What is brand journalism?

brand journalism People today are inundated with advertising. So much so that they (both consciously and subconsciously) filter messaging conveyed by ads. Estimates of just how many advertising messages the average American sees everyday ranges wildly, as Forbes contributor Jason DeMers observes “Increasingly, marketers are finding that offering more – more copy, more complexity, more information – isn’t working like it once did. With estimates that the average American sees anywhere from 250 to several thousand ads or marketing messages every day, there’s simply no way to keep pace if your strategy is to be ‘bigger and louder’. Instead, brands need to think strategically about how to stand out amidst the clutter.”

The public relations industry developed in large part to accomplish that for brands through news coverage and other exposure. With today’s modern audience being more fragmented than ever before, using brand journalism is a strategic way to stand out. If done well, it will engage your key audiences and provide ideal strategic content for social media.

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Five Do’s and Don’ts of Media Relations

media relationsPR Newswire recently shared a great guide to media relations. As social engagement becomes a key priority for all content creators including journalists, generating earned media is even more of a challenge. Often times the potential popularity of a story can trump news value, so if a journalist shows interest in your story, you must be prepared to make the most of that opportunity. Ensure your coverage is high-quality and portrays your brand in the most positive light by following these do’s and don’ts of media relations: [Read more…]

Study: PR professionals can improve public attitudes by communicating through Facebook during times of crisis

Facebook-logo-1817834.pngSocial networking sites have become incredibly popular in recent years, with Facebook now ranking as the third most popular website in the U.S. With so many people spending so much time on Facebook, public relations professionals are using the site more and more to communicate to the public. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Journalism have found that posting public relations information on Facebook during a time of crisis can improve the overall image of the organization that is experiencing the crisis.

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Tweet all about it — Twitter can’t replace newswires, study shows

twitter-journalism

News agencies continue to have an edge over Twitter in being first with the news, a new study shows. Research into reporting of news events by Twitter and newswire services has found that while Twitter can sometimes break news before newswires, for major events there is little evidence that it can replace traditional news outlets.

Twitter’s main benefits for news are bringing additional coverage of events, and for sharing news items of interest to niche audiences or with a short lifespan, such as local sports results.

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Survey Shows Small Businesses Investing More in Social Media, But Juggling Resources

VerticalResponse announced the results of an exclusive survey on how much time and money small businesses spend on social media. The company surveyed 462 small businesses on how much time they spend on social media activities, including finding and sharing content on popular social networks and blogging, and what tasks take the most time. VerticalResponse also inquired about marketing budgets.

The data are compiled in a social media infographic (with social sharing enabled and embed code) and reported below.

“Our survey confirms that small businesses are understanding the value of social media,” said Janine Popick, VerticalResponse CEO/founder. “They’re spending more time doing it, and investing more money into it at a faster rate. But the extra work will likely lead to time management issues, especially for the small business owner who’s handling social media on top of all the other responsibilities of running a company. This implies that small businesses are in need of tactics and tools now to help them save time.”

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Moms Lead Consumers In Following Their Favorite Brands On Social Media, Survey Says

2-in-3 Readers Get the Low-Down on Brands to “Like” From Blog Content, With Moms and 18-34 Year Olds Especially Influenced by Brand Mentions

Burst Media released the results of a survey covering the social media preferences, habits and actions of independent web audiences. Conducted in May, the study of 1,453 U.S. online adults aged 18 or older found that three-quarters (76.3%) of respondents visit social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and foursquare–though it’s clear that women are more active social media users than men. One-half (49.0%) of female respondents visit social media sites at least a few times per day, versus just one-third (34.0%) of men.

“With tweets buzzing onto our phones by the minute and every daily occurrence becoming fodder for Facebook, our survey has confirmed just how deeply engaged we are with social media,” said Mark Kaefer, marketing director, Burst Media. “And for some audience segments, such as moms, social media is a constant presence in daily life. Given this close relationship between consumers and their online communities, our study also found many opportunities for both online advertisers and web publishers to inject social vehicles into their efforts to drive user engagement.”

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comScore and Facebook Release Research Paper “The Power of Like 2: How Social Marketing Works”

Report Presents Framework for Optimizing Earned and Paid Media Reach to Fans and Friends and New Research on Sales Lift Analysis

comScore and Facebook today released the second white paper in The Power of Like series, The Power of Like 2: How Social Marketing Works, including original analysis demonstrating ways in which exposure to earned and paid media on Facebook drives behavioral lifts in purchase behavior. The analysis leverages data and insights from the comScore Social Essentials™ and comScore AdEffx™ products. To download a complimentary copy of the report, please visit: www.comscore.com/like2.

“Social media continues to emerge as an important marketing channel and major brand marketers are devoting more time and attention to understanding its impact on consumers,” said Andrew Lipsman, comScore VP of Industry Analysis. “While marketers understand the importance of a channel that now accounts for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online, many are challenged to quantify its effectiveness. The Power of Like research sheds new light on how brands are able to deliver earned and paid media at scale, amplify its effects from Fans to Friends of Fans, and understand how exposure to these media can drive the desired consumer behaviors, including online and in-store purchase.”

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Study: In Spite of its popularity, Americans skeptical of social media

13th Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll Shows Opportunities for Businesses and Political Leaders, But Authenticity and Openness Are Key

Americans believe participation in social media makes them more informed and influential as both consumers and citizens, even as they express clear skepticism about the trustworthiness of the information they find there, according to poll results announced today by The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal.

The 13th quarterly Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll explored how Americans incorporate social media into their consumer and community behaviors. Its findings reveal important themes about trust and influence, even as leaders in the public and private sectors increasingly use social media to engage consumers and voters.

Nearly two out of three American adults surveyed used social media in the last month. Although social media users are somewhat younger, more educated and more affluent than non-users on average, they closely align with the overall American public in their opinions about politics and the economy, as well as their perceptions of major institutions.

However, social media users report significantly higher levels of political and community activity, including volunteering for a community organization (69% of social media users versus 49% of non-users), signing campaign or community petitions (68% of users versus 50% of non-users), or attending a campaign rally (32% of users versus 22% of non-users). Social media users also are more likely to consult with others about buying a product or service (79% of users versus 60% of non-users) or change their minds about a product or service because of others’ opinions (64% of users versus 47% of non-users).

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How do TV and social media mix? New study shows social media penetrating airwaves

Social media is showing signs of connecting with TV viewers as nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of U.S. consumers surveyed recall seeing social media symbols such as Facebook “Likes” while watching television, according to an Accenture study. Moreover, one in three viewers (33 percent) have interacted with social media after seeing a social media symbol on their TV screen.

Accenture conducted this survey of U.S. television viewers to better understand the public’s perception of social media symbols that appear during programming and how effective they are. The survey found that among the 1,000 viewers surveyed, the majority said they had noticed and were also familiar with how to interact with social media symbols while watching TV, including the Facebook “Like” symbol (42 percent), QR codes (28 percent), Twitter Hashtags (18 percent) and Shazam symbols (9 percent).

One-third (33 percent) of those surveyed said they had actually interacted with the symbols while watching TV by “liking” the TV program on Facebook (20 percent), scanning a QR code (11 percent), searching for the Hashtag on Twitter (7 percent) or scanning the Shazam symbol (5 percent).

“Social media and social networking are exploding across television screens as networks use social media to enable audiences to interact directly with related content for a richer viewing experience,” said Robin Murdoch, Accenture’s global Internet segment managing director. “This has huge revenue growth potential as social media applications build program viewer loyalty and drive online advertising opportunities.”

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National Study Ranks City Governments’ Use of Social Media

More than six times as many big city governments reached citizens via Facebook in 2011 compared to 2009, while use of YouTube and Twitter grew fourfold and threefold respectively, a new study indicates.

Karen Mossberger, head of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s public administration graduate program, and Yonghong Wu, associate professor, analyzed and ranked the online interactivity, transparency and accessibility of the country’s 75 largest cities from March through May 2011. They used the data to compile the Civic Engagement Index, and compared it with their findings from a study they conducted in 2009.

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Google Slips into Second as Apple Soars to Coveted Top Spot with Highest Reputation Score According Harris Poll RQ® Study

Coca-Cola, Amazon.com and Kraft Foods fill out top five, knocking off Johnson & Johnson, 3M and reputation veteran Berkshire Hathaway in the 2012 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient®, which measures corporate reputation for the most visible companies in the U.S.

It’s a complicated world for corporate America as consumer perceptions grow increasingly negative. With the erosion of trust in corporate leadership, consumers have higher expectations and are demanding more information and transparency from companies with which they plan to spend their hard-earned dollars.

Through its 13 years, the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient (RQ) study has shown that the reputations of traditional manufacturers have fared well, though their overall visibility as an industry has declined; it also has indicated a rising affinity for technology companies. Customer inclination towards strong leadership and technological innovation may be the catalyst, and it is within this environment that Apple reigns supreme. This year regional brick-and-mortar retailers are more prominent, and many once-leading American companies are noticeably absent from the 2012 Harris Poll RQ study, which asks the general public to measure the reputations of the 60 most visible companies in the country.

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Betty White is America’s Golden Girl: Poll Finds Her Most-Trusted Celebrity; Charlie Sheen and Paris Hilton least favored.

Based on a recent Ipsos poll of over 2,000 U.S. adults, Betty White stands out as America’s favorite and most trusted personality, and the one whose endorsement of a company would be most likely to drive business.

Denzel Washington and Sandra Bullock Next in Popularity
Betty White gets the highest favorability rating among 100 well-known personalities with 86% of those surveyed expressing a favorable opinion of her (vs. only 3% an unfavorable one). The next most popular celebrities include Denzel Washington (rated favorably by 85%) and Sandra Bullock (84%). Also in the top 10 are: Clint Eastwood (83%), Tom Hanks (81%), Harrison Ford (80%), Kate Middleton – now the Duchess of Cambridge – (79%), Morgan Freeman (also 79%), Will Smith (77%), and Johnny Depp (76%).

Most of the 100 personalities rated in the survey come from the world of entertainment, news and sports. Elected officials were deliberately excluded from the list.

Paris Hilton and Charlie Sheen Most Unpopular Celebrities.
At the other end of the spectrum, only two of the 100 celebrities asked about were viewed unfavorably by an outright majority of respondents: Paris Hilton (with 60% expressing an unfavorable opinion of her vs. only 12% a favorable one) and Charlie Sheen (52% vs. 22%). The next most unpopular personalities among those rated are: Britney Spears and Kanye West (each of whom is viewed unfavorably by 45%), Arnold Schwarzenegger (44%), Tiger Woods (42%), Kim Kardashian (38%), Mel Gibson (33%), Donald Trump (31%), and LeBron James (29%). [Read more…]

CBS Evening News Posts Solid Debut With Scott Pelley as New Anchor

The CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley debut week showed strong gains in households and viewers, according to Nielsen data.  Against the same week last year, the CBS broadcast increased in households (up +3%) and viewers (up +6%), according to Nielsen live plus same day ratings for the week ending June 10, 2011. Pelley replaces anchor Katie Couric.

“We are extremely pleased with the quality of the broadcast and delighted with the increase in viewers who tuned in to see the ‘CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley,’” said Patricia Shevlin, Executive Producer of the broadcast.

The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley was also up a significant +9% year-to-year in Nielsen’s top ten American markets.

National Ratings, June 6-10, 2011 (Ages 25-54)
3.8 (HH)       8          5,743               1.3

Same Week Last Year (June 7-11, 2010)
3.7 (HH)       8          5,440               1.3

Have you been watching? What do you think of Pelley and the new tone he brings to CBS News?

Want to promote your company on Facebook? Know the rules!

Nearly every day I see organizations violating Facebook’s rules for promotion and it’s not just small businesses; major brands are executing Facebook schemes that could result in the company being banned from the site, which has started to crack down on violations.

Before you engage any promotion on Facebook you need to review the official promotion guidelines, but here are the basic rules you need to know about promotions on Facebook:

You must use a third-party application to manage any contest on Facebook, no matter how big or small the prize. What is a third-party application? Check out any of the following providers: Wildfire, Fanappz, Vitrue, BuddyMedia, Votigo, ContextOptional, BulbStorm, NorthSocial, Momentus Media, Friend2Friend or Strutta.

You can not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter users into a promotion.

You can not require users to take any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you can not hold a contest that requires users to like a post, comment on a post, or upload a photo.

Facebook promotions are a very effective way to build up your fan base and generate buzz – just make sure you are following all guidelines or you risk your organization being banned from the site. Have questions about social media promotion? Contact me.

$#*! P.R. People Say

Last week I read this blog The Problem With Public Relations on the Small Business section of nytimes.com. Written by Bruce Buschel, the owner of Southfork Kitchen, the blog chronicles his frustrating journey with finding the right P.R. firm to create a big splash for the grand opening of his new restaurant in Bridgehampton, NY. He writes:

“It would be crazy to categorize all public relations people as crazy, so let’s just say that P.R. people drive me crazy. All of them. As a client, as an interviewer of clients, as an avoider of clients they are selling too hard, and now as a client again. What I have finally come to understand is that P.R. people are paid to twist reality into pretzels and convince you that they are fine croissants. At some point, they actually believe their own concoctions.”

Buschel’s plight sounded eerily similar to a recent conversation I had with a new client as I was preparing a strategic P.R. plan for his business. I was hired to replace a previous P.R. firm who, in the client’s words “were good at invoicing and counting hours but that’s about it.” They made big promises but didn’t deliver, he said and his biggest frustration was “they didn’t understand my business.”

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Southwest Airlines Announces Holiday Twitter Contest

Airline Offers Twitter Followers the Chance to win a $1,000 southwestgiftcard During “12 Days of LUV” Contest

As the song goes, for 12 days in December, your “true love” is supposed to give you gifts. Well, this year, Southwest Airlines could be your “true LUV,” except they aren’t giving away Turtle Doves or French Hens. They’re giving away one $1,000 Southwest giftcard each day for 12 days in December with the “12 Days of LUV” contest sponsored by Visa®.

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