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Who Killed Journalism? You Did

We're easy targets, those of us in the PR field. It's easy to say that we're slimy, dumb and get in the way of good journalism. Over my PR career I've worked with my share of morons and liars.

But not all of those were in PR, many were also in journalism. Many were also in technology. Many were in printing. Many were in auto repair or many were investors.

Yes, morons and liars are everywhere.

So when an unnamed PR pro writes that many PR folks really aren't that good, he's right. But he's also just enjoying the fact that PR people are an easy target. Why? Because really, we shouldn't exist.

Let me explain: the theory goes that if you have a good product or a good story, then you'll get exposure. People who report the news will find you, they'll do the digging and the work to grab the important nuggets of information and present those to you.

You believe that? Really? Are you sure?

I've had reporters tell me that they believed a certain topic was very important to their readers, but they couldn't report on it because they just didn't have time. I've gone to others with a story and been asked "can you just send the release?" Then a story would appear without any interview or additional reporting. Is this the fault of the PR pro?

Yesterday I attended a forum on the First Amendment at Suffolk Law School that included Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Eileen McNamara, Media Critic an all-around-good-guy Dan Kennedy, leader of the Nieman Foundation Ann Marie Lapinski and Linda Greenhouse, whose long list of accomplishments doesn't begin to sum her up.

All agreed that truth is a major casualty of modern reporting. McNamara lamented the fact that today's reporters don't seem to do research in their own archives. They lamented the use of Beltway Insiders who regularly offer up quotes just to provide a story with "the other side" of an issue.

But Dan Kennedy made the point that sometimes sources have one key selling point: they return calls when you're on deadline.

This is a real problem in political reporting. It's also a problem in technology PR. Too often reporters take on the easy story. Audrey Watters, in writing why she left Read Write Web, noted that no one seems to care about Education Technology. This is a huge story overall, something that impacts not just parents and students, but our future as a nation. She writes:

What I learned -- and what I continue to be reminded of with unfortunate frequency: the tech blogosphere really doesn't notice education stories. Not really. Not unless teachers do something untoward on a blog. Not unless a tech CEO, past or present, makes a major education-oriented donation. Not unless there's an rumored iPhone 5 angle involved.

Back at the forum, when I stood up to ask a question, I mentioned that I work in PR. A woman laughed. Yes, she LAUGHED. Yet, everyone in that room had been subject to PR at that moment and didn't know it. The forum itself was an attempt to raise the visibility and importance of Suffolk Law School, especially among its alumni. That's because Suffolk operates in a competitive environment that includes Harvard, BU and BC, all with law schools that have strong alumni networks. As a proof point, consider that Greg Gatlin, a former Boston Herald staffer and current PR flack for the school, was on the panel.

So who is at fault for the lousy and lazy journalism? Is it the journalists? Is it their editors? Is it the PR people who feed them crap?

No. It's us, the media consumers.

You see, reporters write stories that get them noticed, stories that will satisfy their editors. Editors are under pressure to satisfy their bosses, the publishers. They need to drive traffic to the website, grab clicks, gain conversation, build "mindshare" and all those other marketing things. They do this by writing stories that are attractive to an audience.

If you write about the iPad, your clicks go up. If you write about education technology, you can hear the crickets. Write about large constitutional issues, no one cares. Write about Rush Limbaugh and you're front and center.

So, do you want to blame PR folks for being stupid? Sure, go ahead. Want to blame reporters for being lazy? Feel free.

But next time you click on a headline, think about why you're doing it and what really matters to you. Then consider if you really want to click there.

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Defining Journalism

Some bloggers are journalists.

And some paid reporters aren't.

The power to mold the future fo the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.The "Who is a Journalist?" debate came back at the end of 2011 when Montana blogger Crystal Cox lost a Federal Case focusing on an Oregon law that protects journalists from having to reveal sources. Cox had been sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick in regards to stories she wrote about the bankruptcy of Obsidian Finance Group LLC. She relied on anonymous sources.

A federal judge ruled that under Oregon law, she did not qualify as a journalist. This of course, sent the journalistic and blogging communities into a tizzy about definitions (until they figured out that Cox was a bit on the edge and, frankly, not much of a journalist at all). This isn't a new debate, it's been around since bloggers started writing online.

That's the wrong debate. Journalism is a profession, it's a way of thinking. It's never been clearly defined, but you know it when you see it. Kind of like the classic definition of pornography. Can a blogger be a journalist? Sure, if they are doggedly pursuing truth, working sources, checking facts and, as Pulitzer would say, "shining a light into the darkest corners."

By the same token, many paid reporters are no more journalists than typists.

Former Ambassador Joe Wilson is on a speaking tour with his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, talking about what the two of them went through during the debate about going to war in Iraq. I'm not going to rehash the whole story here, but in his talk Wilson made a simple point: journalists didn't do their jobs.

He points out how journalists wrote a narrative about he and his wife that was fed to them by people in power, while ignoring a much more important story about whey the US was entering a war and why the President put words into the State of the Union address that, on the surface, were simply untrue. The question is why? Why did reporters chase the Wilsons while not doing the harder and more "journalistic" work?

Dan Gillmor makes a similar argument in his wonderful book Mediactive, in which he calls the Washington press corps little more than "stenographers" in their coverage leading up to the invasion of Iraq.

I head a wonderful debate on the subject at Social Media Weekend during a discussion about Occupy Wall Street and Press Credentials. The issue here became pretty simple to understand, but complicated to solve. The NYPD issues press credentials so they can provide the right access to the right people. But not every person working full-time for a journalistic organization has them. Also, they take a while to get (one reporter applied for credentials in October and still hasn't been "screened." So when police started to arrest protesters, "journalists" were caught in the roundup. Still, were they journalists or were they participants?

Andrea Courtois over at WBZ TV (@AndreaWBZ on Twitter) told me that she stopped following quite a number of reporters because, she felt, they became too involved in the movement, killing their objectivity.

Then there is Josh Stearns, who tracked journalist arrests during the Occupy movements. Part of his issue was simply defining which of those arrested were, in fact, journalists. Even on the panel itself some people who worked for journalistic organizations like MSNBC or the Daily News went to the site to check things out during off-hours. In other words, they weren't acting on behalf of their organizations when they started acting like journalists. So, in that moment, what were they?

What does it all mean?

In my opinion the main issue comes  down to the inherent tension between journalism's "purpose" and its reward structure. Press freedoms are, in many ways, a necessary offshoot of democracy. The populous can't make intelligent voting decisions unless it has information by which to make those decisions. However, publishing is a business, one that sells advertising and subscriptions. Information has value if people WANT to consume it. Citizen journalists fill some of this gap, but where will we the people get our information on a regular basis? How will we vet what comes in? What information can we trust?

We, as media consumers, prove again and again that we are far more interested in being entertained than informed. We do it every day by clicking on TMZ rather than Global Post. We follow entertainers in striking numbers on Twitter, but leave intelligent, thoughtful people alone.

The fault, dear brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves.

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Silence! Is Voice a Killer App or Huge Distraction?

Image via spDuchamp on Flickr

I started my journalism career in radio, so I have a bit of a bias toward sound.  Nothing, not TV, not print, not Twitter, not Facebook, can convey as much information, texture and beauty as the human voice.

For this reason, radio tends to be a relatively tight medium with short stories, quick soundbites and audio cues that give you a lot of information fast. A radio journalism professor of mine once commented that you can tell the history of the world in 3 minutes.

She's close. It may take 5.

Some people talk better than they write (though, admittedly, some write better than they talk) because for many of us it's a much more natural way of communicating. Even as babies it was our primary way of taking in information and our second way of conveying information (gesturing came first). Writing comes long after.

So I'm always surprised when I hear that journalists don't want to answer phones. I understand that they are often overwhelmed with calls or, as Robin Wauters points out, that phone calls aren't searchable. It's a fair issue. Though, recording and transcribing technologies can fix some of that. (Paul Carr's "I'm quitting breathing" reaction is killer, by the way.)

I still find phone to be an extrodinarily useful tool, both inbound and outbound. Quite often I'll email a reporter, maybe IM them, then wait for a response. Sometimes, if the story is right, I'll follow up by phone. Nearly all of the time the reporter will say one of two things:

  • Oh, I saw that email but didn't have a chance to respond, what was that again? or
  • Can you email me? You did? Let me find it... hold on.... [searching inbox]... oh, yeah, that does sound interesting...

The reason is simple: a phone call lets them get more information in less time. Instead of being stuck with just the information I sent, they can interrupt me, ask questions and get more data. They can also tell me why they're not interested, giving me more information to help improve the story.

Anyone who has ever tried to make a joke via email can tell you that writing has its limits. Sarcasm certainly doesn't translate well and jokes often fall flat. So if you're a journalist doing an interview, don't you want to hear a pregnant pause? Doesn't a tone tell you a bit more information than the basic facts?

If you need a current example of this just listen to the amazing piece on This American Life called When Patents Attack! Simple questions trip up key subjects just by being asked out loud. Via email those questions would have been fretted over and answered carefully. They would have conveyed some information, but not all of it.

Also, if, as a journalist, you carefully screen everyone who gets through to you, aren't you simply limiting your sources of information? This has some advantages, but as a journalist doesn't this keep you from gaining new sources and good stories?

So I'm curious from journalists and non-journalists: if you could eliminate phone from your life, would you? Have you already done that through tools like Google Voice? Are their other inbound channels that you'd eliminate if you could?

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How Much is Mad Men Worth?

While it would be wonderful to speculate on the modern-day value of the fictional ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, I'm talking about the more realistic question of how much a product is worth if it's mentioned on the show.

Mad Men is known for using actual brands as fodder for its fictional ad executives. Recent examples include Pond's Cold Cream, Honda, Clearasil, Mountain Dew, Pepsi and, just this week, Samsonite. Then there are the advertisers themselves who have created Mad Men-specific ads for the show. Such brands there include Breyer's Ice Cream, Suave, Dove, Clorox and BMW.

Just looking at numbers the ratings would dictate that the current viewers are down. But those numbers are flawed in that they don't take into account people who watch it later on iTunes (as I did when my Verizon DVR failed to record the episode) nor does it count the people who get the DVDs from Netflix and are behind the current narrative arc.

That said, Todd and I took a look at the Twitter stream to see what chatter happened surrounding the Samsonite brand after Sunday night's show. We did a cursory search earlier in the week and didn't take blogs, Facebook or other social media activity into account, so this is a small sample.

Still, with just 21 tweets from individuals commenting on Samsonite in particular, we estimate the brandreach as 24,394 twitterers (counting followers, retweets, etc). All of the tweets were neutral to positive, so based on our own calculations, Samsonite saw a brandshift (change in attitude) to be +29%, creating a net positive impact on a little more than 70 consumers. You can easily see how you can extrapolate this data out to the greater public, looking at Twitter as your real-time focus group to determine, roughly, if media mentions are having a positive, negative or neutral impact on your brand.

Taken to the individual level, some tweeters expressed their desire to run right out and buy a Samsonite suitcase. This is true even though Draper and his team came up with a relatively lame TV concept (see below). Though, as a Jets fan I loved the idea of using Joe Namath.

There are plenty of other examples of positive Mad Men-related brand shift, like this Esty ad for a "vintage" Samsonite suitcase that uses Mad Men as part of its description.

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Updating Mad Men: Taking a Fresh Look at Old Campaigns

Starting today I'd like to try a new regular feature here on Fresh Ground: updating Mad Men campaigns for the social media age. A lot has been made about the fact that the period drama is so fun to look at because its advertising methods are so quaint. In 1964 TV was a relatively new thing for reaching mass audiences, print ads ruled the roost and sarcasm had just started to take hold in the ad world (many point to the "Lemon" campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle).

So what would a campaign look like today? Let's look at the Sugarberry Ham campaign. In the episode, Sugarberry is a ham company that is testing its canned hams in a few supermarkets around New York. Unfortunately one is in a Jewish neighborhood. So the company obviously doesn't have a great grasp of its market.

Let me set a few ground rules here:

  1. We are going to work within the world of Mad Men, that is, we'll deal with the facts they give;
  2. We're not going to run out and do a bunch of market research;
  3. Much of this will be brainstorming, as we have no idea as to their budget; and
  4. We'll fill in details as we need them.

Peggy Olsen, the Hero of Ham

Ok, so characters Peggy and Peter, faced with the possibility of losing the account come up with a publicity stunt involving 2 women being paid to fight over a store's last ham. Long story short, it doesn't go according to plan, still they get a few news stories, sell a bunch of hams, Peggy gets a new slogan "Our Hams are Worth Fighting For," and the client buys more media.

So, what would we at Fresh Ground do to help the story today?

First, we'd make sure that the corporate website had way to create and submit content. Specifically content regarding ham recipes. Being someone who lives in a Kosher house, I'll defer to people with more experience cooking canned hams, but I have to assume that people have plenty of recipes.

I actually have a personal connection to DAK Hams, though have never eaten one. Ask me why another time.

Then, we'd help them create a Facebook page that features a Recipe of the Week. We'd make sure that the weekly recipe went live on the site and feed directly through to the Facebook page, thereby showing up in the newsfeed of people who "liked" the Sugarberry Ham page. Also, we'd look at purchasing geo-targeted ads so the people living in the desired areas see the Sugarberry name. Ideally we'd coordinate this with in-store promotions.

Taking it all one step further, we'd love to know the demographic makeup of the targeted stores as well as shopping patterns. That would better enable us to put out the appropriate recipes and release them on days in which people are more likely to be shopping.

Of course, we'd want to hit the coupon world but I think we'd like to try something new. Maybe work with the store and with FourSquare to offer a coupon to anyone who checks in during specific weeks. The Mad Men episode takes place during Thanksgiving, so we'd want to drive traffic both during Thanksgiving week and the weeks leading up to Christmas.

On the media relations side it would be interesting to talk with food reporters about alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving Turkey. In today's world ham may be seen as a bit passe, but I'm sure we could work with a local chef to get some updated recipes that start with a canned ham. That may even lead to a YouTube campaign in which we ask a series of chefs to show us what they can do with a canned ham, besides make it a paperweight. We'd ask the question "can you turn a canned ham into a Top Chef-worthy meal?"

Of course, these are just some of our thoughts. What would you do?

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Apple's Presser: The Morning After

It's no coincidence that Apple held its press event on a Friday. Anyone who has ever worked near politics will tell you that you drop a story on a Friday when you want it to die. It's an age-old trick. Even better, make it a summer Friday when all the editors are eager to start their weekends and people are less likely to be reading, watching and following the news on a Saturday.

So holding the event on a Friday at 10am PT (afternoon here on the east coast) was Apple's first great PR move in regards to "Antennagate." But oh, there were so many more.

The Song: Perhaps the best move was opening the press conference with a song that had gone viral thanks to a YouTube video and a bit of help from TechCrunch. It showed, up front, the key message Apple was trying to convey: our customers are happy, media are not. Of course, it also helped that TechCrunch promoted the video, so they felt good about themselves. Hold onto that fact, it'll come back later.

The Facts: Fact 1 is that Apple has facts and the media don't. Seems kinda obvious now, but it's difficult for people to argue for a recall when Apple can turn around and say that only .55 percent of people have complained about the antenna and the iPhone 4.0 has only a 1.7 percent return rate, far below that of the 3GS. Apple probably would have released these numbers over time, but Friday's event certainly gave them a bigger stage. Fact 2: All smartphones have the same kind of problems. This is probably the fact that will be most debated in the coming weeks, but it also turns the attention from the iPhone to the entire industry.

No Apologies: When Steve Jobs walks on stage you're not going to get an apology. No way, ain't gonna happen. He's there for good news and to tell you that the company is producing great things. He's not there to apologize. If you want that then you're going to have to speak with someone else. Still, he did admit that Apple isn't perfect, then positioned that in the age old "we strive to be better" message. That, of course, lead directly into the next positive.

Feel the Love: Oh how Apple customers love Apple. Even Michael Arrington is a fanboy. And Steve Jobs positioned everything perfectly, giving the press-conference equivalent of Paul McCartney standing on stage screaming to a loud fan "I love you too!"

Just one more thing: The iPhone will be available in white at the end of July. So I'm sure there are plenty of people ready to scream "shut up and take my money!"

Of course, not everything was perfect, but I have only one real criticism: Did Steve Jobs really have to spit in the eye of the media? He called a Bloomberg story "total bullshit," and called the New York Times liars by saying that their story about a forthcoming software bug fix was "patently false." Of course, the whole event was there to show how the Consumer Reports story wasn't worth the paper it's printed on, so I guess Apple did want to stick a thumb in the eye of the media. Though, starting with the Antenna Song certainly endeared Apple more to TechCrunch. So maybe Jobs is just playing to a specific audience.

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BP in the Gulf: When Crisis PR Shouldn't be the Question

Whenever some big crisis hits the news my dad likes to say "So, my son who is in PR, what would you do in this situation?" Then he argues with me.

He asked it again as we were watching the BP mess unfold in the Gulf of Mexico. But this time my answer was simple: there's nothing to do here. This isn't a crisis communications issue. Yes, it's a crisis, but the communications plan should be the LAST thing on their mind right now. The issue here is fixing the problem and communicating what they're actually doing. Anything less is disingenuous.

The best example of this process gone wrong is the painfully funny Twitter account @BPGlobalPR. Here you have a guy digging at BP on a daily basis, pointing out their inconsistencies and problems in an amusing way. In his Huffington Post essay, the writer of @BPGlobalPR noted the futility in any kind of crisis PR program in this situation:

I've read a bunch of articles and blogs about this whole situation by publicists and marketing folk wondering what BP should do to save their brand from @BPGlobalPR.  First of all, who cares?  Second of all, what kind of business are you in?  I'm trashing a company that is literally trashing the ocean, and these idiots are trying to figure out how to protect that company?  One pickledick actually suggested that BP approach me and try to incorporate me into their actual PR outreach.  That has got to be the dumbest, most head-up-the-ass solution anyone could possibly offer.

He goes on to say how BP's PR solution is to fix the problem. Note to BP Crisis PR folks: don't try to find fancy ways to communicate your messages, don't look for new and innovative ways to to put the best face on the problem, now isn't the time for that. Just provide information on what's being done. Period. Oh, and yell at management to do more. In fact, that SHOULD be the crisis PR plan.

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Google Moves the Earth

The earth moved under the feet of the PR industry earlier this month when Google did something simple: it distributed its own earnings announcement. It didn’t rely on one of the paid channels such as Businesswire, PR Newswire or Marketwire (among others).

To the untrained eye this seems rather simple. Companies put out content all the time, why is this any different?

I’m not going to try to rehash the idea that the press release is dead. It’s not. PRWeb pointed out at the MarketingProfs event this week that they will distribute 90,000 press releases this year alone. That’s just one service.

A lot of people saw Google’s move as an opportunity to talk about the Social Media Release, but that’s just another way to put content out through the same channel, it’s not a real change.

No, the trick here is understanding the different channels and how channels differ from form. Wire services offer a different distribution channel and for public companies it’s an important channel.  On a very basic level wire services smooth out a lot of the bumps in putting out an earnings announcement. Let’s face it, the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t make things easy, so if you want to make sure you satisfy all the fine print within their fair-disclosure rules you may as well just hand your announcements over to them and be done. Paying $5000 or so per release certainly beats the legal fees you could add up by messing things up on your own.

That said, wire services aren’t the ONLY way to get news out. For some companies, like Google, their blog or online newsroom speaks directly to investors.  Why not engage them there? Also, just because you have a channel doesn't mean you're restricted to form. You can have a blog full of "press releases" and a press release that looks like a blog post. You can write an interesting news-based story and put it out on a wire service. If you're Conan O'Brien you can even write a letter.

Howard Berkenblit, a partner in the Corporate Department at Sullivan and Worcester, who spoke with the Fresh Ground Podcast a while back, told me recently that the SEC ruling regarding putting out material news on blogs boils down to making sure you have an established news channel before using it. Google has certainly done that.

But what does this mean for the wire services? Phyllis Dantuono, executive vice president and chief operating officer for BusinessWire says it doesn’t mean much.  “Bottom line is that we do not anticipate any major changes in how companies will communicate with the marketplace in the future,” she said in a written statement.  “Most companies clearly recognize the risks and limitations of the SEC's interpretive Guidance Release, and have wisely decided to stick with a disclosure system that works.”

BusinessWire also sent along a MotleyFool.com article that went so far as to call Google’s decision “evil.” Rich Smith laments that Google has created a fragmented system in which “investors could soon be forced to scan the websites of every company they own, daily, continually, to be certain of not missing out on important news.”

I think this misses the mark entirely. I’m sure Smith doesn’t have only one source for news today. In fact, he probably has some sort of new aggregator that helps him find the news he wants, probably some sort of RSS reader. He probably also has Google News alerts that tell him when something goes live. Then there’s the fact that companies come out with earnings announcements on a pretty strict schedule, so it’s not like these are surprises. No, Google hasn’t made the news more difficult to find, they’ve just slightly changed how you access it.

In fact, they made it a little easier. Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz had argued for years that the SEC’s disclosure rules unfairly favored the few. Subscribers to the wire services received the news, while those who didn’t were left waiting. Putting important news out on a blog, the argument goes, fixes that. Well, that is, unless we run into a situation in which companies like Comcast control whose content gets green lighted.

Still, there’s an action here for small, private companies to consider: where do you put your news? Our suggestion here at Fresh Ground is to establish your own news channel through an online newsroom. Not just a stagnant place where you repost your press release, but an interactive social media newsroom that lets you post different types of content and lets your audience interact with and share that content. Todd has been working hard with the IABC on establishing this sort of thing.

But the most important reason for establishing your own news channel is that despite Dantuono’s assertion that many companies will continue to use wire services, I believe that many won’t. When the earnings announcements disappear, so will much of the available revenue for wire services.

I’m not saying the wire service channel will die out entirely, but you will certainly see a thinning over the next couple of years. I can’t guarantee that the big players will continue to thrive, since some of the smaller players (like PitchEngine) do similar work for less money and a lower overhead.

So your best move may be to create your own and as you engage with your customers, partners, investors and other influencers, let them know where your news will end up first.

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Social Media DNA: Does Your Company Have It?

LaunchCamp divided pretty easily into two camps, companies and executives who:

  1. Understand social networking technologies inherently; and
  2. Know they need to do something, but are not sure what.

This divide isn’t new and frankly, it’s not going to end any time soon. In the past I’ve been asked to design training programs only to find that some people within an organization understand social technologies and concepts very well and wanted to move on beyond the basics. Then there are those who are still figuring out how to sign up for a Twitter account or maybe have just dipped their toe into Facebook.

With this type of audience one size never fits all.

But for LaunchCamp it wasn’t just a division among individuals as Isis Maternity Community Manager Cindy Meltzer noted during our recent conversation. It could also be felt in corporate culture.

During the startup panel it became apparent that most tech-based companies being founded today are steeped in social networking tools. Not just because the founders are young, in fact their ages run the spectrum, but because the genesis for their ideas come from first understanding social networking. In other words: the aspect of marketing that takes conversation into account is built in. It’s part of their DNA.

Jules Pieri, CEO of the Daily Grommet

Take the example of the Daily Grommet. When moderator David Beisel asked about how much each company spent on launch marketing, the answer came back as nothing. Though, as Jules will tell you, it was nothing EXTRA. Frankly, marketing is baked into the idea of “Citizen Commerce,” which is the idea that the customers drive the direction of the products featured each day. This isn’t a one-way system of “we produce, you buy” but community conversation of “we find what you want.”

Since the community members are, by nature, excited by the products they’re more likely to take action and talk about them.

The same goes for Runkeeper, which factored sharing right into the product. From the start the idea wasn’t only to use a mobile device to track your routes and save information about you, but to share that information with your friends. By doing that you are, in fact, sharing the product you’re using. If friends want to share back they need to get that product too. The viral nature is built in, not tacked on later.

By contrast I hear from companies that have traditional business models and are looking for a way to build social networking into their marketing programs. This isn’t a bad thing (in fact, it’s great) but it’s also just the start.

To truly engage in this world each company must look beyond their marketing departments and find their communities, then use the tools to engage them. After all, that’s how new companies are finding their way.

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Lineup for Thursday's LaunchCamp and SMB

Here is the near-final lineup for Thursday's LaunchCamp event:


Social Media Breakfast Bootcamp

Thursday, February 4, 2010
8:00AM - 11:30AM
Microsoft NERD Center

The Social Media Bootcamp is designed to help entrepreneurs understand the basics of how "social" has evolved from a communications tool to a full-fledged marketing and business management philosophy. It sets the tone for the afternoon sessions, providing a common vocabulary for everyone attending the more in-depth afternoon LaunchCamp sessions.

The Social Media Bootcamp is for both skeptics and those who need to convince the skeptics. It's also perfect for "intrapraneurs": innovators within larger organizations who are trying to create change. While many of today's entrepreneurs understand social well, this is also an excellent chance to make sure you have all your bases covered before your launch.


8:00AM: Registration Opens, Breakfast

8:30AM: Opening Keynote: John Wall on the Three Factors of Startup Success
John Wall, co-host of Marketing Over Coffee, will discuss the three key factors for startup success. If you don't have a million dollar budget to launch, do not despair. There's never been a better time for a new brand to cut through the clutter. Learn how to fight the fear, lead the rebellion, and win customers.

9:00AM: Social Media 101
In many ways, social media is simply the logical evolution of communication tools that were originally developed in decades past. In other ways, it's very different. This session goes over the history and evolution of social media from the Web 1.0 days and before.

9:15AM: The Implications of Social
Social is changing how companies are doing business, not just how they're marketing themselves. Understand the full spectrum of applications and ramifications of social media on your organization, and what this might mean for your communications policies.

9:45AM: Morning Break

10:00AM: The 3 Cs of Social, Part 1: Content
It's all about the content, but how do you create it and distribute it efficiently? Jeff Cutler will take the audience through the fundamentals of creating and distributing content.

10:30AM: The 3 Cs of Social, Part 2: Community
Jim Storer and Rachel Happe of the Community Roundtable will share their insights on how to build, grow and manage your communities.

11:00AM: The 3 Cs of Social, Part 3: Conversation
Doug Haslam, newly of Voce Communications, shares his tips and tricks for engaging your audience on various platforms, focusing specifically on where and how the conversation should take place.

Organized By: Social Media Breakfast
Hosted By: Microsoft
In Association With: LaunchCamp 2010


LaunchCamp 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010
Microsoft NERD Center

11:30AM - 5:30PM

How can you, as a entrepreneur, most effectively use the limited intellectual, financial, social and temporal capital you have at your disposal to launch your company? What's the role of PR, marketing, social media and business in launching your new brand, product or service? When should you build, and when should you buy?

11:30: Registration Opens, Lunch

Noon: Lunch Keynote: Mike Troiano on Scalable Intimacy

Growing your customer base is one of the most important goals of any launch. How do you scale your operations while not losing the personal touch? Mike Troiano, principal of marketing agency Holland-Mark and founder of several successful startups, shares his insights.

12:30PM: Success in Social: Local Launch Success Stories Moderator: David Beisel (Venrock)
Panel: Jules Pieri (Daily Grommet), Ja-nae Duane, Jason Jacobs of Fitness Keeper and Raj Aggarwal of Localytics

Hear from a panel of local entrepreneurs about their recent PR, marketing, social media and business successes.

1:30PM: Sales & Marketing Keynote: Dharmesh Shah on the Sales Funnel 2.0
How can small- to mid-sized businesses automate their sales and marketing process? How do marketing managers in bigger organizations learn how to speak CEO? Dharmesh Shah, chief technology officer & founder of Hubspot, answers these and other burning questions for business owners and marketers.

2:15PM: Afternoon Break

2:30PM: PR & Marketing Panel
Moderator: Paul Gillin
Panelists: Julie Hall, Carol McGarry, Bobbie Carlton
What's the role of PR and marketing in the launch of a startup in today's environment? PR isn’t dead, it’s just wounded. The whiplash educing changes in the media environment has left the PR industry reeling. It’s not dead, as many have declared, but it’s certainly dizzy and looking for some direction. Entrepreneurs have a more immediate problem: how do they get the word out in this shifting environment, where a site that didn’t exist a two years ago is suddenly a major player in communications?

3:15PM: Break-Out Sessions, Part 1 (Pick One)

What's Your Exit Strategy?
Leaders: Rick Marciniak and Terry Phinney of BrandAlign
It’s never to soon to begin thinking about your exit strategy. In owner operated companies, the greatest obstacle to a successful exit can often be the owner. Are you thinking long-term?  Rick and Terry share the  personal, financial and structural elements to a successful exit strategy.

Branding & Web Design
Leader: Margery Stegman
What should you skimp on and what should you pay for when it comes to site design and branding?

Product Development
Leader: Bryan Maleszyk of Molecular
Social channels are a great place to collect product development feedback, but how do you organize, prioritize and act on the feedback you collect online?


4:15PM:
Break-Out Sessions, Part 2 (Pick One)

PR Improv
Leader: Adam Zand
Editors: Wade Roush of Xconomy Boston and Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe's Innovation Economy
Think you're ready for the big pitch? Adam Zand and our guest reporters will put you to the test (but probably won't sign that NDA you want them to).

Agile Techniques for Startups: The Faster Path to Success
Leader: Joel Foner
Learn why Agile methodologies can enable you to ship faster, ensure that your product works better, has fewer bugs, and has "the right stuff that customers will care about" built in at the start. Find out how Agile approaches can work at small scale, even with a micro-startup of only one or two founders, while helping to create a culture of innovation and success.

Searching Your Brand
Leader: Jim Spencer, JBS Partners
One of the most important aspects of your brand is how visible you are in search. What are the tips and tricks you need to know when it comes to chosing a domain name, content management platform and content in order to optimize your brand for search? Jim Spencer takes you through the tricks and techniques you need to know to really own your brand online -- with a special emphasis on WordPress sites.


5:00 Closing Remarks

Thanks to our Sponsors!


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