Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tweeting to Become a Better Writer, Editor

Want to increase your editing skills? Want to write more concisely? Then why aren't you using Twitter?

With its limit of 140 characters, Twitter forces you to become a better editor. Sometimes, what you have to say will go over the limit, so you must learn to edit out unneeded words and irrelevant points. Writing clear and concise statements that your audiences will understand (and that will save them time) is a must in today's 24-7 world of media consumption.

Not only will being part of Twitter help you edit down your work, but also you'll find it makes you more skilled at getting attention. Worried your headlines aren't interesting enough to pull in readers? Twitter can be a testing ground for your headline-writing and link-sharing abilities. Go in and start practicing writing headlines and sharing a link, and see how many people actually follow the link or say something to you about it.

Remember, Twitter isn't the here's-what-I-ate-for-breakfast tool that so many who just haven't given it a chance or don't fully understand its uses play it up to be. If you don't have something useful to share or something interesting to say, you're doing your followers a disservice. So wait. Make sure you share a good idea, or a personal thought that gives some insight into who you are. Be of value to your followers. Well-edited, catchy tweets will do just that, and those benefits will carry over to other elements of your work outside the social media realm.

Follow me on Twitter @joshuadelung.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Get-It-Before-It's-Gone Marketing Outdated

Just let me say, you'd better read this blog post before it's gone! I'll lock it in the Relatively Journalizing vault in just 24 hours! Yeah, right, you either (A) don't care that much, (B) don't believe me or (C) just copy/pasted the entire post to a Word document just in case. And those reasons, the latter one especially, are why get-it-before-it's-gone marketing is an outdated tool in the Internet age. If you want something, chances are you'll find somewhere to get it.

Yet, for some reason, the Mouse thinks this still works. Disney expects us all to become so frightened that we might not see The Little Mermaid for 10 years that we'll rush out to buy it on whatever format happens to be the trendiest at the time. Think again.

I checked to see what titles are currently in the so-called vault right now, and guess what? I was able to find multiple copies of all of them on Amazon for various reasonable prices in DVD format. Yet, I still see plenty of advertising for the titles the company plans to hide away from us all come Jan. 30, 2010. I'm not scared, are you?

So what leads Disney to think this sort of tomfoolery will still work in 2010? Your guess is as good as mine.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Guest editor over at The Bad Pitch Blog

I recently was given the honor of being a guest editor for one of Richard Laermer's posts over at the amazing public relations tome of knowledge, The Bad Pitch Blog. It addresses the very timely issue of NBC's PR fail in terms of programming, especially in regards to Jay and Conan. Check out the post here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Give Your PR Team a Seat at the Table

Most of us with any formal education at all in public relations are familiar with the excellence theory, perhaps most notably attributed to James and Larissa Grunig’s IABC study while at the University of Maryland. While two-way, symmetrical communication might be the part of that paradigm that has generated the most content (including plenty of debate), my focus for this post is on the idea of the PR practitioner being part of the dominant coalition and its importance.

All too often, internal or external publics seeking information are unable to retrieve the info they need about you in a timely and helpful manner. I’ve seen this first-hand, as I’m sure many of you other communicators have, and the fix is really quite simple — make your PR (relations, counsel, communication, whatever you call them) person(s) part of the dominant coalition.

For you nontheoreticals out there (as I often am myself until a situation occurs for which theory offers a solution), this isn’t highly complex stuff. Let me break it down into one sentence: Make your PR people 100-percent aware of everything that happens within their area of responsibility, and give them a seat at the table when discussing important projects and company decisions. There, easy as pie.

For many CEOs or program managers, this idea might seem a bit abstract, out-of-the-ordinary, ineffectual or even intimidating. Get over it. If Journalist X calls your communication specialist, he or she should be an expert in your subject area, knowledgeable about all company projects, programs and communicative efforts. Journalist X should not have to wait on Practitioner Y to run every little detail by Program Manager Z. Practitioner Y should’ve been in on the meeting where Project ABC was discussed and should’ve been briefed already by senior leadership as to what information can or cannot be shared and in what forms.

If your organization does not employ well-informed practitioners who can make certain on-spot decisions and actually be helpful, acting as a spokesperson for your organization, program, campaign, etc., then you are going about PR all wrong. Don’t expect external publics such as journalists or potential stakeholders (and in some cases other people who work for you who need information) to show you love after a couple of ill-fated attempts.

Now, realistically, there are some questions that are going to need to go through senior-level folks. But an expert practitioner will know the difference between those and general questions that can quickly and concisely be answered to supply internal and external publics with key information that can get you noticed and make you a recurring source. Dominant coalition isn’t some fancy terminology just for those professors sitting at the great communication research universities. Forming a dominant coalition that includes your communication team is just a best practice in business.