Archive for the ‘Consulting’ Category

Back to the basics: Earned, Owned and Paid media can help build trust, likability

Content marketing, brand journalism, SIMEngage

Lots of great presentations and conversations at the SIMEngage conference in Cincinnati. Got me thinking about the basics.

Sometimes, I find my mind swimming in facts and details. It seems I’m always reading a half-dozen books about PR and marketing, attending meetings and conferences, viewing blog posts and videos… My mind feels like it’s on overload.

Then, a brief chat with someone will bring me back to the basics. That happened during a break in the fantastic SIMEngage conference this week in Cincinnati. While sipping coffee and connecting, a friend and I agreed on these points:

Basic No. 1 — People do business with those they know, like and trust.

Basic No. 2 — Earned, Owned and Paid media are great avenues for achieving No. 1. Earned media is traditional PR — pitching stories to TV, radio, magazine, digital journalists and bloggers. Owned media is going direct to your audiences via your own blog, newsletter, YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. And Paid media is advertising. (By they way, the speakers at SIMEngage did a great job of explaining the confluence of all three under the umbrella of Content Marketing.)

Basic No. 3 — If you want to understand how social media works, you need to set up a LinkedIn account (or Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever) and devote some time to it. You can’t have someone just tell you about it. You have to participate to learn.

Sounds pretty, eh, basic. Not for some people outside of the PR, marketing and digital worlds. We can provide great value by helping them better understand the basics.

In fact, if anybody wants assistance with any of the above, please contact me. I’d be glad to help you achieve your goal.



Informative book — Socialized! How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social

Learn how leading companies are using social and mobile technologies, the cloud and data analytics to become “highly competitive growth machines.”

Learn how leading companies are using social and mobile technologies, the cloud and data analytics to become “highly competitive growth machines.”

“A social business, properly led, creates an environment where people learn from others’ ideas, mistakes, and successes. It’s a learning venue for teachers and students where observation, participation, and sharing become the norm.” – Page 76

“For an organization to be competitive in today’s social age, every knowledge worker will need to play an active, intelligent, and independent part in the decision-making process.” –Page 21

Socialized! How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social
(2013, 269 pages)

Mark Fidelman works companies ranging from IBM and Microsoft to A.T Kearney and Autodesk. He is a thought leader on social business, mobile business and mobile social networks.

Fidelman describes how leading companies are using social and mobile technologies, the cloud and data analytics to become “highly competitive growth machines.” He provides a “game plan” and “plays from the playbooks” highly adaptive organizations are using. He speaks about a “new kind of business that’s agile enough to capture new opportunities, can change shape when confronted with threats, and can call on vibrant communities to support its initiatives.”

“One of the primary benefits of social business is real-time, dynamic feedback from employees, customers, and partners,” he writes.

He notes that people are more loyal to socially engaged businesses… and mobile engagement increases customer loyalty.

Fidelman gives a step-by-step process showing how organizations become “social businesses” by building:

  • Internal Digital Villages — mostly via robust intranets, and
  • External Digital Networks — mainly through digital strategies that integrate social media, customer portals and other Internet tools.

Early in the book, in a chapter titled “Adapt or Die” he shows how business has evolved to a “fifth age” where leaders “welcome feedback, leverage the wisdom of crowds, create pull and foster workplace environments that promote innovation.”

It’s an era where people are “overwhelmed with content and turn to their social networks to prioritize and make sense of relevant information.”

“Businesses learned that in order to get their message across they needed to integrate and work within these social networks to remain competitive,” he writes. “Few understood that these same social network concepts could be applied within their organizations to increase employee productivity, spur innovation, improve customer service and company morale, streamline project management, and offer hundreds of other benefits.”

Important stats – 56 percent of employees prefer companies that use social platforms effectively. 60 percent of employees believe social platforms enhance innovation and 61 percent believe they improve collaboration. 56 percent of college students who encounter a company that bans access to social media will either not accept a job offer there or will find a way to circumvent the restriction.

Process for building a case – Fidelman walks readers through a six-step process for building the case for a social business – ( 1) The seven people you need to help build a social business: champion, executive sponsor, devil’s advocate, executor, social butterfly and community manager. (2) define the vision, (3) diagnose and assess the gaps, (4) set clear and reasonable social business goals, (5) create a purpose for your organization to rally around, (6) build the business case plan and present it.

Culture – The author talks about why culture is important to building a social business. He includes a series of questions to help assess a company’s culture.

The New Social Business Playbook – A significant portion of the book is devoted to a strategic guide to starting, launching and executing on plays that will help make organizations more effective. This includes team composition, metrics, and more.


Summer break

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Sorry I haven’t posted regularly this summer. I’ve been busy helping my wife successfully promote and market her book From Incurable: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds, vacationing in Canada and Utah, and plugging away at my day job. I promise to get back on track this fall. I’ve got some experiences with marketing Tami’s book that I’m excited about sharing. Also, I’m reading some good books such as Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz and Value Prop by Jose Palomino — and plan to share some highlights. I’m scheduled to talk social media with state human services leaders in Arkansas in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Face-to-face not preferred, after all (for certain info)

March 20, 2010 2 comments
Employees prefer electronic sources over face-to-face.













For more than a decade (until 2007), I was responsible for internal communication strategy at an 1,800-employee government social service agency.

I felt extremely fortunate to have attended workshops by employee communication leaders such as Pat Jackson, Roger D’Aprix, Angela Sinickas and others. I learned a great deal from them about the importance of listening to employees — through surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews,  town hall meetings, discussion boards, informal observation and more.
After all, communication is about more than telling. It’s vitally important to listen, respond and take action.

Employees really appreciate a chance to be heard. Executives like the opportunity to harvest helpful ideas from the frontline, dispel rumors, and explain actions. They can manage expectations and possibly share updates on initiatives (perhaps forgotten) in place to address concerns of staff.

Despite my recent focus on external PR, I try to keep abreast of the latest in internal through membership in the Public Relations Society of America’s Employee Communications Section.
This week, for example, Sinickas shared an excellent article on the PRSA Employee Communication LinkedIn group.
The piece on Reasearch and Measurement was titled Why face to face isn’t the preferred information source after all: Employees prefer Intranets to supervisors 2 to 1.
It was an update to a 2004 report by Sinickas that had a great influence on how I worded survey and focus group questions — and adapted methodologies by D’Aprix and Jackson.
As Sinickas writes: “Supervisors really are not employees’ preferred information source on most business topics. Even in the ‘glory days’ of face-to-face communication, before widespread availability of email and intranets, supervisors were among the top two preferred sources on only about 40 percent of typical topics communicated in organizations.”
Her research showed that “all face-to-face is losing ground” and “supervisors trail publications and intranets.”
Sinickas concludes: “I absolutely believe that supervisors and other managers can and should play a critical role in employee communication. What the data show, however, is that supervisors should generally not be used as the broadcasters of new information.
“…as soon as the first supervisor tells staff something new, most other employees will hear the news first from colleagues who attended a meeting before they did. In other words, using a cascade is what actually creates rumors.”
Supervisors, however, can provide context after big announcements made via e-mail and Intranet. They call tell individuals in their units how the news impacts them directly.
Something to keep in mind the next time you’re planning announcement of changes at your organization to the most important audience — in my opinion — the internal one.
For the full article, please click here.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about employee communication.

Is it really new?

A rebirth?Some of the great information that I’ve been reading about PR and social media these days sounds strangely familiar.

For example, I read something recently about the importance of communicating your message through more than just the written word. It reminded me of editors in my newspaper days (long before the Internet came along) stressing that we should have a photo, graph, chart or pull quote with each story. They cited studies showing that readership increases greatly when text is accompanied by a graphic element.

And I remember my early PR mentors telling me about how they would get great coverage in trade journals by including a photo, chart or illustration in their story pitches. Others spoke about getting on TV by pitching compelling visuals.

My first project at the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services back in 1994 was doing a chart that helped the media quickly comprehend how an abuse case flows through the child protection system — from initial report to family reunification or adoption. My boss wanted this right off the bat, before I began writing anything.

I’ve heard other new media PR consultants talking about the importance of providing relevant content to targeted audiences at consistent intervals. I recall hearing that from an Ohio University professor in the 1970’s.

So, really, to me a lot of this stuff circulating on blogs, Twitter and YouTube really isn’t new. But it’s definitely good. It’s about generating great results by putting time-tested fundamentals into practice.

Power of networking

During the past year, I have ramped up my networking by regularly attending meetings of New Media Cincinnati and Social Media Breakfast/Cincinnati. I continue to go to Public Relations Society of America gatherings, which have mostly centered on social media lately.

I’ve met some creative, fun people who know a lot about blogging, microblogging, podcasting and other social media.

This has led to invitations to speak about social media at events such as Bold Fusion by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and a statewide domestic violence coalition conference. I’m also going to talk about Facebook at a Public Relations Society of America meeting.

I feel really blessed to get to absorb knowledge through networking at events and lunch/coffee meetings — and then have the opportunity to share the knowledge by talking at events such as these.

Hope to get to know you better in the coming months ahead!

Categories: Consulting Tags:


Welcome to my new blog! I plan to share my experience, strength and hope related to strategic communication, especially as it relates to social media, in this forum.

I’ve learned a great deal about public relations and social media during my day job as a senior public relations specialist. I’m continually interacting with some of the most talented and knowledgeable people in the industry.

I plan to share some of my findings on this blog. Hopefully, some will help you along your career path.

If you want more extensive help, shoot me an e-mail at I’d be glad to help you or your organization for a reasonable consulting fee.

Note: The views expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer.

Categories: Consulting