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Periscope and Meerkat : The New ‘Twitter’ for Reporters

Periscope, Meerkat - New Twiter for ReportingBelieve it or not, Twitter has been around for nine years now. Shortly after Twitter launched in March of 2006, The American Journalism Review (AJR) published an article that referred to Twitter as “…the latest in an ever-lengthening list of overhyped technologies and cultural techno-fads stretching back to CB radio.” The industry largely doubted the viability of Twitter as a news platform. They will not repeat this mistake with Periscope and Meerkat, two new live-video apps that enable anyone with a smartphone to broadcast a live-video feed to their Twitter followers. Just as Twitter has become the first broadcast breaking news in text and photo formats, so too will it now bring us live-video coverage of news as it unfolds.

Back to the AJR article for a second – because it provides a great illustration for how news organizations have evolved their approach to new platforms and consumption patterns across their audiences – the author posed the question of whether Twitter was a fad, or if it could actually end up being useful for news distribution, reporting or source-building. It was a wait and see attitude that dominated an industry rooted in traditions and paralyzed by a lack of innovation and willingness to change.

In one of my first blog posts on Journalistics, nearly two years after the launch of Twitter, I shared the results of a survey I conducted with more than 100 professional journalists at the time. I interviewed reporters and producers about the biggest challenges facing them in preparing the news in a rapidly-changing media environment. Not surprisingly, there wasn’t a single mention of “learning how to use Twitter in my reporting.” I’ll say it again, that was two years after the launch of Twitter.

Fast-forward to 2015 and we’re witnessing the next transformation in social media-based reporting with the launch of Meerkat and Periscope. These services launched over the course of the past couple of weeks. Every minute, news organizations, reporters and a bunch of other early adopters are starting to leverage these new platforms to broadcast their live-video feeds to anyone that will watch. If you aren’t yet familiar with how this works, once you click a button to begin the stream, your Twitter followers are notified that you’re broadcasting. They just have to click the link and their preferred device becomes the new window into the world of breaking news (or anything else publishers choose to broadcast). [Read more…]

How To Develop Your Digital Content Strategy

digital content strategyWhat’s a digital content strategy? This is a hard question to answer in 2015. Is a digital content strategy something you need for social media? Content marketing? Influence marketing? Your blog? All of the above? Yes, all of the above and then some. Your digital content strategy should be an all-encompassing strategy that defines how you approach communications across all your digital channels.

Why do you need a digital content strategy? You need a digital content strategy because your audiences want you to engage and interact with them in different ways, with relevant content that aligns to the ways they choose to consume and share the content you provide.

If you’ve never created a digital content strategy for your organization, the following steps will walk you through creating one. This is no small task, but I’ve tried to approach the assignment to make it easier for you to produce a digital content strategy that will be useful for your organization. First up, who do you communicate with? [Read more…]

Top Trends, Campaigns and Platforms of SXSW 2015

sxsw 2015Despite the drone-free skies at SXSW 2015, there is still plenty flying around Austin this weekend. While this isn’t a statistically valid analysis of what’s trending at SXSW 2015, here’s my rundown of the trends, activations and platforms that made the most noise in Austin this year. It’s an exciting time to work at the intersection of marketing, technology and communications.

Trends

Big Data – well, “big data” is here to stay in our marketing vocabulary. By far, the most common buzzword I have heard at SXSW so far has been “big data”. The longest lines for sessions have been for topics revolving around big data. Every vendor seems to now be in the big data business, and it’s clear everyone wants a piece of the “making sense out of data” pie. By and large, I think this is a great thing. For too long, we’ve made business decisions with limited and dated research – or hunches. The better we get at using accurate (and if possible, real-time data), the better informed and productive these decisions will be. The challenge for most organizations will be selling the value of big data internally, as it’s costly to fund the tools and people required to be successful.

ibeacon sxswProximity – while there have been a few failed attempts at leveraging proximity-based mobile applications at past SXSW events (Highlight or Banjo come to mind), practical applications of proximity-based messaging technology – most-notably through the use of iBeacons – have utility. SXSW is using iBeacons at the conference this year to alert users of its app to interesting things going on at the conference. When you carry your mobile device around with you, you’re essentially telling people where you are. Privacy concerns aside, this is the future of location-based marketing – pushing content to users in the moment is one step closer to realizing those scenes out of Minority Report. I’m most-excited about seeing the adaptation of iBeacons for driving proximity-based engagement in retail and event applications.

egg minder internet of thingsInternet of Things – EVERYTHING is going to be connected to the Internet in the next couple of years. That’s the general theme of the dozens of Internet of Things sessions at SXSW. There are too many products out there in the Internet of Things – or IoT – sector to mention in this post. Just know that every for every product you own that plugs into the wall (or recharges), somebody is working on one that connects to the Internet. Honestly, there are a lot of products that you don’t currently need that will connect to the Internet too – like a device you can put your eggs in that will tell you if they’re still fresh. Don’t put all your IoT eggs in one basket, I guess?

There are surely some follow-up trends of note to be on the lookout for when it comes to the IoT. First, there are some considerable privacy and security issues that will emerge (opportunities for smart entrepreneurs to capitalize on). When everything is connected to the Internet, it brings with it the same risks and vulnerabilities of any other device on your network. Than there is the issue of overwhelming your home network with too many devices competing for a connection – there are limits here that will need to be addressed. Finally, it makes sense that we’ll see common aggregators emerge that enable you to manage all of your Internet things from a single interface. My guess is Google will emerge as a leader here, as it’s in line with indexing all of the world’s information – and yeah, back to that big data thing… there’s a lot of data behind all of our things being connected. Anybody making a product today needs to consider how that product will connect to the Internet – that’s a mega-trend if I’ve ever seen one.

uber sxswGetting From Point A to B – personal transportation is an interesting trend I’ve noticed at SXSW. From the Ubers and Lyfts of the world, to tap-and-go Smart Cars you can see all over Austin, to similar applications for hailing taxis and pedicabs, it’s clear that smartphones with their GPS and mobile payments capabilities have made it easier than ever to find a ride than ever. Look for developments in ride-sharing to be a trend in coming months, as Uber recently announced its plans to enable you to team up with other users to get where you’re going.

Read more about the brand activations and platforms making a splash at SXSW 2015. [Read more…]

8 Tips for Getting The Most Out of SXSW

SXSW 2015I shared my perspective on why I attend SXSW earlier, as a response to those people in my network that decided not to make the trek out to Austin this year (for reasons other than more important work or personal commitments, which are always acceptable excuses).

If you did decide to make the trek out to Austin for SXSW this year, and provided you’re not an eight-time veteran like some people I know, here are some tried and true tips for maximizing your experience at SXSW this weekend (and beyond into Monday and Tuesday should you last that long): [Read more…]

Why Do I Attend SXSW?

why attend sxsw 2015When I tell people I’m headed to Austin for SXSW, I tend to hear the same responses. I either hear, “cool, let’s connect there” – which is less common – or I hear one of the following responses:

  • We were thinking about launching our [insert thing] there, but decided not to because there’s too much noise
  • I hear SXSW has gotten too big and it’s not what it used to be
  • I knew this guy or girl that went and didn’t get a lot of value
  • I went back in [insert year], and it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be
  • Or some other excuse why SXSW isn’t worth the time or money

For me, SXSW is just like everything else in life. You get what out what you put into it. You can either be one of the people above making excuses, or you can take the approach of most people attending this week and make opportunities. Sure, you can come to SXSW and party the entire time, but you’ll just wake up in strange places, have a killer headache and have nothing to show for it but some digits and a bigger-than-expected expense report.

If on the other hand you invest some time and energy into planning out the content you want to experience, and the people you want to connect with, you can get far more value out of the conference than the investment of time and money you put into it. [Read more…]

Advice for PR and Journalism Students

Advice for PR Journalism StudentsI recently heard from an old friend (a former CMO) who is now a lecturer at a university up in British Columbia. She dropped me a line to let me know she was happy to see I was blogging again, because she thinks my posts are relevant for her students. I believe they had to take a quiz about one of my recent posts. Nothing makes me want to write more than hearing somebody learned something from one of my posts. For that, I thank all of you.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve heard from a dozen or so other professors who have done the same thing – encouraged their students to read Journalistics. That’s nothing short of awesome in my book. Since my friend reminded me of this all-too-important audience segment, I figured it only fitting to write a post just for you (the college student reading this post right now).

Here’s a list of the things I wish somebody had told me when I was studying in college (or not studying if you want to know the truth). The list also includes some new additions – things I wish people would tell students today, that weren’t necessarily relevant when I was in school (but are more appropriate for this generation). Finally, there are some things on this list that I was probably told, but didn’t listen to at the time. If you suspect you fit into this last category, I encourage you to pay attention this one time to what you are reading. [Read more…]

How to Get More PR Results

How to Get More PR ResultsDo you want to generate more publicity results for your media relations investment? You’re not alone – every public relations professional working in media relations wants to generate more publicity. We’ve all had to deal with the client or boss that complains about the lack of coverage, or worse, marches into your office with a recent article and asks why we weren’t in it. Ever notice they rarely march into your office with the story you were included in?

It’s not easy to score publicity. Media relations is difficult, thankless job. Unless you’re fortunate enough to work for a brand everyone wants to write about all the time. Media relations requires a lot of hard work, and a lot of long hours – with no guarantee of success, no matter how good the pitch is or how much effort one puts into the work. We stick with it though, because on those rare days when we land the cover story, or the story everyone has been hoping for, and it’s all worth it for a couple of hours.

NOTE: Before you read on, you should know that I sometimes have a tendency to write long blog posts. This is a subject that merits the additional length. If you read on, I promise you will find a thorough overview of how to get more coverage for the stories you’re pitching. Consider yourself warned… [Read more…]

How To Write a Great Headline

how to write a headlineYour headline is the most important element of any article you write. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself what happened right before you clicked through to read this post. If you’re still reading this post, you’re either bored, very polite or you want to learn how to write a great headline and you believe I’m going to deliver on that promise for you. For me, the purpose of a great headline is to get the reader to read what you’ve written. For others, it’s all about the click. I’m going to assume that most Journalistics readers care more about the former.

So how do you write a great headline? I’ll get to that… but first, a quick story… In one of early journalism classes, our professor used to make us read all the headlines in The New York Times throughout the week. Why? Because The New York Times employed the most talented journalists. It was great advice honestly – it’s amazing how good some of those headlines are, and how instructive that exercise has been in teaching me the art of headline writing. I encourage you to try this exercise for yourself. For the next week, read the headlines of the print version of The New York Times’ front page. You’ll notice a couple of things. First, I’ll bet you find more than a few articles you want to read. Second, I’ll wager you learn a new word or two – those journalists have pretty incredible vocabularies. [Read more…]

How to Create a Communications Strategy

how to create communications strategyA lot of organizations have separate documented communication strategies for each communications discipline. Your organization may have a public relations strategy, marketing communications strategy, social media strategy and sales strategy, all operating in parallel to accomplish often similar (or exact) goals. I suggest having one, clear and cohesive communications strategy that covers all communications activities within your organization. If there are different people responsible for each strategy, get them all in the same room to create a single one (this goes for any organizational-wide plans as far as I’m concerned).

With communication plans, you’re ultimately developing and delivering messages to target audiences for a desired outcome – that is the fundamental formula. If you’re new to creating communications strategies, or want to match your approach up to an alternative approach, I’ve provided some suggestions below for creating your comprehensive communications strategy. [Read more…]

It’s Time to Get Real About Real-Time Marketing & PR

real-time marketing prWhen David Meerman Scott was kind enough to let me review his first pass at Real-Time Marketing & PR a few years ago, I remember thinking how amazing some of the stories were in the book. There were case study after case study about how powerful the consumer has become in the age of social media – and how ill-equipped most brands were to deal with issues in real-time. David has since added to the real-time discussion with his Newsjacking book, which further reinforces the need for brands to respond quickly to breaking stories or trending topics, to insert themselves into the news cycle when appropriate to earn incredible brand awareness. [Read more…]