The original version of this piece appeared in Voce Nation, the blog by Voce Communications, a Porter Novelli Company
At PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference at the beginning of April, our (Voce’s) Monster.com client, Kathy O’Reilly, and I were honored to be asked to speak about how we manage Monster’s social media publishing program. The session, titled “Manage Multiple Content Streams Like Monster.com,” addressed the many elements of planning and executing a complex social media program from both the company and agency sides. What follows are some of what I felt were the more interesting parts of our talk.
Blogs are not dead
The “blogs are dead” meme didn’t rear it’s ugly head that I saw at Digital Impact, but the basic concept of a “hub and spoke” content strategy- the hub being on-domain content, usually a blog, and the spokes being off-domain platforms such as Facebook and Twitter- was prevalent throughout. Certainly our program with Monster.com, as well as with our various other clients, is predicated on this concept, but I also saw it outlined from different points of view. Most notably, Lee Odden’s session on optimization espoused Hub and spoke from the standpoint of search effectiveness.
“Hub and Spoke” is not Always that Simple
While we started from “hub and spoke” in our presentation we quickly noted that a simple hub and spoke is not always possible or ideal. In the case of Monster, there are three main blogs on the company’s domains. feeding several Twitter accounts and Facebook page, serving a variety of audiences (which nonetheless cross over), and being fed by other content platforms such as YouTube, SlideShare and Flickr. On top of that is the constant onslaught of new platforms that we research, consider and try (such as Google Plus and Pinterest). The image I created to express this, versus the clean and simple “hub and spoke” slide, purposely expresses the chaos which we work together to bring to order.
Personal Voice is Important, but Corporate Voice is Paramount
In this age of overemphasis on “personal brand” and the cliché status of terms like “join the conversation” and “engage,” it is still important to have voice- and voices. We covered the various people who represent the different sides of Monster.com’s personality, from the job-seeker focus to employers to the straight corporate voice. Monster stresses the identification of real people with names, faces and their own voices (this includes guest authors) but with a consistent company voice running through all the content. This isn’t easy, but constant communication among all those producing and coordinating the content results in a consistency that can survive the personnel changes that all companies must endure- even among their social media spokespeople. Monster is not immune to those changes, and we have helped them make a number of transitions.
Inter-Agency Cooperation is Not Just an Ideal
For years, I have dreamed of the perfect agency-client relationship where all the departments responsible for communication speak to each other and coordinate efforts to a single clear goal. It doesn’t always happen; otherwise we wouldn’t hear so much about “breaking down silos.” Something we have also learned is that the various agencies need to be brought into a unified planning strategy. Therefore, we work with Monster’s PR, branding, advertising, media buying, and any other outside agencies along with the larger internal communications people to coordinate long-term efforts and larger campaigns. It’s essential, and I fear that not every company thinks that way. The pain of coordinating so many moving parts (and squeezing too many people into a conference room) pays off on the other end
We Put Tools Last, But You Knew We’d Do That (Right?)
The time we spend on tools is disproportionate to t their importance to the strategy. We need them, but only after we know what, why and how we are doing. We feel one of the agency’s jobs is to know what we can about tools so we can:
- Recommend the best tools for the job
- Know how to use the tools- not every client uses the same systems
- Be able to recommend and jump in with the various “point solutions” on a short-term basis when needed for quick turnarounds
Tools are in their place.
Illustrating the system as “complex” is not the same as saying it is too “complicated.” It was a pleasure for us to talk together in front of a crowd of peers and validate our approach to content publishing.