everyones-a-critic

FUN FACT ALERT: Did you know over 80% of consumers today now consult online reviews before making a purchase? This may seem #captainobvious to you in today’s smartphone-saturated world, but there is more than meets the eye beyond the number of Yelp stars on a business page.

In Everyone’s a Critic, Bill Tancer (New York Times Best Selling author of Click, who also happens to be one of our trusted AirPR Advisors) takes the first in-depth look into the world of online reviews and how sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and many others are changing the way we interact and make buying decisions. As Mr.Tancer aptly states: “Today everything is reviewable”.

Now if that isn’t some serious pre-Halloween fright, I don’t know what is.

everyones a criticDo you remember when online reviews first hit the scene? It was a terrifying, heart-wrenching, reality check for many. To a certain extent, fear of a bad review is what drove professionals to pay attention to peoples’ online feedback, but what was uncovered proved to be so much more.

Once the initial shock factor wore off, businesses large and small recognized that reviews actually provided a wealth of useful (and untapped) customer information. The feedback loop was driven by transparency and thus unearthed incredible insights businesses could use to drive customer preference and choice.

So, what has this got to do with PR?

Candidly: A whole-heckava-lot.

(more…)

gender-disparity

Shaking things up from time to time is always a good idea.

To keep it fresh and funky, I’d like to kindly request your thoughts regarding this piece on my LinkedIn blog exploring the root of gender disparity in the workplace.

In light of Microsoft’s massive #PRFail at the Grace Hopper conference this past week, I am seeking to further the dialogue beyond the initial shock and dismay that punctuated “Nadella-gate”.

Please read and let me know: How do you think we can cultivate an appreciation that helps us move beyond bias to true gender collaboration?

 

medium-publishing

On June 25th, Medium announced the hiring of Steven Levy, longtime technology writer at Wired, to be the editor-in-chief of an unnamed technology site associated with their platform.

Back in April 2013, Medium acquired Matter. The publisher has since become Medium’s defacto product and functionality testing ground. If you’re curious to see what Medium might be rolling out next, just look to Matter.

These moves could signal many things, the least of which is the platform’s continued expansion plans into the realm of professionally produced content.

So what? Isn’t everyone producing content these days? Isn’t hiring a journalist to run your brand channel like, so en vogue?

Well, yes…but not everyone is making moves that might completely rewrite the definition of publishing and PR. It’s interesting to think about where this move places Medium in the larger landscape of publishing, journalism, and content.

Do these acquisitions move Medium more into the category of traditional media? Or does it place the platform squarely up against the burgeoning scene of owned media properties that are driving the oh-so-hot content marketing discussion? (e.g. CMO.com and TechPage One)

Maybe these moves are creating something completely new by carving out the space between a traditional media company and an owned brand platform: The platisher paradox, if you will.

Medium-LogoAny way you slice, Medium is up to something we all should keep our eye on.

In full disclosure, I use Medium. And I love it. Here are the top 5 reasons for my unadulterated adoration:

#1 – Focus is on the quality of written content.

Sure you have options to grab peoples’ attention with header images, but really it’s all about quality writing.

#2 – It’s free, simple to use, and devoid of clutter.

No technical expertise required? Totally intuitive interface? Sign me up yesterday.

#3 – No advertising agenda getting in the way.

It’s so refreshing to consume information not driven by corporate agendas and whose focus instead is on offering significant content that enlightens readers.

#4 – Attaches to social properties AND Google Authorship.

Previously cultivated networks and communities increase content discovery and synced Google Authorship ensures better organic rankings for your content. That means more views!

#5 – Analytics are clean and easy to understand.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” (thank you, Geoffrey Moore), so this piece is a no brainer.

Medium aims to be the best place for people and organizations to publish their stories and ideas to the world, so driving innovation in the digital publishing world is an obvious component to achieving that aim.

If Medium launches its own brand publication helmed by Steven Levy, but still is just one publisher of many on the platform, what’s to stop them from building tools that empower other brands to then also launch and build out their own brand channels à la Forbes BrandVoice?

With a built in audience, clean interface, social channel connectivity, Google SEO ties and allowances for content discovery beyond initial publishing, Medium may just be revealing the blueprint for the publisher of the future.

 

 

airpr-interviews

This week we bring you a guest post from Dell’s managing editor, the incomparable Ms. Stephanie Losee. Ms. Losee has been leading the brand journalism/content marketing charge for quite some time, so it only seemed fitting that we turn her loose on two of our favorite CEOs. We hope you enjoy this illuminating exchange!

Stephanie_Losee_HeadshotHow much longer are PR teams going to talk about “getting a seat at the table” of their organizations’ leadership? Steve Sachs, CEO of OneSpot, and Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, CEO of AirPR are trying to put an end to that conversation. Both companies have launched platforms that attempt to give communications teams the numbers they need to prove their value once and for all.

Stephanie Losee: What do your platforms do? How do they compare to each other?

SFM headshotSharam Fouladgar-Mercer: AirPR is a technology platform to increase and measure PR performance. We currently have two products. Marketplace matches technology companies and innovative brands with the top PR professionals and small firms in the country. AirPR’s first-to-market measurement solution, Analyst, uses machine learning and proprietary technology to measure the ROI of PR. The product analyzes digital media activities from traffic to conversion to projected and/or actual revenue in addition to a variety of factors about your brand.

steve sachs headshotSteve Sachs: OneSpot is a content advertising platform. Many brands have done a great job of creating incredibly valuable, beautiful content, but they often find it’s extraordinarily difficult to get it in front of the right people. We help brands build meaningful audiences for their owned and earned content to drive business results by promoting their content in a very unique way. Our specialty is not just distributing content, but serially placing multiple pieces of content in front of the same user, individually targeted to their demonstrated interests. We call this capability Content Sequencing, and it’s something that only we offer. We’re complementary to AirPR in that we’re focused more on content distribution and sequencing.

SL: Which problem is your platform trying to solve?

(more…)

treat-yo-self-PR

In case you missed it, PR has gotten a lot more complex over the past five years. From understanding technology to broadening skill sets, the PR role has expanded to account for these changes.

I won’t go into great detail here, but if you need proof read this, this or even this.

With complexity comes opportunities to learn, grow, innovate, and create things that were once unimaginable. When seen through this lens, PR becomes a treasure trove.

Because this week was my “birthday week” (I actually celebrate the entire month in case you were wondering), but mostly because I’ve been traveling like a madwoman to keep up with all these PR shifts (AMEC Measurement Week, Social Media Week), I’d like to point you to two articles that have already been written – which means I didn’t have to come up with something new!

Creative background with pencil and speech bubble.The subject matter is one of my favorites: brand journalism.

From Dell’s TechPageOne to Adobe’s CMO.com, brands are taking control of their news, and PR folks are quickly becoming the equivalent of newsroom editors in many cases.

Article #1 – Thank you Wendy Marx, President of Marx Communications and writer for Fast Company, for flagging this Financial Times article.

P.S. – Read her FastCo stuff too, it’s gooooood!

Article #2 – Ignore the fact that I authored this Mashable article, it’s completely objective I swear; and HBD to me!

Enjoy the rest of your week…but more importantly, remember how difficult it is to be a PR pro today and give yourself a gigantic pat on the back. Or perhaps…go get a massage :)

Aren’t birthday weeks the best?