Well, that’s the advice here anyway.

And, in part, I agree with the advocacy of digital journalists in helping businesses to expand and deliver effective social media solutions.

After all, I am also a digital editor amongst other things…not forgetting veteran blogger, SEO copywriter, business editor and media relations strategist. But hey, I don’t want to ramble on about myself, that’s not what this space is about. Never has been.

One of the things which really stands out, for me, about David Meerman Scott‘s thinking on Brand Journalism is the simple fact that behind the tenet of hiring a savvy journalist means that companies get all the key skills required to produce and deliver stunning web content. And as we all know, the secret behind effective social media presence remains the quality of the content.

Now, the corporate PRs will start jumping up and down about this point, as will – no doubt – the traditional broadcast marketers, and the social media ‘gurus’ who are multiplying faster online right now than microbes in a warm petri dish. Well, jump up and down, but answer this question – What is the consistent fact behind successful social media Campaigns globally? Content.

Content attracts customers. Content delivers key messages. Content persuades, engages and converts. And ultimately, a digital editor is going to get to the heart of this content delivery faster and with more clout than any old-school marketer ever could.

So, whilst you watch further YouTube clips from social media marketing ‘experts’, think on this – somewhere, a trained editor is probably creating blinding social media content for a competitor.

And when it goes global, where does that leave the unprepared? Swimming in social media mediocrity without a paddle.

Yes, this post is forthright, direct, and upfront. But then again, winning attention on social media platforms is warfare, folks.


…well, actually, I am. And not on behalf of my clueless PR pal Rubella, either.

Following the popular reactions to my introduction of the staggeringly-awful PR bimbo Rubella Pymley-Bowles from Ostentatious PR in this post, I am calling to you all to highlight further examples of shocking PR, to help educate the fluffier PRs out there. Have had exposure to some nightmare PR this week, which I’ll highlight on another blog post in the near future.

Looking to build up a portfolio here of bad PR, ill-timed PR, and of course totally ostentatious PR. It’s an education process.

So, please add your experiences – the good, the bad, and especially the ugly. It’s not necessary, of course, to name and shame actual Agencies, but the education process of dealing with poorly-timed or ill-prepared PR can hopefully be illuminated.

It’s your space – feel free to vent. With my blessings. Who knows, there may be a few good PR examples to come, too.

Well, according to Mashable, they are – and here it is.

Actually, content from experienced, proven and engaged online marketers and social media masters (I refrain from using the awful terms ‘guru’ or ‘expert’ seeing as there are so many consultants who are new to social media, and yet find these terms relevant in their new pitches to potential clients seem to advocate using them, that the words have absolutely no meaning or relevance anymore) given to us from the venerable web pages of Mashable is always worth a look.

I particularly like Seth Godin‘s words: “Social media isn’t about you, it’s about them.”

How pertinent this comment is within a framework of delivering truly effective and engaging social media content.

Chris Brogan‘s pearls of wisdom are also resonating: “Content is my best B2B social media lesson. I’ve seen many companies learn that providing interesting content (like video testimonials or how-to information) is a great way to encourage prospects, warm up leads, and convert to sales opportunities.”

There are many other useful hints and tips in the Mashable post. It’s simple, common sense, relationship-building advice. The post, for me, sums up the basics really effectively, namely:

* Get the content produced professionally

* Ensure you leave your selling hat in the boardroom

* Remember that the most valuable communication skill these days is that of listening

Social media lessons always seem to be a bit more genuine and meaningful from the guys who’ve been doing it successfully for a while, the guys who got involved with blogging years ago, the guys who don’t sell anything, the guys who give advice freely.

These are the social media Masters I follow. And they all value creative, inspiring, engaging content. Who are you following?

This is what sparked 100s of companies to consider social media as a serious option for their marketing mix and ROI. Enjoy!

And it came to us courtesy of this, of course.

The burgeoning hiatus which has raged for more than 72 hours around the conduct and attitude of Nestlé on its Facebook fan page. How did it all stack up? It essentially centred around:

The sarcastic comments made by the Nestlé social media content providers there, the threats to delete amended Nestlé logos, the deleting of certain comments posted on the Nestlé fan page, and the seeming lack of genuine connection with aggrieved commentators in that space – it all stacked up to give corporates one of the most powerful lessons in social media strategy – and how not to do it – ever seen on a social media platform.

It became global news and sparked a mass of commentaries – see more here, here, here, here and here.

And the comments are still pouring in on the page. But what can businesses learn from this social media nightmare?

A few simple tips which could have been useful include:

* Don’t openly criticise customers on a social media platform – even if their grammar is not correct on a posting.

* Don’t delete the stream of conversation – let it flow and deal with responses in an open, transparent, engaged way.

* Don’t make threats regarding copyright infringement of logos – customers being threatened by a corporate on a social media platform throws open several, very large cans of worms.

* Don’t take an overtly superior tone online with customers – it never goes down well.

* Don’t forget the negative wisdom of the masses – people will follow a disaster if they can access it easily enough. (Remember, the next time you’re stuck on the motorway, chances are motorists are slowing down to observe the pile-up in the opposite lane)

* Don’t engage on social media platforms if you can’t positively add to the conversation. Once your foot is in your mouth online, it’s incredibly hard to retrieve it. And a side-step, silence policy, or backtrack will always be picked up and highlighted – like this example.

The whole situation around the Nestlé management of their social media strategy on Facebook will be highlighted for months as an extreme case study in how not to do it. Make sure you have the right management measures in place before your Brand and commercial reputation is exposed to potential nightmares like the Nestlé experience.

It’s worth also mentioning that Nestlé shares dropped significantly during the first 6 hours of this event. How’s that for ROI on social media – and not the kind any business wants to replicate.

Learn from Nestlé’s mistakes and observe their crisis PR machine gearing up this week. It’s going to be interesting stuff.

This could well be – and long overdue, too.

It’s the first chapter in an upcoming book by Win Without Pitching author Blair Enns, a business development consultant with some of the most radical ideas in changing the traditional client-agency relationship dynamics around pitching and winning business I think I’ve seen. Read the chapter and decide for yourself if you’re happy with the way you win new business.

This isn’t a post from me about blogging, social media, journalism, SEO copywriting, media relations or any of the other specialist subjects I usually discuss. But what Blair talks about affects us all. It will affect how you do business, too. Incredible insights.

True value being placed on creativity, on expertise, on unique delivery – for these reasons, I find Win Without Pitching compelling. It touches everything we do as creatives, and forces us to stand up and define our own client relationships.

And if you’re not doing that already – try it. Bravo indeed, Blair.

And one which has been further thrust into the creative limelight here today.

It’s a tricky question for creatives such as content-producers, designers and photographers. The issue around new quarterly print food mag Fire & Knives has certainly set a few flames raging over at www.journalism.co.uk.

Following a tweet by publication founder and freelance food writer Tim Hayward on Twitter, requesting photographers to get involved – but without payment being offered – there was a huge backlash on the ‘working for exposure but no cash’ debate.

It raises further issues in the creative industry – after all, nobody has forced the writers and photographers to work for gratis – it was their choice. Nobody dragged them on board and made them deliver creative work, on pain of death. They did the work.

Saying that, I can see the other side of the debate – namely, why should creatives have to be within an industry where they even have to consider working for nothing to raise their profile? An industry which is still being hammered by the economic recession.

An industry where 1,000’s of journalists apply for a single vacancy, just to be able to guarantee regular payments. Tough times.

My own take on it would be – a bit of both. Yes, give initially, make sure your work is valued and adding value. But also make it very clear that payment needs to happen asap. Raise the profile of the publication, but not to the point where you’re resentful at delivering for a reduced fee or no fee at all. Make the project work for you, your portfolio and your creative future.

And if it isn’t working? Walk away, learn the lesson and don’t repeat it. There will be 10 people behind you ready to do it for nowt.

At least, according to this report from www.journalism.co.uk.

The launch of Fraxion Payments, designed to integrate micropayments into bloggers potential revenue streams, could well add a significant additional revenue stream – taking away the prohibitive content paywall issue for many cash-strapped bloggers.

The idea is beautifully simple – blog readers can view part of an article, but to see the full content stream, they nedd to register and make their micropayment via Fraxion Payments. The blogger gains small, mutiple revenues. There is no full-scale paywall or subscription model to contend with, making it easy and convenient for the reader to access the required content online.

Sounds great in theory. And, according to the founders, it could assist the mass of redundant creatives currently blogging and engaging on social media networks to add some moolah for their publishing efforts on the blogosphere.

I have 1 main issue here.

When was the last time anybody you know actually paid to read a blogger’s content?

Sure, we’re happy to pay for premium content, specialised information, Ebooks, and the like – but to actually make a micropayment to engage with a blogger’s postings? Big ask. I am not sure the UK audience is ready for this just yet.

What do you think?

On inspecting the stats for my blog today, I discovered an amazing fact – and one which lays testimony to the power of Google and other search engines in making and breaking the reputations of corporates, businesses and individuals online.

As you may or may not know, 5 weeks ago I wrote about how Kwik Fit delivered potentially life-threatening work on my car. I wrote about this experience here, and gave Kwik Fit customers the opportunity to also comment on their experiences of Kwik Fit.

The comments that followed were a damning condemnation of Kwik Fit, its senior management, and their unsavoury customer service practices. Obviously, I gave Kwik Fit the opportunity to set the record straight and do the right thing. Their response was to try and get their consumer PR to discredit the story with the Press. Needless to say, the story has along way to go before being resolved to my satisfaction.

However, what has come from the whole episode – apart from the book I am drafting currently on reputation – is the surprising results online via search engines such as Google.

On closer inspection of my blog stats today, it appears that nearly 43% of all search engine traffic found the blog by searching the phrase ‘Kwik Fit’ where they would have been taken to the ‘death trap car’ story I posted. Not a good message on their business.

This got me thinking further about corporate reputation online. If you can’t control what is being said about you, your business and your brand on the internet, how do you limit, curtail, and prevent negative comment being widely seen online by potential customers?

Simple answer – treat your customers well, and they’ll treat you well back. And for today’s revelation? Google, I salute you.

For the record, the Kwik Fit post has consistently taken 100+ hits per day since first posting on 02 February – which means that up to now, Kwik Fit has lost a potential 3,200 customers who’ve read the blog post.

The issue of online reputation will be fully explored in the forthcoming book – with specific reference to Kwik Fit, of course.

This statement raises a number of questions for those interested in their profile.

Firstly, what is a profile?

It could cover profile as in online reputation.

It could cover profile as in offline perception.

It could cover a social media profile, or profiles.

It could cover a company profile being presented to the Press.

It could cover an individual’s profile to a prospect.

It could – and I believe does – cover all of the above.

But how do you make your profile profitable? This depends on what you define as ‘profitable’ in the first place. Much is currently being written and commented upon regarding ROI and profiles, particularly within social media platforms.

The traditional broadcast marketers are poo-pooing social media profiles and engagement online, sticking to their one-way marketing campaigns and relying on the same results as they’ve always gained. This won’t cut it in a changing customer mindset.

Gaining a profitable profile is, for me, a combination of utilising the following elements:

* Delivering fresh, unique, useful content on a regular basis

* Working that content across relevant multiple online platforms

* Engaging with contacts, interested parties, potential prospects

* Giving freely of information, knowledge and expertise

* Raising profile via multiple channels and connections

* Utilising different marketing techniques and tools

* Losing the broadcast messaging and trying two-way customer retention

* Openly collaborating with leaders in the field to share knowledge and win business

* Regularly reviewing what’s working well – and discarding the rest

What would you add to the list? How do you make your profile profitable?