Resume 2.0 – Who are you online?

Ok. Yes. I have been neglecting my blog. Being BUSY is totally understated lately.

Brendan’s recent post shows this blog declining in activities, (currently at spot 39, declining at -20… ) but an increase in “sociability” This just means, I still “socialised” online somewhere, just that I did not update my blog!

Two weeks ago, I was also reminded by a call from an event organiser about my neglected blog. The organiser was trying to invite someone from my company to speak at an event and he went to my colleague and then for some reason, did some search on me and found my blog. In our first conversation over the phone, he said, “ah! i did my research and read from your blog that you are a very busy girl….”

And I went … “erm….”

Although this blog is totally public and nothing scandalous to hide, it suddenly felt strange that people are searching for you online before doing business with you. It reminds me of the fact that people DO search and read up on you nowadays online. Employers do. Recruiters definitely do. Employees do too (I searched for my currently bosses before I met them for interviews), together with many known or unknown people who are online.

I was reading Daryl’s blog post on “Your Online Identity (Or Is It Okay To Have Party Pictures On Facebook) and Brian Solis’ posts on The socialization of your personal brand Part 1,2 and 3.

Brian wrote:

… Truth be told, any search engine, whether social or traditional, is the resume – it’s the Wikipedia entry for the rest of us. It’s no longer what we decide to curate onto a piece of paper or onto one traditional one-page digital resume. It really is moot in a world when anyone can practically piece together your story without the help of a document designed to shape and steer our perception.

In Daryl’s post, he highlighted that in a class of 459 people, 75% of them said yes to using Facebook to screen prospective employees if they were an employer.

That leads me to think, perhaps in the near future, there is no longer a need to submit formal and properly crafted resumes but to send over links of your social networks for employers’ reference. Better still, assume that the recruiters and employers have “done their homework” to have searched for you online and by the time they called you, they have a fairly good idea of you are

————

Other very interesting read:

Your Brand vs. the Brands You Represent by Brian Soli

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Bookshelf: Social and New Media

I was just looking at some of the searches that landed in one of the top posts in this blog – Social Networking Book Sites. I wrote that post quite a long while back and it constantly came up as top. Some of the common searches that ended at my blog includes “social media books, new media and social networking”


That post is not exactly about books on social networking but more of online cataloging sites (such as Shelfari and the Library Thing) that allow users to catalog their books, connecting with other book lovers and share reviews/book lists.

I did a quick Google search on the keywords “social networking books” and true enough, that blog post came up third in the first page of results. I have received a couple of emails from a few folks who surfed in and asked if i could recommend any books on social networking/ social media. I replied two of them and then I got really busy and didn’t manage to get to the rest. So, I thought, I might as well list down a couple of books that I personally thought are pretty cool. Walter Lim recommended a few too (via Facebook).

Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the way businesses Talk with Customers – by Robert Scoble

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything – by Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams

The New Influencers: A Marketer’s guide to the new social media – by Paul Gillin

Now is Gone: a primer on new media for executives and entrepreneurs – by Geoff Livingston and Brian Solis

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies – by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff

Join the Conversation: How to engage marketing -weary consumers … – by Joseph Jaffe

Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution – by Justin Kirby & Paul Marsde

I am sure there are alot of other good books out there. I am currently reading Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae that Walter gave quite a good review on.

The book that I am trying to get my hands on now is – Presentation Zen – by Garr Reynolds.

Book Description
FOREWORD BY GUY KAWASAKI — Presentation designer and internationally acclaimed communications expert Garr Reynolds, creator of the most popular Web site on presentation design and delivery on the net — presentationzen.com — shares his experience in a provocative mix of illumination, inspiration, education, and guidance that will change the way you think about making presentations with PowerPoint or Keynote. Presentation Zen challenges the conventional wisdom of making “slide presentations” in today’s world and encourages you to think differently and more creatively about the preparation, design, and delivery of your presentations. Garr shares lessons and perspectives that draw upon practical advice from the fields of communication and business. Combining solid principles of design with the tenets of Zen simplicity, this book will help you along the path to simpler, more effective presentations.

The Social Media Strategists – Do we need them?

Last week, I replied to a list of questions that Kevin posted on the topic of “would you hire a social media strategist?” . It’s an interesting question, – one that many of us in marketing, communications, PR, new media field are questioning.

I’ve given my replies to Kevin and looking forward to his next post on the compilation of thoughts from different people on the topic. (part 2 of his post was updated here) Meantime, I am gearing this post to a different direction. I am more interested to understand what the “social media strategists” themselves (and here, I mean, those who do it for living and not bloggers who blogs for fun or passion and charging people for attending event, calling themselves experts) think of their value to companies and the audiences.

Are they merely the connector between the clients/ companies they represent and the audiences? Will the role be a “stand-alone” or an integrated one , meaning this person will at the same time, manage other forms of communications ie: marketing/ traditional PR?

Are social media strategists in our midst explaining their roles clearly to us (the employers or even the mass audience). They are another layer of (for the lack of better word) “barrier” between companies and the audiences now, and if so, what does this layer do?

Steve Rubel presented an interesting post on his views about “3 internet careers that soon won’t exist” and one of them is a social media manager/ strategist.

Jeremiah Owyang, responded in his post “The need for the social media manager” . However, he also agreed that “social media skills will eventually become a normal bullet point in nearly every marketing resume…”

As far as I know, most of the social/ new media experts are sitting in the same offices and integrated into public relations agenciess that runs a digital department.

So, back to Kevin’s question, what qualification does a social media strategist need? I believe, to answer that, we need to ask, “what is the exact role of a social media strategist?” and from there, we can see the skill sets required.

To me, right now, this person should be a voice for the people/ audiences and at the same time, an evangelist for the companies/ agencies they represent. This person, shouldn’t be just an expert in technology or the “new” media. How do you actually know what’s NEW when you have no experience in the “old”?  For a start, i have a strong urge to say, a bullet point in the social media strategist resume should be “communciations skill” and being a strategist will also require him/ her to have some business sense. Otherwise, why would a company hire you if it’s not making a difference to the business?

Heh, i can see my social media strategist friends sending me hate mails soon. 🙂

 

 

Are we really influencing our audiences?

My stack of new books from Amazon.com had arrived! I am now flipping through Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae and Brian Solis & Geoff Livingston’s Now is Gone.

Meatball Sundae

Both have some really interesting points about new media and new media marketing. Since I have not finished reading them, I shall reserve any comments for now. Both are definitely worth reading!Recently, I’ve observed that some PR folks have decided to completely ignore / not get involved with the new media, leaving them in the hands of the community managers. I am not saying that’s right or wrong, I am just considering what it means for us, as PR professionals, to only care about getting what our clients or companies want us to say to our “target media”. Do we, at some point consider what our CONSUMERS are thinking, saying, commenting, wanting, needing from our company?

A recent chat with a PR friend made me ponder more as she pointed out that, “UH! It’s so hard to CONTROL bloggers, sometimes, they get their facts all wrong and refused to hear us out..”

Another girlfriend commented, “Why pre-brief bloggers? Why even bother talking to XX business magazine? I just want to get this story out in 3 key dailies and i get my REACH! It’s just too much effort and trouble to talk to XX business magazine and YY trade media because their reach is so much lesser…” 

There are some truths in each comment but something tells me, we are moving backward rather than forward. I realised what happened to many PR people. We are extremely busy folks, sometimes we get so bogged down by work, we become very reactive and we just keep on doing doing doing the same things, hoping for different results. We forget about exploration, learning new tools, new communications strategies as we move on into a new technological era.

At times, we are so narrow-minded. We are given a set of “key communications statements” from our clients or our corporate communciations department and we follow them so strictly, we forgot that our consumers and the media are not stupid to believe a  set of statements that doesn’t make any sense to anyone else but us.

I realised I am trying to make several points here. I guess, what I am trying to think through is, as much as I believe and blogged quite extensively about how PR folks should always go back to basic and get our messaging/ foundation right before we move on to new media. On the other hand, there is frustration with PR people who are too afraid to move on and get too engrossed in trying to make sure that they have coverage in the 1 or 2 newspapers (that might have readership of 200,000) but is that enough?

Some XX company might have a full page coverage in The Sunday Times (Singapore’s most-read broadsheet) last week but I was on the plane, my boyfriend was sick and slept through the day and my brothers were out and not touched the papers. So, even though we might be the target audience of that XX company, we missed it.

So, explain to me… how is the excuse of targeting only 3 key media every time we have news announcements (because they have the most reach) ensure that most, if not all our target audience (consumers) read about our announcements? How is that making an influence? How is that moving the needle, making an impact for the business you are in?

My good friend and a fantastic blogger, Melvin Yuan recently stated in his blog post…

In the same way, PR professionals could never master the craft of Influence because our tools for the task were ineffective (think press releases, articles and events) and our measurement was flawed (think size of news coverage and the ad-dollar equivalent). Both never did translate to direct impact and measurable results that businesses really need.

But today we have the right tools (think blogs, micro-sites, e-mails, search engines etc.), the right knowledge (in search, digital storytelling and social media), and better ways to measure business (not communication) results (think click-throughs, readership and online decisions).

We have what it takes to communicate directly, track and measure results effectively, making Influence as much a science as it is an art.

The”P” in PR

Jon and I always joked about how if we get married, my name will be changed to Priscilla Roberts (his surname), so my initials will be “PR”! Perfect for me, since I am in public relations. (if you don’t get the joke, forget it).

Anyway, that silly joke came to mind as I was reading one of Jeremy Pepper’s old blog posts on “what does the P in PR stands for?” (I’ve been spending some time going through Jeremy’s blog posts and they are really quite brilliant.). PR can mean many things to many different people.
Jeremy wrote,

…. PR used to stand for public relations. Not press relations, but public relations…

I totally agree. It has been argued about, debated on and the conclusion is that PR needs to focus and put the real “P” (for public) back to the highly misunderstood industry of public relations, (especially in this new Web 2.0 and social media age).

There are alot of definitions of PR, by academics and experts in the industry. Generally, the idea of PR lies in the following:-

Public relations is the management of relationships between an organization and its publics – groups on whom it depends for its success. An organization’s publics may include employees, shareholders, government regulators, customers, financial analysts, pressure groups, and industry associations. Depending on the field in which it operates, there will be others. A school board will have parents, students and taxpayers. A food producer may have farmers, marketing boards, dieticians and consumer associations. A registered charity will have donors and volunteers…

(source: PRCA)

And of course, the mass media is part of the publics that organisations and PR people aim to reach out to, but did you notice the many other “publics” listed in the above? PR has been evolving and I have realised that the definitions can even vary in different countries but it definitely goes beyond “how to get a coverage in XX publication..”

Melvin Yuan, an independent PR and new media consultant commented in one of my earlier post about how many PR folks are thinking press relations rather than public relations.

….Ask any consultant to list his/her top five tags for PR and you’ll know the level of his thinking.

If “media relations” and “pitching stories” are in that list, you’ll know what’s going to rattle his nerves…

I have several thoughts as I was writing this post. One of them was attempting to define the “P” in PR and as I was researching on what had been discussed, I came across this great article, “Media coverage: forget about the quantity- measure the quality,” by Jennifer McClure, summarising what I had in mind.

PR is not meant to be about creating static messages in a vacuum, and it is not synonymous with media relations, but for too long this seems to have been the assumption – not only by clients and management, but even by many in the PR industry.

Public relations is about forming and nurturing relationships with the public. We all need to remind ourselves of this from time to time. If, instead of spending time creating and communicating static messages and trying to make sure that nothing negative is ever said about our organizations, PR can re-focus its efforts on creating relationships…

I start to fear and cringe, whenever I speak with communications/ PR or marketing people who asked me, “oh, so can you get us some coverage in Her World magazine?” Nothing wrong with Her World magazine (a very popular female mag in Singapore) but in today’s Web2.0 world and the age of social media, PR folks should take the opportunities to work towards achieving not a front-page press coverage but to start a real dialogue with the key audiences (which includes the “publics” mentioned above) to alter perceptions, to create awareness, to gather feedbacks (and the list goes on, depending on what you aim to achieve). Such are statements that many have spoken and written about but, honestly, how many PR people are actually practising them? How many actually GET IT or attempt to GET IT?

Two-way dialogue can occur without a front page or any media coverage. Infact, let’s put it another way, two-way dialogue SHOULD occur ON TOP of the front page coverage – that’s the job of PR now and in the near future. Most decent PR folks know all about traditional media pitching, the challenge is to move on and put PR back to the scope it is meant to cover.

Although I am in PR, I am also a blogger – possibly part of the “publics” that some organisations are targeting. I am also the consumer who buy the various media’s publications and many different brand of products. I am also the unhappy customer who had a bad perception of that hotel with such bad service, I am dying to tell the world not to go to that hotel.

I guess, what I am trying to say here is, at the end of the day, we know that PR is evolving, especially in this exciting time where we see shifts in the industry, the key thing is to start practising it, start to put the real “P” (repeat: Public) back in PR and learn to GET IT! We are sick of hearing everyone telling us, “PR just don’t get it”.

More reference articles on elated topic:-

What is PR? by Heather Yaxley (another updated post – 12 Dec 2007 – here )

PR Measurement: Does media coverage alone impact business outcomes?

What is PR? by Public Relations Institute of Australia

PR’s nightmare

Brian and I had an interesting discussion over IM last Friday about whether or not all PR campaigns/ products launches should incorporate some form of social / new media.

We think, perhaps not.

Don’t misunderstand my point, I totally love the new media / the Internet and this blog is set up with the aim to explore and learn more about how the new and social media work and how they affect communications and how to integrate as part of marketing strategy

And this is what I believe …There is absolutely no need to insist on including a “new media” component (very typical nowadays) in PR briefs or to insist that some bloggers be invited to your PR events or to create some form of facebook group to get “social” with the people etc. I believe that when your campaign is carefully thought out, focusing on finding the best communications channel to meet your objectives, the rest will fall in place. If you have created something newsworthy, news coverage will happen. Communications and conversations with your target media – new or old as well as target audience (or people that matters to your brand) – online or offline will happen.

If anyone is reading my twitter/ del.icio.us stuff, I’ve been reading and saving links that are related to new/ social media. I am looking for case studies, some HOW TO. Enough of the WHAT AREs.

I think I get the parts where alot of “experts” are saying, “PR people should send new media pitches in this and that way, PR people should understand the importance of social media – it’s all about the PEOPLE, not the audience (uh?? if the people are not my target audience, I wouldn’t bother talking to them actually) and of course about the “stupid PR people should be banned and have their names and email addresses listed in public blogs to be ridicule etc etc…”

I get those. I understand what they are saying…

What I am hoping to find out are some really good “how tos?” Some great social/ new media case studies and I am really looking for NON- IT/ tech/ gadgets / Web related campaigns, I am looking for those where the target audiences of the brand/ products are not spending that much time reading the Techcrunch/ CNET or maybe not even New York Times and don’t know what Facebook is?

What if my “target people” of the brand are the socialities and the rich tai tais who spend most of their time shopping, flipping lifestyle magazine titles while doing their $600 hairdo, and I am trying to sell them a new croc skin handbag brand? How about if my brand targets older aunties and uncles who are not savvy enough to even read the local online newspapers?

How do I then incorporate the “social/ new media” elements into a consumer PR campaign to get these PEOPLE? OR, is it even necessary to use any of those new tools just to show that you are savvy in the new media?

I often hear about, “how companies need to use social and new media to share information OR risk falling into obscurity.”

Clients, brands, PR people are panicking and eager to jump onto the bandwagon but am I wrong to think that at the end of the day, it’s about finding the right communication/ conversation/ interaction channel to (1) get a message across (2) get a feedback to and from the people – the fundamental of PR, the basic of communications.

Understanding and using the tools in our new media toolkit is one important thing (I agree) but blindly trying to applying them to every other campaign we work on… that, to me is just letting tools control you and not you, utilizing them.

The conversations that drive and define Social Media require a genuine and participatory approach. Just because you have the latest tools to reach people, or have played around with them, doesn’t mean you can throw the same old marketing at them. And, it doesn’t qualify you to attempt to do so without first thinking about why and how, as it relates to the people you’re trying to reach..

I totally agree with what Brian Solis wrote. Even in Facebook, I find that creators of events and groups simply mass spam their “friends’ list” with invites to events that are totally irrelevant to the friend. I am really NOT interested in a programming/ coding event where programmers and tech engineers meet to discuss codes, neither do I want to join the group that talks about and attend football games, so stop spamming me on my social networks.

Blogger pitches: How and who?

In the last few weeks, I noticed a common topic popping up on my RSS aggregator. A few bloggers have been discussing views on “how to pitch to bloggers?”

Aaron has asked me to do an “interview” for the video show he has been putting together titled “Princessa and the little lamb” on the topic of blogger relations. My mad schedule lately delayed the discussion.

This post contains some readings and thoughts that I have gathered on the topic. I don’t have a personal list of 101 tips on pitching to bloggers but I am hoping to open this up for some discussions from PR folks and bloggers (especially those in Singapore and the Asian region).

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