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Grooveshark for Facebook

Trying Grooveshark on FB pages. Jury is still out a it’s a bit complicated.


Learn social media for sales & marketing

Operabot AdWhile I agree that social is the important focus of new media, I often am asked if it is only for personal use. I use social media for many of business interactions, and with
great success!

Social media is for the most part opt-in. If I don’t want to have you following me on Twitter, I block you. If I don’t want to connect with you on LinkedIn, I don’t accept you request. But, if I want to build a community of like-minded people who want to learn about a product or service, research its origins, discuss its use or any other number of topics, social media is a great way to to build my own network. Make them fans—but don’t shove your product or service down their throat. That’s why I blog. I want to share insights, build community and generate some conversations.

A great example is a new blog written by my client Scott MacDonald. Scott owns the Rocky Mountain Soap Company store in Victoria, BC. His blog—Natural Matters—explores all kinds of things, from the science of natural products to like-minded organizations. He is interesting, well researched and a great writer.

If you are on Vancouver Island and want to learn some basic tools and see how they are applied, come to a great luncheon and education session called “Social Media Marketing in Action: Using Social Media to Build Brand and Generate Leads.” Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo of Capulet Communications will show how social media can fit into an organization’s marketing mix. Ling Chan of the Vancouver Opera will show us how she’s used blogs, online outreach and Twitter to reach new audiences and generate over 1,000 followers.

Social media is  like any other social interaction. Mind your manners, learn the language and rules of the community, then have a good time.

Thanks everyone for attending the Saanich school district public consultation. Input is a good thing!

Social Media 101 with Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo

smmbootcampIf you are on BC’s coast, are interested in social media (or need a refresher), here is a one-day workshop you can’t afford to miss. Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo of Capulet Communications are presenting their  Social Media Marketing Bootcamp in both Victoria and Vancouver.

As Julie writes in a recent blog post, “adding social media into the marketing mix is increasingly important for marketers who want to establish an online presence for their businesses.” As a full-time PR and marketing professional, I would say that anyone who ignores this important medium is in danger of missing their market altogether. The full-day workshop will teach you to:

  • Bring more visitors to your website
  • Increase your company’s visibility online
  • Approach bloggers and other online influencers about your products and services
  • Get your website social media ready
  • Craft a potent social media pitch
  • Incorporate online channels like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter into your marketing programs
  • Avoid campaign killers and online faux pas.

Julie and Darren are old friends (well the friendship is old, but they aren’t) who were pioneers in the social media world. They have such wisdom and experience to share based on experience from Canada, Dublin and other wonderful, exotic locations. All for only $299, which includes a copy of their first book and many useful templates.

The Victoria workshop takes place Thursday, April 30th; Vancouver’s is Thursday, May 28th. Go to their website, Capulet Communications, to register. And hey, let them know that you heard about it here. Like all good marketers, they will want to know what worked.

Hope to see you there!

Five tips for news releases that get read

for more RACKAfracka see

for more RACKAfracka see

“So just what is news, these days?” Mr. Higgens asked me the last week. “Should I just go out front and be a flasher? That would get me noticed.”

He’s right of course. On the second part. But is that really news you want for your organization? (I guess it depends on what business you’re in.)

Good media relations are definitely based on offering story ideas and tips to the media that are relevant to their editorial plans, offer interesting links to current events, or present new information that will be of interest to their readers.

I always think back to the days when I edited a women’s magazine. Our tagline line was “Empowering Women,” and a quick scan would have told you that while it was a general women’s magazine, there was a definite feminist slant.

One day I received a typ0-ridden news release from a local strip bar announcing that one of their top strippers was becoming their first female bartender. In the early 90s, this was the bar’s acknowledgment that women, by watching men do their job, could finally move up the corporate pole, er ladder. The accompanying photo was of the new bartender, dressed not as a barkeep, but swirling on her pole. It was news, but I didn’t believe it was news my readers would be interested in.

Here are five tips to help you figure out if you have news of interest – and if it’s good for you to announce:

  1. Be interesting. Would you read your announcement if it was about another business? If you think you should be profiled because you are nice and have a business on main street…sorry, that’s not news.
  2. Do your research. Read the media you are sending to, and learn what they cover and who reads them. Once you envision the readers, it’s much easier to write to them.
  3. Stay informed. Know what’s news in your category and respond to it. If your community is experiencing a rash of break-ins and you have a security business, offer tips to the public to keep their properties safe.
  4. Be genuine. By offering free information to the public, you will earn goodwill for your organization. No media will be interested in a news release suggesting people hire you. For that, buy an ad.
  5. Make it easy. Write your news release as if it is a news story (there are hundreds of templates on-line). Tie it into local news, if applicable, or make your news announcement in the first paragraph or two. Make it easy for the editor and you will earn a fan.

Okay, here’s #6 as an add-on: Include your email and phone number…then be sure to be available if they call. Please remember that the media is doing you a favour, not the other way around. Don’t ask for an interview, then try to dictate the rules. Journalists are very busy and have grueling deadlines; therefore, you are on their schedule. More than one disgruntled person who didn’t return a reporter’s call has had their topic covered but with quotes from a competitor.

As for Higgens, he didn’t flash anybody, nor did he make the 6:00 news. He went home armed with all the local papers, a list of TV stations and an assignment to determine how he can speak to the public.

Wherefore art thou, Canadian media?

CTV cuts 118 jobs

CTV cuts 118 jobs

Last night I attended an excellent evening hosted by Douglas business magazine in Victoria. Highlighting the Top 10 businesses to watch in Victoria, publishers also announced their new city lifestyle magazine YAM.

This is interesting news in challenging times. Earlier the same day, CTVglobemedia Inc. announced the layoffs of 118 staff at stations across Canada, including 18 at A Channel in Victoria. Just three months ago, Victoria’s other station, CHEK, layed off 19 staff and is for sale.

What’s the underlying story? Well at last night’s  event I ended up in the corner with a knot of local journalists and the subject naturally strayed to the current state of the media. It didn’t take much to agree that media is in decline, but we didn’t all agree on what’s next.

I fear newspapers are soon to be dead. Too bad, because I love spending weekend mornings in bed with a pot of tea and a stack of newspapers. But during the week, I depend on RSS feeds and my favourite news sites. Citizen journalists aren’t just a bunch of yahoos…many are professional journalists who are contributing to news sites as events unfold from around the world. This may be the new economic model, and the new social model. Heck, you’re reading a blog, aren’t you?

What does this mean for PR? More social media, yes, but we need to integrate these tools into other areas of PR. We also need to ensure that we remain accessible to ALL  people we need to consult and inform, otherwise our results are seriously skewed.

Finding Blogs Online

Tonight I had the honour of discussing social media with the great group of women who belong to the Victoria, BC chapter of e-Women.

My best analogy for social networking was doing what they already did so well in that room: gave each other leads, introduced each other to new members, and built their networks based on needs, knowledge and expertise.

If you are a woman in business, in a job, or looking for connections, look for an e-Women chapter near you. I was very impressed.

I promised I’d post a couple of great tools for finding blogs of interest. Here they are:

Technorati describes itself as “the leading blog search engine and most comprehensive source of information on the blogosphere…we index more than 1.5 million new blog posts in real time and introduce millions of readers to blog and social media content.” This is a great tool to search for the topics you are interested in.

Google Reader is another great way to search for blogs, and it allows you to bookmark or subscribe to your favourites. Rather than having to sort through tons of bookmarks in my Internet browser, I have them all in Google Reader and I can read all my fave blogs at once.

There are lots more tools – please feel free to post your favourites. If you were at the talk tonight and have any questions, post them here and I promise to answer.