As a professional journalist this has been a question that I've struggled with over the past five years since leaving the Financial Times.
I can produce a lot of media content, and hopefully, it is all quality media content. But my concern is that if I produce too much it will cause my readers and subscribers to switch off because there is too much from one source.
I know that if some of my sources are too noisy on Twitter, Facebook, even on their blog or web site, I will switch them off because it is too much -- even if all their content is good. I don't want my readers doing the same to me.
This question of how much media is too much media is not just my concern, it should be a concern for others, especially companies. I've been writing about how every company is a media company, (EC=MC - the transformative equation for business) how every company has to get better at producing, distributing and responding to media content.
...Sambrook is convinced that Edelman's clients must take their message directly to the consumer. "The mantra is that every company has to be a media company in their own right, telling their own stories not just through websites but through branded entertainment, video, iPad and mobile applications," he says.
Sam Whitmore is the best media watcher around, he regularly talks to the press as part of his research for the excellent Sam Whitmore's Media Survey, which is heavily used by all the large PR agencies.
I was at a recent panel moderated by Sam Whitmore that discussed pageviews and the effect on journalism. Although nothing much emerged from that event, it is an important issue, and Sam has been collecting more information on this topic.
Zappos.com is famous for excellent use of its own media (blogs, Twitter, etc), and the media, to boost its brand. Here is another excellent example: (Hat tip Jeff Jarvis.)
It seems that Zappos' sister site 6pm.com ran into a problem Sunday morning. For 6 hours it priced everything at $49.95 or under. That means a pair of say, Jean Paul Gaultier boots that sell for $530 online (retail: $1,135) could be bought for $49.95.
Aaron Magness, director of brand marketing at Zappos, wrote that the mistake cost the company $1.6 million but that all sales would be honored:
Great move. Yes, $1.6 million is a lot of money but the publicity will probably more than make up for it. Zappos could have stayed quiet but instead made a savvy marketing move using its own media and trusting that social media would distribute a great story.
I didn't know about 6pm.com but now I do, and who knows, I might pop in Sunday mornings to see if another mistake in pricing has occurred (and I can get those boots :).
(The converse to this however, is that they might have mistaken the price on something I had bought in the past and it should have been cheaper.)
When it comes to corporate use of social media I have problems with the use of the word "social" because it's not accurate. It's not social.
When most people use Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace, they use it for its social qualities. Yet when corporations, and many professionals use social media, they are using it for commercial purposes, they are using it for sales.
This is an important distinction because it affects how businesses should use social media.
As more companies recognize that they are becoming media companies, part of that process is acquiring the skills of media professionals. The quickest way to do that is by hiring experienced journalists.
Few press releases have more than one link, or have links pointing to useful information such as:
- a link to photographs - embeddable videos - background information - customer quotes - analyst quotes - related news stories - related news releases
Such links make my job easier -- instead of Googling around for that information I can find it more quickly. I might also copy those links into my article as a service to my readers looking for additional information.
Yet despite having many people agree with me, the PR industry still has trouble understanding these very simple things. Some have told me that people don't know how to create links. (I will be hosting a $1,000-a-head workshop on this very topic, send me an email if you'd like to sign up foremski at gmail.com.)
Another way to produce an interactive press release is to use Pearltrees. I've been working with Pearltrees the past few months and developing some new use cases.
Pearltrees is a visual way of creating a collection of web sites. Let me show you an example below. It represents Intel's recent launch of a new Atom processor family. To the main news release, I've attached pearls that represent web pages where you can download photos, video, find background information, etc.
(This is a live window in that you can move around within it and browse the content of each pearl. You can also grab it and add it to your Pearltree collection.)
After the event you can use Pearltrees to look at the media coverage, here is an example.
The wonderful thing about Pearltrees is that others can grab your specific Pearltree and attach it to their own Pearltree collection. This also means that if I make any change in my Pearltree, the changes are reflected in every version of my Pearltree that others have chosen.
Corporate communications departments could quickly share resources and reuse Pearltrees in a modular way. For example, if there are any changes in a "background" Pearltree, those changes are replicated across every version, in everyone's Pearltree collection. This is especially valuable when dealing with changes in legal wording, or legal approval for company information -- once approved, a Pearl or a Pearltree, can be reused time and again, and future changes are automatically propagated across all Pearltrees.
By Tom Foremski I recently interviewed Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist at Intel. Ms. Walter works in Portland and is part of a small team of social media specialists working closely with Intel's corporate marketing group to provide a set of best practices and strategies.
Ms. Walter has been specializing in Facebook strategies. You can hear one of her BrightTalk webcasts here: "Faceless to FANtastic - Effectively Engaging Your Facebook Fans"
Bob and Pat interview Tom Foremski, one of the foremost journalists covering Silicon Valley, the world of startups and the shifting sands under the feet of traditional media. Tom was one of the first top rank journalists to go solo and leave the sinking mainstream media ship. You’ll find his analysis of the coming media tsunami and why every company – including your startup – is now a media company nourishing food for thought.