LionelGeek at IABC: Content is Still King, But it Needs Your Help

Posted by: in Social Media Insights & Trends on October 23, 2014

Last week, I got to take part in IABC’s Southern Regional Conference. I joined several cool folks in a session on Friday that utilized a variation of the Pecha Kucha format. We didn’t do 20 slides in 20 seconds each though—we were limited to 10 minutes for our topic. Those that know me won’t be surprised that I didn’t make it through my whole deck. That being the case, I’ll use it as an excuse to blog about it here.

My presentation was called Content is Still King, But it Needs Your Help. Given the audience, I tried to use the time to talk about the changing role of communicators as they become part of an increasingly digital landscape. Here’s a pic of the slide I used to talk about that role. What do I mean by being part hustler? Engage reporters and influencers via social channels just like you work the phones.

No substitute for hussle

  1. Align your social content efforts with your communications and marketing efforts – if you are a communicator tasked with creating social content on behalf of your company, start with the communications piece. You already have a sense for announcements, events and other media pitches. Many of those things will have a social element. Aligning with Marketing pillars ensures strategic value; opens possibility for paid media in social. Don’t go too far on this alignment though. No one wants to read company-related news all day, unless you’re Apple maybe.
  2. Traditional PR still matters; Social content is additive to the process – Traditional PR always revolved around relationships. Social magnifies the importance of relationships. If you work for a company that uses their social presence on sites like Twitter, you can reference those tweets (or blog posts/ posts to the About section of your company’s website) to respond to reporters.
  3. Build Relationships internally and externally – Like I mentioned before, relationships matter more than ever. While social has changed the communications landscape, it has changed journalism in an even bigger way. Extend existing relationships with reporters online through things like Twitter Lists or sites like Muckrack.com. Just about all of the tier 1 media outlets maintain reporter lists on Twitter (see Wall Street Journal, New York Times and NPR). Sites like Mediagazer.com and even standard Google News searches and alerts make it easier than ever to keep up with news
  4. Paid media is a bigger part of the social content equation – Content Marketing didn’t exist in 2006. It does now, for a reason. Besides the content avalanche, many social networks are now (or soon will be) publicly-traded companies. That means no more free rides. Per a blog post from Bufferapp’s Kevan Lee, only about 6% of your Facebook audience sees a given post. Pay to play in the form of boosting posts, Promoted Tweets, etc. will be the standard moving forward. That’s a big reason why I agree with Jay Baer’s views on his Shotguns Trump Rifles post. And that’s only a small part of the paid media landscape in social. Other content discover tools like Outbrain and Taboola help syndicate your content on third-party sites. See Jordan Teicher’s Contently post for about the pros and cons of several of these services.

In terms of extending relationships with reporters and influencers online, starting is pretty simple really. Read and share their stuff, especially when those stories aren’t about your company. Add to their conversations by commenting on their blog posts or elsewhere online, and refer them to your company’s content when it answers one of their questions.

Update 10-24:

I had a bit more to say about the journalism side of things, so adding it now. I mentioned earlier that social and digital has had the biggest impact on journalism overall. Mathew Ingram was a reporter for Toronto’s Globe and Mail when I first met him. He was already pretty active in social back then. Now, he’s a Senior Writer at GigaOm. He’s a great example of hustle—responding to comments on his posts, actively sharing a mix of his content and broader media and social industry content on his Twitter account, having active discussions there on his Twitter account, etc. Stacey Higginbotham also works as a Senior Writer at GigaOm. She went there after working at traditional media outlets like the Austin Business Journal and BusinessWeek. Joshua Topolsky went from Engadget for a to be editor-in-chief for The Verge and now he’s editor for Bloomberg Digital.  Other reporters like Ed Bott and Mary Jo Foley contribute to ZDNet and are very active in discussions online. And ex-WSJ reporters Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher are probably the highest-profile examples who left to create Re/code, which in their own words “aims to reimagine tech journalism.”  To do that, they employ a stable of tech writers—many of whom came from WSJ as well. What do they all have in common? They are great examples of journalists who hustle. Said another way, they have all done well building their personal brands, in addition to being solid reporters.

Here are my slides:

Thanks to Christina Moore, Mary Ellen Gitachu and Lara Zuehlke for inviting me to be part of the IABC conference. And to Jennifer Wah for keeping the train moving, and thanks to other presenters like Angee Linsey, Erin Donley, and Chris Wailes and Preston Lewis for being part of it as well.  It was a great group of folks to be part of. My experience at IABC reiterated something I’ve always believed in the social realm: you will always learn from others.

IABC crew

 

By: Lionel Menchaca

Lionel used to be Dell's Chief Blogger, beginning in 2006 when Dell launched its first blog. Now he's Director of Corporate & Strategy for WCG.

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