September 22, 2008
Top Ten Blogs If You Love to Write
Below is the latest pick for the top ten blogs for writers.
I have also listed these now on the left hand side of my blog above analyst blogs if you ever want to come back for easy reference down the road.
September 16, 2008
Social Media Strategies Conference
Check out the upcoming Searchnomics Social Media Strategies Conference from October 29-30, 2008. It will be held at the Stanford Court in San Francisco.
The event is targeting CMOs, Social Media Managers, Online Community Managers, Corporate Communications, PR, Marketing, Advertising, and Recruiting Professionals.
They plan to focus on how organizations can leverage Social Media to achieve their business goals. Social Media technologies such as blogs, micro-blogging, wikis, podcasts, video, RSS, forums, social networks, online communities, and social bookmarking are increasingly being leveraged by companies to:
1) Build brand visibility and equity
2) Gain insight into customers
3) Promote products and services
4) Influence communities
5) Increase Web site traffic and leads
6) Drive product innovation
Survey on the Effects of New Media on Journalism
The Society for New Communications Research and Middleberg Communications is conducting a survey to examine the effects of new media and communications developments on journalists and journalism. If you participate, they'll send you a free copy of their findings. (takes about 5-10 minutes to do)
September 12, 2008
Iamnews: Hub for Publishers & Writers
Iamnews enables publishers to collaborate in news creation. They say that they're targeting small to medium publishers who don't have resources to tap photos and video. One of the founders says on stage, "we enable publishers to create news sites, so as a publisher, you can create a news assignment, assign what you want, where it is happening and you can invite your own reporters or request the kind of reporters you need."
They connect the publisher and the reporter -- both can use the content tools they already know for videos, texts, links, etc. Publishers can then collect it, edit it and publish it on their blog. He adds, "our vision is to create some kind of alternative to news agencies, a future news agency."
By the end of the year, they're planning to create custom made news rooms for news destinations so companies can better engage with their readers.
August 27, 2008
What Really Makes PR Valuable?
I've been thinking quite a bit about the recent Alley Insider interview with Jason Calacanis.
His advice: don't use a PR firm or an in-house veteran. He says that you don't need to spend ANY money to get amazing PR. Public relations by nature has always had a lousy reputation. Some call us flacks, some tell us that we tout fluff.
Sure, there are situations where companies have spent a lot of money on PR and gained very little if nothing at all. It happens, just as hiring a sales guy could yield you very little ROI in some cases, particularly early on. The timing is wrong, the person isn't the right cultural fit, their background doesn't match your needs.
His philosophy of PR is summed up in six words: be amazing, be everywhere, be real. The "be amazing" part is really referring to Godin's Purple Cow. How can you really stand out amidst the noise unless you're extraordinary? You. And your product.
How many times have you seen a fabulous product but you think the CEO is arrogant or the product sucks but you want them to win because the team is so great? So, by nature, being amazing is harder said than done. It's not just that the product and team need to be great, but the timing needs to be right as well. We've all seen launches flop because the product was too early for the masses to adopt it or too late and the market was too crowded.
What if you have a great CEO and a fairly decent product but its not amazing? What if you're in the middle? You don't have another Google, Amazon, Yahoo, YouTube, or Apple but you have great revenue potential and are tapping into a great need. What if you don't have Jobs charisma and drive or Jason's contacts, confidence and decade of industry experience? What if, simply, you're not designed that way?
Secondly, he says be everywhere. I agree and it works, but it means your life becomes your work and your work becomes your life. (which is okay for some, particularly young unattached entrepreneurs in their early twenties).
What if "being everywhere" takes away from your ability to stay close to your engineering team to ensure the best possible features are delivered on time? What if "being everywhere" isn't in your nature and you'd rather be building products than chatting with press and bloggers?
What if you're trying to grow a company and you have three kids at home who want as much of your time as your team does? What if you believe in excellence and being amazing but also want balance in your life? More folks I know than not who are "everywhere" are not married or if they are, they don't have small children at home.
Frankly, that argument can be extended to a number of other "fluff" categories like marketing, advertising and in some rooms, new business development. Of course a good new biz guy directly impacts the bottom line once that deal flow starts flowing in. In many cases, when its a 'trade' rather than money exchanging hands, that value isn't as obvious.
The same applies to PR. It's about building relationships -- over time. It doesn't mean as a CEO you can't build those relationships and be in as many places as you can. Most reporters and bloggers I know would rather hang out with a founder than a flack.
That said, managing that process and building relationships with those influencers takes a substantial amount of time -- and trust. Just like a great new biz guy who has worked with their counterparts in giants like Nokia, Microsoft, HP, Oracle and Google, great PR folks have worked with journalists from the NY Times, Newsweek, Family Circle and blog networks for years.
We forget that while the blogosphere has exploded and opened up more and more content outlets for us to talk to (and read), the basics haven't changed. For all the reporters and bloggers who don't like PR folks, there are a ton who value those relationships.
Through ongoing interactive dialogue, both sides can discuss ideas, and learn about new products and innovations while the founder can focus on doing his job -- driving revenue, raising capital if necessary, motivating his management team, signing deals.
And then there's 'being real.' I assume that means being authentic, honest and following through with what you say you're going to do. May as well say "be human, be courteous, be genuine." All founders should follow that rule. It's a great one. This is also a lot of work, not because its hard to be genuine, but because it takes time to reach out to people, pay attention to what they're saying, and actually "listen."
He says, "things that look like an "overnight success" typically are not." So true, I tell clients this all the time and prospects who think a quick hit in the WSJ will turn them into the next YouTube.
He also tells companies to "be their brands" and to be a human being....which is followed by this statement: "journalists hate PR people and they hate being pitched. They do. It's just a fact. Journalists and bloggers despise PR people, and if they say otherwise they are lying, placating you or just being diplomatic."
This may be true in some cases (I know plenty who complain), but in this context, I'm reading that to mean that PR folks are not human beings, or at the very least, journalists and bloggers don't think so. Odd, since I have a number of friends who are both bloggers and journalists. (and have been for more than a decade).
While it appears that he hates PR folks as much as his journalist friends do, he has some great pointers that the really good publicists and CEOs I know follow. There is value to great PR (and yes I mean those who actually do it for a living as well as CEOs who "get it") just as there's value to great sales and marketing skills.
Those who are in my biz have all experienced this scenario. Your CEO wants an article in the WSJ or New York Times and this is the main way they measure their PR success.
Reminds Jason, "getting someone at The New York Times, WIRED or The Wall Street Journal to pay attention to you can take years. Small publications, however, don't get their calls responded to by the big companies. This creates two big wins for you:
a) Small publications have more time for you
b) Big publications troll the small publications for stories"
Yes yes and yes. And remember that some of those small publications may be much more targeted to your audience anyway. I'm amazed at how much effort start-ups put into getting covered by GigaOm, Mashable and TechCrunch. I love and read these blogs, don't get me wrong, but if your customer is anything like my cousins in the small towns of this vast country, they're not going to learn anything about your product through those outlets.
And, increasingly my clients are trying to reach audiences that are still slow to blogs. Blogs will ultimately reach all of us one day and perhaps the esoteric long tail ones centered around a specific passion is the way to go, even if their numbers are a quarter of the size of the majors. It starts with a conversation and then you build from there.
In other words, PR is about more than getting ink. It's more than pitching. It's more than writing press releases. It always has been.......it's always been about building relationships, creating a brand, establishing trust and watching one successful milestone after another -- over time. Alongside persistence, vision, passion, and authenticity, I'd also add faith, patience and grace.
August 12, 2008
What Really Happens to a Blog When it Grows?
Matthew Buckland has a really interesting post today that talks about what happens to bloggers as they start to grow, expand and hire other bloggers. In other words, "When is a Blogger Not a Blogger Anymore?"
He writes about this growth, "the big bloggers then start to resemble corporates or traditional media companies rather than the gutsy, independent, grassroots startups they once were. (In fact some bloggers get bought out by media companies or corporates.)"
Matthew also notes how many of the bigger bloggers are no longer the one-man-bands they used to be, and have hired crews to write under them. GigaOm, TechCrunch and VentureBeat are great examples. Mashable and ReadWriteWeb also fall into that category. Read about the blogger evolution through his eyes; he also references Paul Bradshaw.
August 05, 2008
PR Week's Blog Competition
Somehow, my blog landed in PRWeek's blog competition. As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, PRWeek is honoring the BLOG.
PRWeek personnel selected 16 of its favorite blogs and will run the competition or rather "tournament" over a five week period. It's a tad confusing how to vote, so here's a walk through.
Since the first round is complete at the end of the day today - Tuesday, August 5th - go to this special PR Week link, scroll down to below the logos and find the boxes with the pie charts in them.
Look for Down the Avenue with the blue banner/logo and click on it. Voila, you should see the number go up by one as soon as you have voted. I'd love to have your support.
July 17, 2008
More Newspaper Layoffs
More newspaper layoffs this week the TellZell blog reports this week. They list an unconfirmed list of about 100 people leaving the Los Angeles Times. The list includes both people taking a buyout and people who are being fired.
The Orlando Sentinel is also going through layoffs and
June 26, 2008
Retrevo & PC World Team Up
PC World and client Retrevo team up to offer readers access to competing content directly from PC World’s site. Through this agreement, PC World.com product reviews will now include competing publishers expert reviews and information.
Powered by Retrevo’s artificial intelligence system, PC World readers will see product comparisons and expert and user reviews from other publications, sites, and blogs. As part of the agreement, PC World is also selling advertising programs for the Retrevo Web site.
Traditionally, publishers have operated a closed network and would never consider giving readers instant and easy access to competing publishers from within their walls. With the growing volume of product information and opinions, content providers must help consumers deal with the complexity of web content, which means opening their doors even if that means giving consumers instant and easy access to their competitors.
Consumers are rapidly transforming their media research and consumption to online, which requires a different business model than publishers have adopted in the past. Now, more than ever, users want access to open information and opinions. In the new world of online publishing, the more open you are, the more brand loyalty you build.
June 07, 2008
Bay Area Journalism Awards
Late last week, Bay Area print journalists, photographers, radio and television personnel and PR pros were presented with 224 awards of excellence in 94 categories at the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's 31st annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards dinner.
Winners in the columns and features included: (kudos to Brad!!!)
FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, "Male Call," Jeff Thomas
SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, "Columns by Brad Kava," Brad Kava
THIRD PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, "East Side/West Side," Joe Rodriguez
Feature Story of Light Nature
FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, "Eat My Sports," Daniel Brown
SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, "What If No One Calls," Brad Kava