Social Media Top 5: Eat Whopper and Die!

A bit of variety in this week’s Social Media Top 5, starting with the Burger Wars, even if it’s not strictly a social media story:

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Image Credit: Surian Soosay on Flickr

McDonald’s to Burger King: Eat Whopper and Die!

This past week, Burger King, in a bid for attention, offered a truce to McDonald’s; for Peace Day, they said, why not do a joint burger and donate proceeds to charity? McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook didn’t take the bait, and replied in rather withering fashion, declining the offer.

The reaction? Some people seemed to thing McDonald’s blew it, or at least missed an opportunity. My reaction? McDonald’s is #1, and they have no obligation to participate in #2 Burger King’s cry for attention, however cynically wrapped in a good cause. Perhaps Easterbrook’s reply was a bit rude in tone, but on the other hand “Eat Whopper* and Die” (my words but he is welcome to them) is not an out-of-bounds response. Go give Wendy’s a shot, Burger King. No? I thought so.

I present Tom Brady doing his Burger King impression:

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*I actually like Whoppers, not that it matters.

Social Media is DEAD!!!!!

OK, not really (and I hate the “X is dead” tropes), but I read with interest Josh Bernoff’s reaction to Augie Ray’s post on social media’s house being on fire and it needs to be rebuilt, or something. My first impression is that Bernoff is saying “Burn, baby burn,” while Ray sees some new unicorn farm springing up in its place (or something). What I do take away from this, on Bernoff’s side, are two things:

  • That most brands are not worth talking about and should not use social media for that purpose (not a new notion but worth repeating) – by the way, I’m not so sure that Apple is still one of those companies that meets that criterion; and
  • Compelling content is another good use of social media. Based on my work with Stone Temple Consulting, I wouldn’t limit that notion to social media, though I would love to see social have more of an impact on search results.

Social media dead? Should it be taken out of marketers’ hands? We know that most marketers are far too lazy to kill a vampire properly, with all that garlic and wooden stakes and probably some sort of prayer mumbo-jumbo. That’s a lot of work- so we’re stuck with vam- er, social media and the marketers who work in it. That’s not as bad a thing as the “dead” crowd would like to believe.

If anything, this content is fun for tech PR people who get to watch ex-Forrester analysts do battle with each other via blog. Keep it coming.

Instagram lets you post not-square images. Hurrah?

I have always considered Instagram to be the Internet’s answer to crappy photography – hence the neo-Polaroid trappings, the unnecessary-yet-necessary filters, and the emphasis on mobile over desktop ease-of-use. So, is Instagram’s recent announcement that it will tolerate non-square image formats a love note to photographers? Nah, it’s more likely a sop to movie studios and other commercial entities whose content is more Panavision than Ektachrome.

Not that that’s a bad thing…

There has been an awakening… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on

Rules are Terrible Unless They’re Not

Speaking of Instagram: Hayley Bloomingdale has decided that she is the arbiter of what is right in Instagram etiquette.  I don’t much care for people setting rules that others must live by in social media- we all can do what we want. Besides, nobody can replace Kim Kardashian as my queen of vacuous debutantes who actually give decent social media advice.

That said, most of Bloomingdale’s rules are not bad ones, but the last one- no cats? I don’t think so.

 

Thus guy ate a whole can of food, then caught a bird and ate it. Waiting for him to turn back into Bruce Banner

A photo posted by Doug Haslam (@doughaslam) on

#5: One Last Thought

Whether you do PR, marketing or some other form of communications, measurement is key. If some “measurement guru” shoves advice in your face (or your browser), ask yourself one question: is this a bunch of basic math, or are there some practical takeaways I can use to improve my programs? The answer makes the difference between snake oil and delivering results. That is all.

Social Media Top 5: I Get Positive About Brands Online

As the New Social Media Top 5 gathers momentum, this week I noticed a number of stories about brands online and how they handled a situation well or did something I liked. That’s right, I’m toning down the snark (sort of) to show what a nice guy I can be. Many of these stories are well-picked-over like a yard sale at noon, but I’ll try to find one question or nugget in each that has been less-discussed:

Image Credit: Anne Worner on Flickr

Image Credit: Anne Worner on Flickr

Target

  • What we all know – When a brand makes a controversial decision, the tendency is to stand behind the decision without spending time (and reputation capital) feeding the trolls who disagree with it online. Target recently decided to stop separating toy aisles into “girls” and “boys,” and predictably the mouth-breathing keyboard-peckers decided that was un-American or something and took to the Internet with their fair and balanced opinions. A prankster by the name of Even Melgaard took Target’s decision to ignore the haters out of their hands by setting up a fake account and textually abusing them, using Target’s logo to give the appearance of an “official” customer care channel. Most brands’ first reaction would be to go after the imposter with a cease-and-desist order to protect their trademark; however, the most talked-about reaction was Target’s humorous posting of a sale on troll dolls. Well played, we all applauded.
  • What most of us didn’t talk about – Target’s lawyers are most definitely involved as far as this being a likely trademark violation. As funny as this guy is, I’d be shocked if they don’t ask (if they haven’t already) for Melgaard to stop using the logo. One of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s favorite sports is to force applicants to fiercely protect marks if they want to keep it, much the way the Caesars forced gladiators to fight to the death in Roman times. Expect “Ask ForHelp” to stop using the logo at some point once Target’s lawyers get back from the Hamptons.

Kentucky Fried Chicken

  • What we all know – Kentucky Fried Chicken recently revived the “beloved” Colonel Sanders character. Darrell Hammond, well known as a mimic from “Saturday Night Live,” stepped right in and did a swell job. Apparently some people thought it was creepy (and others thought maybe bringing back a Southern white gentleman dressed like a plantation owner as a spokesperson was a little odd in the same year South Carolina finally decided to remove the Confederate Battle Flag) but to see what KFC did next, I guess the reasons were not that it was like bringing a dead guy back to life on TV like some kind of ad-zombie (who can forget Orville Reddenbocker’s chilling return from the dead?). Instead, they introduced ads featuring fellow SNL alumnus Norm MacDonald, best known for doing cannily inaccurate impressions of Burt Reynolds and making OJ Simpson jokes, to take over the impression. Did KFC listen to its customers and give them what they wanted? Well, they’re definitely listening.
  • What I think – We are all being trolled, and I hope I’m right in thinking that. Norm MacDonald comes off as Norm MacDonald in a Colonel Sanders suit, and if they did that on purpose they are brilliant. Perhaps they will follow with other SNL alums taking their turns doing a poor impression. I’d watch that, if only to see if they’d cast Garrett Morris.

Cooties

  • What we know – Probably not much: “Cooties” is a flick coming out in September about kids who turn into zombie-like beasts, and we know it will be good not only because Elijah Wood is in it (some of his role choices make me think of Wood as a Crispin Glover, except if people liked him), but because the film is a blender creation from people behind the “Saw” movies and “Glee” (which could have used a few more gory deaths in my opinion).
  • What you don’t care about but I do – On seeing the trailer online, I blew it up on the TV screen for my family and promptly announced that seeing this movie once it comes out will be a family outing- something I posted on Twitter as well:

  • That the writer (and one of the stars) of the movie as well as the director favorited, Retweeted me and followed me tickled me in a way Twitter used to in the old days. This is less the case of a big brand deigning to favor its Twitter followers with responses, but I felt it more a fan acknowledgment by some folks who are working hard to get this movie noticed. I hope Cooties gets some screens in Boston. Who wants to go?

Three is enough; this is getting long

Actually…

 

Social Media Top 5: The Triumphant Revival

I’ve laid off the blog so long – not to mention the “Social Media Top 5” semi-feature – that one might think it was “dead.” I dislike when people in marketing declare things dead just to get attention (almost as much as when marketers declare the latest unproven, not-widely-available tool “the next big thing”), so time for a revival and five things that, like this blog, are most definitely not “dead.”

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Photo Credit: Maureen Barlin on Flickr

1. “LOL” – According to Facebook, people are not using “LOL” as much to express laughter. Apparently, “haha” is more popular. I understand the emergence of emoji’s as more and more of these nasty critters are a click or so away from making you look hip in front of your friends. I have a hard time understanding why four characters trumps three in this age of brevity and autocorrect; why not the simple “heh?” – perhaps too understated. Also, the Facebook was based on a week’s worth of posts, so simmer down, people. 

2. “Real-Time Marketing” – This one’s not dead because the “real-time marketing” ghost that people have been chasing ever since Oreo’s heavily-planned moment of serendipity happened was never really alive. You either have a marketing or PR team in place that can act quickly to news events, or you don’t. That notion didn’t suddenly become evident at the 2013 Super Bowl (unless you were an attention-seeking social media blogger, then it was the Greatest Thing Ever That Never Happened Before). If you want to give up on “newsjacking” because it’s too hard because you can’t keep up with millions of Tweets, you’re thinking about it incorrectly anyway- find your niche and show up to your audience- not the world. Take advantage of news or don’t, no in-between. Nothing died, nothing to see here. Meanwhile, I will continue to walk out of any conference speech or panel that lazily brings up “Oreo at the Superbowl.”

3. Google Plus – This one is harder for me, as I have long been a skeptic of those who would put Google Plus  alongside Facebook as a viable competitor in social networking. I was never a G+ hater so much as an eyebrow-wagger at those who declared it the Greatest Thing Ever, even touting tutorials on G+ business pages before such things actually existed. So long as Facebook had everyone on the planet, that was never a worthy or realistic goal, or a realistic way to consider it. Google’s habit of pulling the plug on services that a small number of fierce fans love, in the interest of re-allocating resources and focus, has also been a factor in the frustrations many have over G+. Anger over the recent a changes to Google Plus was fed by those recollections, I suspect. But saying Google Plus is dead because they are re-focusing the product (I tend to agree with my colleague Mark Traphagen’s assessment) is not close to true. You may not use G+, you may not like what it was or what it might be, but it is still here and it is what it is.

Bonus plug: my employer, Stone Temple Consulting, recently released a study on what gets engagement on Google Plus– I’m biased, but I think it is good fodder for those who don’t mind the fact that G+ is “dead.”)

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Image Credit: Tom Simpson on Flickr

4, Music – Well, maybe music is actually dead. Sinead O’Connor said so. Perhaps she’s upset she never managed to kill it herself, though I suspect music will live past a mass-media entity like Rolling Stone featuring the not-as-dumb-as-we-want-her-to-be Kim Kardashian on the cover.

5. One More – If you want to declare something dead,  I recommend a safer, unassailable bet. Of course, saying that nearly guarantees that Columbia House will return in some form.

Final Word: On the futility of anger: A self-proclaimed optimist says that the next time he sees one of those pessimists, he’s going to take his half-full glass and pour it over his head. His friend replies, “But then your glass would be empty.”  My glass is empty, and the fridge is full of beer. Drink up, folks.

Bonus: I’m not using an image from the Monty Python and the Holy Grail “Not Dead Yet” sketch to illustrate this post. You’re welcome.

Swearing as Business Model – Bad Idea or Good For You?

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Image Credit: A Syn on Flickr

Anyone who knows me know I can out-swear any sailor, and be creatively obscene in the process. However, when it comes to speaking or writing in public, I very rarely use those blasted cusswords – yes, rarely, as I have on a few occasions let context be my excuse for a naughty syllable or two. I’m ok with swearing, and you would have to try really hard to offend me.

I have, therefore, mixed feelings when I see people in the marketing industry use swears as part of their business personality. I get that people want to have an edgy personal brand (speaking of obscene phrases), but when conducting business and attracting new clients, is it a wise idea?

There are several examples out there now, by people that I like and know do good work- to name three off the top of my head: Jason Falls, Gary Vaynerchuk and, a recent addition, former Forrester analyst Josh Bernoff.

These three guys have been reasonably successful, right? In fact, I was quite enamored of one of Bernoff’s posts, a rant on writing well in a business context that was detailed and practical. However, I was hesitant to share it, because I didn’t want to tweet the “BS” in the title of his blog. Thre are ways around it, of course, but it does create work for some people who don’t want to share the swears.

Still considering it? I’m not going to stop anyone, but here are some things I would consider if I were so inclined:

  • Is it really necessary? Can you get your point across without cussing? Yeah, I thought so. I generally can. In fact, it’s a good challenge to get around swearing by using more creative language. I don’t mean double entendres (or maybe I do- W.C. Fields was one of the best at getting around censors), I just mean trying a little harder to express yourself. The one thing that deflates Bernoff’s example is that swearing can be seen as lazy by a person who is actually giving very good advice on writing and messaging.
  • Does it fit your voice? If you have an edgy persona to your brand, whether it be a company or just you, I guess it can make sense. Vaynerchuk’s mouth has been ready for the soapdish since I can remember seeing him online and in person. Not only should it fit your brand, but it helps to be unapologetic- whatever your voice is, stand behind it. If you must swear, then make sure it is seen as part of you and not an attention-getting gimmick.
  • Will it affect your ability to attract customers? I feel that this is the biggest consideration. Is your image as a professional tarnished by a salty mouth? Are your clients- or the clients you want- put off or accepting of swearing? Why drive away business in the name of being cool? Even a brand with a much milder epithet, Gini Dietrich’s blog Spin Sucks (See? It’s mild; I typed it here so it must be OK), has suffered the occasional waggled eyebrow of propriety.
  • Do you have a flippin’ problem? What are you looking at? I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.
  • Is it really necessary? This is worth asking again. If you’re really sure, go ahead, I guess.

So, hypocrite that I am, I am not a big fan of swearing-as-business. I’m not judging those who do  it, I just don’t see the point, most of time, of excluding certain valuable members of your business audience. Or maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, or worse, a cotton-headed ninny muggins.

Whatever you decide for yourself: Good For You.

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Stop Using “Humblebrag”

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Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr (per CC license)

It has been a few years now, and people are still using the term “#humblebrag.” I have about had it.

It’s not a word.

The very use of this non-word shouts- no, SCREAMS – “I’m not really being humble and I want you all to bow down to how cool I am.”

But you are not being cool, you are being a jackass.

Let’s break down this non-word via Merriam-Webster. Here is humble:

hum·ble

adjective ˈhəm-bəl also chiefly Southern ˈəm-: not proud : not thinking of yourself as better than other people

 

And here is brag:

brag

noun ˈbrag :  a pompous or boastful statement

I would prefer a less pejorative definition of “brag” as my point is that it’s ok to talk up an accomplishment, a great idea or something else one should rightly be proud of, that we might even learn something from,  and is worth sharing. Bragging is ok by that definition, as one can back it up. Also, I am not saying one should not be humble. However, pointing out that one is being humble shines a glaring spotlight on that least humble of behaviors: false humility.

I like to think of “humblebrag,” then, as an oxymoron; I choose to define that as a moron who is willfully driving his or her brain of the oxygen needed to prevent jackass-like behavior.

Within my profession, the biggest worry I have is, as usual, perception: one person’s self-important jackass is another’s social media guru – and a third person might not see a difference between the two. Whether or not you see that as a bad thing might actually define how I view your professional IQ.

So, please.

For the love of Pete.

Stop using #humblebrag.

If you have something worthy, just brag. If it really is worthy, we’ll agree with you. (If it’s not worthy, then you’re still a jackass, albeit one that doesn’t use that non-word.)

For a less-ranty version of similar thinking, see Daniel Newman’s post on the Millennial CEO blog.

Please brag about stuff in comments below.

“Serial” Does Not Portend a Podcasting Boom

Photo Credit: Holmes Palacios on Flickr

Photo Credit: Holmes Palacios on Flickr

“Serial,” a podcast from the producers of the public radio show “This American Life,” is a runaway hit. That’s awesome. What’s not awesome is the leap of logic people are taking that this means it’s a boom for all kinds of podcasting. It’s not. And here is why I feel that way.

A DVR for Radio: The Hit is Coming From Mainstream Media

Some marketers love to hook on to the value of podcasting, and hope for the listenership. The truth is, podcast popularity is probably higher than critics would like to think, as suggested by this data from Edison Research (the lead: 2% of all audio listening is to podcasting. That is small but yet significant). Why do we need a podcast from the producers of an established public radio entity (“This American Life”) to suddenly declare that podcasting is here? We don’t. The publicity is nice, but it doesn’t have much to do with podcasts for marketing. It has to do with time-shifting commercial (ok, non-commercial, but mainstream in this case) programs, much as we use DVRs for television programs. While Serial is a “podcast-only” program, my focus group of one (me) frequently prefers to listen to several public radio shows available on-air  as podcasts/radio DVR rather than being a slave to air times.

Do People Differentiate Podcasts From Other Programs?

Do people really think of listening to podcasts as a separate activity? Separating this from the mainstream media podcasts, it means more, perhaps, when thinking about listening to an industry or corporate podcast. It’s a good question that, as I tackled this post, I’m not sure I have the answer to. When podcasting was introduced, people didn’t necessarily know what that meant. Nor did they necessarily associate “pod”casts with the i”Pod” especially as Apple tended to treat podcasts as a second-class (e.g  non-revenue stream) citizen, at least early on. In the end, podcasts are audio. In my earbuds, they compete with music for my aural attention (and some of you listen to audio books; how different are they from podcasts?), and to me it’s that simple.

ETA: Barbara Kolbe Baker, on Facebook, articulated a point I failed to make in the original draft of this post: It’s “about the content, not delivery method.”

Podcasting is Hard (Kind of)

It’s easier to write than it is to produce a listenable 20 to 30-minute podcast. It’s not really that hard to record, edit and publish, but there is at least a small amount of know-how involved in making a listenable podcast (form both content and technical points of view) over simply doing written material.

The same could be said for video, but the allure of the moving image helps people get over that barrier (or sloppily crash through it, webcam in hand) more readily. Will podcasting as a business tool really take off as a primary medium? Only if people are willing to do the work; those who are will lead that category, whatever size it becomes.

Business Podcasting Never Lost Effectiveness

People just got lazy. Business podcasts are great, and there are no shortage of pretty good marketing and technology podcasts out there that I enjoy listening to weekly. These include the For Immediate Release family of podcasts, the TWiT family of shows and, in  an example of one podcast-only show that truly is successful on a few levels, Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

As an early podcaster, I get the temptation to cheerlead for the medium at every potential positive sign. But rather than build theme parks around hallucinations, it’s better to just go to work and build something you believe in, that serves your audience well; that’s what will ultimately be successful.

Final Word (and Pictures)

Variety has its own take on why “Serial” isn’t really as big a deal as some people are making it out to be. It’s a good read.

And for business podcasting nerds like me, here’s some cheerleading from Jay Baer that’s more grounded in fact, and the reasons why podcasting does work and why it is successful. Note that he doesn’t mention “Serial” anywhere in this lengthy assault of images (I really do have a problem saying unvarnished nice things about infographics, don’t I? Deal with it).

The-rise-of-podcasts-as-Business-Education

Platform Shaming – No, It’s Not Twitter’s Fault

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Photo Credit: Chris Vreeland on Flickr

In the marketing, PR and communications field, we (well, the smart ones at least) take great care to remember that what we do – and what happens – both good and bad, is rarely if ever the fault of the communications platform. Generally, the culprit our hero is sound communications strategy supported by a legitimately good product or service.

Just the past week we have had online blowups regarding Bill Cosby, Uber and the NFL’s New England Patriots. Not that people are widely blaming these gaffes on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and the other social media platforms, but often enough that is the knee-jerk reaction. As parent of a teenager, I am attuned to hearing other parents worry (often preemptively) about social media being to blame for bad things that could happen, when experience tells us that bad (and good) things have happened well before social media, and will still occur in their banned absence.

So why do we blame Twitter or other platforms when things blow up? I have a few theories.

  • People are lazy

Why examine the real reasons for a PR disaster – a bad product, an out-of-control executive, a just-plain-rotten idea – when we can blame Twitter or Facebook for the bad reactions? That’s easier, and if it makes people feel better about themselves…wait, that’s a bad thing. Fix the real problems and social media will be nice to you. The Gap logo flap a couple of years didn’t happen because of social media; it happened because people hated the logo. Social media may even have helped speed up their course correction.

  • We want the Magic Pixie Dust of social media to be real

Social media is a great part of any communications tool set- but strategy drives it, not the other way around. That said, this Saturday Night Live Sketch made me laugh:

  • Old-school ink-stained wretches just can’t seem to get those mom’s-basement-dwelling-bloggy-people off their damn lawn.

This is my favorite, and seems to be more prevalent with sports columnists than anyone else (at least here in Boston). The idea that the old-school daily paper sports columnists automatically have more knowledge, experience and gravitas is bunkum; for among the legions of idiot typing away in his Cheeto’s-encrusted underwear, there are a few future media-mogul idiots. Most columnists do have that over most amateur bloggers, but the curt dismissal I see constantly is short-sighted and undignified. Another symptom is more in sync with the initial premise of this post- it’s easy to blame Twitter et al rather than the real cause of the problem, such as in this column shaming Twitter for the Patriots’ accidental endorsement of a hate speech-bemonikered Twitter account. That article, to bury the lead, is the inspiration for this post in the first place. Traditional media won’t get far by misunderstanding the newer channels.

Don’t  be lazy, and when it comes to solving PR and communications problems, don’t fight the wrong enemy.

Kim Kardashian Gives Better Social Media Advice Than You Do*

3776887321_7772630e5b_oOne of the funnest spectator sports in social media marketing is tearing apart the advice of others. Add to that the constant hand-wringing over whether conference presenters should give “101” talks or “advanced” seminars brings the whole thing to the brink of becoming a spectator sport. Well, what if someone outside the marketing bubble gives advice, and some silly web site gives it some editorial space? That’s just wrong, isn’t it? How dare they! Let’s tear it down!

Over the last week or so, I saw an article on ReCode titled “Five Social Media Tips From Kim Kardashian West.” It’s easy to make fun of that; after all, what’s not to laugh at when a Kardashian is trying to give advice to people? Actually reading the article, however, I found that most of her advice was common sense, and worth adopting – seriously. Here is my reasoning:

  • She is talking about using social media the way you or I might use it: Her last tip, “Don’t be weird and post more than three pictures from location,” is actually pretty sound for everyday users – and if people (God forbid) have a habit of doing Kardashian West’s bidding, there might be a little lower volume of annoying oversharing on social media. Yes, I said Kim Kardashian West could conceivably help slow the stupidization of the Internet.
  • The advice is terribly basic — But it’s not basically terrible. “I use Twitter as my Google” sounds like one of the tragically idiotic buzz-phrases you might see in any Social Media book, but on the other hand, think about how you use Twitter. I did, and I do use Twitter search frequently when looking for discussion and links to current events. It doesn’t replace Google, but Twitter works better this way than as a conversation platform these days; it’s easy to get behind the meaning of that tip.
  • It’s counter-intuitive not to make fun, so I’m on board: Being dismissive of vacuous celebutantes is overdone. Considering the (almost-complete) lack of bad advice, I think I’ll take all my advice from such famous people from now on. It’s much easier to follow, with success, than most “what time of day to Tweet” posts. And it’s much cheaper than buying a stack of glorified monitor supports from Amazon.com.
  • This is not “Five Social Media Lessons from (Today’s News Story That is Irrelevant to Social Media)”: The article is just personal tips from one person. It is far less despicable than “Five Social Media Lessons from the Ebola Panic” or other offensive desperate attempts at “newsjacking.”
  • Caveat: I can’t defend the Blackberry shout-out – I assume that was a paid endorsement. God bless ’em.

This is an admittedly long way to go to make one simple point: sometimes the insipid make sense, while it is just as easy for industry professionals to recycle marginally helpful – or even flat-out wrong – advice. It is up to you to know the difference. So, yes, Kim Kardashian West gives better social media advice than you do.* Plus, if you really want to make fun of her and her ilk, I guarantee there will be plenty of other opportunities.

Viva Kardashian.

*Actually, no disclaimer here. She really does. I mean it. Step up your game, gurus. 

Image Credit: jen collins on Flickr

Something Different (But Not Really) – Joining Stone Temple Consulting

2014 has brought a career move, and I am far enough into it to finally write about it here.

After leaving an agency – Voce Communications – that did and continues to do great (albeit now Haslam-less) work, I had the opportunity to figure out what was next. The real opportunity was to redefine what it meant to be someone with communications, public relations, social media and marketing experience. What would be different enough to be a challenge, but still draw on my core experience?

197744651_177c0dd6d4_zThere were a few intriguing answers out there. In-house positions offered the social media responsibilities I had honed at Voce, while agencies offered the greater integration of PR, social and other disciplines that I knew was coming. Add to that the more socially-responsible missions in the non-profit and educational worlds, and there was quite a bit to choose from.

Finally, I chose Stone Temple Consulting (and they chose me). What is different about Stone Temple? For me, it’s the deep experience in Search Engine Optimization combined with the recognition that content marketing is a key part of that world. In PR, we have seen for years the coming collision of SEO and content, and the cumulative changes in Google’s search algorithms over the years have confirmed that good content strategy is not merely compatible with good web strategy, but it is required.

That explains the appeal of a content marketer/social media marketer/PR pro/whatever I am to a firm with its roots in search marketing. What’s the attraction to me? An SEO foundation provides a quantitative foundation on which to build sound online content marketing programs. Rather than just measuring the results of what we do – a venture that is incomplete at best for most marketing and PR firms – I am now involved in measuring the reasons why we make our recommendations. Data first? That indeed seems to be the case. Add to that the opportunity to get a deeper understanding of technical SEO best practices, and I am hooked.

It will be interesting to see how my new experience shapes my thinking – and my writing. A month into my work at Stone Temple Consulting, I am only now comfortable writing about it. Expect my comfort level to increase, and to hear more about how my thinking evolves in my new surroundings – and wish me luck.

Photo Credit: Grufnik on Flickr