beta, marketers and social media specialists would be wise to consider this new measurement strategy. Universal Analytics focuses on tracking the behavior
of visitors, rather than simply the anatomy of a visit, according to 8 Ways Google Universal Analytics Will Change the Way Businesses Use Data
. One advancement will allow analyzers to link demographics to user IDs, thereby interpreting how different age groups access different types of content — which likely will be helpful in improving audience engagement and, eventually, ROI across various different social media platforms.
The Core Four Components of Inbound Marketing
A solid inbound marketing plan drives the right audience to your organization and increases revenue, Matthew Gonnering formulates in How to Create a Successful Inbound Marketing Program with "the Core Four."
The core of your marketing should center on your website, with a balanced combination of search marketing, content generation, social efforts and public relations to attract online users to your website. For search marketing: Take advantage of pay-per-click ads and SEO. For content generation, which Gonnering asserts is the most important component, consider different channels and tools to repurpose your content.
Marketing in Color: Appearance Can Affect Purchasing Decisions
Social Media Today
Studies show that color is the most persuasive visual cue in driving buying behavior. A brand's color scheme should reflect how you want your audience to perceive the brand and the company. This extends beyond the brand's logo and tagline, and also plays a role in the color palette of your company page and social media sites, notes The Role of Color in Marketing
. Use color to your advantage so that it's consistent across all different sites and also keeps customers engaged.
Lessons for Growing Your Social Influence
Search Engine Watch
Communications professionals can easily identify the leading influencers in their industries, but how does one get to the top? 10 Vital Steps to Building Social Influence
maintains that innovation is the critical component: Try new things and be prepared to fail, writer Rebecca Murtagh advocates. The new form of engagement demands that you embrace marketing to the individual, not en masse. Distribute unique, personalized messages (easily accomplished via Twitter replies) and utilize new social tools like Vine to create an effective user experience.
For Your Entertainment
A Collection of Fun Facts
If you have a case of Monday-itis (no matter what day it may be), The 30 Happiest Facts of All Time
will cheer you up. Our favorite: Window washers at children's hospitals who dress up as Spiderman and other action heroes. For the joy they bring to sick children, they are heroes themselves. The article's format of entertaining visuals attached to quick messages illustrates an interesting content marketing technique.
Factoids of the Week:
68% of CMOs will increase their budget for content marketing in 2013. (CMO Council)
The top 3 measurement criteria among B2B content marketers are web traffic, sales lead quality and social media sharing. (Content Marketing Institute)
46% of company leaders believe that their employees will misuse social media and other workplace technologies. (Blogging4Jobs)
Quote of the Week:
"The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out." — Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of the Visa credit card association
PR Meetings, Seminars, White Papers
PR & Marketing Job Openings
The listing for this issue includes PR job openings and marketing positions — with detailed job descriptions for each. Readers are invited to submit job postings to firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of Previous Issues
Determining Your Media Monitoring Needs
Print News Monitoring Vs. Online News Monitoring
Broadcast Monitoring for TV & Radio News
Selecting a Social Media Monitoring Service
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