Archive for August, 2009

Ted Kennedy Video Tribute

Embedded video from CNN Video

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New PR Hires Must Know Social Media

dv631010Public relations professionals are taking the lead in managing the organization’s use of social media communications channels, and social media skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills when searching for and hiring public relations professionals, according to a new study, The 2009 Digital Readiness Report .

Among the key insights from the study are:

  • When searching for prospective new hires, social media communications skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills.
  • Public relations leads marketing in the management and oversight of all social media communications channels within organizations.
  • When searching for prospective new hires, social media communications skills are nearly as important as traditional media relations skills.
  • Public relations leads marketing in the management and oversight of all social media communications channels within organizations.
  • Marketing leads public relations in the management and oversight of bulk email communications and search engine optimization.
  • Social networking, blogging and micro-blogging skills are the three most important social media communications skills for job candidates to have, according to public relations and marketing hiring decision makers.
  • Most organizations are considering hiring social media specialists.

The 2009 Digital Readiness Report  “Essential Online Public Relations and Marketing Skills” is available for download free at http://www.ipressroom.com/readiness (registration is required).

Social Media Skills Influence Hiring Decisions

Survey data also suggest that public relations and marketing professionals without new media and social media communications skills cannot, and will not, satisfy the requirements of today’s hiring decision makers.

The research also suggest a potential gap in online communications strategy  at most organizations, since the channels with the greatest reach and adoption levels — email and search engine optimization — do not appear to be the most important channels in practice.

In addition, organizations do not appear to be as intent on leveraging the trust advantage of their own websites over social networking services to promote their company line. Instead, organizations say they’re more focused on getting the word out than on using new media and social media channels to attract visitors to their own destination websites.

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Is that blogger review really a paid ad? The FTC wants you to know.

050727_mb_Payolacolor_tnThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is stepping into the practice of paid posts on the blogosphere and it’s about time. I have personally been solicited by several mommy bloggers who shall remain anonymous willing to write only for cash.  Pay-to-play schemes among mommy bloggers have been commonplace, it is akin to payola in the record industry, and it does a disservice to other bloggers.

Newsweek just wrote a story on the topic, “Trusted Mom or Sellout? How some mommy bloggers are being co-opted by corporate concerns.”

Decades ago there was a crackdown on payola in the music industry as record promoters paid off radio DJs to spin their records and popularize artists. The practice has largely been curtailed, although payments are still made under the table to DJs in major markets. Brands have been willing to shower freebees on bloggers in exchange for editorial coverage that fails to attribute the gifts and their influence. It stinks and it’s corrupting the blogosphere.

According to Consumer Reports:

“The FTC is updating its “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” which were last refreshed in 1980. What this has to do with bloggers is a new form of advertising, called word-of-mouth marketing, in which advertisers pay your favorite bloggers to “review” their products. The bloggers get paid, for example, with free product samples; gift certificates for JCPenney shopping sprees; cash payments; or the loan of a $30,000 Ford Flex for a year.

The bloggers are supposed to write whatever they want about the product—pro or con—but the payments put into question whether they would be inclined to seriously bite the hand of a “friend” lending a car or giving other valuable goodies or cash.

Last December social media blogger Chris Brogan shared on his blog that he was taking cash from Panasonic to visit the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as their guest. Chris, who I like, rationalized that it was OK to take that cash for travel, hotels and meals, because he liked the idea of attending CES “for free,” he was going to hang with other professional colleagues who were doing the same thing, and he was honest and open about it. Therefore, it was ethical. Of course and no surprise, Chris later blogged about Panasonic which felt like a quid pro quo to me. That’s the problem. If I am going to trust Chris Brogan as an unbiased source but he is taking cash from companies he blogs about, his credibility and reputation go in the trash can.

Years ago I took a reporter from Newsday for lunch to talk about my company. That reporter refused to allow me to pay even for a sandwich and a soda. Why? Reporters at Newsday are disallowed from taking  free anything from companies and their PR reps. Bravo!!!

The FTC is right to investigate and they should extend this investigation far and wide.

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