My blog was down yet again reports Dreamhost, this is happening way to frequently.
Sorry for folks that were trying to access it (Chris called me and emailed me and Dave McClure emailed me).
Not sure what’s going on, I don’t see an issue on the Dreamhost status blog, so I logged into the admin panel and don’t see any indicators.
It’s funny when people tell me that my blog is down, it’s almost like a sympathy card; “sorry about your loss”
Apparently, I ticked off some PR folks (or least ruffled their feathers) in my recent post where I chimed in after Guy Kawasaki and Dave McClure on what’s wrong with PR. Steve, Mike, and others chimed into this interesting conversation. (over 100 people linked to Guy’s original post)
For the record, I wasn’t trying to make anyone uncomfortable, but I simply wanted point out what I’ve learned in my experience on what will work in this new age where the community has taken control. Read carefully, I was demonstrating what the changes are, and the impacts that the web has had on agencies that have NOT adapted. If you are a PR pro that has adapted, then you have my complete support and that post was not written about your firm.
Brian Solis provides 12 reasons on how to fix the issues that were complained about, I recently talked to him on the phone, and I know he spent an incredible amount of time thinking the issue over, it’s a must read.
Here’s a summary of Brian’s suggesitons:
1 – Understand first, what PR is and isn’t.
2 – Don’t under value PR.
3 – PR is not a switch.
4 – In most cases, coverage doesn’t just happen.
5 – Just because you created the product doesn’t mean you’re the best person to sell it.
6 – Understand that PR is only an umbrella for the specific communications initiatives that will help you reach complementary, simultaneous goals.
7 – No matter what industry you’re in, realize that the most popular blogs, newspapers, or magazines are only one part of the process.
8 – Engage in social media. We live in a “social” economy and the only way to succeed in it, is to participate.
9 – Support your PR program and feed it as you do any other branch of the company.
10 – If you find a PR person that truly lives and breathes the company and the product, never let them go. They are a rare breed and deserve support and promotion.
11 – Meet with your PR team regularly to communicate realistic goals and measure progress.
12 – Agree upon metrics in advance.
Thanks Brian, you’ve really added some quality points and ‘how-tos’ that have added additional points to the conversation. Andy Lark has some excellent reasons why PR does work, worth a read.
Update: Apparently nothing I said was new as Shel says this is the Annual Bashing of PR.
Friend and respected peer Jen McClure has asked me to participate in the upcoming Cisco New Media Summit at the Santa Clara convention center, co-hosted by Best Practices in Corporate Communications. If you want to attend the event, you can check out the official New Media Summit 2007 site.
The queen of PR measurement KD Paine has a write-up of our panel, I’ve seen her speak before, she’s amazing analysis of not only what CAN be measured, but HOW to do it.
I’ve got my own ideas, of course, from the social media perspective. Also, I’m co-authoring a white paper with Matt Toll of Dow Jones’ Factiva (A media measurement company), it’s a great primer to how to measure conversations, people, and their reactions and intent.
I plan on ustreaming the event, dependent on connectivity.
James Lim, new contact and budding blogger has been trying on my posts for size, in fact, he’s really done a great job in his latest analysis of my definition of Web Strategy: Long term decision making of a website that looks at Users, Business, and Technology.
He goes on to add that “Culture” is a factor or attribute that impacts any groups Web Strategy. While I agree with his assesment, I could suggest that the culture of both the Users and Business needs to be taken into consideration, so maybe three elements still stands.
What do you think?
We already know that users are harder and harder to market to, we all know they’re in charge. This article demonstrates how TV users are bypassing commercials and how a natural response is sponsorship and product placement, sponosorship and infusion.
“So far, the most frequent experiment is to insert original content into commercial breaks. The CW network pioneered “content wraps” last year where, in one example, a hair care company ditched the typical ad to present beauty tips and interviews with the network’s stars, all involving the company’s products.”
“TNT aired a five-episode mini-drama about a young woman, with viewers directed to a Web site — plastered with the sponsoring credit card company’s ads — for the finale. Fox created an animated taxi driver, Oleg, who would appear during breaks talking to his passengers.
“Next month Court TV offers a mystery about an unsolved murder with clues dropped in commercial breaks, online and via text messages; the game’s winner gets $25,000. Fans of NBC’s “Scrubs” were asked trivia questions at the beginning of a commercial break, the answer appearing in between ads.”
Of course, let’s not forget the sponsorship model, where a creator of media is perfectly paired and matched with a sponsor that would make the community happy. Of course, full transparency is required. This is nothing new, PBS has had it’s shows underwritten by sponsors for decades.
Why are all these methods being tried?
“A commercial has to be like a DVD extra,” he said. “It has to be an added value, not an inconvenience.”
I’ve recently had some conversations with a product team that doesn’t like to do user testing. As you know, this is part of my background, I’ve done a few user experience research projects on my own, and when I didn’t have time to do it correctly, we hired folks from firms like Frog Design, or Adaptive Path to do it for us.
When I asked why they didn’t do user feedback they responded “we are users too”. Which in essence maybe right, but they are not the correct personas, target audience, and are of course biased. There are so many tools out there to observe the user experience, I don’t even need to list them, there ‘s a huge “cookbook” written called Observing the User Experience (one of the Adaptive Path folks).
Maybe it’s my marketing background (did you know that the role of Marketing is more often to listen than talk?) or maybe it’s the handful of years I spent as a user interface designer for corporate intranets and extranets, or maybe it’s my social media bent (the users are in charge).
Let us not forget that users pay us, (or the ones that hand us the paycheck) so by not asking users what they want, we’re essentially not paying ourselves.
I practice what I preach, in fact, I worked really hard in getting user feedback from the folks that read this blog, read all the comments, and you can see how I made changes directly based upon user feedback –this blog is for you, as much as is for me.
I’m not saying to completely hand over all the design keys to the users, but there’s a huge difference from gaining just a little bit of user feedback to build a better product than none at all.
Discussion encouraged, both pro and con.
Traditional Web Marketing needs to evolve, and this post intends to kick start the next generation.
What’s a corporate web site?
It’s the domain they use after every advertisement where you can learn more about a company, ya know it, anycompany.com
But we’re tired of the corporate website and all its happy marketing speak, stock photos of smart looking dudes or minority women crowded around the computer raving about your product, the positive press release, the happy customer testimonials, the row of executive portraits, the donations your corporate made to disaster relief, the one-sided view never ends.
While some of your traffic may be going up on your website, it’s not indicative of how corporate websites are being used. Analytics don’t tell us why people go to your site, and it may not be for the reason you want them to.
[The corporate website is an unbelievable collection of hyperbole, artificial branding, and pro-corporate content. As a result, trusted decisions are being made on other locations on the internet]
Why is your corporate website irrelevant?
Marketing has shifted, it’s no longer on two domains
Many web marketers are under the impression that the battles are only fought within Google search results and on the corporate domain. In reality, marketing has spread to many other areas where conversations occur: social networks, rating sites, chat rooms, and even blogs. I dedicated a whole post to why marketing is not on two domains only.
Decisions are made before they go to the corporate website
Yesterday, at lunch with a college student, she told me that her peers get ideas about product decisions on consumer rating sites, and from their peers. They use instant messaging, facebook, (and other social networks) and rarely directly type in a domain name to corporate website. If this holds true, then it’s assumed that prospects make decisions on other websites BEFORE they come to the corporate website to get factual information.
Legally, corporations need to disclose product details, this is a strong case for the use of the corporate websites. However in my continued conversation with the Generation Y, she continued to tell me that she used corporate websites to get core feature stats and pricing, but that’s after she made a decision based upon her peer feedback to visit the corporate site.
The future, and how to stay relevant:
Websites are created with customers
This is disruptive, but I predict that the most relevant future websites will have customers building websites alongside employees. The most effective websites will contain a balanced point of view of both the product team and customers –even if they have qualms with the product.
Unfiltered customer testimonials will appear
You’ll no longer only be the only one publishing to your website, customers, prospects, and other members of the community will have direct access to publish on your website. Sure, there will be controls to make sure the content is somewhat factual or reviewed, but it will be obvious to many that the only voice won’t be the marketing one.
Content will have both negative and positive views about your products
This one is hard to swallow, but how do you build the most trust? By being open, authentic, and transparent to the marketplace. We know from research that the highest degree of trust comes from those ‘like me’, a savvy marketer will allow content to appear from peers, customers, and the market. These will not always be a product rave, in fact it may be downright criticism, the goal? To take that feedback, and demonstrate in public how you will improve your offerings in plain view. Case study: Dell has done this with IdeaStorm.
Your website will be a Community Resource
This means that you’ll put your customers first, No Really, I mean it. This means providing analysis of not just yourself but to competitors as well, this means that you’ll link to competitors. Crazy? I did this myself at my previous role as a community manager, I created a wiki for customers that linked to competitors, and it made me more relevant.
[The corporate website of the future will be a credible source of opinion and fact, authored by both the corporation and community. The result? A true first-stop community resource where information flows for better products and services]
Customers will make your site the first place to go for information, trust will increase, you may be able to build better products and services with real-time customer feedback, and most importantly, you’ll be a community resource that will help you meet your customer needs faster.
We’ll start to see customers help write the corporate newsletter, feeds pulling in industry blogs, media (audio and video) customers rating and ranking and voting for what features they want improved, product teams working directly with customers in real-time, and customers self-supporting each other.
I’d love if you’d translate this post, I’ll add you to this list.
German, by Jorg Weisner
Hebrew, by Omer Rosen
Greek, by Nikos
Italian, by Marco
French by PR2Peer
Dutch modification by Jacqueline Fackelde
Chinese Version (see this version)
Estonian modification by Dreamgrow
Update: I’ve started to track different opinions from blogs on this post, or you can see all the trackbacks, there’s nearly dozens of links coming to this post.
Here’s a list of a few links that I found notable during my reading over the last few weeks:
Review of 3 Enterprise RSS Tools
Commentary on three enterprise RSS tools released. based upon report from Forrester.
Share Web Analytics to improve industry
Scoble notes that Analytics programs are inconsistent, TechFold provides some interesting commentary that suggests we share our stats with the industry. I would do it.
Emoticons Carry emotional baggage
This is interesting, as it indicates that Asians perceived facial expressions differently. In some cultures, a smile could be perceived not just as happy, but sometimes as a threat.
How Important is Web Usage Data To You?
Denis explores some great ideas on how, and what you should be measuring!
All of the Google Search features on one page
Social Media Censorship
When is the line too far? Expect more incidents to occur as the world keeps on sharing.
Kids (8-14) are helpful with online chores
Great way to assign your home labor force with some help, you know they can find info about the IRS faster than you can.
Digg launches a new interface “Arc” –sponsored by Intel
Intel believes in social media, and has sponsored the latest version of Digg’s UI called arc. Mesmerizing.
Logo Design resources
A resource of quite a few logos and designs, great for understanding branding.
Web Design resources
Out of creative spirit? Need a refresher? This list of elegant webdesign should propel you forward.
List of websites (Web 2.0) with the most traffic
The traffic on some of these social networking sites is amazing. Consider that users leave them open on their browser in a tab all day, I’m not surprised.
I just received this email suggesting that I sign up for this upcoming webinar, I did. The audience for this blog are Web Decision Makers, so I suspect there could be some topics here that you’d be interested in.
The Art and Science of Forming Successful Online Communities
Advice and insight from the front lines on making Web 2.0 work for BtoB marketing
I know some of the speakers, or have seen them speak before, should be interesting, see you there!
(Above: Drummers parading latin beats on Harrison Street)
If you can’t tell yet, I’m really facinated about cultures, in fact before I got into web, I was a Jazz performance major in college.
Part of what makes Silicon Valley so unique is the open-mindness and accepting of cultures here, this melting pot gives way to new ideas, new cultures, and new methods of discovery and innovation
San Francisco (and the Silicon Valley) boasts a wide variety of cultures that habitat the gorgeous bay area in frequent harmony.
The Carnival is a annual parade and celebration that happens all over the world and SF is no exception. We purchased $5 dollar front row seats and witnessed a different sound, culture, dance, and costume stream by, great for my ADD.
Media I created
-Video: Introduction: It’s pretty wild out here, my introduction (great salsa music)
-Video: Dancers on Parade
-Video: Drummers on parade
-Pictures: I have over 300 photos in this set of Carnival
(Silicon Valley Sightings is an ongoing PhotoBlog that captures the intersection of Tech Culture in the San Francisco Silicon Valley Bay Area, check out the archives. All photos by Jeremiah Owyang