More #SocialMedia training

I’m running my next social media workshop on Tuesday 25 February. It will be in central London (venue TBC) and is being organised by the very excellent Slack Communications. You can find out more here and how to book here.

Here’s an extract from the blurb:

This one-day course aims to equip delegates with the skills needed to capitalise on the rise of social media. It’s for those who need to understand the power of social media and how to integrate it into their daily communications.

This course will include:

  • Brief history of social media
  • How social networks work and why they are so powerful
  • Stories demonstrating the effectiveness of social media from the non-profit and commercial sectors
  • Advice on which networks to use for what purposes
  • Managing and monitoring social media use
  • Developing a social media strategy
  • Essential do’s and don’ts

Who is this for?

Slack Communications believes that knowledge of social media needs to extend beyond communications staff and press teams. Consequently, our course is relevant to:

  • Those new to non-profit and SME communications
  • Experienced staff looking for a refresher
  • Staff who want to be able to understand/work better with their communications department
  • Staff on the front line or in the field who may be required to use social media

More here.

So what is content marketing, anyway?

A few months ago I was asked to write something substantive about content marketing with particular attention to an emerging form, the brand newsroom.

Both were subjects I was aware of but by no means expert. So it proved an interesting research project. Interviews with those who had the marketing expertise and first-hand experience proved invaluable. They included:

  • Clare Francis, editor-in-chief of Moneysupermarket
  • Stephen Waddington, President of the CIPR and Ketchum’s Digital and Social media Director
  • Tony Hallett, former publishing director at CBS Interactive and now managing director of Collective Content (with whom I work on other projects)
  • Will Sturgeon, Executive Director of GolinHarris; and
  • Neville Hobson, Consultant and co-presenter of the For Immediate Release podcast

The piece — with tips on building newsrooms and editorial teams —  is now available to download from MyNewsDesk. Meanwhile, here’s a taster from the opening:

When the lights went out at the Super Bowl on 3 February 2013, a metaphorical light bulb went on above the head of one of the editorial marketers working for Nabisco, makers of the Oreo cookie. And in that moment, real-time content marketing went mainstream…

In perhaps the smartest example of “news jacking” to date, the cookie company combined quality creative with a killer line of copy: “You can still dunk in the dark.”  The process was agile, delivered at speed and proved highly effective – it resulted in thousands of Twitter retweets and Facebook shares while, in a perfect confluence of owned and earned, the story was picked up by dozens of media outlets in the days that followed.

Two things are often forgotten in the retelling of the Oreo story. First, the company had also paid for a conventional, multi-million dollar advertising slot to run during American sport’s richest event [2], hinting at a future where guerrilla marketing and conventional advertising will coexist.

Second, the company’s rapid response was only made possible by months of planning. The Super Bowl exemplar was part of a 100-day project, a product of production and meticulous preparation, of governance already in place, sign-off processes agreed and editorial practices honed in advance.

For anyone interested in the future of publishing, content marketing (in its many guises) is an important development. There are questions to be asked, for example, about how to maintain clear divisions between ‘church’ and ‘state’ when content appears on a publication’s website; about the integrity and value of that content in its own right; and what impact it will have on traditional advertising, PR and marketing.

In other words, it’s a trend journalists and publishers should understand, not ignore.

You can download The rise of the brand newsroom from here.


Mastering Social Media: 11 Good Reads

1. If a tweet worked once, send it again — and other lessons from The New York Times’ social media desk

2. How to set up multiple Twitter accounts on your iPhone

3. 36 Rules of Social Media (Infographic)

4. Four Social Media Blunders Every Company Makes (And How to Avoid Them)

5. The Beginner’s Guide to Google+

6. The Latest Social Media Gaffes: What Were They Thinking?

7. The Dos and Don’ts of Pitching Journalists on Social Media

8. Five LinkedIn Strategies you haven’t thought of

9. The Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag

10. One Million Facebook Fans Prove Maersk Line’s Remarkable B2B Social Smarts

11. Top 3 Best and Worst Business Twitter Moments


If you found this useful, try:

Mastering social media: a reader; and
Mastering social media: another reader

Team Digital vs Team Mainstream Media. Not

Nicholas Lemann’s pre-Christmas review of George Brock’s book on news journalism in the digital age is worth reading in full. I have picked out  a couple of extracts that struck me as particularly telling.

First, he takes on the pointless zealotry that exists on both sides of debate:

Roughly speaking, the discussants divide into two teams: Team Digital, whose members are quick to predict the imminent and not especially tragic death of the familiar news organizations, and Team Mainstream Media, whose members look hopefully at every new development for evidence to support their wish for a restoration of the good old days. When Buzzfeed raises millions of dollars from venture-capital firms, or a member of the public with an iPhone produces the first picture of a breaking news event and posts it to a global audience, Team Digital proclaims victory. When the New York Times introduces a reasonably successful online subscription system, Team Mainstream Media does.

Second, he introduces (to me at least) an interesting nugget: US newspaper sales fell by 55 per cent from 1950 to 2008. Reflecting Brock’s argument, he says this decline mattered little when economies (and advertising rates) continued to prosper; and when publishing’s barrier to entry remained prohibitively expensive.

Lemann writes:

 Protected from competition, news organizations, for one historical season, were able to assemble, print and deliver a big collection of information people wanted and could not get from anywhere else – sports scores, movie times, stock prices, as well as more conventional news – into an unbreakable package. This allowed them to charge substantial fees to advertisers and subscribers.

If there’s perhaps one thing Team Digital and Team Mainstream Media can agree on it’s that the “unbreakable package” has now been broken.

You can read the full review here. More about Brock’s book here.

“All free content will compete equally and volume will win”

Here’s an extract from John Gapper’s FT piece (£) on click-bait stories that “flourish on social networks”. It’s a piece I discovered, appropriately enough, on Twitter.

On the protestations this kind of viral content elicits from many news publishers (sloppy journalism, blurred lines between advertising and editorial etc)  Gapper writes:

I find it hard not to laugh at the moral outrage of news publishers whose muckraking is outflanked by cute cat videos. As long as media buyers and advertisers do not distinguish among consumers who find news through search engines and those who are drawn to entertainment through Facebook likes and Twitter mentions, all free content will compete equally and volume will win.

You can read the full piece here.